Dogs and Music

 

I truly never knew that dogs listening to music was a thing until I started dog-sitting in L.A. As an owner left me with her poodle, Jimmy, she asked me to play Beethoven for him, especially if he started to bark or pace back and forth. As soon as she left, Jimmy indeed barked. And barked. And barked. But when I turned the music on, he stopped and laid on the couch. Magic. (“Moonlight Sonata” was his favorite — he’d go lie down in his bed for it — and I can’t listen to it now without thinking about him.) When Beethoven would end, Jimmy would bark, and we’d listen to it again.

As it turns out, Jimmy’s not the only dog who likes to relax by listening to music. One 2017 study from Psychology & Behavior even reported which types of of music dogs love most. It found that two genres, soft rock and reggae, caused dogs to be more relaxed and less stressed than others.

Just like with humans, it’s not only genre that matters for dogs, but volume. “Music can soothe, upset, or put your dog in a playful mood, depending on the type of music and the volume,” she explains. “Also, remember that dogs’ ears are much more sensitive than humans’, so be sure not to play any music too loudly.”

When choosing music for your dog, Bukovza also says to keep in mind that, since an adult dog has approximately the intelligence of a human toddler, a good rule of thumb is to consider whether you would play this music for a baby. “Pay attention to your dog’s reaction when you’re around. Some dogs have been known to howl along to their favorite songs,” he says. “If your dog shakes, whimpers, or pants as music is played, it’s making them anxious and needs to be changed, lowered, or turned off.”

She suggests playing classical music to relax your dog if they’re anxious, having separation anxiety, or need to sleep. If you need to drown out loud noises like construction or fireworks, however, reggae or classic rock may work better since they tend to have louder bass in their songs. Dr. Ochoa agrees with Bukovza, adding that music types can be used interchangeably, as long as the music you choose is louder than the noise you’re trying to drown out.

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Trail Hazards for Dogs

Your pooch is susceptible to most of the same dangers you are. More concerning, though, is that your dog won’t recognize many of them, nor be able to explain to you when something is going wrong. So be extra vigilant of the following:

Overdoing it: Watch how quickly your dog’s breathing and heart rate take to normalize during breaks. If it seems excessive, take more breaks or shorten your day on the trail. Limping is another sign that you need to stop for the day.

Wildlife: Your leash is your best defense against big carnivores and prickly herbivores. Even though Lyme disease doesn’t show symptoms in many dogs, ticks are also a concern, so check your dog closely and remove any hitchhikers after the hike.

Wild plants: Halting chewing immediately is your best defense against poison or tainted plants, as well as digestive-system problems. Watch out, too, for nettles, as well as poison oak, ivy and sumac, which will cause discomfort for both you and your dog.

Thorns and burrs are irritating, but “foxtails” are more serious. Found on a variety of grasses in spring and summer, these barbed seedpods can snag on fur and end up between toes, and in more sensitive areas like nasal passages, ears, eyes and genitals.

Avoid areas with grasses that have foxtails, and remove them with tweezers right away. Excessive sneezing, head shaking, eye discharge or an abscess are a sign that it’s time to cut things short, because foxtails can work their way into a vital organ and be fatal.

Heat stroke: Dogs can only pant and sweat through their pads to cool off. Be conservative—rest and drink often and pull out the cooling collar if your friend keeps lying down in shady spots.

Water safety: If your dog can’t swim, pack a dog PFD. Don’t let even a good swimmer try to cross a whitewater section of a creek: Lift and carry your dog instead. And be wary of turning a swimmer loose in a lake. In cool temps the wet fur can chill your dog. Even if the weather is temperate, you’ll have a major toweling-off job before bedtime.

Dog Gear for Hikes

Water container: Hydration for your dog is best handled by fresh water carried by you. * Dog Food * Booties  * Doggie First Aid Kit

Safety light: This seemingly urban-area accessory is a great way to help you keep tabs on your dog after sunset and during nighttime potty breaks.

Cooling collar: All dogs struggle to dissipate heat, so this soak-and-wrap accessory is worth every added ounce when the temps start to climb.

Cats and hot weather don't always

go well together

During the summer months, cats are just as at risk of dehydration and heatstroke as the rest of us.

These are serious conditions that can lead to illness and even death. Here are some steps on how to cool a cat down and how to keep a cat cool in hot weather.

1. Make sure your cat has plenty of water

It’s common sense but you should check your cat’s water bowl regularly and fill it up whenever it’s low. Cats can’t survive for long without it.

2. Ensure there’s a shaded spot in your garden

If you have an outdoor cat and there are no naturally occurring shady spots in your garden, create one by placing some cloth or cardboard over an area to keep the sun out. Also, make sure you check outdoor buildings like sheds and greenhouses before shutting them as cats often get locked in accidentally overnight.

3. Brush your cat daily

Matted hair traps heat so give them a daily groom if possible. This is especially important for long-haired cats.

4. Keep them out of conservatories and greenhouses

These areas can get dangerously hot even when the weather just feels warm. Bear in mind that they both exclude cooling breezes and magnify the heat. Cats are also prone to getting accidentally trapped in conservatories and greenhouses.

5. Use damp towels to cool down your cat

The warmest part of a cat’s body is their tummies, the pads of their paws, their armpits, under their chin and on the outside of their ears. Although most cats hate getting wet, try dampening a cloth with cold water and gently stroking your cat with it from their head and down their back.

6. Keep your cat calm

A very active cat that is running around on a hot day will quickly become exhausted and dehydrated. Encourage your cat to relax when outside temperatures are soaring.

7. Create a retreat

Cats are clever when it comes to comfort and they will seek out places such as the bath or sink as these often stay cool even when it’s hot outside. You could also try creating a cool and darkened indoor retreat for them to sleep in and feel safe. A top tip is to place a cardboard box on its side and position it somewhere cool and quiet in the house, such as behind a chair or on a cool surface like a wooden floor. Line it with a breathable natural fabric such as a cotton towel.

8. Keep outdoors cats indoors

If temperatures really soar, then it’s worth considering keeping your cat inside during the hottest hours of the day.

9. Take care in the car

It’s less common for cats to travel in cars than dogs, but they are just as susceptible to the risks. If you are taking your cat to the vets, the cattery or a cat show, for example, never leave them in the car. Always make sure their carriers are secure, shaded and allow air to circulate. Solid plastic boxes with a secure wire mesh door are preferable.

10. Encourage cool play

Ice cubes are a great way for cats to play and keep cool at the same time. Put a few on the floor so they can chase them as they scatter around the floor. Perhaps even consider flavouring the ice with a hint of chicken stock to encourage their interest.

11. Close the curtains

Things that keep you cool will also benefit your cat — keeping curtains or blinds closed will keep the sun out.

12. Watch out for signs of heat stroke

Although this generally only occurs on really hot days, it’s worth being aware of. Symptoms of heat stroke can include agitation, stretching out and breathing rapidly, extreme distress, skin hot to the touch, glazed eyes, vomiting and drooling. If you’re at all worried about your cat, contact your vet immediately.

How to Safely Trim a Cat’s Claws

A cool head and a steady hand are important for this tricky task. Use these smart tips for clipping your cat’s claws and you’re both more likely to emerge unscathed.

1.Start with just holding her paws. You may think you know your cat well, but handling her paws is a level up from scratching under her chin. “Hold her paws a little bit each day so she’ll become familiar with how it feels. Then you can move on to clipping the nails,” says Levy. Depending on her personality it may take days or weeks for your kitty to get used to it.

2.Choose your moment. Take advantage of a time when your cat is relaxed — not after a play session or at mealtime, for example. Don’t try to clip her nails while she’s sleeping either. You may startle her and cause her to lash out. “Pick a quiet spot, one that’s not facing a window: She may glimpse a bird or another cat and become excited.

3.Don’t cut corners on clippers. Regular “human” nail clippers are okay to use in a pinch, but you’ll do better to spring for specially made cat clippers. They’re curved and more comfortable for your pet. They’re also more substantial and will They’ll also make a cleaner cut than the ones in your medicine cabinet.

4.Get a firm (but gentle) grip. Place your kitty on her back in your lap. “Hold her firmly to let her know you’re in charge and that she’s safe,” suggests Francine Hicks, northeast regional director at The International Cat Association. If she’s really frightened, Levy suggests the “kitty burrito” method of wrapping the cat in a bath towel. “Don’t make the bundle too tight,” cautions Levy. Unwrap one paw at a time for a trim, keeping the other three in the burrito.

5.Don’t cut too much. Gently press on the pad of one of her paws to unsheathe the nail. Clip it, but not too short. Be careful to avoid the quick — the pinkish flesh that’s visible inside the nail. Nicking it will cause bleeding. If you do draw blood, dip your cat’s paw in a bit of flour or cornstarch to staunch the flow.

6.Reward cooperation. Have special treats at the ready. Offer your cat a tasty and healthy morsel every time she lets you trim a claw. This way she’ll learn to associate yummy rewards with her manicures.

7.Know when to quit. If your cat will only stand for having one or two nails trimmed, consider it a success and call it a day. . You may be able to do more next time. 8 If over time you still can’t manage to clip your cat’s claws, don’t force yourself. Your veterinarian will be happy to do it for you.

7 Tips To Introduce A New Cat

Or Kitten To Your Home​

 

Tip 1. Don't insist on having good sharers. There is nothing worse to a cat than having to share his owner. Cats also don’t typically enjoy sharing food, water, a litter box and toys. While you can’t help having to share yourself, you can help with the rest. Get the new cat his own supplies at first. Keep him in a separate area, but don't stop the old or new cats from using each other’s things. Having more than one toy available can help alleviate stress from the belief that there isn't enough to go around.

Tip 2. Always have your vet do a full exam before bringing a new pet into the home.

 

Tip 3. Give it time. The first introduction we made between the older cats and the kitten didn't go so well. It left the kitten crying and our black and white cat in a hissing fit. I quickly ended that meeting and we tried again the next day with better results. We started with half-hour meetings and slowly increased their time together.

 

Tip 4. Give the established pets just as much, if not more, attention. I know how cute and fun a new pet is, but this is the time to really give your attention to the older furry friends. They might be feeling jealous of the newcomer, and spending that extra time can really help them stay calm and open to the new pet.

Tip 5. Don't make any other changes in your existing pets' life. Adding a new pet can be stressful enough, so don't change your pets’ food or schedules too much. Keep everything else the same and let the new and old pets create their new normal together.

 

Tip 6. Let food be the peacemaker. If all else fails, put the new pet in one room with everything he needs, and then put the other pets' food and water right outside the door of that room. With this approach, the existing pets will relate the smell of the new pet with something that makes them happy – food! This one really worked for us. Our black and white cat was a holdout and not too sure of the new kitten. This strategy is what finally got him to accept the kitten into our home.

Tip 7. Don't give up. Our one cat really acted like he was never going to accept the new kitten, but then one day I saw them cuddling together on the couch. Finally, there was acceptance and they have all gotten along since!