Counter Surfing 101
Ahh, the kitchen counters…what’s the appeal? Do you have that one dog, no matter what you seem to do, seems to always be getting in trouble for getting onto the counter? Have you ever brought home dinner only to have it suddenly disappear when you turn your back? If so, you have a counter surfer! Counter Surfing can be extremely dangerous for your dog’s especially if you leave utensils (sharp knives) or foods out that are toxic to your pets such as chocolate, onions, garlic, some fruits – grapes, stone fruits (if your dog bites open and ingests the pit) just to name a few.
Just as pizza smells oh so good to you, it has the same effect for your dog except the scent is intensified thousands of times making their want to get at the food that much more amped up. As the holidays approach, and as pet owners, its our responsibility to make sure your dog is trained to stay off the counters where they cannot access foods they should not be consuming which can cause severe digestive issues. A simple command to teach your dog is the “leave it” command. I can leave an entire plate of food on a low table tell my dog to “leave it”, come back and my plate of food will still be there. This one command can help save your dog’s life. I have personally trained my dogs to stay out of the kitchen, they are only allowed into the kitchen if they are given a command or a hand gesture. If you are at your wits end because everything you have tried has failed, you might want to contact a certified pet trainer who can provide you with assistance to correct this action.
Just as dogs counter surf, so do cats. However, your friendly feline may wait until you are out of the room or out of the house entirely. If you think your cat does not counter surf, you are mistaken! Cats have a different mentality than dogs if they are awake, they are hunting. Have you ever heard the phrase, curiosity killed the cat? If you have a cat, you have a hunter and what better place to hunt then where the humans spend time chopping and preparing foods. Cats are also notorious for knocking stuff off counters just because they can. You can’t change this behavior no matter how much you try its built into them.
Danger lurks not only within the foods you leave on the counters but with your utensils. An open sharp knife can be just as dangerous as a piece of chocolate or garlic to your pet. Since we know cats like to knock things off the counter, could you imagine your cat knocking off a sharp knife that accidentally lands on another pet on the floor? Please do your due diligence in making sure your counters are clear from tempting foods and knives that can potentially injure your pets.
Annual Check-ups/Teeth Cleaning
Fall is a great time to do your pets annual check-up and or teeth cleaning. Its not too hot or too cold outside and some veterinarians even offer discounts during this time of the year which can save owners a lot of money on their vaccines and routine care. The only vaccine required by law in Florida is the Rabies vaccine which is accompanied with a “Tag for Life” registration for your pet, you have the option of a 1- or 3-year vaccine. Annual check-ups are also a great way for your vet to find issues that you normally would not notice as pets are great at masking symptoms – it all comes down to the survival of the fittest, you try to appear healthy they won’t take you to the vet! Your vet will also check your pets teeth and let you know if they are in need of cleaning.
Contact your local veterinarian to see if they have specials on check-ups or teeth cleanings!
The Dreaded Pet Carrier and Your Cat
This is a bone of contention in my home with my semi-feral cats. Some of my cats love their carrier, some do not! However, I am trying to change this for all my pets. Carriers typically mean one of a two things to a cat. One you are either moving them from place to place (adoption or surrender or evacuation due to a hurricane or earthquake), or a trip to the vet. All of which are stressful to your cat and can cause serious injury to the owner. I have been sliced open on more than one occasion attempted to put my 20lb Maine Coon in a carrier for a trip to the vet. So, what do you do?
I am not affiliated with nor have any association with Jackson Galaxy but his techniques work! He is the Cat Daddy after all
Here is a link to his short video and I have briefly outlined the steps below
Jackson Galaxy - My Cat from Hell - How to Get Your Cat Into a Pet Carrier
1. If you have a hard-sided carrier, break it down by taking off the top
2. Turn your carrier into a bed – put your cats bed into the bottom half of the carrier or put an old piece of your clothing in the carrier so the cat can sleep on it and be comforted (scent-soaker)
3. Place it in a social area – this needs to be a positive place
4. Treat with a “jackpot” treat for good behavior – them going into the carrier – only treat in when they are in the carrier
5. Put the lid back on – continue with steps 2-4 making it a safe place for your cat
6. Add the door back on – this may take longer than getting the cat into the carrier (Step 2) once they feel safe try closing the door for a short period of time, then opening it.
I have followed these steps, and I am making progress towards eliminating the fear most cats associate with their carrier. I consider this a mark in the win column!
Fleas & Ticks
Autumn is here! Unfortunately so are fleas and ticks. Unlike many of our northern states our flea and tick season is year-round, just ask anyone with a pet. Please protect your pets and home from these unwanted critters and the diseases they can carry.
Consult with your local veterinarian and come up with a plan-of-attack before fleas and ticks take over your home and make fall miserable for not only your pets but for the homeowner also. It is more taxing on our pets and more expensive to treat after they are infected, or your home is infested with fleas.
Please take the proactive approach and protect your pet and home.
There are a lot of new oral medications that are working to control the infestation of fleas from entering your home when the traditional topical medications fail to work.
Another pesky critter that resides here year-round is the mosquito. Mosquitos carry a variety of diseases, not just heartworm. Encephalitis, a brain infection, is another known disease carried by mosquitos. The virus and bacteria transmitted by one single bite and can be potentially fatal to both humans and their pets. Make sure you are protecting both yourself and your pets this year.
As with fleas and ticks, please make sure your pet is on a monthly heartworm medication. This will make sure that even if your pet happens to become part of their meal, that your pet will not become a statistic.
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