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Curious as a Cat

Cats seem to have a natural curiosity about them. They’re always sticking their nose in your business and getting into places they don’t belong. You can see them tilt their head and widen their eyes, as if they are about to open up and ask you about life’s greatest mysteries. Sometimes they start meowing and you have to do a double take to make sure they didn’t just speak to you. January 22 is dedicated to taking a second to assess those quizzical looks and answer your cat’s burning questions.

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We’ve brainstormed five questions your cat may have on the tip of his tongue.    

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I know we both like the couch, but I definitely use it more than you do. Why can’t I use my claws on it?

Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, including helping to remove the dead outer layer of their claws and to mark their territory. Scratching is natural for your cat and he should be encouraged to do it in designated places. Deter him from furniture and carpets by using tapes and sprays to train him. Encourage him to use scratching posts, scratch pads and toys made for scratching, like the Turbo Scratcher®. Regularly trimming a cat’s nails will help to decrease scratching damage.

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You’re always leaving me alone to suffer from boredom. What am I supposed to do all day while you’re gone?

It can be difficult to leave your cat home alone and you may wonder what trouble he will cause while you’re out. Providing him with a cat tree or perch that looks out a window will help to keep him occupied throughout the day. Bringing a second cat into your home will give him a buddy he can play with. Keeping toys around for him to play with while you’re away will help to keep him entertained. Toys that can easily be played with on his own will keep him engaged longer. The Mega Turbo™ Scratcher will keep him mentally engaged with a scratch pad on one side, an interactive movable ball on the other and a ball he can bat around the outside track. Puzzles and snacks can help to keep him occupied throughout the day. To challenge your cat you can add the Turbo Treat Ball™, which dispenses snacks if he spins it just right. 

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I would really like to play with the ‘toys’ I can see from the windows. Why won’t you let me explore the outdoors?

The outdoors can be dangerous for a cat. There are larger predators, traffic, diseases, parasites and more to worry about. If you choose to take your cat out make sure you take precautionary measures to protect him. Building a catio, an enclosed safe place, allows him to safely explore a limited portion of the outdoors. He could join the family on evening walks with a good, properly fit harness, leash and a little training. If you do take him outside make sure he is up-to-date on his shots to protect him from diseases and parasites.

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That man in the white coat pokes me. Why do you take me to such a cruel person?

Regular veterinary trips are a crucial part of caring for a cat, no matter how much he hates it. A vet provides vaccinations that will protect him from diseases, like feline leukemia and upper respiratory infections. They may also provide treatments to prevent or treat fleas, ticks, mites and worms. A vet can help walk you through any questions or concerns you may have about your cat and give the best advice for his health.  

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You’re always using that cooing voice and trying to squeeze me, sometimes it holds up dinner. I know I’m cute, but what is that about?

It’s called a purrfect love, and sometimes you just need a little kitty cuddle. 

Pet Travel Safety

My dog jumps at even the mention of the word car. Her tail wags, her tongue spills out, and I can instantly hear her nails prancing their way toward the garage door. Once we are in the car it is no better. She jumps from seat to seat, eagerly shoves her head out the window to smell the breeze, and gives relentless kisses to thank us for the ride. Worst of all, since she is a small dog, she has decided that any passenger’s shoulders are her own personal booster seat to see out the front window. She makes vet visits and general car rides a true driving test.

After two car rides with her it was noticeable that she makes driving nearly impossible and unsafe. Her constant movement is distracting and her choice of booster seat is less than convenient. If you have ever considered your dog a hazard on the road, consider these tips on how to make your car ride more enjoyable for both you and your pet:

  • Treat your pet like you would yourself and any other passenger. When you get in the car the first thing you do is buckle up. This should be no different for your pet. Consider an auto harness with a tether so that they are restrained in the event of an accident and are not distracting you while you drive. The Bergan® Dog Auto Harness with Tether is perfect for this scenario as it provides security, confidence and convenience at an affordable price.

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  • All dogs seem to love looking out the window, but it is more difficult for small dogs. If you have a small dog who loves to look out the window but can barely reach, think about a booster seat. This restrains your dog and acts as a booster so your dog doesn’t have to use your legs as a stepping stool. The Bergan® Comfort Sitting Dog Booster is a great option as it is quick to install, easy to adjust and offers a comfortable interior.

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  • If your dog is too big to be a lap dog but still enjoys its car rides consider the Bergan® Auto Travel Dog Barrier. This keeps your dog from being able to jump into the front seat by keeping them safely contained in the back seat. 

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Next time you take your canine companion for a car ride remember to treat them like any other passenger. Buckle them up and/or have them secured to one area of the car so you can focus on the most important thing – arriving to the dog park safely.

Show Your Pooch Some Howliday Love

It’s that time of the year when the air is crisp, clothes are added in layers, and houses contain the sweet aroma of home baked cookies. These mark the beginning of the holiday season. While you are baking cookies and slaving over the stove to prepare the perfect holiday meal for friends and family to enjoy, don’t forget a major part of your family – your dog. We know those begging puppy eyes can be so hard to say no to, so why not make them their own special holiday treat? This is why those of us at Coastal Pet Products have decided to make our pets a part of the holiday tradition. We took the time to create some no-bake howliday treats for our canine companions this season. Follow these simple steps to leave your pets barking for more!

1. Gather your ingredients. All you will need is 1 cup of pumpkin puree, ¼ cup of peanut butter, ¼ cup of milk, and 3 cups old fashioned oats

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 2. In a bowl add the pumpkin puree, peanut butter, milk, and 2 ½ cups of oats (the remaining oats will be used later).  

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3. Mix the ingredients together on high with an electric mixer. The ingredients should be well blended. 

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 4. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, roll the blended mixture into 1 ½ inch balls and roll them in the remaining ½ cup oats. Place finished balls on a cookie sheet.

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5. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour.

6. Give to your dog to enjoy!

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If you would like to reference the original recipe, please go to https://cookpad.com/us/recipes/366033-no-bake-peanut-butter-oat-dog-treats

Why Mixed Breeds Rule: a Reminder for National Mutt Day


December 2 is National Mutt Day, which has been celebrated twice a year on July 31 and December 2 since 2005. According to event founder Colleen Page, this holiday is all about “embracing, saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs.”

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While more than half of all dogs in the USA are mixed breeds, up to 80% of shelters dogs are represented by all-American mutts. So, when thinking of getting a dog, here are some great reasons why you should consider a mutt.

Mixed breed dogs are unique in both looks and personality. They are easy to find and offer endless choices. Mutts tend to be healthier, better behaved and live longer while still performing the same activities as many purebred dogs. In 2014, Westminster Kennel Club began to include mixed breed dogs in its agility competitions. They tend to make better family pets, too, as their breed-centric compulsions are more muted making them easier to handle and often easier to train.

Not only are mixed breeds less costly to acquire than their purebred counterparts, experts have confirmed they tend to be healthier and therefore incur fewer medical expenses. In 2013, a study in The Veterinary Journal found that mixed breed dogs live on average 1.2 years longer than pure breeds.

So, in honor of National Mutt Day, consider visiting a shelter or adopting a mixed breed dog. If you are unable to adopt, you can always volunteer or donate to help mutts find their forever homes. Be sure share pictures of your all-American dogs on social media for #nationalmuttday and encourage others to join in to remind us all why mixed breeds rule.

National Take a Hike Day – November 17th

National Take a Hike Day – November 17th

National Take a Hike DayThere is something remarkably rewarding about finding a hidden spot of beauty that is seemingly untouched by man. Stumbling upon a cavernous cave, sparkling blue waterfalls, and trees displayed in a tunnel-like fashion aren’t things you see on your daily walk around the neighborhood. These special places are found when you go on an adventure and challenge yourself to go off the beaten path. This is why I challenge you to go on an adventure on National Take a Hike Day, November 17th.

Some of the best hikes I have been on have been those that I didn’t plan. Instead, I drove to the nearest scenic area and looked for a park pull off or simply decided to ‘get lost’ and see where I ended up. These are the times I have discovered the true beauty of the state in which I live. It’s nice to take in the beauty and silence but finding these places is even better when you have someone to share it with. This is why I often take my trusty canine companion with me.

 It is as much an adventure for me as it is for her. My dog takes in the smells and wildlife while challenging me to go off the beaten path in her pursuit of a squirrel. She is ultimately the reason my simple hike becomes an adventure. It’s almost as if she idolizes the adventures of Loki the Wolfdog and hopes to encourage me to follow in their adventurous spirits. Often times we will find ourselves enjoying the cooler weather for miles.

Before you begin your hike make sure you take into consideration your needs as well as your dog’s. Take into consideration that hiking is more strenuous than walking. If you rarely get out for a neighborhood stroll, the odds are your dog doesn’t either. If you decide to take your dog for an initial two mile hike then you might be carrying them on the stretch back. Make sure you pick a comfortable distance for both you and your pet. 

If you are looking for some starting points for your canine accompanied adventure then please consult this general list of dog friendly state parks in your area but before you run out the door make sure you grab a few essentials:

-        Leash

-        Water

-        Disposable bags

-        Collar (a harness typically does best as it allows the most control and comfort) 

Have fun and go take a hike!

Training your puppy means a happier, healthier life

By Kelly Diehl, DVM, MS
Science Writer and Researcher
Morris Animal Foundation

OBTIf you and your family have chosen to bring a puppy into your life – congratulations! Dogs bring love and joy to their families, but choosing a puppy is the easy part. The real challenge begins when we bring our furry friends home and they start learning how to be a part of the family. Time spent training your dog from the day he or she comes home is an investment in a beautiful relationship that will last a lifetime.

Having a well-trained dog not only is good for your furniture, your neighbors, your mail carrier and your sanity, it also is beneficial for your dog. Both animal behaviorists and human psychologists recognize the benefits of a close human-animal bond, and positive reinforcement training provides a way for dogs and their human companions to strengthen that bond. An additional benefit is the mental and physical stimulation that training provides for dogs. (Training your dog also can save their life in more ways than one. Multiple studies have shown that behavior problems are one of the primary reasons people relinquish their dog to an animal shelter.)

House training a puppy is essential, but even learning some simple commands such as “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay” can make a positive difference in how a new puppy (or dog) integrates into a household.  Using positive reinforcement is critical; dogs don’t understand hitting or yelling, and often will become more fearful or aggressive with punishment.

In addition to positive reinforcement, most trainers and veterinarians recommend crate training your puppy. Dogs in the wild naturally seek out dens for shelter and protection. A crate gives your puppy a safe space they can retreat to, and that you can use to aid in house training your pup and preventing destructive behavior.

Keeping a consistent schedule, from feeding times to potty breaks, is important for puppies. When you first get your puppy, they need to be taken out frequently to urinate and defecate. Picking a specific area that becomes the designated bathroom and rewarding your puppy as soon as they eliminate are other helpful tips for training. Trainers recommend that you reward your puppy while still outside; don’t wait until you’re back in the house.

There is no getting around the fact that you will need to purchase new gear for your pup. All dogs need a leash and collar, as well as either ceramic or metal food and water bowls. Puppies have a strong instinct to chew, so providing age and size appropriate materials is important. Toys and other play items designed for dogs enrich their environment and provide welcome diversions.

Avoid giving your puppy old, used household items to chew on or play with; dogs are not good at knowing that the old slipper you gave them to play with is different than your expensive Italian stiletto shoes!

From a safety perspective, a well-trained puppy is a safer puppy, particularly around other dogs and people. But even training can’t prevent every incident. Remember to provide your dog with identification just in case the unthinkable happens and your dog is lost. Implanted microchips are the most high-tech options on the market, but even something as simple as a customized dog tag can provide identification. Identification can mean the difference between bringing your dog home and losing it forever.

The companionship dogs provide us is priceless. Bonding with our furry friends through positive training strengthens and enhances that relationship. For dog-training resources, check with your veterinarian, your local humane organization, or visit American Animal Hospital Association’s Healthy Pet for tips and references.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month

_DSC5868We know you’re constantly worried about keeping your pet safe. Here are some helpful tips for keeping them out of harm’s way for National Animal Safety and Protection Month.

  • As the days grow shorter, and the sun sets a little earlier, there are added safety concerns that come with after-work walks with your pup. Reflective products can help ensure that you and your dog will be visible to traffic during hours with low lighting. Lazer Brite® dog collars and leashes are reflective up to 600 feet away and feature fun designs for the fashion conscious. The Coastal® Reflective Wrap Adj. Harness has reflective piping and a patch for added visibility while walking. Other products like the K9 Explorer®, Pro and Coastal® Power Walker® lines feature reflective stitching for an additional layer of safety.

 

  • Pets sometimes escape or become lost, and no one likes the worry of wondering where they are and if they will be found. A pet that is wearing an ID tag, personalized collar or has a microchip is more likely to be returned when they are found than one that isn’t. If your dog is prone to losing ID tags, a personalized collar allows you to incorporate your dog’s name and contact information directly on the collar.  

 

  • Occasionally the biggest harms can come from items in your home. Make your house pet safe by storing common household hazards like insecticides, batteries, fertilizers, cleaners and antifreeze out of reach. Keep your floors clear of small objects that may become a choking hazard for your pet. Before buying a new plant, or giving those begging eyes a bite of what’s in your hand, research what plants and foods could make your pet sick.

 

  • Whether you’re traveling with your pet on a short trip to the vet or taking them on a family vacation, it is important that they are contained in the car. Cats and small dogs may be crated or placed in a carrier to keep them from distracting the driver and contained in case of an accident. Auto harnesses may be used on dogs to minimize driving distractions and protect pets during travel. Auto travel barriers and booster seats are additional ways to keep pets contained while in the car.

 

  • As much as your pet may hate the vet, regular trips can help protect your pet from diseases and health problems. A vet will provide your pet with necessary vaccines to protect them, as well as offer guidance on how to properly care for them. Vets are able to assist if pets become over weight by prescribing a diet and exercise plan that will work for them.

 

Taking the necessary measures to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe will provide you with more years of kitty cuddles and puppy kisses.

Happy Healthy Cat Month

Happy Healthy Cat MonthWe know you’re spoiling your feline friends every month, but show cats a little extra love in September for Happy Healthy Cat Month.

Grab the laser light, it's play time: Play is crucial to having a happy and healthy cat. Having a variety of toys available for your cat will help ensure he doesn’t get bored and is stimulated each time he plays. Setting aside time to engage in play with your cat can help strengthen your bond. Play time helps provide him the exercise he needs to stay fit and healthy.

Nature is natural: The cats’ ancestry is rooted in the great outdoors and that need hasn’t left the domesticated house cat no matter how comfy he may look on that plush pillow. An indoor cat can be taken outside on a harness and leash, which will provide him a secure way to investigate the outside under your supervision. A cat unable to go outside can benefit from a catio, an outdoor enclosure that he can spend supervised time in. Other indoor cat parents may find that providing a perch by a window will help give their cat the freedom to look outside and be engaged by the surrounding nature. Cats love to munch on grass in the wild, so bring the outdoors inside with live cat grass or catnip.  

Open up and say ‘Meow’: Regular visits to the vet will ensure your cat is healthy and give him the preventative care he needs to prevent diseases. A vet should be able to catch and treat ailments as they arise. Vets can assist with questions you may have about your cat’s health and provide guidance.

No one likes a missing pet flyer: No one likes to think about the possibility of losing their pet, but some cats know how to make a quick escape while your guard is down. Take precautionary measures by making sure he is microchipped or wears a collar with an ID tag on it. Having identification will help ensure he is returned as quickly as possible when he’s found.

Staring at the bowl will make it refill: A well-balanced diet of a high quality food will provide your cat the nutrients he needs with none of the extra fillers. A healthy diet combined with exercise will ensure he is a healthy weight. Monitoring the amount of treats he has will help him maintain an ideal weight.  

There’s always room for one more: Cats are social animals and can benefit from having a buddy to play and socialize with. If you have adequate space for an additional cat and the time to properly introduce one into your home adopting a new furry friend may be purrfect for you and your cat.

Pamper away; it may get you extra kitty cuddles.

Training with Chain and Nylon Dog Collars

Choosing the right training collar is the secret to an enjoyable training experience.Chain And Nylon Training Dog Collars

Training with chain is a safe, effective tool with proper use. Chain training dog collars offer a great choice for dogs that need the maximum strength that chain offers. They are argon welded and chrome plated for durability. Prong dog collars simulate a natural pinch on the neck from the dog’s mother to correct unwanted behavior. Chain dog leashes are excellent for dogs that tend to chew on nylon leashes. Chain will not tarnish, rust or break but should not be used for tie out. Remember, you are training the dog to react to the crisp sound of the chain.

The Check Training Collar™ has a limited-closure chain combined with a nylon collar and is also available with a convenient buckle.  Nylon training dog collars offer an alternative to chain. Round nylon training collars are perfect for dogs with sensitive skin. The limited-closure No Slip® collars, with and without buckle, are excellent for dogs that easily slip their collar. Nylon collars also provide gentle correction training that is an excellent way to build a relationship with your dog.  They’re an excellent choice for owners that want a wide variety of color and size options.

Make sure to use these products property to maximize the training experience.  Coastal pet offers several training products and demonstrational videos on how to use the products correctly. 

Lost Pet Prevention

Personalized Dog Collar

There is nothing more frustrating than a Houdini pet that makes a mad dash whenever the door opens and escapes into the great outdoors before you can stop them. According to the American Humane Association, 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime. To help ensure your pet is returned as quickly and safely as possible put these tips into effect for Lost Pet Prevention Month.

  •  Pet ID Tag – A tag attached to your pet’s collar will help the finder identify your pet and provides a way of contacting you. Make sure that ID tags are always on the pet because you never know when a pet may become lost.
  • Microchip – Microchipping a pet helps ensure they will always have a way of being identified if they become lost. Microchips are a great option for the owner who doesn’t keep a pet in their collar and tags while at home.  
  • Personalized Pet Collar – Creating a collar that is customized with your pet’s name and a phone number ensures your pet is identified right away when found.
  • Proper Collars, Harnesses and Leashes – Make sure your pet is wearing a collar or harness that fits properly so they can’t slip out of them during walks or travel. The leash should be the right size for the environment you’re in. For example, a traffic leash allows you to keep your dog close to your side in high traffic areas and a longer leash allows them more freedom to explore areas that are less busy and pet safe. All products should be replaced if they start to show wear.
  • Secure Outdoor Spaces – Check outdoor spaces your pet may be allowed to roam for properly functioning gates and fences. If you put your pet on a tie out, make sure the tie out doesn’t show any signs of weakness and never leave your pet unattended for extended periods of time.
  • Have All Paperwork Available – Be sure to have vet records and paperwork for your pet to help prove ownership when the pet is found. It helps to keep a current photo of your pet to use on lost flyers, show people or assist in proving ownership.