Cat Communication: What Is My Cat Saying?
Do you ever get the feeling your cat is trying to tell you something? Of course you do, because your furry friend is speaking to you with every purr, stretch, and twitch. But, since you’re a human, you likely have no clue what your cat is trying to communicate, and if you guess wrong, you might end up with one frustrated feline. Therefore, read on for some of the most common types of cat communication. You may have already noticed some of them from your curious kitty.
What Your Cat Is Saying with Her Body
Cats communicate mostly through their bodies and gestures. They have tons of absolutely adorable antics, from the upside-down glance as they roll onto their backs to the playful swats at irresistible laser pointers. But, they also have several gestures and positions they don’t mean to be cute, like a bristled tail or a stiff stance with an arched back.
For example, if your cat arches her back but is standing to the side, she’s likely nervous or scared. Although she might be willing to fight, she’s more likely to flee to somewhere she feels safe in this situation. However, if your cat arches her back and is standing face to face with another cat (or someone or something else), she’s saying she’s ready to fight.
Conversely, if your kitty relaxes her body or rolls on her back, she’s telling you she trusts you and feels at ease. Also, if she starts kneading her paws on your lap, she’s saying she’s perfectly content. Of course, you might not feel the same if your cat has sharp claws, so make sure to give her plenty of ways to keep them in good shape.
If you’re really feeling motivated to up your communication with your feline friend, you could give speech buttons a try. This recent tool involves a series of buttons, each representing something different, that you train your cat to press when she wants something. Amazing, right
If buttons aren’t your thing, here’s a look at what your cat is trying to say with all of her different poses and positions.
Talking with the Tail
Your cat’s tail might be one of the best ways to read what she’s thinking and feeling. In fact, she uses it so much, that if you notice her suddenly not moving it at all, something could be wrong. If your cat stops wagging or moving her tail, ensure she doesn’t have any tail injuries.
Here are a few common tail positions and motions and what they mean:
Low Tail -- If your cat is holding her tail low, she is likely telling you she is feeling scared or wary of something.
Bristled Tail -- Your cat bristles her tail to tell you she’s scared or ready to fight. The best way to tell which is the case is to pay attention to what the rest of her body is doing. Often, cat communication involves several different body parts doing certain things. For example, an upright, bristled tail along with an arched back and exposed claws is your cat’s way of saying, “You better get out of here, right now.”
Trailing Tail -- If your cat simply trails her tail behind her, not holding it high or low, she is most likely feeling relaxed.
Tucked Tail -- When your cat tucks her tail between her legs or below her body, she’s trying to tell you she feels anxious or worried.
High-held Tail -- If your cat holds her tail high, but it’s relaxed and not stiff, she’s feeling confident, just like when you tell a friend to hold her head up high.
Talking with the Ears
As a human, you have many ways to communicate, but it’s a pretty good assumption that you don’t do so with your ears. However, when it comes to your cat, she can actually tell you quite a bit with her ears.
Ears Pricked Forward -- Your cat is telling you that something has caught her attention. Whatever it is, she is on alert and ready to investigate.
Ears Relaxed Forward -- Your cat is saying she’s on alert but feeling relaxed.
Ears Held Back -- In some cases, this could be as simple as your cat heard something behind her, but it usually means she’s anxious or feels threatened.
Ears Held Back and Flat Against the Head -- Basically, your cat is saying, “back off.” She feels scared or angry, and if she feels threatened, she is likely to scratch or get aggressive to get out of the situation.
Ears Held Down and to the Side -- Your feline friend is telling you that she’s happy and content. Especially if she’s also purring and her eyes look sleepy.
Talking with the Eyes
The eyes are how many different animals, including humans, express their emotions and communicate various messages. Your cat is no exception. Here are a few popular ways that your cat speaks with her eyes.
Wide Eyes -- Wide eyes mean your cat is on alert. Pay attention to the rest of her body language to decide if she’s alert and relaxed or if she’s feeling antsy or threatened.
Narrowed Eyes -- If your cat’s eyes are narrowed, she is on alert but likely scared, or she can potentially get aggressive. Again, it’s vital to assess all of her different body cues to determine the case.
Sleepy Eyes -- If your cat’s eyes are closed or barely open, she’s telling you she is feeling super relaxed.
Dilated Pupils -- Your cat’s pupils can dilate if she’s excited or if she’s scared. However, narrow pupils can signal a mad kitty. Of course, her eyes could also merely be responding to the light in the room, which is why considering her overall body language is so essential.
Talking with the Whiskers
Yes, even your cat’s whiskers are trying to tell you something. Here are the most common ways your cat tells it like it is with her whiskers.
Bristled Whiskers -- Typically, bristled whiskers signal that your cat is scared or about to fight. However, she would usually give off some other signs as well, like a stiff, upright tail and arched back.
Forward Whiskers -- Your cat is telling you that she sees something that has her on alert, whether it’s food or a threat.
Whiskers Held Back -- Your cat is saying she feels relaxed and calm.
In addition to this popular cat lingo, your cat also has numerous ways to tell you she loves you. Unfortunately, not all of them might feel too good. For example, she might gently bite you (like a cat does when it grooms a kitten). Other ways your cat shows affection is by butting her head against you, and if she rubs her nose or cheek against you, she’s claiming you. Yep, that’s right; she’s marking her territory and saying, “This human is mine!”
Cat Chat: Get the Message?
Just like humans, your cat also talks with her voice, although perhaps not as much as with her body; you just need to learn her language. Cats communicate with various sounds, including meows, purrs, hisses, and other interesting noises. Each trill, rumble, and mew means something, and many pair with different body positions and gestures to expand your cat’s communication skills.
What’s in a Meow? -- Cats basically meow to tell their humans they want or need something. Typically, this is more food or water in their dish, affection, or they want to play. You won’t usually hear cats meowing to each other in conversation, although they use other sounds to talk to their feline friends.
Warning Words -- When your cat hisses, it’s exactly what you expect, a warning. However, you can use this knowledge to your advantage. If your curious kitty is up to something she shouldn’t be, give her a hiss. You’ll likely distract her, and she’ll stop the undesired behavior.
If you come across a cat you don’t know and receive a hiss, don’t push the issue. One scratch from a feral cat could lead to rabies and other issues.
If your cat emits a loud, rising yowl sound that seems to go up and down in intensity, she’s ready to fight. However, if it sounds more subdued, your cat might be trying to tell you she’s uncomfortable or not feeling well...or about to cough up a hairball.
Pleasant Purrs -- Although your cat might produce a type of raspy sounding purr if she’s injured, usually, a purr signals ultimate trust and satisfaction. Your cat will purr when she’s relaxed, happy, and perfectly content with how things are going in her world. In fact, she might be so peaceful; she’ll fall asleep.
You might sometimes hear your cat give a short little purr, often to another cat. This is the equivalent of you telling a good friend hello. Your kitty also may use this sound as a reply when you speak to her.
Of course, every cat is unique and will have her unique ways of telling you how she feels, but most cats follow this basic cat code. Once you know what your furry friend is trying to say to you, your relationship can get even better. (Now, if only she could scoop her litter box). For more ways to help be the best pet parent you can be, make sure to check out the rest of our blog. You’ll always find something useful and interesting to learn about your precious pets.
- Fernando Becattini
An Overview of Health Issues in Popular Dog Breeds
When you get a new dog, one of the factors you likely consider is potential health problems within the breed. While many pups are generally healthy, there are still varying health issues in dogs that are more prevalent in certain breeds over others. Therefore, when selecting your future canine companion, it’s worth noting what, if any, health conditions he’s prone to. Then, you can know exactly how to best care for your precious pup.
10 of the Most Popular Dog Breeds and Their Top Health Issues
Of course, there are over 200 dog breeds, each with unique qualities and predispositions. Some of these breeds are relatively rare, while others are extremely popular. It’s essential to note that just because specific health issues are common in some breeds, it does NOT mean that all dogs of that breed will have those particular health problems.
Here is a snapshot of 10 of the most popular dog breeds in the United States and the health issues that are most common in the breed:
The Lab’s most common health problems are hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, Hyperthyroidism, seizures, and cancer.
Some of the most common issues among German Shepherds are hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, Pancreatitis, Degenerative Myelopathy, Perianal Fistula, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), UTIs, and cancer.
The Golden’s common health issues include cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, Epilepsy, luxating patella, skin problems, ear infections, eye issues, Von Willebrand’s’ Disease, and Hyperthyroidism.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Some of this breed’s more common health concerns include Intervertebral Disc Disease, hip dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Degenerative Myelopathy, Von Willebrand’s Disease, and Epilepsy.
A Closer Look at Common Health Issues in Dogs
Health issues in dogs are not necessarily a significant cause for alarm. After all, many conditions can be somewhat mild or treated easily with lifestyle changes or medication. However, some health problems are more severe and demand more rigorous (and often expensive) attention.
Here is a closer look at the health issues mentioned above and what exactly they entail:
Addison’s Disease -- Dogs with Addison’s produce low amounts of hormones. It affects young, female dogs most often. Signs can include depression, appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea, and weakness. Stress can make these symptoms worse since one of the hormones that the dog produces less of is cortisol, which typically helps deal with stress.
Allergies -- Your pup could have a food allergy, seasonal allergies, or an allergic reaction to a medication. The only way to know for sure is a visit to the vet and proper testing. However, common signs of allergies are red and itchy eyes and skin, bald spots, excessive self-biting or scratching, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Arthritis -- This inflammation of the joints can come on with age or result from certain injuries or other health conditions, like hip dysplasia. Typically, you can manage your pup’s arthritis with medication.
Bloat -- This is a life-threatening condition that you need to address right away. When the stomach fills with fluid or gas, it starts to expand and presses on nearby organs. It can lead to reduced blood flow, heart problems, stomach issues, and breathing issues. Sometimes bloat can be due to fast eating, so if your dog tends to gobble down his food in one gulp, a slow-feed bowl could be a good idea.
Cancer -- Several different cancers affect dogs, and they range in severity and treatability. Luckily, nowadays, there are more ways to help dogs with cancer, including medication, surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.
Cardiomyopathy -- This is when the heart muscle loses the ability to contract normally, and it’s a major cause of heart disease in dogs. Typically it affects large breed dogs more than small ones.
Cherry Eye and Other Eye Issues -- Several eye issues can plague many pups, including Dry Eye Disease, corneal ulcers (scratches on the eye), and cherry eye. Cherry eye is when the tear-producing gland in the third eyelid protrudes, showing up as a red bulge near the bottom of your pup’s eye. When the gland stays out, it can lead to dry eye issues and become nonfunctioning. Although sometimes medications can help, surgery is often needed to fix the problem altogether.
Collapsing Trachea -- Typically affecting toy breeds and small dogs, this is when the rings of cartilage in the trachea start to collapse on each other. Your dog might make a honking cough sound.
Degenerative Myelopathy -- This chronic condition is when the spinal cord begins to deteriorate over time. It might appear as a weakness in the back limbs, leading to paralysis in the hind legs and eventually the front legs.
Ear Infections -- If your dog starts to shake his head, hold his head to one side, or scratch at his ears non-stop, he might have an ear infection. You might also notice discharge or a smelly odor coming from his ear. Ear infections can be due to many reasons, but if left untreated, can cause major issues, so address them quickly.
Elongated Soft Palate -- This is when the soft palate (the roof of the mouth) extends into the airway, causing interference with air trying to enter the lungs. If your dog is coughing or gagging or having trouble breathing, then you’ll need to talk to your vet about surgery to correct the problem.
Epilepsy and Seizures -- Sometimes inherited, sometimes due to trauma to the brain, and sometimes due to an unknown cause; Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological problems in dogs. It can lead to seizures of varying intensity and requires a vet diagnosis to determine the proper course of treatment.
Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia -- Hip dysplasia is a looseness in the hip joint that can lead to mobility problems. Signs can range from limping to hesitation to jump or run to hip pain.
Hyperthyroidism and Other Thyroid Issues -- Hyperthyroidism results in an overproduction of the hormone that increases your dog’s metabolism. This can send your dog into hyperdrive. Different issues affect the thyroid, so a trip to the vet is warranted if you suspect a thyroid problem.
Internalized Tail (Screw Tail) -- This is when vertebrae in the tail fuse together, causing various issues, including tail immobility, anal obstruction, and skin infections in the anal area. Some mild cases can be handled with medication and proper care, while more serious conditions may result in amputation of the tail.
Intervertebral Disc Disease -- Intervertebral discs are found between each vertebra, connecting the vertebrae and providing shock absorption. Sometimes one of these discs can start to degenerate or protrude into the spinal column or act in other abnormal ways. This can lead to pain, loss of feeling in the limbs, and paralysis.
Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease -- This is when the blood supply to the top of the thigh bone (that rests in the hip socket) becomes interrupted, leading to the bone cells’ death. The bone may then try to reform once blood flow starts up again but now has trouble fitting appropriately in the hip socket, leading to pain and stiffness in the joint.
Luxating Patella and Shoulder -- This is when the kneecap or shoulder slides in and out of place. It can cause a lot of discomfort and significantly impair your dog’s mobility. Although mild cases might not need treatment, others require surgery.
Obesity -- Obesity is one of the most common dog health problems, but it’s also very preventable. Ensure your pup gets a nutritious diet and proper exercise, as obesity can lead to a slew of health problems.
Pancreatitis -- A condition that develops when the pancreas, which helps regulate blood sugar, becomes inflamed. Some signs include appetite loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. This condition has many causes, including a reaction to a certain drug or certain foods, so it’s best to see a vet who can rule out various possibilities.
Perianal Fistula -- This condition is categorized by lesions and sores around the anus that can greatly reduce your dog’s quality of life if left untreated.
Portosystemic Shunts -- This is typically an inherited issue that results in the liver being unable to grow to its proper size due to interruptions in blood flow from other organs. It is usually only fixed with surgery.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy -- An inherited disease in which the retina degenerates over time, leading to vision loss.
Retinal Dysplasia -- A viral infection or trauma can cause this condition, or it can be inherited. It is when the retina has some sort of abnormal development, and it can vary in severity.
Skin Issues -- Hot spots, allergies, inflammation, parasites; these are just a few of the possible things that can lead to skin issues. If your pup’s skin is red, itchy, flaky, or he’s scratching or biting at himself, take him to the vet to get to the root of the problem.
Stenotic Nares -- Stenotic Nares is a genetic condition often found in brachycephalic breeds, resulting in narrow nostrils that can eventually make it difficult to breathe.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) -- If your pup is frequently peeing or seems really thirsty, he might have a UTI. Other signs could be extreme tiredness or blood in his urine. Don’t dismiss your pup’s abnormal potty habits as bad behavior; bring him to the vet.
Von Willebrand’s Disease -- The von Willebrand Factor (vWF) protein is a protein in the blood that is responsible for controlling bleeding from a blood vessel. A dog that has inherited this disease lacks this protein. Bleeding issues can be mild to severe, and you need to manage them accordingly.
Other Common Health Issues in Dogs
On top of the specific issues mentioned above, some very common health problems dogs can have are vomiting, diarrhea, and dental disease. Many things can cause vomiting and diarrhea, like gastrointestinal problems, your dog eating something toxic or that doesn’t agree with him, or more serious conditions. Your dog can also experience gastrointestinal issues from things like tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and more.
Dental disease is more likely in some breeds over others, but it’s essential to take care of your dog’s teeth, no matter what breed he is. Your dog’s teeth play a significant role in his overall health. You should schedule annual dental checkups for your pup and brush his teeth regularly.
As with any health concern, if your pup is showing signs of illness or discomfort, your best course of action is to contact your vet as soon as possible. For more information about how to take care of your pup and to learn more about everything pet-related, check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find all sorts of interesting resources and products designed to help you be the best pet parent you can be.
- Fernando Becattini
Dog Park Etiquette: Is Your Dog Ready?
If you think your dog could benefit from a trip to the dog park, then it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with some basic dog park 101, dos, and don'ts. Dog parks are a great place for pups to be social, play, and blow-off steam. Plus, they can be an excellent way for you to meet fellow dog lovers and establish some regular pup playdates. However, if you're going to bring your pooch to the park, ensure you and your canine companion know how to be model guests by staying up-to-date on dog park etiquette.
Pros and Cons of Going to the Dog Park
Like most things, a visit to the dog park has its good points and not-so-good points. It's up to you as a responsible pet parent to know what the pros and cons are and decide if going to the dog park is right for you and your pup.
Dog Park Pros
Socializing with Other Dogs -- Dog parks are an excellent way for dogs to interact with other pups and be social. However, it’s essential that you socialize your pup properly before introducing him to the dog park; the park is not the place to work on socialization.
Bonding Time with Your Pup -- You and your pup can have some fun bonding and playing together when you visit the park. Of course, your dog is simply happy to be with you no matter where you are, but a dog park provides ample space to interact with your dog off-leash.
Exercise -- Obviously, the ability to run around off-leash also gives your pup plenty of exercise, far beyond what he could get on a walk around the block.
Stimulation -- Many dog parks include various features like doggy tunnels, hurdles, and other equipment that can add some challenging and stimulating tasks to your pup’s day.
Dog Park Cons
Health Issues -- A dog park can be a prime place for your dog to pick up a slew of bacteria and parasites, fleas, and things like tick bites, which can cause Lyme Disease. You can combat some of this by ensuring your pup is up-to-date on all of his vaccinations and giving him monthly flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Also, don’t let your pup drink from any communal water bowl. Instead, bring a doggy dish from home that you can fill as needed at the water station. Some parks require visitors to register and show proof of vaccinations before they can use the park. Sometimes, they may even charge a small annual fee. However, steps like this can ensure a healthier and safer environment for your pup to play.
Potential Accidents and Injuries -- When you put many dogs together, it’s not uncommon for accidents to happen. A fight can break out, a dog can get hurt, or you can end up with a dog bite yourself. Although many doggy duels end as quickly as they start, some can get pretty nasty and scary and require intervention. When this happens, it can result in injury to both dogs and humans.
Dog Park Dos
Before you head to the park, make sure you're ready to practice proper dog park etiquette.
Ensure you do these things when enjoying the dog park:
Clean up after your dog. Many dog parks provide poop-pick-up stations, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own waste disposal bags, just in case.
Try to visit the park when it’s not super busy. If a park is overcrowded, there’s more potential for problems.
Make sure you take the time to train and socialize your dog. Dog parks are not the place to train your pup or let him get used to other dogs. This needs to happen prior to your first dog park adventure.
Bring your own water bowl for your pup. Using a communal bowl can spread bacteria, disease, and other parasites. If you don’t want to carry too much with you, consider a collapsible travel bowl.
Enter slowly and remove your pup’s leash. Most dog parks feature a double-gated entry for safety. Before you enter the park, wait for the area to be clear, then go through the first gate. Give your pup (and the other dogs) some time to adjust to your dog’s arrival, then go through the second gate. As soon as you get in the park, take off your dog’s leash, so he feels free to roam.
Watch your dog. While the dog park might be a good place to meet a fellow dog owner with the perfect playmate for your pup, it’s not the place for you to socialize. Your eyes should be on your dog at all times, so you can recognize any possible signals that he is nervous, uncomfortable, or just wants to go home. For example, if your small pup would rather hang out between your legs then run around, it’s probably best to leave. Some parks have separate areas for large dogs and small dogs, so if your pup seems nervous, try staying in the small dog area and see if that changes things.
Dog Park Don'ts
It’s also important to know what you shouldn’t do when you head to the dog park:
Don’t bring treats or toys with you. Not all dogs get the idea of sharing. It’s best to keep food items out of the park to avoid issues. You could try and bring a ball or Frisbee with you; just be aware of nearby pups that might want to get in on the action.
Don’t bring young children with you. Not all dogs get along well with young children, and that’s okay because a dog park is a place for dogs to play, not kids. In fact, many dog parks have rules about not permitting children under a certain age, sometimes as old as 16. Think about it, most kids’ playgrounds have rules about no pets, so it’s only fair that dogs get the same courtesy.
Don’t remove your dog’s collar. Yes, a dog park is supposed to be fenced-in so your dog can’t run away, but sometimes, a pup escapes. Make sure your dog has proper identification in case he gets away from you.
Don’t forget your pup’s leash. Even though a dog park’s whole idea is to let dogs run off-leash, you still need to have a leash handy. You never know when you have to get your dog out of a situation quickly. Plus, your dog should be on a leash on his way to and from the park, anyway.
Don’t assume every pup wants to play. If an owner is having a good time with her dog, she might want to keep things just the way they are. Don’t assume your dog can just play with any dog in the dog park. It’s always polite to ask permission first. If you do find a pooch that seems to get along really well with your pup, share contact information with the owner to set up some future playdates, either at the park or elsewhere.
Don't Take Your Pup to the Dog Park If…
Even if you're the poster child for perfect park behavior, some pups are better off steering clear of the dog park, typically due to health and safety reasons. If any of the following describe your pooch, the dog park might not be the best option:
Puppies younger than four months
Dogs that are not spayed or neutered
Unvaccinated dogs or dogs with an infectious illness
Dogs that are not adequately trained or socialized
Dogs that are not on any type of heartworm or flea prevention
Senior dogs that could get hurt by an overly rambunctious pup
Dogs that have ever shown any type of aggression
With the right know-how, a trip to the dog park can be a great way to spend time with your pup and let him have some fun. However, if you find that the dog park isn’t a good fit for your pooch, that’s fine, too. There are all sorts of ways to bond and play with your beloved canine companion! For more ideas, check out the rest of our blog; you’ll find loads of tips and resources to help you take the very best care of your pet.
- Fernando Becattini
How to Remove Skunk Odor from Your Dog (and Everything Else)
Picture this, one minute, you’re enjoying a hike with your best furry friend, and the next, you’re surrounded by an unpleasant odor. You’ve been the target of a frightened skunk, and now you, your clothes, and your poor pooch can’t get rid of the smell. If your pup smells like a skunk, you probably find yourself longing for the days he smelled like a wet dog. But don’t worry, you can remove the skunk odor from your pup and anywhere else it might be lingering, with a few simple steps and products.
How to Stop Your Dog from Smelling Like Skunk
Despite what you might have heard, you don’t need to bathe your pup in a bunch of tomato juice to eliminate the skunk smell. In fact, tomato juice likely doesn’t get rid of the odor so much as to mask it. Therefore, skip the canned goods and go for these basic household products instead: baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid dish soap.
First things first, if your dog gets sprayed, keep him outside until you’ve had a chance to de-skunk him. Skunk spray can linger and permeate its surroundings. Therefore, if your pooch runs through your house before you can get rid of the smell, you’ll likely end up smelling the scent in your home for a while.
Also, ensure you act quickly, as the longer skunk spray sits, the harder it is to get rid of it. Plus, it can also cause side effects like irritating the eyes and nose and nausea. So, make sure to check your dog’s eyes for any redness and flush his eyes with cool water.
Next, it’s time to mix up the ingredients to create your anti-skunk smell solution. You’ll need:
1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
¼-cup of baking soda
1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap
A pair of rubber gloves
An open container
Put on your gloves and mix the solution in an uncovered container. Wash your pup with the mixture, being careful not to get it in his eyes. It’s best to perform this de-skunking bath as soon as possible after the skunk sprays your dog.
Wash your pup thoroughly, but don’t let the mixture sit on the fur for too long. Rinse your pup, making sure to get all of the solution out of his coat. Finally, give your pup a regular bath with dog shampoo and dry him off completely.
Note for discarding the solution: Do NOT cover the solution as it could explode. You cannot store or keep this mix; you must discord of it immediately. Ensure you dilute it heavily first with water, then pour it down the drain.
Products That Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog
Several pet cleaning products on the market are specifically designed to get rid of skunk odor on your pets. Many of these products contain something called neutroleum alpha that targets skunk odor and typically masks the smell. They’re good for a quick fix, but it’s still best to bathe your dog as described above ASAP.
If you’re outdoors with your dog often and enjoy activities like hiking or exploring, it might be worth having one of these products on hand. It’s also worth tossing one of these in with your gear when you go on an outdoor adventure or take a camping trip; you can pack it right next to the dog-poop bags. Plus, you can use many of these types of products on your furniture and other surfaces as well.
What If Other Stuff Smells Like Skunk?
If you were near your pup when the skunk sprayed him, then you likely got a personal dose of skunk cologne. Lucky you. Also, it’s likely the spray also got on items like your dog’s leash and collar. Skunk spray can reach up to three feet and it quickly absorbs into anything and everything nearby. Plus, if you or your pup, or anything else that smells like skunk, goes inside or sits on a piece of furniture, or has to get in your car to drive home, then that stuff probably smells like skunk, too.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on Yourself
Your first stop should be a hot shower or bath. Use a deodorant soap to wash your entire body. Or, you can even use a dish detergent that targets and cuts through grease. On your hair, use a shampoo made for oily hair to combat the skunk oil. It’s also helpful to soak in a bath that includes two to four cups of baking soda for about 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
How to Get Skunk Odor Out of Your Furniture and Clothes
For your clothes, often washing them with a regular laundry detergent combined with ½-cup of baking soda in hot water can work. Let your clothes air dry, preferably in the sunshine. Not only will air-drying help conquer the smell, using the dryer could trap any lingering odors in the fabric. If the smelly fabric can’t go in the washing machine, soak it in the baking soda/detergent mixture for about 30 minutes, then rinse and air dry.
You can also try these tips out for cleaning your pet’s belongings that ended up getting “skunky.” Remember, to eliminate the skunk smell, you might need to repeat the wash process a few times. In some cases, certain materials might refuse to let go of the smell, and you’ll, unfortunately, have to toss them.
For items you can’t handwash, like furniture, rugs, and carpet, you can try steam cleaning with a machine or call in professional steam cleaners. There are also commercial products, similar to those mentioned above, for various surfaces you can use to banish the odor.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in Your House
Unfortunately, skunk odor doesn’t just stick to soft surfaces; it can hang out anywhere. This means it has the ability to take over your whole house. If this happens, try the following:
Open all the windows to start airing out your house and let in sunlight.
If you have an HVAC system, let the fan run continuously to help with ventilation.
Boil vinegar in a pan. Basically, it will replace the skunk odor with vinegar, but eventually, the vinegar smell will dissipate and leave you with fresh-smelling air.
Alternatively, you can place a bowl of vinegar in each room of your home for one to two days. However, make sure to place them in a safe place to avoid spills and encounters with curious pets and kids.
You can also use commercial cleaning products to help eliminate the odors.
To get the skunk smell out of hard surfaces, mix up a solution of 90% water and 10% bleach or white vinegar. Spot test an area first, and then use it to clean the surface, wiping it away quickly to avoid issues like discoloration or warping.
Once the skunk smell is gone, make sure to change the filter in your A/C and furnace.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in Your Car
After getting sprayed, if you have to get in your car with your pup, then your vehicle’s going to smell like skunk. Or, perhaps your car was in the line of fire. Either way, act fast and open the windows, letting in the air and sunlight.
Mix up a solution of either 10% bleach and 90% water, or hydrogen peroxide, water, and baby shampoo to wash your car’s interior, both the hard and soft surfaces. (Make sure to do a spot test first to make sure it doesn’t cause any discoloration.) You can also place bowls of vinegar or some charcoal in the front and back seats and leave them for a couple of days. For your vehicle’s exterior, hose it down and wash it as usual.
Some Final Thoughts
Skunks don’t just walk around spraying everyone and everything they come across; most of the time, they prefer to run away. However, if your pup crosses paths with a skunk, and the little animal feels threatened, your poor pooch might end up with a face full of Eau de Skunk. If that happens, it’s essential to act fast, using these tips to get rid of the skunk smell.
For more helpful resources and information, check out the rest of our blog! At Neater Pets, we always add new content geared toward helping you be an amazing pet parent!
- Fernando Becattini
12 Dog Breeds That Love to Dig
Your dog makes you smile, but when he leaves your backyard looking like an archaeological dig site, you might feel like frowning instead. Of course, you can't blame your pup. Digging is a natural instinct for most dogs, and some breeds genuinely can't help themselves. Still, you'd likely prefer not to have a yard that looks like the movie set of Holes. So, what do you do?
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Why your dog digs depends a lot on what kind of dog he is. Many different breeds dig based on natural instincts and particular habits that are innate to the breed. For example, terriers typically dig because they were bred to dig tunnels to reach their prey, such as moles and gophers. Dogs with heavy coats, like Chow Chows, tend to dig holes during hot weather to form pits they can lay in to keep cool.
Then, there are dogs that, no matter what the breed, might dig for other reasons. Unneutered males will dig under fences to try and reach a female dog in heat. Young dogs might dig simply because they have lots of energy and are bored. In fact, even older dogs can end up digging up your yard if they don’t get enough proper stimulation or exercise. And, yes, some dogs might even dig to hide a coveted prize, like the stereotypical bone in the backyard.
12 Dogs That Love to Dig
While most dogs enjoy digging, some certainly like to get down and dirty more than others.
Here’s a list of some of the dog breeds that love to dig the most:
This active pup needs moderate exercise and is a good candidate for various dog sports like tracking, herding, and other canine sports.
This terrier was bred to chase small animals, so a fenced-in yard is a must, plus lots and lots of exercise.
This pup needs lots of exercise, especially to help build up the muscles that support his back. Therefore, don’t let his small stature fool you, and prepare to provide him with regular opportunities for walks and activities.
Not only is this frisky pup extremely energetic, but he also doesn’t like being alone. Therefore, a beagle left unattended in the backyard and bored is a recipe for a digging disaster. Make sure you can give this pup plenty of exercise and companionship.
This breed’s prey drive is strong, so the urge to chase after small animals can cause him to dig like crazy. However, ensuring he gets plenty of exercise definitely helps, as does lots of playtime together since this dog loves being with his family.
This fluffy-coated dog needs a moderate amount of exercise; typically several walks a day. However, the real focus with this pup’s digging is to keep him cool because he doesn’t handle hot weather very well.
This dog’s activity needs are almost off the charts, so make sure you’re ready to engage in lots of physical activities with this pup. Otherwise, he can become understimulated, bored, and potentially destructive.
This extremely high-energy pup has a strong prey drive and needs to be socialized well and early. If you have a Russell at home, be prepared to have an active lifestyle.
These beautiful pups love to run, and regular exercise is a must to maintain their health and happiness. To help keep digging at bay, ensure this pup has a way to stay cool when he’s outside in the heat.
This dog is very active and needs an owner that lives an active lifestyle. It takes a lot more than a couple of walks to curb this pup’s need for action, so enrolling him in various canine sports can be a great solution.
This energetic dog enjoys lots of different activities but will also be content to run around in a fenced yard. Just ensure he has ample opportunities for regular exercise, so he stays stimulated and happy.
This terrier requires a fenced-in yard and lots of exercise to prevent boredom and undesirable behaviors. This pup’s hunting instinct is powerful, and it can be challenging for him to resist chasing after other animals like squirrels or cats.
How Do You Stop a Dog from Digging?
Once you know why your pup’s digging, you can better determine how to stop him. Therefore, if your dog digs to keep cool, provide him with other means to do so (or keep him inside on overly hot days). You can ensure he has many shady spots in the yard, access to a water bowl of cool water, and set up a small kiddie pool that he can use as a cooling-off spot.
If your dog isn’t neutered, then it’s worthwhile taking a trip to the vet. Neutering your pup also comes with several benefits, including decreasing potential aggression, reducing your dog’s urge to run off exploring (and get lost), and of course, helping with overpopulation and overcrowding in shelters.
Boredom is a significant cause of digging, and with some time and effort on your part, you can help your pup overcome it. Ensure you properly socialize your dog and provide him with lots of opportunities for exercise and play. Provide your pup with stimulating toys, like the Rolly Cannoli, to help keep him mentally engaged. Plus, training your dog is also essential to get him to stop digging. Encourage and teach your dog the expectations you have for him when he is in the yard alone. Use plenty of treats and positive reinforcement, and be consistent.
If you have critters burrowing in your yard driving your dog nuts, call in a pro to help rid your yard of the creatures. But, if your dog is genuinely a digger at heart, there might be no way to stop his behavior completely. Sometimes, a dog’s just got to dig.
Let Your Dog Dig -- In a Certain Spot
When digging is such a natural, bred instinct in your dog, it’s almost impossible to get him to stop. But, you can redirect his digging to an appropriate place; it’s a win-win for both of you.
Many people will create what’s known as a digging pit for their dirt-loving dogs. It’s not difficult to make and won’t take very long, and you don’t need many materials. To make a digging pit for your pooch, do the following:
Locate a section of your yard where you don’t mind your dog digging.
Mark off the area using large stones or something similar. This serves to distinguish the pit and also creates a visual marker for your pup.
Ensure the pit is large enough for your dog to dig comfortably. For example, a Siberian Husky will likely need a bigger pit than a small Dachsund.
Loosen up the soil a bit in the pit and mix in some sand to improve drainage.
Finally, introduce your dog to the pit using his favorite toy or some tasty treats. Bury the item in the pit, lead your dog over to it, and encourage him to find the item. When he digs and finds it, praise him and reward him. If he starts to try and dig elsewhere, calmly redirect him to the pit, praise, and repeat.
The first few times your pooch uses the pit, stay outside with him. Once you’re confident he understands the rules, you can let him outside solo.
No matter how you decide to curb your dog’s digging habit, one thing’s for sure; your yard will thank you. For more helpful tips on being a fantastic pup parent, make sure to check out the rest of our blog. You’ll always find new resources and ideas that you can use to expand your knowledge of your furry friends. Can you dig it?
- Fernando Becattini
8 Simple Ideas for Organizing Your Pet’s Space
The love you have for your pet is possibly only rivaled by the amount of stuff you have for your furry friend. While your love for your pets fills your heart, their belongings quickly overcrowd your home. Having a designated area for "pet central" can help, and luckily, organizing your pet's space isn't rocket science. It just takes a little know-how, effort, and these easy tips.
How to Start Creating an Organized Pet Space
First things first, before you start tossing all your pet’s belongings into cute boxes and bins, you need to know what exactly you have. Gather up all of your pet’s stuff from around your home and bring it to one location. Then, start to sort out all of the items into similar piles. For example, all the toys in one pile, all grooming supplies in another, etc.
Once you have all of your sorted piles, assess each one to tally up what your pet has. Toss out anything broken or overly worn, and create a new stack of duplicates that you can donate to a charity or rescue organization. Now, you should only have what you plan to keep remaining, and you’re ready to get organized!
Set Up Pet Zones
Just like you, your pet does different things in various areas of the home. Therefore, it makes no sense to have all of her things piled up in one place. Think about what you do with your pet and where you do it so that you can set up efficient, functional zones for various tasks. This process will not only keep your pet’s items neat and tidy, but it will also make your life so much easier.
To get your pet’s stuff (and your life with your pets) under control, take a look at these 8 helpful ideas for creating the ultimate, organized pet zones.
Food and Treats
The most important part of storing your pet’s food and treats is to use airtight containers to keep edible items fresh and pest-free. The options for jars, bins, and other possibilities are pretty much endless, so you can undoubtedly find something to fit your personal aesthetic. If you like to see everything, opt for clear glass or acrylic containers. If you’d rather not have to stare at your pet’s kibble, select a pretty ceramic or stainless steel jar with a fun label.
Keep the jars in an area where it makes it easy for feeding time. For example, your dog food container should be near your pet’s dishes. If you don’t have a lot of space, consider one large container that you can keep in the pantry or laundry room and a smaller, more manageable container near your pet’s dishes to handle daily feedings. Then, you can simply refill the smaller container as needed. Plus, to keep pet messes to a minimum, using a product like the Neater Feeder helps keep spills contained in the attached bottom tray, instead of all over your floor!
Items to help you stay organized:
Very much like a lively toddler, your pets can end up with toys all over the house in a matter of minutes. This is great for playtime, but when it’s time to clean up, having a designated spot for all of your pet’s balls, bones, squeaky toys, fake mice, and stuffed squirrels makes pick up time a breeze. You can get a basket that goes with your home’s decor and place it in an inconspicuous corner, or if your pet has her own chill spot, you can keep it there.
Plus, resist the urge to give your pet twenty toys at a time. Keep a few of her favorites out, and let the rest stay in your backstock area (more on this later). You can rotate them out, which will help your pal’s toys last longer, too. Bonus points if you can train your furry friend to help pick up after herself.
Items to help you stay organized:
Harry Barker Cotton Rope Toy Bin
Keep your pet’s grooming essentials within easy reach near wherever you bathe and brush your pet. If you prefer to wash your pal outside, keep the supplies in a convenient caddy that you can grab easily when you need it.
Since you likely will do things like brush and trim your pet and clip her nails more often than bathe her, you might want to keep these supplies in a separate caddy. You can always grab the items you need and put them in the bath caddy for bath time. For things like pet wipes and cologne, consider keeping some of these near your back and front door, so you have them right where you need them.
Items like flea and tick prevention, supplements, and a pet first-aid kit should be kept together for convenience. You can keep them in something as simple as an appropriately-sized storage bin. If you give your pet a monthly pill, such as heartworm prevention, label the pill pack with each month. Then, you'll always be able to tell if you miss a dose.
For daily medications, you might want to keep them somewhere a bit more accessible or near something you do every day. For example, you can keep it by your multivitamin or the coffeemaker to help you remember to give it to your pet.
Items to help you stay organized:
Out the Door
The best way to keep things functional is to have items where you need them. So, why would you want to keep your dog’s leash rolled up in a drawer that's as far away from the door as possible? Instead, have a couple of hooks near the front door, perhaps by your keys, for things like a leash, poop bags, and anything else you bring with you when you're out-and-about with your pal.
Items to help you stay organized:
If you travel a lot with your pet, packing and unpacking her belongings constantly can get old. Instead, keep some necessary items ready-to-go in a designated pet travel bag. Include some labeled containers for things like food, treats, and medicine as instant reminders of what you need to pack for your friend.
Items to help you stay organized:
Keep a separate folder containing your pet's records with your other important papers. Another great option is a basic three-ring binder in which you can place customized printables and essential information.
Go digital with as much as possible to alleviate the amount of paper. Many vet clinics make it possible to access your pet's health records online or with an app, making it super easy to show proof of vaccinations when doing things like traveling or boarding your pet.
Items to help you stay organized:
It's helpful to have a backstock area for spare items, extra food, and anything you might buy in bulk, like doggy shampoo or cat litter. This place is typically set up somewhere like a laundry room or in a spare closet. A backstock area enables you to keep all of your pet zones trim and streamlined, restocking them as needed.
With these few simple tips and some effort, you’ll finish organizing your pet’s space in no time! Now, the next time you’re ready to take your pup for a walk or give your kitty some tasty treats, it doesn’t have to be a frantically scrambled version of hide-and-seek. You’ll know right where everything is, and you can do what you need to do, hassle-free.
For more useful ideas like these, check out the rest of our blog! You’ll always find all sorts of resources and advice to help you create a better life for you and your pets!
- Fernando Becattini