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A new feline friend is joining the family? Oh, it’s a senior cat? That’s great news, I believe it’s time for some good house adjustments. Senior cats are just like old people, they have thorough wisdom but they also grow on love! Many people believe that it’s easier for adult cats to adapt than kittens but the truth is completely the opposite! Kittens can easily get used to any safe place with food and warmth. On the other hand, a new house means a new planet for a senior cat and that’s probably the most challenging aspect of taking a senior cat in. Don’t feel down my friend, raising a senior cat comes with a lot of advantages like calmness and less training. You have to keep a safe loving environment for your pet and Pet Barn has to provide amazing tips so, shall we start?

  1. Start With a Tour around the House

With age, cats struggle with vision and cognitive problems but that doesn’t mean they lose their exploration instinct, especially in a new house. You basically need to act like a cat! Look for small slots where a cat might get stuck and make sure to secure the windows as well. Another important thing is securing cables and wires as cats find them tempting to chew and might end up with an electronic shock.

If I’m old, it doesn’t mean I can’t climb the medication counter and have a taste! Sadly, many cats die from human medication poisoning, make sure medications are locked and out of reach.

Don’t forget to check if your garden plants are safe to eat because who knows? Your cat might consider taking a taste as well.

It’s important to take your time looking under the coaches and behind doors before taking your dear feline friend home!

  1. Supplies To Get

  • A comfy warm bed: As cats grow old, they become less energetic and willing to sleep up to 20 hours a day. It’s essential to pick a comfy spot for your beloved feline friend away from the noise and excessive light. Taking into consideration that senior cats’ favorite hoppy is stretching, prepare a 15 inches cave bed for extra protection.
  • Extra Litter boxes: Senior cats don’t have much control over their bladder and their mobility is harder than before therefore it’s important to keep more than one clean litter box to avoid unfortunate accidents.
  • Raised and angled food & water bowls: It’s important to keep your beloved cat full but placing the bowls on the floor can make eating neck-straining for older cats. Keeping food bowls high and angled can encourage cats to eat well.
  • Special grooming kit: Senior cats need more grooming as they lose more hair and have less ability to clean themselves. You need to choose soft grooming tools to avoid irritation. Also, keeping up a good grooming routine is essential to avoid skin infections.
  • Ultra-soft chews: One of the common health problems in senior cats is joint problems. Soft chewing capsules are essential to boost your cat’s joint health.
  • Toys: The parent-hood feeling is a part of cats’ nature, they love to protect smaller ones therefore, bringing cotton stuffed toys is essential to keep your cat feeling worthy and productive.
  • Strollers & Carriers: Your precious feline friend might not feel well all week long and that’s when you need to grab the carrier and head out to get some fresh air.
  • Dry shampoo: Cats are hygienic by nature but for seniors, it might become hard to stay clean so, keep a bottle of soft dry shampoo for the grumpy days.

  1. Pick Food Carefully

It’s important to choose a rich diet with easy-to-digest food. Senior cats need less fat and fewer calories in their diet. For dry food, choose one of 10% fat and 28% protein with 4% fat and 8% protein for wet food.

  1. Safety Cautions

  • Night lights around the house: Age doesn’t change the 3 AM cat rule of waking up and haunting toys! Because their vision isn’t as sharp as before, providing the messy areas with dimmed lights is essential.
  • Little stairs and ramps: Help your cat discover around freely and safely by making every part of the house accessible. Also, avoid placing litter and food boxes somewhere far from your cat’s bed.

  1. Be a 24/7 Vet

Cats might age more gracefully than dogs but they still age and that’s when our turn comes! Intestinal problems, diabetes, an overactive thyroid, and renal disease are common among senior cats. It’s essential to run checking tests before bringing your cat home. Also, understanding the symptoms and defining the red flags is a must to keep your cat healthy.

Over time, you will be able to create a stable medication schedule and gain expertise to know how to handle any medical emergency but keep an eye on digestive and mobility conditions.

As we age, we start appreciating forever company, compassion, and caring souls! Cats are no different, they realize that you are there for them making their grumpy years happy. It’s not easy to take a senior cat in but the greater the responsibility, the greater the love! Preparing your house for your new friend might seem like a lot of work but you can do it! Pet Barn would love to hear about your special reception ceremonies in the comments.

Cats are just the descendants of lions and tigers, though they have lost many carnivores’ skills, cats still believe in their powers and complete independence. Planting the seeds of obedience in a hunter can be challenging but never impossible! The secret to training any pet is by understanding how they think, cats don’t tend to follow orders just to please their owner but to get something in return like tasty treats. Pet Barn got all the tricks and methods to train your cat to come to you so, stay tuned!

What Is the Secret of Gaining a Cat’s Respect?

Some cats are predisposed to anxiety which makes it hard to build a communication portal so, before considering training your cat ensure its mental health is at its best. The first rule is to give your feline friend enough space to express what’s inside. Kittens learn faster than adult cats so, it’s preferable to start your short training sessions at a young age. Also, being supportive and organized is a guaranteed way to get closer to your cat.

Pets have great adapting abilities which means they can be trained. With patience and tricks of course!

Pre-Training Tips

Remember it’s all about positive reinforcement. Choose a specific reward your cat loves and we don’t recommend using everyday food as a reward. Instead, choose something special like a tuna-flavored treat. Treatsb are not the only optional rewards as playful cats respond better to toys. Once you feel you have enough time to keep up a training routine with a unique reward, you can move to the next step!

Pick a Special Call

The concept is simple, cats memorize the sound of the treat bag and food bowels by heart which means they can memorize frequently repeated sounds. “Hello, kitty, kitty” is what most people use. Also, your cat surely knows its name but the name alone is not enough, you need to add a special call to it like “treats” or “tuna”. On the first days of training, we recommend using a pitched voice when you call your cat.

Starting a Positive Connection between the Sound and the Result

Your precious feline might take time to make a lasting connection between the sound and the positive reinforcement so, don’t give up too soon! It’s important to associate the calling with something positive to encourage this habit. For example, if you call your cat to take a shower or go to the vet that would establish a negative connection making it harder for your cat to obey. Failure is just a part of the process, be nice and pet your cat even if it didn’t respond quickly to your calls.

Turn the Situation into a Habit

After establishing the positive connection and settling on a reward, you can begin the real training!

At the start, we recommend letting your cat see you holding the treats bag or a toy when you make the call from a few meters away to encourage her to come.

Once your cat comes to you, gently pet her and provide the reward but don’t be pushy, give your cat the time she needs to figure that the right thing to do is come when you call her name.

Increasing the distance and changing the training rooms is important to develop the habit. For example, if you let your cat associate the sound with the treat in the kitchen where food is, it would be hard to encourage a response in other places.

Timing Matters

If the reward you choose was treating, we recommend training your cat to answer your call right before food time when she is hungry the most. Also, remember that cats are stubborn and they get bored easily so training them all day won’t do you any good so, keep the training sessions short.

Give Treats Either Ways

A common mistake among pet owners is training cats as if they were dogs and that is basically a waste of time because if you were thinking about testing a cat’s dignity, hands down you’re losing! Even if your cat didn’t respond and gave a cold look despite you’re insisting, reward her either way to keep the positive vibe.

Punishment Is Not a Choice

If you were lucky enough to win a cat’s trust that doesn’t mean you can win it back easily! Cats might get insecure about the smallest things so, just imagine the outcomes of punishing your feline friend right after calling their name!

Cats are special creatures, they would never think they’re being punished for their bad behavior, instead, they would start thinking of escaping because they’re being mistreated! Poor cats!

I promise all your hard work will eventually payback! There’s no golden rule here, every cat has its own preferences and response to different training methods but the mutual thing is that punishment should never be your choice.

The Last Step Is To Stop Using the Reward

Once your cat starts to respond more often when you call her name, you can start by decreasing the treats until you eventually stop giving treats and start giving cuddles instead!

As a cat owner, you probably hate it when you come home and spend half an hour looking for your cat because she is simply not responding when you call her name! Remember that cats are creatures of habit and they learn fast but with love and patience! Pet Barn knows you have your own secret ways to train a cat and would love to hear about them all in the comments.

Wondering if dogs can get hiccups? The answer is yes, dogs and humans both hiccup for the same reasons but dogs’ hiccups are much cuter, to be honest! Hiccups are usually nothing to worry about as they usually disappear within a couple of minutes and can be treated easily in case they started bothering your dear fluffy friend. What if the hiccups didn’t disappear after an hour or were associated with other symptoms? Pet Barn is here to give you peace of mind with reliable information about dog hiccups, reasons, remedies, and when you need to visit the vet.

What Are the Causes of Dog Hiccups?

To understand hiccups we need to understand the anatomy in the respiration process of dogs. When your dog inhales, the diaphragm moves downward contracting to make space in the chest cavity to let the lungs expand. As your dog exhales, the diaphragm relaxes moving up the chest cavity.

The causative of hiccups is basically diaphragm spasms as they disturb the smooth inhaling process. There are many other hiccups simulators, let’s learn about them!

  1. Drinking & Eating Too Fast

It’s hard to convince your hunger buddy that the food is going nowhere! When your dog eats or drinks too quickly, it would swallow excessive air which simulates hiccups. The air inhaled while eating is different from breathing as it causes stomach distention which disturbed the diaphragm and leads to contractions.

  1. Too Hot & Too Cold Drinks and Food

Extremely hot or cold food can irritate the esophagus and its phrenic which also causes contractions leading to hiccups. Many pet owners believe warm food is better for their pets but the truth is completely the opposite as heating pet food leads to loss of many important nutrients.

  1. Stress & Joy

Dogs can easily get overwhelmed which leads to increased heart rates and cholesterol levels, this sudden increase often leads to irritating the diaphragm. Another thing is that dogs tend to take shorter and shallower breaths when they’re too excited or stressed meaning these adorable dogs use their chest instead of the diaphragm to inhale causing contractions thus hiccups.

  1. Stomach Gas

Dogs get rid of the excessive gas in the stomach through hiccups so Hooman, stop blaming me for the curry you had two hours ago! Hiccups in that case are pretty good for your dog.

  1. Spicy Food

Though some dogs prefer flavored treats, they’re still not good for their health. Spicy food causes stomach gas and disturbed diaphragm. On the other hand, spicy food leads to thirst which could encourage dogs to drink faster.

  1. Medications

One of the side effects of medications that cause acid reflux is hiccups, these medications include corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, and antibiotics.

Normal dog hiccups are caused by these factors and you can easily connect the dots to determine if there’s a need to worry. On the other hand, hiccups might indicate serious health issues like:

  1. Pneumonia: If the hiccups are associated with breathing issues like coughing, sneezing, and heavy breathing usually indicates pneumonia.
  2. Esophageal tumors: Hiccups accompanied by weight loss and swallowing difficulties should never be neglected as they could indicate underlying esophageal cancer.
  3. Heatstroke: Though hiccups are among the rare symptoms of heatstroke as long as they are not associated with nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.

Dog Hiccups Remedies

Hiccups would usually last for 10-15 minutes and up to an hour. Though hiccups are probably nothing to worry about you still can save your precious dog from dealing with this discomfort by following these steps;

  • Observation: You need to ensure that hiccups are not associated with other warning symptoms and define the causative.
  • Keep your dog calm: Dogs tend to get confused and breathe slower when dealing with hiccups. Try helping your dog lay down while giving belly rubs to reduce the anxiety.
  • Milk in case your dog had spicy food: Milk contains casein that can help reduce the irritation in the diaphragm.
  • Vinegar & Lemon: Sour food like lemon and vinegar can help rest the involuntary diaphragm movement. Dogs wouldn’t find vinegar appealing to drink so you can try mixing it with water instead.
  • Honey: Honey can soothe the vagus nerve thus, stopping the hiccups reflex. Also, you surely know that dogs have a sweet tooth and would calm down once they taste honey!
  • Drinking water: Water can’t necessarily stop the hiccups but it would calm down the raising temperature and bring back the needed steady breath rhythm that stops the hiccups.
  • Try New Food Bowls: Hiccups are normally caused by eating and drinking too fast and you can easily help your dog adapt to healthy feeding habits by switching to slow feeder bowls. Another benefit of using these bowls is weight control as they give your dog the needed amount of food.
  • Neck rubs: Rubbing the skin on the back of the neck doesn’t only calm your dog, it also stimulates the phrenic nerve which reduces the diaphragm contractions.

We can’t help but feel curious about every move our pets make, it’s just our way of understanding them! In case you were wondering why dogs hiccup out of curiosity or looking for ways to stop them, Pet Barn would love to hear about the methods you tried in the comments!

It could be hard to imagine your tail-wagging happy, energetic puppy sitting sadly and not moving around. Yet, it might happen when you move to a new city, when you get home a new baby, when somebody who lives in the house leaves forever, never to return. Why does it happen? Because just like humans, dogs can get the blues and become depressed. Poor are our furry friends! When they suffer, they cannot verbalize it and tell us about it. As a dog’s owner, you might start feeling worried that if your dog gets the blue, you will not notice it. No need to think that way. As it always does, Pet Barn will educate you more on the matter, and you, as a responsible dog’s owner, you will make sure to read carefully and learn about symptoms of depression in dogs.

10 Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

  1. Low activity level 

You have known your dog for a while and got a good understanding of his personality. If you notice that your dog is lazier these days, then the poor thing could be feeling depressed.

  1. Lost of interest in things he once enjoyed

How does your dog react when you are getting ready to take him for a walk? Energetic and delightful? How much does he enjoy playing “fetch”? How does he feel about you giving him a treat? Happy and ready for a cuddle? If your dog suddenly stops enjoying these things, take him to the vet for depression could be the reason for that all.

  1. Changes in Sleeping Habits 

Dogs do usually sleep long hours, especially when their owner is gone. However, you should watch your dog closely if you leave him for a long time and he continues sleeping when you come back, not showing any reaction to your presence.

  1. Change in diet 

Has your dog started eating less recently for no clear reason? Does he refuse the refreshing treats he used to enjoy? Watch out for that! Most dogs eat less when they are depressed. Nevertheless, some could start to eat more, so monitor both weight loss and weight gain closely.

  1. Paw Licking 

Human babies suck their thumbs to comfort themselves, and dogs lick their paws to soothe themselves when feeling depressed. Therefore, you need to pay attention when your dog starts excessively licking or chewing his paws. This is a sign that he has a physiological or psychological issue.

  1. Losing interaction with people and other dog friends 

Dogs love people, especially if they are from a breed known to be outgoing and friendly. Also, dogs enjoy spending time with other dogs, playing, and having fun. So, when your dog stops interacting with people or refuses to play with his doggy friends, he is probably telling you that he is not ok and depressed.

  1. Flattening the ears 

Usually, when your dog is relaxed, he holds his ears forward and slightly to the side. When he wants to show interest in something, his ears will typically be forward-facing and erect. When he moves his ears backward and flattens them, he is either submissive, anxious, afraid, or depressed.

  1. Avoidance and Hiding 

If you notice that you don’t see your dog for quite a long time during the day only to discover that he has been hiding in a closet, get ready to have him checked. When dogs feel like they want to be left alone, they might be suffering from depression.

  1. Aggression 

When your dog suddenly changes from a softie to a more aggressive creature, be careful. If he suddenly starts lunging at every person or animal during his regular walks, which used to be quiet and happy, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Some doctors think that sudden aggressive behavior in dogs is a sign of depression.

  1. Howling and Growling

Has your dog recently started giving your growls instead of kisses when you hand him a treat? Has he started howling more than usual for no apparent reason, such as an injury? Sorry to tell you that, but your dog might be feeling depressed. Take him to the vet to check and rule out any other possible reason.

Ways to Cheer Up Your Pup

If you have noticed that your dog exhibits some or all of the previous signs, the first thing that you should do is, of course, to consult with your vet. He will examine your dog, make sure that these are not signs of any other physical disorder, and tell you about the best ways to help your dog. Yet, there are simple steps that you can follow, and they all can help cheer up your furry friend. Here are some suggestions:

  • Get some sunshine

Dogs were originally wild animals. This is a fact that we sometimes forget. They love nature and the outdoors, so it is a good idea to take your dog on walks more often. If this succeeded at cheering him up, his depression might be linked to a lack of outdoor activities. Do it more often, and you are sure to get excellent results.

  • Make friends

Because some dogs could get the blues after losing a companion who used to live in the same house, bringing home a new dog friend is a good idea. However, you need to introduce the newcomer carefully and give your depressed dog all the time he needs to adjust.

  • Be Patient and give extra love.

Sometimes all your dog needs to heal is time! So be there for your dog, sit with him, show your support and care but always remember you will not see an overnight change. Just be patient.

Have you ever noticed any of these symptoms in your dog before? What did you do to cheer him up? Tell us in the comments.

A kid cuddling his pet is probably one of the most heart-melting scenes on earth. Too innocent, beautiful creatures that you care for are giving some extra love to each other. When one is sick, the other gets sad and tries his best to help the other. When one of them is happy, the other is over the moon. If you have kids and pets, you know that very well. You probably have great memories of your pet and children playing together, running around together, or resting together after a long day. These two seem just to get along very quickly, and their stories are endless. For those of you who have children but are still hesitant to get them a pet, let us tell you that pets can benefit your child in at least 10 ways. Pet Barn is going to introduce some of them to you in this blog.

10 Reasons You Should Get Your Child a Pet

  1. Having a pet decreases allergies 

Studies showed that children raised in a house with pets develop a better immune system and are less likely to get allergies as adults. Other studies show that pet-owner children are better at fighting off colds and flu, so they are less absent from school than kids who do not have pets.

  1. Having a pet teaches your child to be responsible. 

When you bring home a pet for your child, you teach him to be responsible because there are certain routines that your child will need to adhere to. For instance, if you get your kid a dog, he learns that he should take him for walks. If you get him a cat, he learns to give her the right foods at the right time, and so on.

  1. Having a pet helps your child learn. 

At schools, pets, particularly dogs, help kids who have some developmental challenge to learn. For example, if a kid feels shy reading aloud in front of his classmates, reading to his dog can be a good practice as he sees him as a non-judgmental pal.

  1. Having a pet provides comfort and companionship.

When kids come home feeling anxious, sad, or upset, they will run to their cat or dog before they run to you. There, they can have a cuddle and tell them all about it, knowing that their lovely pets are always ready to listen and that they would not utter any hurtful comments.

  1. Having a pet brings family members closer. 

While you are teaching your child how to take his dog for a walk, how to feed his cat, or how to groom his pet, you are building a stronger bond with him. You spend more quality time together, and you talk to each other more!

  1. Having a pet encourages physical activity 

How do most kids spend their time nowadays? They are either watching T.V programs, surfing the Internet, or playing video games. What do all these things have in common? They are sedentary activities! Having a pet could change that. Your kid will be more encouraged to run around and play with his pet, and thus, he will get all the exercise he needs to remain healthy for longer.

  1. Having a pet teaches your child to become empathic.

Because children who have pets learn at an early age to put their pet’s needs above their own, they become more empathic. Children are usually self-centered. However, pets communicate their needs in a straightforward way that is easy for kids to understand. This, in turn, helps them to think about the needs of someone other than themselves.

  1. Having a pet reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.

It has been repeatedly shown that children who have pets feel less lonely and socially isolated. Furthermore, having a pet reduces blood pressure, anxiety, and depression in all people regardless of age. This is why pets have been used to help children with autism. Pets allow these children to have a lower rate of cortisol and feel less anxious and worried.

  1. Having a pet teaches your child about the circle of life.

We all know that the saddest part of owning a pet is that they cannot stick as long as we wish them to. Pets have a short life expectancy compared to that of human beings. All parents indeed want to shield their kids from facing such heart-breaking goodbyes, but dealing with a pet’s death helps children cope with other challenges that life brings along the way.

  1. Having a pet is fun. 

This sounds like we are stating the obvious but having a pet always brings a lot of smiles to any household.

Before You Get Your Child a Pet

If you are now more convinced and ready to get your kid the pet he has always wanted, you should take a few steps before:

  1. You need to teach your children to put their things away so that your pet will not have access to them.
  2. Make sure that you can afford all the extra expenses related to bringing home a pet.
  3. Do not forget to have a discussion with all members living in the house about what pet to get and talk about expectations and responsibilities.

What kind of pet are you planning to get? Why? Can you think of any other reasons why you should get your kid a pet? We would love to see your answers in the comments!