What are they, and could they be right for you?
Have you been longing for a canine companion but given up on that dream because of allergies?
It’s true; the dander that lurks in a dog’s coat can irritate allergy sufferers, especially if you own a dog who sheds frequently.
Hypoallergenic dogs are one possible solution to the problem.
These are dog breeds that are either hairless or non-shedding. Some hypoallergenic dogs have hair that is so curly, short, or wiry that they shed very little or not at all.
Owning a hypoallergenic dog makes dog ownership possible for many allergy sufferers.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that no breed of dog is completely hypoallergenic. All dogs produce varying degrees of dander or other irritants. However, hypoallergenic dogs are not as likely as other breeds to aggravate your allergies.
Here are some hypoallergenic dog breeds worth considering.
The Affenpinscher has a wiry coat that is easy to care for and doesn’t shed often.
The Afghan Hound is known for its unique, regal appearance as well as its loyalty.
With no hair (or at least, very little of it), the American Hairless Terrier is an excellent choice for allergy sufferers.
The Bedlington Terrier has a soft, sheeplike coat of tightly curled hair.
The Bichon Frise is tough, lively, and full of personality. This breed has been around for centuries and remains popular.
The Chinese Crested has no hair except for the noteworthy hairdo on top of its head.
The Coton de Tulear gets its name from its soft, white coat, resembling cotton.
Any variety of Schnauzer (Giant, Standard, or Miniature) is an excellent companion, full of energy.
The Irish Water Spaniel has no undercoat, just a single coat of tight curls.
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a perfect family dog and also has a unique blue coat.
The Lagotto Romagnolo, originally bred to hunt for truffles in the woods, resembles a cuddly teddy bear.
The Maltese is an adorable toy breed, a symbol of luxury since ancient times.
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is a hound dog with a personality similar to greyhounds.
All three varieties of Poodle (Miniature, Standard, or Toy) are known for their athleticism and elegance.
The Portuguese Water Dog has just one coat and just needs regular grooming to minimize dander and allergens.
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has a silky coat, hypoallergenic, when brushed regularly.
The Xoloitzcuintli (often called a “Xolo”) is a Mexican dog with a wrinkled forehead and a loving personality.
The Basenji is strong, agile, and low shedding, making it a great choice for allergy sufferers.
The Irish Water Spaniel is the tallest of the AKC spaniels. It has lots of energy and especially loves the water.
The Wire Fox Terrier has thick, curly hair, which minimizes shedding. It’s an adventurous breed designed for hunting.
The Yorkshire Terrier is the ultimate, old-fashioned spirited terrier, beloved since Victorian times.
As you can see, allergies do not have to be a barrier to dog ownership. With so many breeds of hypoallergenic dogs available, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect canine companion.
It’s one of the best-kept secrets of pet parenting.
If you already have a mature, well-trained dog at home, he can be your best resource in training a new puppy.
Whether it’s crate training, socialization, or just finding their way around your home, your older dog is a natural at showing a young puppy the ropes.
That’s because puppies, by nature, will mimic the actions of an older dog. It is an instinct that goes back to their relationship with their Mama Dog and littermates all the way back in their earliest days.
Here are some of the ways your older dog can help train the newest addition to the family.
Any seasoned dog owner knows that house training a puppy can be a lengthy, sometimes frustrating process. Your puppy is not familiar with your home or yard, and it takes a while to figure out what your expectations are when she needs a potty break. Thankfully, your adult dog is already familiar with this routine. By simply following your dog outside to his favorite pee spot, your puppy learns what she is supposed to do. Since puppies naturally follow and mimic older dogs, your work is done.
Training Your Older Dog First
One important point to keep in mind when prepping your adult dog to be your assistant trainer: puppies will mimic bad behaviors as well as good ones.
So it’s essential to spend some one-on-one time with your older dog working on any problem behaviors before your new pup comes home.
If your dog is prone to bark when people come over, or if he tends to assert herself as the alpha dog a bit too aggressively, now is the time to work on those behaviors. Otherwise, you will have twice as much bad behavior in your home as you had before.
Allowing Correction From the Older Dog
Just as her mom and littermates did when she was a baby, your older dog will naturally give your young puppy some correction when she misbehaves. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, it is important for your new puppy to learn proper boundaries, to know what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. On the other hand, you want the introduction to your home to be mostly a positive experience. If you notice your puppy getting a bit too rowdy and disrespectful with your older dog, it’s wise to redirect her before the problem escalates too much. Giving either dog some alone time in his SlumberPod Pet space can help defuse the situation.
Your puppy is a clean slate who (in most cases) has no prior experience of living with a family. By giving plenty of praise and treats, you ensure that your pup’s first experience with a family of humans and other dogs is a positive one. A puzzle toy with a treat inside can help both your new and your older dog burn off some energy so they will be calmer and happier throughout the process.
An older dog is one of your best assets when training a new puppy. With care and planning, you will be well on your way to raising two best friends whose company you can enjoy for years to come.
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Raising a dog is a lifetime commitment. From the time you bring him home as a new puppy to the day your best friend crosses the rainbow bridge, the bond between you and your dog is unbreakable.
At every stage of your dog’s lifespan, she relies on you for food, shelter, medical care, and most of all, attention and love.
Like you, your dog will go through many changes as he grows up into an adult and eventually ages to become a senior dog.
Here is a guide to what your dog needs at each of these stages.
Puppy-Proofing And Age-Proofing
A new puppy is bursting with energy and needs safeguards to protect her from her curiosity. Make sure that dangerous items such as electric cords, toxic substances, and plants are secured where she can’t get to them. Later, when your dog reaches the age of six or seven, it’s time to be aware of possible vision impairment, hearing loss, or encroaching mobility issues when keeping your home safe for a senior dog.
When your pup is between four and six months old, he’s old enough to slowly work up to several hours in a row without accidents. When he hits his senior years, he may be unable to control his bladder as easily, so it’s a good idea to plan on taking him out more frequently. At any age, a SlumberPod Pet offers a safe and comfortable spot for your dog to relax when you’re sleeping or away at work.
Nutrition And Feeding
Growing puppies require puppy food that is formulated especially for their needs. If they are under six months old, they will need frequent feedings during the day. Older dogs do not need as much feeding; once or twice a day is adequate.
It’s important to visit the veterinarian regularly throughout your dog’s lifespan to keep up with vaccinations and parasite control. Your vet will tell you when your dog is ready to be spayed or neutered, a procedure that can head off many problems later on. Senior dogs should visit the vet at least every six months to catch any life-threatening health conditions early.
Your dog needs plenty of exercise to stay healthy at every age. Go easy on your pup if she’s under two years old since her skeleton is not yet fully mature. Your aging dog may not get as excited about exercise as he used to, but keeping him active will help maintain muscle tone and prevent obesity.
No matter the age, your dog needs you to keep her nails trimmed, and her coat brushed. Regular baths are important, too. Starting these routines when she is a puppy will make them less stressful as she gets older. You may want to step up your grooming game as your dog gets older and less active because she may no longer be as agile at keeping herself clean and groomed.
It’s important to start brushing your pup’s teeth every day from an early age. You can buy toothpaste specially made for dogs or simply use some baking soda mixed with water. Keeping up with this routine will ensure that your dog’s teeth remain strong and healthy as he gets older.
As soon as your young puppy is fully vaccinated, it’s great to expose her to as many new people and places as possible. This will make her more tolerant of unfamiliar situations. As your dog ages, be aware of her preferences. Some older dogs love having younger pups to play with; others get grumpy. Don’t put your senior dog into a situation that she can’t handle.
At every age, the loving care you give to your furry friend is bound to come back to you in years of unconditional love and companionship on life’s adventures.
Have you considered taking your cat along on your next long road trip?
We don’t always think of bringing our cats with us. Unlike dogs, they tend to be very independent animals who just want their own space.
But with some planning, it’s completely possible to bring your feline along to share your next adventure.
Here are some tips to make the trip as fun as possible for everyone.
Take Rest Breaks During Long Car Rides.
Cats usually do fine traveling by car. But if you’re going on a lengthy road trip lasting several days, your fur baby will need a rest break every few hours to drink some water and use the litter box.
Bring a Disposable Litter Box.
A small, compact litter box can be easily packed to take with you in the car. Don’t forget a litter scoop and scented waste bags to clean up after her. While a compact litter box is not an absolute must, it can make the trip a lot less stressful.
Don’t Forget the Vaccination Records.
Have paperwork from the veterinarian on hand that shows your cat’s vaccination records. You might also want to bring a health record along with you, especially if you’re traveling over state lines, in which case this is a requirement.
Check Ahead of Time On Hotel Policies.
It’s very important to get verbal confirmation over the phone that a hotel is pet-friendly before you show up there with your cat. You’ll also want to ask if the hotel charges an extra fee for hosting pets and whether they will allow you to leave your cat in the hotel room unsupervised.
If you do go out for a while to do some shopping, a SlumberPod Pet sleep solution can help make your cat feel comfy and secure while you’re away.
Help Your Cat Get Used to Riding.
Your cat’s first-ever road trip is not the time to get him used to riding in the car. Work your way up to it gradually, first by simply hanging out with your cat in the car while it’s parked in the yard and then having him accompany you on short trips in preparation for your big adventure.
Make Sure Your Cat Has ID Tags.
Your cat should be wearing identification tags on her harness or collar, clearly showing your name, address, and phone number. A microchip is also a good option.
Pack Extra Supplies.
If you’re planning on traveling regularly, it’s worth it to assemble a handy travel kit for your cat with everything you might need: leashes, treats, collapsible food and water bowls, cat food, and jackets for cold weather.
Despite your best efforts, some cats will find car rides so stressful that you might want to talk to your veterinarian about using a sedative or tranquilizer. Of course, this should only be an absolute last resort.
Keep Your Cat in His Carrier While Driving.
No one wants to believe that a car accident could happen while your pet is riding in the car with you, yet it is a real possibility. Just as we humans keep ourselves safe with seatbelts, your cat also needs to remain secure in her carrier whenever the car is moving.
Never Leave Your Cat Alone In the Car.
In warm weather, your car quickly heats up to a level that is dangerous for your pet. Plan activities carefully so that your cat can either accompany you or a family member can remain in the car with her.
With these guidelines, you and your cat will be well on your way to a memorable and fun trip.
If you’re planning to take your dog along with you on your next vacation, you’re not alone. Research shows that 37% of pet owners travel with their pets, in contrast to 19% of them only ten years ago.
As the travel industry adapts to these changes, more and more hotels, restaurants, and airlines are modifying their policies to accommodate our furry friends.
Here are the eleven things you need to know when planning to travel with your dog.
Bring copies of your dog’s health records.
If you’re traveling by plane, the airline will require records of all vaccinations. You’ll also need to give the airline a certification of health no more than ten days before your trip.
Call the airline to check requirements.
Airline policies regarding pets are constantly changing. It’s worth it to call ahead of time, as well as send the airline a confirmation email that your dog will be accompanying you.
Pack everything your dog will need.
Besides health records, you’ll also need waste bags for cleanup, as well as food, toys, medication, and food/water bowls. And of course, don’t forget your pet’s SlumberPod sleep solution to ensure that she remains calm and happy on the trip.
Take short car trips ahead of time.
Gradually work your way up to a long car trip. Start by simply sitting with your dog in the car, and then begin making short car trips so that he can become more comfortable riding with you.
Prevent car sickness.
Feed your dog three or four hours before your trip so she has plenty of time to digest. And when it’s time to eat again, pull over and stop until she’s finished.
Don’t leave your dog alone in your car.
It’s dangerous to leave your dog unattended in your car, especially in the summer months when it can quickly become an inferno. Ask a family member to stay with your dog if you need to leave him.
Make sure your dog has proper identification.
A permanent form of ID such as a microchip is ideal when you’re traveling with your dog. But if you don’t have this, at least make sure your dog has an ID tag showing your phone number and home address.
Don’t let your dog stick his head out of the car window.
Yes, we love to see a pup’s happy face, smiling in enjoyment out of an open car window. But though this might look charming, it can cause terrible injury, or even death, to your dog if you have to stop suddenly.
Bring drinking water for your dog.
Bringing your own supply of bottled drinking water ensures that your fur baby won’t get sick from drinking tap water in a strange place, which might not agree with him.
Don’t plan on traveling by train.
Amtrak only allows pets who weigh less than 25 pounds, ruling out most dogs. The European train system is a bit more dog-friendly, but it’s still worth checking with them ahead of time.
Your dog is your best friend and an ideal companion for all your adventures. With a bit of planning, you can make some great memories together.
Pets are expensive.
First, there are the necessities: food, collar, leash, bed, etc. Not to mention vet bills. These things are already expensive enough...but then there’s the fun stuff.
Even the most hardened misers become softies when it comes to spoiling their pets with toys, treats, and even cute clothes.
All of these purchases can really add up.
In fact, some pet parents spend more on their pets than they do on themselves.
And to be honest, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Life revolves around your pet’s needs.
Gone are the days when you could spontaneously go away for the weekend or agree to take an extra shift at work.
Now you have to plan and prepare carefully every time you go out of town.
You may need to call a dog-sitter or a reliable family member to come to help out if you’re going away or working long hours.
Or you can make arrangements to bring your pet with you.
Fortunately, SlumberPod for Pets is easy to take along with you wherever you go, so your pet won’t have to miss his favorite sleeping spot.
You can live in the moment.
Your pet is not concerned about her Keto diet or her 401k. Nor does she agonize about the embarrassing thing she said to a colleague three weeks ago. Pets only focus on the present moment. As long as your dog or cat is with you, she’s perfectly happy and content. She trusts that her immediate needs will be met, and she’s really not fussed about what’s going to happen next week or even an hour from now. This is an excellent lesson in mindfulness for the rest of us.
Playtime is important.
It’s a sad fact of existence: most of us humans have forgotten how to play. And that’s a shame.
Remember that glorious freedom you felt as a child running around on the playground? Remember when a game of tug-of-war or catch could make you laugh and smile?
Thanks to your pet, you can relive all that again.
Playing with your dog or cat helps you relax and release some of that icky human stress we all carry around with us.
Unconditional love is powerful.
Pet parents quickly realize that they would do absolutely anything for their adored companions.
And why not? After all, our pets love us unconditionally. So it’s only natural for us to return that love.
Your pet remains by your side during all the best and worst moments of life. And, of course, you’re right there with him in his ups and downs, too.
If it weren’t for our pets, we might never get to experience this kind of unconditional love. And how lonely would that be?
We’ve learned lots of valuable lessons from our pets. There’s no going back to the person we used to be.
After all, why would we ever want to?
To crate train...or not to crate train?
The debate rages on.
Some say that this form of training is cruel and inhumane. Others insist that it’s the best option for keeping dogs safe and secure while their owners are at work.
What’s the right answer?
Like most controversial issues, that answer is by no means simple and depends on your situation.
Here is our breakdown of the pros and cons of crate training, along with a few helpful tips.
Crate Training Pros
It simplifies potty training.
One of the most stressful things about raising a new puppy is toilet training. Accidents in the house are upsetting to everyone (including your dog). Since dogs won’t use the place they sleep as a toilet, this helps your puppy learn when and where it’s appropriate to go.
It provides your dog with his own space.
He may not be a person (let’s be honest, he’s better than a person), but your dog still needs personal space. A crate provides a type of “den,” in which your dog can safely go for refuge if he needs a break from the interaction. As long as the crate is comfortable and pleasant for your dog, he’ll go in it quite happily on his own.
It keeps her safe.
A crate (as long as you’ve picked the right one) makes it impossible for your dog to hurt herself. It protects her from chewing harmful substances, such as electrical cords, or making herself sick by getting into the trash.
Crate Training Cons
It can be dangerous to your dog.
It’s imperative to make sure that you’ve correctly assembled the crate; otherwise, it can collapse and hurt your furry friend. It’s also a good idea to remove his collar and leash before leaving him in the crate, to make sure he can’t get them caught on the bars, causing strangulation. Or you can choose SlumberPod for Pets, a crating solution that is easy to assemble and has no dangerous bars that your dog can get caught on.
It can be traumatic if she’s left in it too long.
How would you feel if you had to sit in a small confined space for eight hours every day? That’s just how your dog thinks about it, too. Spending too much time in her crate can leave your dog with an array of dysfunctional behaviors, just as it would do for you or me.
He might view it as a punishment.
If spending time in his crate is not a pleasurable experience for your dog, he may quickly come to see it as a punishment. If the crate is too small for your dog, or if he has had a bad experience with crates already, it’s not a good idea to leave him in it.
Make the crate a pleasant place.
You want your dog to consider the crate as her happy place, that she can go in and out of as she wants. Avoid shutting the door all the time or leaving her in the crate for long periods. Create a comfortable environment in the crate and help your pet associate it with positive things.
Consider hiring a dog walker.
Dogs should never be left in their crate for more than eight hours at a time. If you’re going to be gone for longer than this, it’s best to hire a professional dog walker to come in and walk your pooch while you’re at work.
Be sure to use the right size crate.
Select a crate with care. It should be small enough that your dog won’t use it as a toilet but big enough that he can stand or stretch out with ease.
If you want to try crate training your pup, SlumberPod for Pets offers a great solution. It allows you to create a safe, homey place for your best friend, no matter where you are.
When it’s time to start training, you may be confused by all the different training methods that exist.
You’ll find a variety, ranging from the traditional to the contemporary.
Some of these training methods, though different, have plenty of common ground, so that it’s hard to distinguish one from another.
Some rely on rewards, others on punishments, still others on balance between the two.
Which training method should you use with your dog?
Here’s our breakdown of the various training methods, with the pros and cons of each.
Alpha Dog/Dominance Training Method
This type of training focuses on establishing dominance. It’s based on the old-school idea that dogs perceive the family unit as a kind of “wolf pack” in which there can be only one “alpha.” Proponents of this method believe that owners must project authority by insisting that dogs never go first through a doorway or eat before their humans.
This traditional method is not as popular as it used to be and generally is considered outdated. But establishing yourself as a reassuring authority figure to your dog can be helpful in other kinds of training, too.
This is the most popular training method these days, often used by celebrities. The premise is an immediate reward for desired behavior, while unwanted behavior is ignored. One example of positive reinforcement is crate training; your dog gets a treat or a reward every time she enters the crate. (It helps if you have a relaxing, pleasant space like the SlumberPod Pet.)
Positive reinforcement requires plenty of time and patience but generally has good results.
The scientific method simply means keeping up with the latest research on dog psychology and behavior. Keeping up with this information can eat up a good chunk of time since scientists are making discoveries all the time. But if you’re diligent, you may find plenty of new knowledge about what works and doesn’t work in the dog training process.
In this type of training, a dog wears an electronic collar which automatically administers a shock or a splash of Citronella every time your dog engages in undesirable behavior. Owners have found this method helpful in teaching dogs to stay within their yard or to work in the field herding or hunting. However, this method can lead to anxiety issues in your dog and harm your relationship with him.
In this approach, dogs observe humans receiving rewards for positive behavior. The dog learns by example as he watches the same behaviors get rewarded over and over. It’s especially effective if your dog already has a strong bond with you. But this method is relatively complex and time-consuming and best used by a professional.
This method relies on your understanding of your dog’s personality and needs. You start with some simple commands, free of distraction or stress. Then, based on your dog’s response, you can gradually work your way up to more complex behaviors, always taking her personality into account.
This strategy is used alongside the Positive Reinforcement technique. Using a device called a “clicker,” you can make a noise that signals to your dog that he has completed the desired action. Pairing the “click” with a treat (or some other reward that is meaningful to your dog) will eventually cause your dog to form an automatic association between the action and the reward.
The choice of a style of dog training depends on your dog’s personality, the goals you want to achieve, and the amount of time you can invest in the training process.
With the proper training, you and your pooch will be well on your way to success.
Pets. They give you unconditional love. They provide companionship and fun.
And...they cost you a fortune.
Between vet bills, food, gear, boarding, and grooming, a pet can end up putting a significant hole in your budget throughout his life.
Of course, we love our pets so much, we don’t care how expensive they are.
But wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend just a little bit less on your beloved pet?
As much as we love our pets, no one wants to go broke because of them.
Here are some tips for saving money as a pet parent without skimping on what your fur baby needs.
Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs
If you subscribe to your favorite brands’ website and social media pages, you can often get first dibs on sales and coupons.
To maximize your savings from these programs, download any apps that your favorite pet stores might have for tracking points. Most boutiques and chain stores have loyalty programs. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can accrue points every time you make a purchase. Once you have enough points, you’ll be able to access some great discounts and freebies.
This strategy works best if you focus on one retailer rather than trying to spread your points out among many.
Make Your Own Pet Toys
How many times have you spent big money on a cat toy...only to find out that your cat just prefers playing with an old paper bag?
All you need is a little creativity to make toys that provide endless entertainment simply from objects lying around the house.
An old belt, a sock, or an old stuffed animal that your children no longer want can all become the stuff of a magical toy for your fur baby.
Keep Your Pet Healthy
The best way to avoid a hefty bill from the vet is by performing routine healthcare for your pet to keep her in the best of health.
Give your pet plenty of exercise every day to keep him fit. Provide consistent control of fleas and ticks. Also, be careful not to overfeed your pet since this can lead to diabetes (as well as more money spent on food.)
And, of course, regular visits to the veterinarian to keep up with vaccinations is a great investment since it prevents costly illnesses that are easy to avoid.
Start a Savings Account
No matter how conscientious you are as a pet parent, you are likely to confront unexpected veterinary bills at some point. An accident or an illness can deplete your funds quickly. To avoid being taken by surprise, many pet owners purchase health insurance for their pet. But this, too, is costly.
Instead, set up a savings account to defray any emergency costs. You can set it up with auto-save to automatically put aside a little every month. That way, you won’t be forced to choose between paying the rent or treating your beloved Fido for an injury.
By following these tips, you can absolutely be a devoted pet parent without breaking the bank.
And of course, don’t forget that SlumberPod offers plenty of cost-effective solutions to make life with your pet happy, healthy, and...affordable.
Social media. Sometimes we love it...sometimes we hate it.
It can be a major distraction but also a helpful tool.
Pinterest, for example, is an amazingly helpful platform for pet owners if you know how to use it.
By following the right boards, you can transform your Pinterest feed into a treasure trove of great information, advice, recipes, and plain pet-themed fun.
Here are our picks for the best pet-themed Pinterest boards to follow right now.
This board will inspire you to build your storage solution for dog care supplies, to find creative and exciting ideas for games and exercise, and even how to make your own dog treats. It makes life with dogs a lot simpler and a lot more fun.
Even the best dogs come with their share of behavior challenges. Whether the issue is separation anxiety or over-reacting to others during daily walks, you will find a solution on this informative dog training board.
3. I Love Dogs
When it comes to cute dog photos and memes, there’s no such thing as too much. When you’re tired of all the bad news and negativity in the world, enjoy the cute pictures on this board for some much-needed relief.
4. Top Dog Tips
If you’ve got a dog, you’ve got questions. What brand of dog food is best? Why does my dog insist on sleeping close to me every night? What will happen if my dog keeps stealing the cat’s food? This Pinterest board has answers to those pressing problems that keep you up at night.
This is another excellent site for practical advice. Find suggestions for choosing a dog trainer, keeping your dog entertained indoors, and giving your puppy her very first bath (plus much more).
Find links to a mix of heartwarming stories, practical advice, and cute dog memes. The magazine keeps you posted on adoption and rescue stories, along with ideas of ways you can help.
7. Dog Breeds
Maybe you’re curious about which breed of dog you should adopt next. Or perhaps you just enjoy learning about the differences among the various breeds. Either way, this board is an excellent source of education about dog breeds.
8. Puppy Leaks
This board offers a nice mix of entertainment (inspiring dog quotes, anyone?) and practicality (how to get your dog to walk nicely on a leash). You’ll find dog healthcare tips, DIY project ideas, training tips, and just about anything else you can think of.
The name says it all. The funny quotes and sweet photos will remind you every day why dogs really are your favorite people. Sometimes, when you’ve had a long hard day, it’s nice to be reminded that at least one “person” loves you unconditionally. (You knew that anyway, but the reminder is nice to have.)
This yummy board features thousands of dog treat recipes that are sure to get tails wagging! Bonus: most of the recipes are simple and easy to make!
Hopefully, these boards give you a place to start to become a happier and more informed dog owner.
Everyone knows the phrase “Man’s Best Friend” and automatically knows it refers to dogs. Cats, on the other hand, definitely tend to get the short end of the stick.
I personally grew up in a household that only loved dogs, so when I fell in love with a tiny kitten that needed adopting, I asked if I could foster him first to make sure I could even be a “cat mom.” Needless to say, he stayed with me, and he now has a cat brother.
It can be daunting to switch from dogs to cats or vise versa, so here are the ten things I’ve learned from owning both a dog and a cat.
1. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks; a cat, on the other hand …
Dogs aim to please. They are genuinely motivated to please their owners, and treats help with that motivation. I was always able to teach dogs tricks no matter their age by repeating the action wanted, followed by a reward (treat)—my cats, on the other hand, totally different story. While my dog knew as many tricks as I could think of, my cats maybe know one (if they feel like doing it).
So, can cats be trained? Absolutely! It just takes learning what truly motivates them and catching them at the “right time.” Some cats love treats, other love cuddles - so after you can determine their specific motivating factor, you can work on teaching them a trick. However, don’t be surprised if they do it five times in a row, one day on command, and then the next day, look at you like you’re crazy.
I’ve learned you have to have patience with both cats and dogs when teaching new tricks, but even more patience with cats.
2. Once you are a cat person, you’ll always be a cat person
I was anxious I wouldn’t love the sweet little kitten I took home as much as a puppy because I had never been around cats much before. However, after only having the kitten for a few weeks, I was already laughing at cat videos, purchasing “meow” shirts, and planning to adopt another one in the future. Having a cat as a pet automatically opens the door to this secret world of understanding and loving cats. So if you’re planning to adopt just one, prepare yourself for more in your future.
3. Don’t judge a pet by its category
All pets, including both cats and dogs, are different. Each one has their unique personality, even if they may carry certain traits from their label. I had this preconceived notion that all cats will suddenly turn on a dime and hiss, scratch, or attack even their loved ones. People also have preconceived ideas about dogs, significantly if they never grew up with them. I’ve learned that training, environment, and education are critical factors in understanding or impacting a particular pet’s behavior.
4. Dog breeds vs. cat breeds
While it is typical for people to focus on the breed of the dog when purchasing or adopting, the emphasis on breed is less important for cat owners. The most common cat breeds are short/long/medium-haired domestic, with an occasional Maine coon or siamese. Then within those cat breeds are other defining categories such as tuxedo, tortoiseshell, and calico. This organizational structure for cat breeds can be confusing when comparing it to dogs because dogs don’t have categories within breeds; dog breeds are within categories. For example, the West Highland White Terrier breed is within the Terrier category. Don’t be mistaken, though; just like with dogs, there are popular cat breeds out there that cost thousands of dollars. In the end, no matter what type of pet you are purchasing, you have to determine if their breed is significant for you.
As a previous dog mom to a white dog, baths were a frequent occurrence, along with trips to the groomer for hair cuts and nail trims. Daily or weekly brushing was also a must to help avoid any matting of the hair. So, when I became a proud cat mom, I was surprised to learn that I didn’t have to bathe or schedule grooming.
Cats groom themselves, and they take pride in keeping their coat clean, so baths by you are generally not needed. Cats also only require trips to the groomers if they are long-haired and/or have issues maintaining their coat (health problems, age, weight, etc.). Also, grooming a cat is much more dangerous than grooming a dog because a cat’s skin is very thin and can be easily cut - so make sure the groomer has experience.
Although you may not have to schedule a trip to the groomers with your cat, you will still want to brush them frequently and trim their nails at home like dog owners. Because cats have retractile claws, you will need to push the nail out to view when cutting. Whether you are trimming cat or dog claws, please speak with your vet so they can show you the proper way to do it to avoid injuring your pet. Frequent brushing for your cat also helps with the number of hairballs - which will not only benefit your cat but your floors.
6. Exercise differences
No matter what breed dog you have, daily exercise, including walks, is essential. A dog’s nature is to travel long distances over long periods, so expect to exercise your dog for a much longer time needed than a cat. In contrast, a cat’s nature is to exercise in short bursts - exerting a lot of energy at once and then resting the rest of the day. The easiest way to relate is to think of a lion in the wild stalking his prey, quickly running, pouncing, and then sleeping the rest of the time (there’s a reason the big cats are always sleeping at the zoo, and the wolves in their enclosure are pacing). Regardless of the type of pet you own, it is vital to spend the time needed to make sure your furry friend gets daily exercise; otherwise, your pet may start to display adverse behavioral problems.
7. Life expectancy
As much as we wish our pets wouldn’t have to cross the rainbow bridge, it is inevitable. Dogs seem to have varying life expectancies based on their size (the smaller the breed, the longer the life expectancy). Cats’ life expectancies tend to be varied based on their living conditions (an indoor cat’s life expectancy is more than doubled compared to an outdoor cat’s). Proper exercise, diet, and regular veterinary care help your furry companion live their best life.
8. "Potty" training
Once puppies are using "the bathroom" on their own, you can begin potty training with puppy pads or frequent outside visits. It can take a few weeks for a puppy to learn what you are asking of them, but similar to the “tricks” section, treats are a great incentive to help speed up the process.
Kittens, on the other hand, have an instinct to want to “cover or hide” their business, so using a litter box is entirely instinctual and requires very little or no training at all. Keep all of this in mind when determining what type of pet you would like and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to potty training.
Because most cats use a litter box inside and are relatively independent by nature, leaving your cat home alone for a day or two is doable if you are traveling. Just make sure the litter box is clean and that the cat has access to plenty of food and fresh water. It never hurts to have someone swing by to check on them, though!
Dogs, however, require a little more maintenance, mainly because they go outside for the bathroom. Most dog owners will look into having a dog sitter, boarding, or having the pet travel with them.
If you decide to travel with your cat or dog, make sure you pack your SlumberPod Pet, so they have a familiar space to relax.
10. Love is love
If you’re unsure about adopting a particular type of pet, fostering is a great answer, plus it benefits the animal as well! Reach out to your local shelter to determine the requirements needed to become a foster and prepare your heart and home for a “foster fail.”
Whether you are a lover of purrs or wagging tails, all pets deserve love at the end of the day.
Lindsey Negard is the Marketing Manager at SlumberPod and SlumberPod Pet. She lives in Columbus, GA, with her son Michael and two cats Tuxedo and Tigger. Lindsey volunteered for a veterinary clinic for a few years and was a volunteer photographer for a local animal shelter. She hopes to one day adopt a Golden Retriever.
Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod Pet (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees and/or contractors.
If you love finding unique items to spoil your pet, the online shops at Etsy are loads of fun.
But with hundreds of pet-themed Etsy stores in existence and more being created every day, it can be hard to know where to start.
That’s why we’re here to help.
Here are our picks for the best pet-focused Etsy stores.
A store specializing in stunning leather bracelets and colorful stone jewelry also creates customized ID tags for pets. They come engraved with your pet’s name in a variety of fun shapes and designs. You can even order one specially engraved with your pet’s portrait.
These cat beds, designed to look like plush moccasins or sherpa suede sneakers, have a ton of character and make a great comfy sleeping spot. Remember that the best sleep solution for dogs is SlumberPod Pets, which allow privacy and can be carried with you on the go.
What better souvenir of your pet could you have than a beautifully rendered portrait? The artists at Swish and Wag capture every detail of your furry friend, even to that special light in his eyes. You can display any of these portraits proudly in your home or office for years to come.
One of the most significant challenges pet owners face is keeping active dogs entertained while working on home projects. This store sells DIY gym equipment for your pet. Easy to put together, you can choose from a variety of setups for home agility training.
These unique and adorable dog and cat ID tags come in all kinds of shapes, including bones, fish, and circles. They can be engraved with your pet’s name as well as a variety of designs. A delicate paw print or a moon and star design are just a few of the options.
This store takes the notion of pet portraits one step further by placing your furry friend within a Van Gogh painting, in a museum, on a chessboard, or in a variety of fun, whimsical settings. You’ll have fun shopping for the perfect background to make your pet the subject of an unusual and striking piece of art.
This store creates many different colors, sizes, and styles of pet ID tags. You can choose a colorful aluminum tag in red, green, blue, purple, or yellow. Or you can opt for a sturdier stainless steel tag. Both styles allow up to eight lines of engraved text.
This shop started as a platform for displaying stately dogs. But it has since evolved to become a charming Etsy store featuring high-end dog accessories. Among the offerings: a wool dog blanket, a selection of leather collars in multiple colors with brass or silver details, and handmade dog cushions, which can be placed inside your dog’s SlumberPod crate for the ultimate in both luxury and privacy.
Admit it. You secretly love the idea of dressing up your pooch for the next formal event in a jaunty bow tie. This Etsy store offers a nice variety of dog bow ties, in designs ranging from traditional (champagne color suitable for a wedding) to whimsical (dinosaur print, anyone?).
Whether you seek a stylish painting or a unique cat bed, there’s something on Etsy for every pet lover out there. Enjoy!