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Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs – Lucifer and Willow – and their 2 cats – Pippen and...
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How Do I Train My Dog to Wear a Harness?

Enjoying a leisurely walk or adventurous hike with your dog is an incredible way to spend quality time together and strengthen your bond. However, a dog that pulls and lacks leash manners can quickly turn this fun experience upside down.While collars have long been the standard for walking, many veterinarians and trainers are now sharing the benefits of using a harness. They are generally safer and more comfortable for dogs of all ages.However, not every dog will instantly take to wearing a harness the first time they are introduced.In this guide, I will walk you through the steps of introducing a harness to your dog, building positive associations, and setting both you and your dog up for long-term success. From choosing the right harness to mastering the process of putting it on, you’ll be prepared to hit the pavement with your canine companion in style and comfort.What Are the Benefits of Using a Harness?Let's take a step back before I walk you through training your dog to wear a harness. Why should you consider using a harness for your dog? What benefits does it offer over a typical collar?The most significant difference between a collar and a harness, and the reason why most veterinarians and dog trainers recommend harnesses, is the risk of injury. When your dog wears a collar, all pressure is put directly on their throat. If your dog pulls or tries to take off after a temptation (like a squirrel or to play with another dog), the pressure on their throat can cause significant damage. In the most severe cases, the impact of the collar on your dog’s throat can cause a life-threatening injury.Harnesses, on the other hand (or the other paw), disperse the pressure across your dog’s chest. Not only is this a more extensive area, but it’s better suited for handling this pressure without injuries (assuming the harness is properly fit to your dog).Depending on the activities you plan to enjoy with your dog, a harness could introduce additional features. This could include harnesses and support to assist a senior dog with mobility, a cooling harness for hot summer days, a harness with built-in backpacks to carry their gear while hiking, seatbelt attachments for safe car travel, and more. What Age Should Your Dog Start Wearing a Harness?Eight weeks old is the earliest age you should put a harness onto a young puppy. At this age, puppies are generally very open to new skills and experiences, making it the perfect time to introduce something new. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t train your dog to wear a harness if you are considering making this change later in life. Many adults and even senior dogs learn to wear and love their harnesses with a bit of time and a little patience.How Long Does It Take a Dog to Get Used to a Harness? The time it will take for your dog to get used to a harness will vary from dog to dog. Some pups will accept the harness quickly, comfortably wearing it and running around confidently right away. However, this isn’t true for every dog.If your dog is older and set in their ways or nervous when faced with new experiences, working through these steps may take a lot longer. Be patient and focus on creating a positive association with the harness by introducing praise and rewards. Allow your dog to set the pace, moving from one step to the next only when they are ready. This is the best way to set them up for long-term success (the ultimate goal).How to Train Your Dog to Wear a Harness: Step-By-StepBefore you start training, take a moment to consider what motivates your dog. While most dogs can be motivated with high-value treats, you may find your dog is better inspired to try something new with the offer of playtime with a favorite toy or even with simple praise and attention from you, their person. Knowing this is the secret to training success!Step One – Choosing a HarnessThe first thing to consider is the style of harness best suited for your dog. There are several factors to consider when shopping for the right harness. This includes your dog’s size, the weight of the harness, the adjustability, the material, how easy it is to clean, and any special features the harness may offer.You may even need to consider different harnesses for different situations. For example, you may prefer a classic nylon harness for walks around the block with your pup. However, if you are planning a challenging hike, your dog may be better served by a stronger and more supportive adventure harness with a handle to assist with any obstacles along the way.Finding the correct harness is essential, as your training will focus on making that specific harness a positive trigger for your dog. For the training process to be effective, this harness should be used.Step Two – Introduce the HarnessIn the early stages of training, you’re not going to put the harness on your dog. Instead, you want to give them a chance to check it out and realize it’s not something to be afraid of.To begin, place the harness on the ground in the comfort of your own home. Allow your dog to sniff at it and look it over. As they interact with the harness, occasionally offer praise or a treat. This will start to introduce the idea that the harness brings good things.When you see that they give the harness no more interest than a rug or your shoes (assuming they don’t chew your shoes), you can move on to the next step.

Does My Cat Need a Litter Box When Travelling?

Traveling with your best furry friend by your side can be an exciting adventure. It’s a great opportunity to make lifelong memories while strengthening that special bond. However, some questions about their essential needs will naturally arise as you start planning…One of the biggest concerns for cat owners is whether or not to bring a litter box. It’s a valid question!This article will explore the pros and cons of traveling with a litter box. I’ll also discuss the different litter box types available and which may be best suited for different forms of travel, including road trips, camping, hotel stays, and more.Ensure a smooth journey for both you and your cat by checking out these tips and recommendations:Do Cats Need a Litter Box When Traveling?Whether or not your cat will need a litter box during your travels will depend on the style of travel you plan. Setting your cat up comfortably in your vehicle for a long road trip makes it much easier to provide access to a litter box during travel than flying with a cat.You must also consider the length of your travels, where you will stay overnight, and other factors related to your vacation plans. While your cat can take a flight safely without access to a box (assuming they have been given a chance to do their business before boarding the plane and after you have landed), the same can’t be said for an overnight stay at a pet-friendly hotel.Let’s break it all down a little further…How Do You Travel with a Cat Without a Litter Box?Some travel plans simply can’t accommodate the use of a litter box. The most common example of this is flying with a cat. However, litter boxes are also off the table when taking your cat on other forms of public transit, like a bus or train.If you know your cat will be without their litter box for an extended period, allow them to “do their business” right before your travels begin. Many airports have dog bathroom stations, where you could also go to let your cat relieve themselves. Alternatively, you may choose to let them have their last bathroom break before leaving your cat to enter the airport.One way to handle this is to bring a disposable litter box with a small amount of litter when you leave the house. Alternatively, if your cat is a frequent traveler, you may be able to train them to do their business on a puppy pee pad. This is easier to bring along in these situations and easier to dispose of when they are finished.It is also recommended to not feed your cat at least six hours before any travel where a litter box won’t be available. This allows any food in their system to hopefully pass, reducing the risk they will need to go and, in turn, preventing accidents. Although, I still recommend lining their carrier with a pee pad as an extra layer of protection.How Long Can Cats Go Without a Litter Box?Will your cat be without a litter box for a while during travel? Don’t fret! While you shouldn’t encourage your cat to “hold it” on a regular basis, cats have been known to go 24-48 hours safely without going to the bathroom. This is, of course, the extreme. However, it does mean that a 6-hour flight isn’t a significant concern.Of course, every cat is different. Some cats will be able to wait this time without a problem. Others, however, may need to go to the bathroom more frequently. This is especially important to note if you have a kitten, a senior cat, or a cat with a medical condition that could impact their bathroom needs.What is the Best Type of Litter Box for Your Cat-Friendly Travels?There are several different types of cat litter boxes to choose from, each with its own pros and cons. Let’s look at the options available and which may be the best choice for your next vacation (and why):Standard Plastic Litter BoxesIf you are traveling in an RV or travel trailer, you may be able to bring your cat’s usual litter box. Some common places to place a box include inside a floor-level cupboard, under a bench seat, or in the shower area when the shower isn’t in use.The biggest benefit of bringing your cat’s litter box from home is familiarity. Your cat knows that box, and it already has their scent. While the box's location is obviously going to change, having so many familiar elements may make it easier for your cat to adjust, reducing the risk of accidents.Cloth Travel Litter BoxesThese travel litter boxes are constructed from a durable material with a leak-proof lining, creating a lighter-weight solution for travel. I recommend choosing a cloth box with a lid. This allows you to seal off the box, keeping the litter (and odor) contained and allowing you to make a litter box accessible when needed without having to empty and refill it each time. Cloth boxes also usually have some form of carrying handle.The HiCaptain Portable Travel Litter Box is an excellent example of a standard cloth travel box. However, if your cat is used to a covered box at home, you may want to splurge on the Petsfit Upgrade Travel Portable Cat Litter Box.Nylon Travel Litter BoxA favorite of mine for travel due to how small it folds up, the OutdoorBengal Travel Litter Box for Cats is a portable and fully collapsible litter box option that folds up smaller than any other box on this list. We often use this box when backpacking or backcountry camping, where we are extremely limited on space for our gear.When your cat needs to use the box, snap the four corners together, and this flat piece of material transforms into a square box. It is constructed with a waterproof Oxford liner that can be easily wiped clean with a disinfectant wipe for quick and effective cleaning.

What Should I Do if My Rabbit Stops Eating?

Rabbits are adorable creatures but can also be hard to care for. Why? They are delicate and sensitive creatures that are also masters of hiding when something’s wrong. Often, by the time rabbit lovers recognize there’s a problem, it has already progressed into something much more severe.If you have recently noticed your beloved bunny isn’t munching on their usual hay or rabbit pellets or turning their nose up to their favorite treats, that’s a red flag!In this guide, I will explore some of the most common reasons a rabbit may stop eating, including potential health risks, causes of stress, and more. Plus, I’ll share steps to help your furry friend feel better quickly.What is a Healthy Rabbit Diet? Rabbits are strict herbivores, meaning their diet only consists of plant-based foods. But this doesn’t mean that all vegetables and plants are a healthy option. To provide your rabbit with the best possible quality of life, you should provide them with a balanced diet, including hay or grass, leafy greens, and a small amount of commercial rabbit pellets. Plenty of fresh hay is one of the most essential elements of a healthy rabbit diet. Like water, Timothy grass hay or oat grass hay should be available to your rabbit at all times. Remove and replace your rabbit’s hay if it has been sitting long enough that it no longer looks and smells fresh. But what about vegetables? After all, everyone knows that rabbits love carrots. Right? Many fruits and vegetables can be offered as a tasty treat for your rabbit, but they shouldn’t be a staple of their diet. Some safe snacks that can occasionally be offered to your rabbit include carrots, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, apples (without seeds), strawberries, bananas, and melons. How Will I Know If My Rabbit Isn’t Eating? Feeding a rabbit isn’t quite the same as feeding a dog. You aren’t going to fill a dish full of kibble or pellet, place it in front of them, and watch them empty the bowl. Instead, most rabbits enjoy nibbling at their hay slowly throughout the day. With this routine, how will you know if your rabbit isn’t eating? Will it be noticeable? Keep Track of the Food You’re OfferingPay attention to how much food you are giving your rabbit each day. How much of the food (hay and pellets) being placed in their cage or enclosure is being eaten? How much are you removing and replacing due to it sitting untouched? If you suspect trouble, you may want to limit the food offered, giving smaller amounts and checking or topping it up frequently throughout the day. This can make it easier to spot if anything is being consumed, allowing you to better understand the situation. Pay Attention When Cleaning When cleaning your rabbit’s cage, take a moment to assess how much waste you are removing. The amount of fecal matter being produced and the size/quality of this waste can provide insight into your rabbit's health.Your rabbit’s poop should be small, brown balls that are somewhat dry due to the large amount of hay. Any change in that texture is a sign of trouble, including sticky, rock-hard, watery, soft, or smaller waste. If your rabbit has stopped eating, it will eventually stop going to the bathroom entirely. Other Warning Signs The loss of nutrition that occurs when a rabbit stops eating can lead to other changes. These warning signs include weight loss, teeth grinding, or decreased activity. How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Eating? Rabbits have very elaborate and complex digestive systems that need consistent and regular food to avoid uncomfortable, painful, or even life-threatening illnesses. While some rabbits can, in extreme situations, go without food for a couple of days, the risk of illness increases drastically after just 12 hours. Considering this timeframe, you should contact your veterinarian immediately if your rabbit hasn’t eaten anything in more than eight hours.  

Why Do Dogs Burrow in Their Blankets?

Have you ever watched your dog bury themselves beneath a mountain of blankets, only to peek their head out with a look of pure joy and bliss? It’s a behavior that’s incredibly common. Yet it leaves so many dog parents confused – especially when your dog chooses to disappear into the blankets in the middle of the summer heat!Why are dogs so drawn to burrowing under their blankets? Is this a quirky habit, or is there a deeper reason for this cozy behavior?Let’s take a look at the fascinating world of canine behavior. We’ll talk about the instincts that encourage your dog to dig into their bedding to create that perfect “nest” and other interesting behaviors related to puppy bedtime.Why Do Dogs Love to Burrow?Like many dog habits, burrowing can be traced back to their evolutionary roots and the survival instincts of their wild ancestors. In the wild, dogs burrow in the ground to create a safe space to rest or raise their young. We still see these dens being used by foxes and wolves. Dens not only offered a place to hide from potential predators but also protected them from the elements. Today, domesticated dogs obviously aren’t faced with the same risks. However, this doesn’t take away from the natural desire to keep themselves safe. Burrowing into the blankets to create a den creates a space where your dog feels safe and secure.  It makes sense to snuggle under the blankets in the winter for a little added warmth. But what about the summer? Next time you are outdoors on a hot summer day, dig away a little dirt, and you’ll find that while the surface is warm, the ground a little further down is much cooler. Therefore, they associate this behavior with finding a cooler spot shielding them from the summer heat. Can Dogs Breathe Comfortably Under the Covers? One concern I often hear when people see my dog Lucifer snuggling happily under the covers (his favorite place to sleep) is whether he can breathe safely. When assessing whether your dog’s burrowing behavior is safe, take a moment to consider their survival instinct. If a dog gets into a situation where they can’t breathe, they aren’t going to choose to remain there – instead, they will make an effort to get back out to safety as quickly as possible. A dog snuggling happily under the blankets feels safe and secure, meaning they can clearly breathe well enough to feel comfortable there.  If you’re still concerned about the safety of your blanket-loving dog, take a moment to look at the blankets that are available to them: Are they thick, heavy blankets that can be stuffy, cutting off airflow? Are they thinner or designed in a way that allows airflow? Consider offering multiple blankets of varying thicknesses. This will allow your dog to burrow in and find the blanket (or combination of blankets) that makes them feel the most comfortable. Which Dog Breeds Are More Likely to Exhibit Burrowing Behavior?Some dog breeds are more likely to engage in this behavior. This is usually due to the roles your dog’s ancestors were bred to perform. For instance, Huskies and Malamutes are often burrowers. These are Arctic breeds that lived and worked in subzero temperatures. Creating dens in the snow was a necessary part of their survival when living in those conditions, making it an instinctual behavior.  While your northern dog may no longer live in the land of ice and snow, they still exhibit many of the same instincts. Dogs that were bred to hunt rodents are also natural burrowers. During their hunts, they would often dig to help them squeeze into the small dens and tunnels created by their prey, flushing them out. This includes smaller breeds like Dachshunds and Terriers. Any dog, regardless of breed, may embrace the joy of burrowing – either digging a den outdoors or burrowing into the blankets. Just ask my German Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog, Lucifer. He loves nothing more than to snuggle comfortably under the blankets!

What is the Best Catio for My Cat?

Do you have a cat that loves being outdoors, enjoying the fresh air, but you worry about their safety and well-being? Does your cat refuse to walk to wear a harness or walk on a leash? The answer might be a catio! These kitty-focused enclosures are gaining a lot of attention lately, popping up in backyards, on the sides of travel trailers, and even as portable safe spaces for cat parents to take their furry friends anywhere. With so many designs, materials, and features available, choosing the best catio for your needs can feel overwhelming. In this guide, I will do a deep dive into the world of catios, exploring different types and the situations they are best suited for. I will also discuss different features and key considerations to help you while shopping for your cat. Get ready to create the perfect (and safe) outdoor space for your furry friend today! What is a Catio? Let’s start at the beginning—what exactly is a catio? The term is a mix of “cat” and “patio,” referring to enclosed outdoor spaces designed specifically for cats. These range from small playpen-style spaces to allow them to get a bit of fresh air to large patios with space for both the cat and their people. Are Catios Good for Cats? Yes! Catios are a great way to allow your cat to spend time outdoors without putting them at risk. While domesticated cats are safer indoors, spending time outdoors has benefits. Allowing your cat to watch the birds and explore new spaces is a great way to provide them with mental enrichment and stimulation. Many cats also simply enjoy sunbathing or watching the world around them. At the same time, the catio keeps them safely contained. Outdoor cats have considerably shorter lifespans due to their increased risk of diseases, predators, car accidents, outdoor toxins, and other unfortunate accidents. According to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, the average outdoor cat lives to be 2-5 years old, while the average indoor cat with only safe, supervised outdoor time lives to be 10-20 years old. Keeping your cat in a catio is also a great way to protect the local wildlife. Cats are natural predators with a strong hunting instinct. Stray cats and cats allowed to roam outdoors significantly impact the ecosystem by killing large numbers of birds, rodents, and other wildlife. What Are the Downsides of a Catio? Allowing your cat to be outdoors in a catio is a great compromise. However, as with any product for our pets, there are pros and cons to consider. Even though your cat is contained, it may create a false sense of security regarding some of the risks of being outdoors. The mesh or screening around a catio isn’t enough to keep parasites like fleas and ticks away. You will still need to consider the necessary flea preventatives and regular tick checks to keep these pets away. The other risk that isn’t completely mitigated by the confines of a catio is the dangers introduced by local strays. Cat fights and confrontations can still occur through the flexible mesh and screen sides. This means your cat is still at risk of unnecessary stress from these encounters and the potential spread of diseases. Careful supervision of your cat outdoors, even if they are safely contained in their catio, will allow you to keep these strays away. What is the Difference Between a Catio and a Fenced Yard?Even if you have a fenced yard, a catio can provide an additional level of safety and security for your cat. But why might you need this extra layer of protection? There are many stray and outdoor cats that easily climb over fences, viewing them as nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Even if your cat has never escaped the fence around your yard before, there is a first time for everything. It only takes a couple of seconds for your cat to climb a tree, scale a shed, or jump up to the top of your fence from a patio chair, and they are now running loose. As we already discussed, there are many significant dangers putting your cat at risk when running unsupervised outdoors. A fenced yard is not a reliable solution to this.

How Do I Keep My Reptile from Overheating?

Reptiles are cold-blooded creatures, soaking up the sun to regulate their body temperature. But this doesn’t mean that they love ALL heat. As the temperatures climb outside, your reptile’s enclosure can quickly become dangerously hot, leading to serious health issues.This blog post will be your summer survival guide, packed with tips and tricks to keep your best friend cool and comfortable all summer long.What Happens if a Reptile Gets Too Hot?Overheating, or hyperthermia, occurs when a reptile's body heat rises dangerously high due to outside sources, and they are unable to adjust as necessary to bring it back down to a safe level.As cold-blooded animals, reptiles rely on outside influences for their temperature. If they are too cold, they seek heat. Likewise, if they are too hot, they seek a cooler area. However, if no cool space is available, their body temperature will continue to climb.Overheating can lead to dehydration, tissue/organ damage, or organ failure. Just as heatstroke can be fatal in dogs and cats, overheating can also be life-threatening for our reptile friends.What Temperature is Too Hot for Reptiles? Each reptile species has its own ideal temperature. For example, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the Greek tortoise thrives most in temperatures between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the green iguana prefers warmer temperatures, between 84 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures reflect the reptile's typical natural environment.You will need to research the specific species to determine what temperatures are safe for your reptile and what are considered too hot. You can do this by looking up that information online, but ensure you only trust a reliable source. Another great way to find out your pet's ideal temperature is to speak with your exotic animal veterinarian. If you don’t already have a vet specializing in exotic animals like reptiles, this is the perfect opportunity to start your search. The Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians database is a great place to start!

What is Water Intoxication in Dogs?

Have you ever been warned about there being too much of a good thing? While water is essential for the health and well-being of our dogs, it also presents a surprising and often unknown danger: water intoxication.A serious and potentially fatal health concern, water intoxication (hyponatremia) is a risk that every dog parent should be aware of – especially those with pups who enjoy water-related activities like swimming in the pool, catching water from the hose, or even visiting the dog beach.In this guide, I’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and prevention of water intoxication in dogs. Take a moment to read it through carefully. This information could save your furry friend’s life. What is Water Intoxication in Dogs?Water intoxication, or hyponatremia, is a medical condition that occurs when your dog ingests too much water in a short time. This impacts the electrolyte balance within the cells—more specifically, the sodium levels. It also causes the cells to swell.When the cells of the brain swell, this can have a severe and life-threatening effect on the central nervous system.Unlike some medical conditions that develop slowly over time, hyponatremia escalates very quickly. Medical treatment is needed as soon as possible. Even with quick action and veterinary care, not all dogs will recover.Can a Dog Drink Too Much Water?One of the first concerns that many pet parents have is the possibility of excessive water drinking in dogs. But is it possible for your dog to actively drink too much water, leading to water intoxication?A healthy dog will not continue drinking water to the point of threatening their own life, although some have been known to gulp down enough to cause stomach upset. This usually happens after being overly active or engaging in heavy exercise.If you notice your dog drinking excessive amounts of water, it could be a red flag of a more significant medical issue. Diseases and illnesses like diabetes, kidney problems, liver disease, and Cushing’s disease are all associated with increased thirst. Contact your veterinarian if your dog is drinking enough water to raise a concern.How Common is Water Intoxication in Dogs?If this information has you panicking or feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Water intoxication is life-threatening for dogs, but it’s also incredibly uncommon. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t familiarize ourselves with the risks, warning signs to look out for, and steps we can take to prevent a problem from developing.

Meet Finn, the Giant Cat Who is The Size of a 9-Year-Old Child!

The world of domestic cats is about to get a whole lot bigger if this cat has anything to say about it! Although wild cats are pretty big, I’m not talking about lions or tigers. Instead, I’m referring to a loved member of a California family.  Finn the cat was adopted by his loving owner, Natalie Bowman, in 2017 at just three and a half months old. Bowman knew he was going to be a little larger than most domestic cats being a Maine Coon, but she had no idea exactly what she was in for… Maine Coons are well known for their large, impressive size, standing approximately 10-16 inches tall when full-grown. Their long, busy coat and tufted feet are well-insulated and water-resistant, allowing them to survive even in harsh winter climates. After bringing the young kitten home, he started to grow quickly. It wasn’t long until Finn reached then surpassed the typical Maine Coon size. By the time he reached his full-grown adult size, he measured a shocking 51 inches long and weighed 22 pounds.

Study Finds Pet Pigs Don't Bond with Their Humans Like Dogs

Have you always dreamt of bringing a pet pig into your home? Have you seen any adorable social media videos of cute companion pigs behaving like dogs as they interact with their people? A recent study published in Scientific Reports reveals that these videos may be misleading. Comparing the behaviors of companion pigs and dogs, the researchers discovered that the two species respond with noticeably different behavior patterns when interacting with people, including their owner and a stranger. Most importantly, they found that pet pigs don’t develop the special pet-owner attachment with their humans that we see in dogs. The findings are significant when you consider the role that pets play in society today. Once seen as valuable for their work in farming, protection, and other tangible roles, most pets today are kept instead solely for companionship.

People Online are Losing it Over Real-Life Rainbow Bridge Memorial

Social media has become a powerful space for pet parents to share the joys and challenges of living with their furry companions. From heartwarming adoptions to hilarious antics, our online feeds are filled with proof of the special bond that is formed between pets and their humans. But there is another side to pet ownership, a bittersweet time when we could use the understanding of other pet parents. That is, of course, the inevitable loss of a beloved pet and the emotions that come with it. A recent viral video has sparked a wave of shared grief and emotion on TikTok.The video, originally posted by @onlyjulianamarie on TikTok, shares a beautiful real-life “Rainbow Bridge” memorial in Lake Lure, NC. It includes a literal rainbow bridge upon which countless pet owners have placed collars of all colors and sizes to memorialize the pets that have left a lasting mark on their hearts. Many of the collars include tags adorned with the name of a special pet or a heartfelt engraved message. Others are nameless; their stories known only to the loving pet parents who placed them there.

Veterinarians Warn About Rise in Deadly Parvo Cases

As loving pet parents, we do everything we can to keep our pets safe. From buying the best food we can afford to keeping their vaccinations up to date – we understand that our furry family members rely on us to care for them. Unfortunately, some illnesses make this more challenging. One example is the risk of deadly canine parvovirus (also known as parvo) in puppies. While there is a vaccine to protect dogs from the disease, there is a window of time before your puppy has received the complete series of vaccinations needed to be effective. It is highly contagious and spread through direct contact with contaminated surfaces, further increasing the risk during the curious stage of a puppy’s life. The disease was first discovered in 1978. It quickly spread, causing concern among veterinary professionals and dog lovers. During the pandemic, another concerning increase in cases was seen. Now, in 2024, veterinarians in several locations are sounding the alarm. In April, vets in Kansas City released a statement after The Pet Resource Center of Kansas City faced 20 cases in a week. At the same time, San Antonio Animal Care Services warned dog parents in the city that they, too, were seeing a rise in cases. Since that time, the areas of concern have continued to grow.What is Parvo? You may be wondering what parvo is and why veterinarians are so worried about the increase in cases. Canine Parvovirus is a disease that impacts a dog’s stomach and small intestines, disrupting their ability to digest food and absorb much-needed nutrients. It can also impact the lymphatic system, bone marrow, and heart. It is highly contagious and, when contracted, often severe or fatal. “Without treatment, up to 90% of animals will die,” explained Chief Veterinarian Melia Washington of The Pet Resource Center of Kansas City. “Even with treatment, we only tell people it’s a 50/50 shot.” Traditionally, treatment focuses almost entirely on supportive care, relying on the puppy’s ability to fight the virus naturally. However, in May 2023, the USDA granted a conditional license for the first-ever canine parvovirus treatment, which experts hope will change the outcome for many dogs. What are the Warning Signs? If your puppy does contract parvo, time is of the essence. The sooner you see a veterinarian and start treatment, the better their chance of survival. Watch out for these common warning signs: Vomiting Diarrhea (including bloody diarrhea)Loss of appetite Sudden high feverLethargyDepressionYou should seek veterinary care if you notice signs that something is “off” in a young puppy, especially if it occurs before the puppy has completed all recommended puppy vaccines. Puppies are vulnerable, and a minor illness can turn life-threatening very quickly when left unaddressed. How Can You Keep Your Puppy Safe? The most important step in keeping your puppy safe from canine parvovirus is to ensure that you stick to the recommended vaccination schedule. Puppies should receive vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, and the vaccine will not be fully effective until all three rounds have been administered. Socialization is crucial for puppies, but you must take extra care before they are fully vaccinated. Avoid high-risk locations like dog parks, kennels, and doggy daycares. If your puppy is being introduced to other dogs, ensure the other dog is fully vaccinated. The best way to socialize a young puppy with other dogs is to do so with dogs you know, like those owned by family and friends. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions or are unsure if a situation will be safe for your puppy. Join the PetGuide community. Get the latest pet news and product recommendations by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Do Cat Colors Affect Personality?

Have you ever wondered if your new kitten’s fiery ginger coat is a warning sign that you are bringing home a sassy whirlwind? Does your black cat’s sleek coat give off the vibes of a mysterious loner?There are many theories regarding the possible connection between a cat’s coat color and their personality traits. However, this leaves many cat lovers curious whether it’s all folklore or a connection exists.Let’s look at the science (or lack thereof) behind the relationship between a cat’s appearance and their personality. Plus, we’ll share the most common traits associated with each fur color and pattern so you can see if it describes your cat.What Determines the Color of a Cat Before discussing the connection between fur color and personality, let’s examine what actually causes different cats to have different coat colors and patterns.Like your hair or eye color, the appearance of your cat’s fur is a reflection of their genetics. This includes the color of the fur, how bright or diluted those colors appear, and any patterns their coat displays (like tabby stripes or calico patches).What is the Rarest Color for a Cat? The Most Popular? As with any genetic trait, some fur coats and patterns are more common than others. The rarest color is a solid-white coat. Less than 5% of the cat population is estimated to be completely white and void of any color (no additional marks or patterns). On the other end of the spectrum, the tabby is the most common cat coat pattern. While most people associate tabbies with vertical stripes along their body, the pattern can also present as splotches, circles, spots, or any combination of these markings.