Pet Fire Safety

The thought of a house fire is terrifying for most people. You probably know how to keep yourself safe in the event of a blaze; you stay low, check for heat before opening doors, keep doors and windows closed if possible, and get out. But do you know how to keep your pets safe during a fire? If you’re home, that’s one thing, but what if something ignites while you’re at work or running errands? July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day so we’re doing all we can to educate our readers about fire safety. Learning about pet safety during a fire can help you save a life. Here are some tips for preventing fires and helping your pet survive a house fire whether or not you’re home to help.

Preventing House Fires

Doing everything you can to prevent house fires can keep everyone in the family, including the four-legged members, safe. Did you know that your pet could accidentally be responsible for starting a fire? The American Kennel Club says that about 1,000 house fires are started by pets every year. These fires can be started by innocent accidents such as your pet’s paws brushing up against a knob on your stove, or  knocking over a candle. In 2009, one very unlikely culprit was to blame for a family’s house fire – their dog’s glass water bowl. In this case, every condition was perfect for this bizarre fire to erupt. It was a beautiful sunny day with the temperature hovering around 70º. The family this story revolves around left their pet’s elevated glass water dish outside for the day; due to the dish’s elevation when the sun hit the water bowl a focused beam of light was refracted onto the wooden deck below. When the Bellevue Fire Department recreated the event they noticed that after only 15 seconds the wood they had laid below the glass water bowl started smoking. It was the combination of a glass bowl, plus an elevated height of 14 inches, a hot sunny day, and direct sunlight that lead to over $200,000 of damage being done to the unsuspecting family’s home after a fire broke out due to their pet’s water bowl.

This story is definitely a unique, most pet owners don’t own elevated glass water bowls, but some more common fire starting culprits include candles, stoves, and radiators. To help prevent fires from starting from these common culprits follow some basic rules such as put out any open flames before leaving the house, use a metal or ceramic water bowl outside, use childproof stove knob protectors, and keep towels and clothing away from radiators. You never know when your pet is going to knock something over, so make sure that when they do it doesn’t result in a fire. Some additional tips include: investing in flameless candles, not running your dryer, space heater, dishwasher, or oven when you’re not home, and never walking away from the stove while you’re cooking.

Pet owners need to be on the lookout for more than just items that could potentially be knocked over – you’ll also need to be constantly checking for dangerous items that your pets could chew that would lead to an electrical fire. We probably all remember the memorable scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when the cat that Aunt Bethany had accidently wrapped for a christmas present chewed on the cord of the christmas tree, resulting a the tree and unfortunate feline going up in smoke.  

Whether it’s Christmas Sunday, or just a regular Saturday, make sure that your pets are staying away from appliance and personal device cords. Never leave cords plugged into their sockets while not in use, and try to contain cords by using zip ties or rubber bands to keep all of your cord in a solid buch. A thick tube of cords will be much less appealing to a curious cat or roaming dogs than a single cord will be.

If You’re Home During a Fire

Test your smoke alarms regularly to ensure that they work properly. You can gain valuable time to help your pets escape if you’re alerted as soon as a fire begins. The priority is to get yourself and any other people out of the home safely. If you can reach your pet without putting yourself or someone else in danger, you can grab him and get out the door. If you’ve made it out safely but weren’t able to bring Fido out with you, you might be devastated thinking about your pet being trapped inside. Even so, resist the urge to go back into a burning building. Call 911 as soon as possible, and tell the fire safety workers that your pet is still inside.

Are Laser Pointers Safe Toys for Dogs

There are plenty of YouTube videos showing cats or dogs incessantly tracking the red dot from a laser pointer. You might think that this is a hilarious and ingenious way to entertain your canine and compel it to play. You get to sit back and relax while your dog gets out all of its energy. But are these would-be toys truly safe for your canine companions to play with? At PetPlace, we value the safety and health of your dog just as much as you do. Today we’ll be explaining why you should forgo your laser pointer in favor of a more pet-friendly toy.

The Importance of Play for Dogs

As a pet owner, you often hear how important it is to exercise your dog. However, play is just as important. Play sessions allow dogs to interact socially, relieve stress, and learn. Healthy Pets explains that walks are just as important for mental stimulation as they are for exercise.

When dogs go for walks, they tirelessly explore their environment. And as they pick up fresh scents, their brains work continuously to process this barrage of new and exciting information. Dogs must also keep track of many things at once during walks. After all, they’re simultaneously picking up on your commands, monitoring your body language and looking out for new threats or things of interest. Play is similarly stimulating for dogs.

Bristol University study found that dogs that don’t get enough play time can become aggressive, anxious, or distracted. About half of the dog owners in the study said that they play with their dogs two or three times a day.  Ten percent of owners played with their dog only once a day, and ninety-four percent of owners reported that their dogs had behavioral issues. Put simply, when your dog wants to burn through some energy by playing, it’s almost always a good idea to accommodate them.

How Do You Know When a Dog Wants to Play?

Dogs have a few signals to let their owners know that they want to play. When dogs bow down, resting their front elbows on the floor and extending their tail in the air, they’re telling you that they want to move around and play. Their facial expressions will also let you know when they’re interested in playing. An open mouth and ears that are standing at attention are telltale signs that your dog is ready for fun. Furthermore, your dog may bark, whine at your feet, or bring you a favorite toy when it wants to play.

Can Dogs Play With Laser Pointers?

It’s no secret that dogs enjoy playing with lasers. Dogs instinctively feel the need to chase things that run from them. This behavior comes from their drive to hunt prey. However, many experts believe that stimulating your dog’s prey drive when it won’t lead to a tangible resolution (catching their prey or watching it escape) is a mistake. Specifically, the American Kennel Club states that it’s frustrating for dogs to chase laser beams that they will never catch. Their hunter instincts may not dissipate after their laser play session is over, leading to behavioral problems.

When the laser disappears, dogs can become confused. They may develop obsessive behaviors. Have you ever seen a dog frantically search for a laser beam that has been suddenly turned off? This is a sign of anxiety. According to Fox News, even handlers that train dogs to sniff bombs and drugs say that the dogs get crazed if they never find the target objects. These dogs must be taken on mock missions to satisfy their urge to hunt. Consequently, when you’re looking for items to entertain your dog, we encourage you to stick with conventional dog toys.


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How Can You Play With Your Dog When You’re Tired?

It’s not always possible to play with your dog more than three times a day. Sometimes, you just might not feel like running around. Luckily, there are quite a few pet-friendly tricks and tools you can use to play with your dog when you’re tired. A flirt pole is often recommended by dog experts as a safe toy for dogs. It looks just like a fishing pole with a toy dangling off a string at one end.  You can drag the toy around, initiating a game of chase for your dog. Best of all, when your dog catches the toy, the game transforms into a tug-of-war contest.

National Lost Pet Prevention Month

One of the scariest experiences you can have as a pet parent is to lose your animal. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, looked into how many pets get lost every year. The organization found that 15 percent of pet guardians had lost a dog or cat in the previous five years. While about 93 percent of dogs that had gone astray were found, only 75 percent of missing cats made it back to their families. Instead of scrambling to find a pet that has disappeared, PetHub designated July as National Pet Prevention Month and PetPlace is more than happy to help owners prevent the nerve-wracking situation from happening in the first place.

Why Pets Get Lost

Pets can go missing for many reasons. They may escape from an enclosed backyard or inadvertently get let out by your kids during a playdate. They might break away from the leash while you’re on vacation or jump out of the car when you stop at a gas station. Or, some pets can panic when they hear the fireworks and thunderstorms that are common during the month of July.

A dog that gets off the leash or wanders to the other side of the park while you’re playing fetch may get picked up by a Good Samaritan. However, if your dog gets into a car with a well-meaning stranger, it can be harder for you to find him. Dogs that get lost may also roam around, unable to find their way home. This is especially a concern if your dog is frightened. Wandering dogs may get in accidents or be attacked by another animal, making it physically impossible for them to return to you.

The most common lost cat scenario involves the cat getting trapped somewhere. When cats don’t feel well, they tend to seclude themselves. This can make it tough for you to find your cat even if she hasn’t left the neighborhood. If your kitty found a safe place to hide in someone else’s car, she might accidentally get transported far away from home.

Unfortunately, some pets get kidnapped. Dogs that are kept outside may get lured out of your yard with treats. If you tied your dog outside the coffee shop while you ran in for your morning Joe, a petnapper might just walk by and take her. Savvy pet snatchers may remove your pet’s identifiers, such as ID tags and microchips, making it even more challenging for you to reunite with your animal.

Lost Pet Prevention

The best way to help a lost pet is to prevent the animal from going missing in the first place. Placing ID tags on a well-fitting collar is a great place to start. The collar should fit snugly enough that the animal can’t slip it off. You should be able to fit one or two fingers underneath the collar to ensure that it’s not too tight. Check the hardware on the collar regularly. Worn buckles or tags won’t help you if they don’t stay on your pet.

Microchipping is also an effective way to keep tabs on your furry friend. These tiny devices are implanted using a needle and typically remain inside the pet for life. Most people know that they can bring a found animal to a veterinarian, shelter, or rescue organization to scan the pet for a microchip. When your pet’s microchip is scanned, it will match up with your contact information in a database. If you do have your animal microchipped, make sure to keep your data updated. About half of pet owners don’t submit contact information or keep it accurate in the microchip database, rendering the device useless.

Keeping your animal indoors is one of the best ways to prevent losing your pet. Cats can easily jump a 6-foot fence. Dogs may not be so agile, but they may try to make their own escape routes. If you can keep your eye on your pet while it’s outdoors, you can prevent a lost animal or pet-snatching scenario. Many people with indoor pets neglect to put collars and ID tags on them. This is a mistake. If your indoor animal does run out the front door, it might be mistaken for a stray.


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Lost and Found: Using Social Media to Find Lost Pets

Social media is turning into a part of our daily lives. While most people have at least one account that they check daily, more and more people have several. They also have a smart phone which allows them to always keep their social media close. For this reason, many people have started using social media to find lost pets, often with great results. From posting pictures on Twitter and Instagram to asking for help from neighbors on Facebook groups, it’s easy to get the word out and have others help you spread it.

But don’t count on one post on social media bringing your buddy home. It’s an extra tool to find him, but there are some best practices to follow. Here are some things to think about when you are searching for your pets by using social media.

Using Social Media to Find Lost Pets

Make sure that you include the right information about your pet. Not only do you want to include your pet’s name, breed, and sex, you should also include things that differentiate your pet from others. If he is wearing a collar with information, don’t forget to mention that.

If your pet is shy, scared, fearful, may bite, or even run if found, make sure that you include that information. You don’t want people to get hurt trying to help you. The same is true if your dog will run because he is scared. You don’t want your dog to run even farther away. Give people details on ways to catch him . If they will come for food, mention that!

Don’t forget to include your phone number so that, if found, they can contact you. If you don’t put your contact information down, it won’t matter if your pet is found because no one will be able to get him back to you. A picture really is worth a thousand words. A picture will really help others find your pet, as well as catch the attention of people online. Most people scroll through text but they seem to stop at pictures.

Not only should you post it on your profile, you should also put it on specific lost and found groups. If there are any groups specific to your location (and surrounding ones), you should also post there. The more places that you post it, the more likely that someone online will find your pet.

Don’t forget to post on popular animal profiles, such as local veterinarians and rescue shelters. The more places that you put it, the more people who will see it, especially animal ones which are filled with animal lovers. If you can get a whole group of people dedicated to looking for your dog, you will have greater success at finding him.

Make your post public so that others can share the post, so even more people can see it! Ask friends to share it, making it more likely that you will find your dog.

Just remember that even though you put it online, you will still need to look. You should create flyers using the same information and post them around your town. Call local veterinarians and rescue groups to see if anyone found your dog.

Remember to watch what contact information you put online. While putting information out on social media makes it more likely you can reach more people and recover your dog quickly, the world is a dangerous place. Control what information you put out during your search, using a core contact piece like your phone number or email instead of giving out your address.

Don’t forget that dogs can travel several miles in a day, especially if they are scared, so make sure that you also focus on groups in surrounding areas too. Lost and scared dogs can be found miles and miles from home so you shouldn’t just focus on your direct area. Bigger dogs can travel even farther so make your reach as big as possible.

Think about creating a local group of animal lovers who are there for each other. You can make the rules whatever you want, though you should fill it with people who are dedicated to caring for their pets, as well as helping others find lost pets.

It can be devastating when you lose a dog. However, by using social media, you can reach a large amount of people, making it more likely that you will find him (and fast). Just make sure that you include all of the pertinent information (as well as your contact information) and make it public so others can share it. However, just because you are using social media, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to look yourself. You should still call around to local veterinarians and rescue shelters to try to find your dog.

What Are the Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet?

When you get a new pet, you’re faced with a lot of decisions, and one of the most important choices you must make is whether to spay or neuter. Many people feel the decision to spay or neuter is a no-brainer, but nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of any surgery. Considering the benefits of spaying and neutering can help you determine what choice to make.

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem and when people let their pets have offspring when there is no one to take care of them, the babies become strays or end up in shelters. If nobody adopts them, they are eventually euthanized. Finding homes for puppies and kittens is not as easy as you may think.

About every eight seconds, a cat or dog is euthanized in a U.S. animal shelter, according to The Humane Society of the United States. While some may be euthanized due to illness or injury, most are victims of human failure to provide them with the care they deserve. Despite the best efforts of shelters everywhere, there are still too many pets and not enough loving, responsible homes. The cost of pet overpopulation is staggering, with over $1 billion per year going to community animal control services and care for homeless animals.

Spaying and neutering do more than prevent your pet from having offspring. These procedures also keep your pet healthy.

Spaying

Spaying removes the risk of pregnancy. Pet overpopulation is a serious problem and by allowing your cat to have litters, you are adding to the problem. Finding homes for your new family additions is not always easy, and even if you choose to keep the kittens, you will have the additional cost of vaccines, parasite control, toys, and food — for several animals. In addition to costs, the health of the mother can be in jeopardy during delivery. Some new mothers can have serious complications delivering kittens and can even develop health problems during nursing. All these potential problems can be avoided by spaying your cat.

Spaying also makes for a calmer cat. Without the drive to mate, your cat may be quieter and won’t be prone to cat calls and the incessant need to seek out a mate. A spayed cat no longer attracts males and their annoying advances and serenades. Spayed cats are also easier to get along with. They tend to be more gentle and affectionate.

However, spaying means sterilization. Spaying will result in the sterilization of your cat, and she will no longer have the ability to become pregnant. If you wish to breed your cat, spaying should not be done.

Neutering

Neutering is a procedure used to “de-sex” an animal. This procedure has been used to control animal population growth, reduce unwanted sexual behavior in dogs, and decrease or eliminate the possibility of certain disease conditions later in life, such as pyometra or infection in the uterus.

Neutering is done most commonly at or around six months of age. However, many veterinarians perform this procedure earlier — as early as 8 to 10 weeks in some situations. Early neutering can be done safely and has a number of advantages, especially in cases of pet adoption.

Neutering can result in a calmer, and sometimes cleaner, home. Without the drive to mate, your dog may be quieter and not prone to an incessant need to seek out a mate. The neutered dog no longer feels the need to seek out and serenade females. He no longer has the stress of needing to mark his territory and urinate throughout the house and yard. Neutered pets are also easier to get along with. They tend to more gentle and affectionate. Neutered males tend to roam less and typically are not involved in as many fights with other animals.

Don’t Fear a Simple Surgery

Last year, about 17 million dogs and cats were turned over to animal shelters. Only one out of every 10 taken in to the shelters found a home. This means that over 13.5 million had to be euthanized. The tragedy is that this is unnecessary. Much of the problem could be eliminated by simple surgery. Spaying and neutering operations are performed under general anesthesia and are quite painless. By neutering pets, owners can help lower the numbers of unwanted and homeless animals.

Surgery is a part of nearly every dog’s life. Many pets will only go under the knife once in their lives to be spayed or neutered. Other pets may have various planned surgical procedures such as lump removals, biopsies, mass removals, or exploratory surgeries. Then there are those potential emergency surgeries to suture lacerations, remove an intestinal obstruction, or take care of bladder stones.

Fancy Chow and Other Healthy Pet Food Trends

Does your pet like luxury? Keeping up with pet food trends is a great way to make sure your pet is given the very best while also being the hippest pet in town.

Once upon a time, making your pet a plate that matched your own was one of the top pet food trends, but the days of filling your pet’s bowl with table scraps are in the past. Now pet owners are looking for ways to feed their pets the best food possible in order to give them a naturally healthy meal.

Pets are a part of our families, and without them our lives just wouldn’t be the same. That’s why it’s no surprise that pet food trends are leaning towards providing the healthiest options for our pets. Much like how our own food trends have started moving towards more organic and clean choices, pet foods have too. If you love them like family, and you treat them like family, why would you feed them any differently?

These healthy pet food trends have taken the market by storm, and healthy and organic pet food prices can make a significant dent in your budget. However most pet owners don’t seem to mind, and are actually willing to cut things like Netflix in order to provide better food for their pets.

The “New” Pet Food

Pet food companies have acknowledged healthy pet food trends by marketing their products as organic, clean, and free of bad stuff like chemicals. These companies are taking notice of the fact that we’re shopping for pet food in the same way we do our own groceries. In a sense, pet food trends have led pet food to become “humanized,” because the labeling is becoming more and more similar to those that draw us in to the products that we buy for ourselves.

You may have noticed that pet foods are starting to feature different ingredients than the generic proteins, vegetables, and grains we’re used to seeing. Now pet foods are calling out featured ingredients like bison or salmon to really draw in buyers. These exotic ingredients are appealing to pet owners looking for something unique to give to their pets for a meal.

Part of the healthy pet food trends is that pet owners are no longer just grabbing a bag of dog food and moving on; they’re treating pet food like human food by taking the time to read labels and understand what they’re feeding their pets. Ingredients that are non-GMO, high in protein, and certified organic are what people are actually looking for, and pet foods that don’t have them are seeing their sales fall. That’s why there’s a rise in the marketing of pet foods that are boasting how their formulas include the vitamins and minerals your pet needs along with all the organic ingredients you’re looking for.

 

Healthy Pet Food Trends are Leading to Better Treats

The healthy and organic pet food trend is not just affecting food, but treats as well. Just like owners want to give their pets natural meals, they want to reward them with organic treats, too. Premium treats like these are seeing a rise in sales thanks to the addition of natural and healthy ingredients, and also because brands are taking out artificial ingredients and flavors that are turning consumers away.

Natural and organic pet food trends are actually impacting sales enough that brands are rethinking the way they’re creating their products and taking out artificial ingredients to make way for those that are natural and a little more expensive.

On the other side of pet food trends, owners are also trying raw food diets for their pets. Rather than leaning towards feeding them foods more similar to what we eat, the raw food diet typically consists of raw meat like chicken that’s completely uncooked. Even the bones are left in!

This diet isn’t necessarily a new trend, but it’s picking up speed due to the trend of feeding pets natural meals. Although a little more extreme, the raw food diet brings pets back to what their ancestors ate, and still gives them all the nutrients that they need to stay as healthy as possible. The raw food diet doesn’t mean you’ll have to head to the meat department of the supermarket, because there are brands that make their food with raw ingredients.

Fruits and vegetables are also a part of the raw food diet, depending on whether you want your pet’s food to be “prey” focused or not. People who feed their pets this diet believe that raw food is the best and most direct way for pets to receive the nutrients they need.

Are Your Pets Ready for Flea and Tick Season?

As the weather warms up and we start to venture back outside, the annual outdoor dangers for your pets return. Flea and tick season can be a treacherous time for your pet, but if you’re prepared, you won’t have to worry about any threats.

Ticks and fleas are annoying pests that pet owners have to deal with. Fortunately, there are products to prevent or treat ticks and fleas.

The best way to choose the correct medication for ticks and fleas is to get the advice of your veterinarian. Your pet’s risk of disease is based on your pets lifestyle, the region in which you live, and your pets’ overall health. These factors will influence your veterinarian’s prescription for tick and flea medication.

The very best and safest products on the market to treat or prevent ticks and fleas are prescription products that are only available from your veterinarian or by prescription from your veterinarian.

Types of commercial products available for flea control include flea collars, shampoos, sprays, powders, and dips. Other, newer, products include oral and systemic spot on insecticides.

In the past, topical insecticide sprays, powders, and dips were the most popular. However, the effect was often temporary. Battling infestations requires attacking areas where the eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults all congregate. Because some stages of a flea’s life can persist for months, chemicals with residual action are needed and should be repeated periodically. Sprays or foggers, which required leaving the house for several hours, have been used twice in 2-week intervals and then every two months during the flea season.

Treating animals and their living areas thoroughly and at the same time is vital; otherwise some fleas will survive and re-infect your pet. You may even need to treat your yard or kennel with an insecticide, if the infestation is severe enough.

Ticks

Ticks are irritating arthropods that prey on our pets. Their goal in life is to find a warm-blooded creature so that they can feed. Veterinarians and pet owners have been battling these tiny parasites for decades and the war continues.

Control and prevention of ticks is extremely important in reducing the risk of disease associated with ticks. This includes removing the ticks as soon as possible and trying to prevent attachment.

Tick avoidance requires avoiding environments that harbor them. Extra care should be taken in the woods and areas with tall grass or low brushes. When traveling, be aware that certain areas of the country have a much higher incidence of ticks (i.e. the northeast). In addition, since they can be carried unknowingly from one place to another on clothing or the body, it is always possible for an individual or animal to come into contact with a tick.

Ticks may be killed by spraying, dipping, bathing, powdering, or applying topical medications to affected individuals with appropriate tick-killing products. Tick collars or products applied topically may act to prevent attachment of new ticks and to promote detachment of ticks already attached.

There are many products on the market that control ticks. Some are over the counter; others are prescription, only available through your veterinarian. Whether one purchases an over the counter or prescription product, it is a good idea to consult your veterinarian first.

Why Preparing for Flea and Tick Season is So Important

If you have a dog or a cat, you are probably familiar with fleas. And you’re probably familiar with the many commercials and advertisements that encourage you to purchase products to get rid of fleas or prevent them from feeding on your pet. We place a lot of importance in preventing fleas in our pets because fleas are more than just blood-sucking insects; fleas are responsible for causing and transmitting diseases in cats.

Flea allergy dermatitis is a common ailment associated with flea bites. Though each bite from a flea can cause minor skin irritation, some animals can develop an allergy to the saliva of the flea. What this means is that just one flea bite can result in significant irritation, itchiness and aggravation. Flea allergy dermatitis is an itchy illness and animals will commonly scratch, resulting in hair loss. Typically, the hair at the base of the tail is usually affected, but small scabs and redness can occur all over the body. The primary treatment of flea allergy dermatitis is to remove the existing fleas and prevent future flea bites.

Do You Crave a Human-Animal Bond?

Having a human-animal bond with a pet is a special experience. Just seeing your pet’s reaction when you come home is enough to make you fall in love with your pet all over again. How do these bonds form, and if you’re not there yet with your pet, how do you get there?

There are two types of new pet owners: those about to embark on pet ownership for the first time and those with previous experience. The bond that forms between a new owner and a pet may develop rapidly or take months or years to mature.

A couple of weeks after the acquisition of a new pet, most families would choose to keep their new charge despite veterinary predictions of trouble and expense down the road. As time goes by, the bond usually strengthens between the growing pet and its human family members as the youngster assumes a significant role in its human family. Affections develop for the pet’s cuteness both because of the way he or she looks and the way he or she behaves. Nature has designed us to fall for this old trick. But later, experiences shared, both happy and heart rending, anneal the budding bond to shatterproof strength.

This is the human-animal bond between an owner and their pet. It starts at the beginning with the acquisition of a new pet and, unless it falls foul of some unforeseen circumstances, will flourish and blossom into old age, till death. Sometimes strong bonds of this nature develop between one person and one pet. Other times they involve a whole family.

Have you ever noticed the love affair that some dogs and their owners have? Not a clingy, neurotic, unhealthy dependency, but rather a bond in which dogs are oblivious to everyone and everything but their owners. They’re the dogs and owners who only have eyes for each other, the pooches who think their owners hang the moon. Do you wish your dog swooned over you instead of dashing off to chase bugs or eat poop?

What separates the swooners from their unruly counterparts is a strong human-animal bond built on a foundation of mutual love and respect. Everything about dog training and human-canine interactions comes down to the relationship you have with your dog. Bonding takes time and work. A strong bond doesn’t necessarily develop overnight. Falling in love with your dog at first sight is pretty common, but loving a dog isn’t the same thing as sharing a connection. Think of it this way: you may love your in-laws or siblings, but you’re bonded with your best friend. You spend time together laughing, goofing off, sharing your deepest feelings, and a million other things. You relish and look forward to being together because you enjoy your relationship.

Can a Human-Animal Bond Happen With Cats?

People tend to misunderstand cats. Perceived as the polar opposite to the warmth and affection exuded by dogs, they’re often pegged as aloof and unloving. Cats are labeled solitary and selfish, only desiring to seek their human owners’ presence when they need something.

While it’s true that our feline friends tend to possess an independent streak — and that their personalities can vary considerably — many cats, in fact, demonstrate a remarkable propensity to bond and be affectionate with people. They’ll climb into your lap when you least expect it, purring lovingly along the way.

That the human-cat bonding experience can be complex is hard to refute. Bonding with feral cats with limited previous human contact proves difficult, as these felines struggle to award trust. And even human-raised cats don’t necessarily bond equally with every person within their home. But with a balanced approach of effort and patience, you can establish a bond with your cat that’s based on mutual respect and, possibly, even love.

Imprinting, an elemental form of bonding, occurs most readily during a sensitive period of development. If the time and circumstances of an initial introduction of animals is appropriately staged, it is quite literally possible to have a lion lie down with a lamb. With this in mind, it’s almost child’s play to have a cat bond with a cat — subsequently learning to be accepting of cats in general. All you have to do is arrange for benign introductions to occur during the sensitive period of development. The sensitive period for such learning to occur in cats is between 2–7 weeks of age. During this time period, owners can engineer all kinds of useful friendships between animals of the same or different species.

What to Do When Your Dog Runs Away

If your dog runs away, often the first instinct is to panic. Why would your dog leave you? However, in situations like these, knowing what to do when your dog runs away is imperative to getting him home quickly and safely.

When 24 hours goes by and you haven’t found him or he hasn’t returned home, it’s time to take some more action. Dogs run away for a number of reasons. If your dog was significantly frightened when he disappeared, he could have left in order to flee what he felt was some sort of danger.

Male dogs who are not neutered will also leave their homes if they catch a scent of estrogen on the wind. Your dog might also run away due to strong feelings of boredom or loneliness.

The best thing you can do when you’re figuring out what to do when your dog runs away is to first think about your dog’s personality and all the reasons he could have to want to run away. The size of your dog will help you determine your search range, because larger dogs can travel much further. A big dog can go up to five miles in a day, whereas smaller dogs might only make it up to a half mile. This is important to note because you don’t want to be searching three miles out when your dog could be further or closer than you expected.

Knowing how your dog acts around others is another key way to know what to do when your dog runs away. If your dog has a friendly personality and loves people, there’s a chance that someone could have taken him in. He would be attracted to new people who are out and about or in their yards, so the chances that someone would have seen him will increase.

Big open spaces like public parks are also a good place to look for an outgoing, friendly dog. He’ll be looking for someone to take care of him and give him food, and he also might be inclined to go up to other dogs. When you’re searching, check areas like these first to see if you can find him.

Older dogs or dogs with shy personalities aren’t going to be looking for people, they’re going to hide. Check bushes, dense shrubbery, or under cars to see if your dog has found a place to hide out.

Knowing What to Do When Your Dog Runs Away

Once you’ve figured out your search parameters, start looking. If your dog has a collar with an identification tag or a microchip, it will be easier to find where your dog has gone. Make sure you check the pound or the local shelter to see if anyone has dropped off your dog, or to notify the staff so they know what kind of dog to watch for. People will also take found dogs to other places like kennels, veterinarians, and even pet stores. If you’re not able to find your dog outside, don’t forget to check places like these to see if your dog has been located.

Think about what’s around you, and check areas that your pet might be drawn to. You can also use social media to get the word out so people can be aware that your dog is missing. Social media is a great way to get a giant search party together without really organizing anything. The people who share your message are spreading the news that your dog is missing further and further, so the chances that someone sees and recognizes your dog can only increase.

Putting signs up is the classic way of spreading the word, but don’t use signs that people aren’t going to be able to see. Make your signs bright and colorful, include a recent picture of your dog, and add the word “reward” in large, attention-grabbing letters so people understand that there is an incentive as well as how important your dog is to you. Post the signs in busy areas where more people will see them, and make sure to include a good phone number that’s visible for people to call.

You can also make versions of the sign to give to shelters, rescue organizations, pet stores, and anywhere else that is involved with dogs or has people who are willing to help.

Keep looking, and don’t give up hope. The more you do to spread the word, the higher your chances become that your dog will come home.

Pet Friendly Airports Are Taking Comfort to a New Level

Pet friendly airports are a breath of fresh air for travelers who bring their pets along for the ride.

Flying with your pet can be stressful and confusing, especially if it’s your first time doing so, or you’re flying on an airline whose pet policies you’re not familiar with.

You typically need to be at the airport hours before your flight, but your pet will need to be there even earlier. The level of difficulty can lead to people leaving their pets at home or at the kennel rather than bringing them along to enjoy the trip.

Adding to the level of stress are all the things you don’t know, like where your pet is while you wait to board, what your pet’s situation is like during the flight, and if the people in charge of your pet are actually following proper pet care instructions. The truth is, pets are often just moved from one area to the next, and if they need something (food, medication, etc.) at a specific time, they may not get it. The tales of dogs arriving from long flights malnourished and frightened can make flying quite unappealing.

Pet Friendly Airports to the Rescue

The horror stories of lost and neglected pets are enough to make many pet owners say, “no way” to flying with their pets. Some airports, however, are changing the game when it comes to pets earning their wings. For example, the John F. Kennedy International Airport is taking pets from cargo to first class with their new luxurious pet lounge.

The ARK at JFK is specifically designed for pets, and is worlds above any pet relief area that you may find in another airport. It features the ARK Pet Oasis, which is where your pets can relax and get proper care as you (and they) wait to board the plane. If you have a long layover, this is definitely the place for your pet to be. The ARK is open 24/7, so it won’t matter what time your flight is, your pet will have somewhere to go.

The ARK also includes kennels with plenty of space to give your pets a place to be if they’re looking at a longer stay. There’s even a small yard to give your pets a place to relieve themselves in an environment that’s safe and comfortable.

Is your pet in need of some medical attention? The lounge has a veterinary area, as well as a vet technician on staff. No matter what your pets are in need of during their stay, the ARK has just about everything your pet could desire, including a room fully stocked with food.

Pet Friendly Airports Are For More Than Just Dogs and Cats

Traveling with pets isn’t just for cats and dogs, people also travel with horses, birds, and more. The ARK is designed to accommodate all of them. Horses get their own stainless steel stall complete with a fresh bed of wood chips, a rubber mat, and a soothing playlist of opera music. Horse owners can also request specific items — blankets, oats, etc. — when they check in.

Birds can also find their own little haven at the ARK. While their area isn’t as luxurious due to the potential spreading of diseases, they have access to a concrete pool and a room with quarantine features. The USDA also uses this area to examine water animals to make sure they’re in good enough health to enter the country.

The ARK is also equipped to hold livestock and even zoo animals. However, each have their own special areas, and exotic animals will stay within their pens during their stays.

The ARK truly sets JFK a step above any other pet friendly airport in the country. It also features a fancy hotel just for pets called Paradise 4 Paws. Each guest will receive their own suite complete with a television to FaceTime with owners, a tuck-in service at night, and, of course, a little art to dress up the room. You can even request anything else your pet might need while they stay at the resort and it will be taken care of. From extra feedings to a walk around the complex, your pets will be treated like the kings and queens that they are.

From big to small, the ARK at JFK is designed to give every animal equal treatment before they board their flight, where unfortunately the special treatment stops. No matter where you fly with your pet, they’re still going to have to travel in the cargo hold, but that doesn’t stop you from giving them a little pampering before or after the flight.