Doggie Duds: Puppy Potty Training

Who doesn’t love a puppy? Adorable, floppy, and downright goofy, every home cherishes these early days. But with puppyhood comes… potty training.
Follow our six simple steps to build a strong potty training foundation with your pup. 

 

1. Crate Train.

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Dogs are natural den dwellers and most will seek a “den” of their own. Crates often become a sanctuary for dogs – they rest, chew, and seek refuge in that space. It’s also a great tool to support your potty training efforts. Because puppies will be confined in short periods of time, it reduces the likelihood of potty accidents and unwanted behavior such as chewing. *

Crates should be big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If you get a crate for the puppy to grow into, make sure your crate comes with a wire divider. Place the wire divider in the crate to limit the amount of room he/she has.

*Crate training is not a license to confine pets for half a day. For more explicit crate training instructions click here.

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2. Set Realistic Expectations.

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Puppies are able to hold their bladders for as many hours as their age in months (up to 9 months). For example, a 3 month old puppy will be able to hold his/her bladder for ±3 hours. This means that you should take your puppy out of his/her crate every few hours.

Potty training takes a full year to master on average. Do not feel discouraged or resentful if your potty training dog has accidents. However, frequent indoor accidents after 1 year could indicate a medical problem, and you should consult a vet.

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3. Create a Feeding Schedule.

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A set feeding schedule is key to potty training success. It becomes hard to control your puppy’s bladder if they are eating and drinking as they please. Feed puppies under 6 months, 2-3 times daily. Make sure that you are dividing their daily intake recommendation by number of feedings to prevent overfeeding.

Immediately after your puppy eats, take them potty.

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3. Repetition is the Key to Mastery.

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Take puppy out to the same spot every time, and give a chosen command (“go potty”). This will help your puppy understand your expectation. After several eliminations, your puppy should recognize the area’s smell and encourage him/her to go potty.

When your puppy is at their designated potty spot, keep them on leash, and allow them 10-15 minutes to sniff around.

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4. Potty Break Successful?

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Reward puppy with a treat immediately after elimination. When you bring them back inside, allow them around 30 mins of action-packed play and running around. Excitement can also cause a puppy to go potty, so be sure to take him/her outside for a potty opportunity before crating again.

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5. Potty Break Unsuccessful?

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If your puppy doesn’t go potty, place him/her back inside the crate. Try again in 15-30 mins. You may have to take them in and out a few times, but maintain your patience and keep encouraging your pup.

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6. Don’t Do’s.

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Even though puppy potty training can be frustrating and long, there are common practices that hinder the potty training process.

  • DO NOT shove your dog’s muzzle in his/her mess. Dogs do not have the intellectual capacity to connect their urine and feces. This will only teach your dog to fear you.
  • DO NOT scold your dog or be aggressive as you’re waiting for them to go potty outside. You will create a negative association with their designated potty space.
  • DO NOT free-feed. This will make it hard for you and your dog to control their bladder and bowels.
  • DO NOT leave your puppy in the crate for the entirety of your work day. If you are gone for longer than they can hold their bladder, hire a dog walker.

Chubby Cats: Don’t be a Brat, Burn that Fat!

Grab your sneakers! Our annual Chubby Cat promotion is back! We’re offering a $1 per pound discount on cats one year and up to encourage animal lovers to welcome a furry workout buddy into their hearts and homes.
If you have a chubby cat at home, or are thinking of adopting one, check out our tips to transform your kitty’s life*!

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First and Foremost, See a Veterinarian.

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While you can get advice from us and other online resources, the best advice will come from your vet. During a check-up, your vet will dig into your cat’s medical history, analyze their body condition score (pictured below), and inform you of what their ideal weight should be. Your vet will also be able to identify and treat any underlying medical condition that may be contributing to your cat’s weight gain.

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If the vet determines that your cat needs to lose weight, they will recommend the best plan of action for gradual weight loss. Vets will be able to give you a customized plan since they have a special formula to determine your cat’s daily calorie needs.

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Don’t Take Excess Weight too Lightly!

To us humans, 2lbs is like a drop in the ocean. But to felines, 2lbs in excess weight means an increase of around 20% body fat! Check out the difference in Lennie after only a 3lbs weight loss (pictured below).

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Huffington Post recently compared feline weight gain to human weight gain, and it’s astonishing:

  • Two pounds = 28 pounds on a 140-pound woman
  • Three pounds = 42 pounds on a 140-pound woman
  • Five pounds = 70 pounds on a 140-pound woman
  • Eight pounds = 112 pounds on a 140-pound woman

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Feed your Cat Biologically Appropriate Food.

Unlike humans, cats cannot thrive off a grain-rich diet. Cats are biologically carnivorous – their health depends on a protein heavy diet. Cats are also historically desert animals and in the wild, derive hydration from the meat they consume.

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Taking this information into account, a 100% dry food diet for cats is not ideal. Dry foods tend be to higher in carbohydrates and can harm feline kidney function since they are not receiving any water content. Studies have shown that transitioning overweight cats from dry food to canned/wet/raw food has significant benefits on their weight and renal function.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a 100% canned-food diet, don’t feel guilty or bad! The same study showed that even introducing canned-food to 25-50% of your cat’s diet has major benefits.  If wet food is completely out of the budget, then you should select limited calorie dry food that lists meat as the first 2-3 ingredients.

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Check the back of the packaging for complete ingredient info. As shown above, most grocery store cat food brands advertised as “meaty” or protein-heavy contain corn and grain as fillers. This is not a biologically appropriate food choice for cats.

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Divide Daily Intake into Several Feedings.

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As you reduce your cat’s daily calorie consumption, some cats get bothered and ravenous. You can help your cat with their transition by feeding them 3-6 times per day. But this is not a license to free-feed! Instead, you should simply divide their daily needs by number of feedings. For example, if your vet recommends 8oz of food per day, then feed your hungry kitty 2oz servings four times daily.

For extra gluttonous cats, ask your vet about supplementing pumpkin puree in their foods as low-calorie way to help satiate their tummies.

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Study your Treats!

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Once your vet makes a daily calorie recommendation for your cat, be sure that treats aren’t accounting for more than 10% of that daily need. Treats offer cats little to no nutritional value.

It’s also a good idea to know the treat’s ingredients. Just like their food, feline treats should be extremely low in carbohydrates and high in . Some great treats are freeze dried chicken, liver, and bonito flakes.

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Exercise your Cat.

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Exercising cats are not only crucial to their physical health, but it also serves as a crucial way to keep cats mentally stimulated. Bored cats tend to overeat!

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Use a cat wand, laser, or balls to get your cat moving and jumping! Play with them for at least 20-30 minutes daily. If your cat isn’t used to playtime, then you might have to experiment a few times before finding that perfect toy. But don’t be discouraged, most pet stores are gracious about allowing exchanges or returns.

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Enrich their Environment.

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Sneakily arm your home with irresistible activities, so that your cat is exercising in your absence! Leave cardboard boxes sprinkled with catnip, and your cat will be working up a sweat in no time.

For laser-lovers, try an automatic cat laser teaser. It is equipped with a timer and can be set to entertain your cat in your absence.

Providing your cat with vertical spaces is also another way to sneakily keep them active. Since cats naturally prefer tall spaces, they will be forced to climb and jump as they roam your home. Entice cats to explore their vertical spaces by attaching toys and sprinkling catnip!

 

*While our tips are well-researched, it is not a substitute for veterinary help. If you suspect that your cat is overweight, consult your veterinarian asap.

6 Fluff-bugs Who’ve Had Enough of Winter!

It’s that time of year when everyone is suffering from post-holiday blues. No more twinkling lights and festive music to make the weather warmer.
The next few months might have us longing for the magic of Pacific Northwest summers! But humans aren’t the only species dreaming of warmer months, here are six fluff-bugs who’ve had enough of winter:

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1. This Basset who’s over the novelty of fetch in the snow.

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2. These kitties who just want to sunbathe and catch bugs.

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3. This Corgi who won’t get out from under the covers.

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4. This poor kitty who took one look at the snow and realized life indoors is better after all!

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5. This grumpy kitty who ain’t got time for snow.

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6. And last, but not least, this poor critter who just wants the sun back.

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10 Ways to Keep Pets Calm During NYE

It’s almost 2017, and New Year’s Eve is quickly approaching! Before you begin your festivities, check out our tips to keep your pets happy and safe:

 

1. Exercise your pets.

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Before celebrations begin, exercise your pets until they’re calling “uncle!” It’s best to exercise both dogs and cats 1-2 hours before the celebration so that they remain wiped out! Well exercised pets make for calmer and happier pets during the stress of the holidays.

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For cats, throw their favorite toy around to chase or tease them with a cat wand for 15-30 minutes, depending on your cat’s activity level. You’ll know when your cat is satisfied when they start panting or lose interest.

 

2.Feed them before festivities.

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After their thorough exercise, feed your dogs and cats a good meal. Don’t hesitate to treat them either! Pets with full tummies tend to be calmer and less reactive to changes in their environment.

But don’t give them new treats or fatty table scraps, this can cause stomach upset and make for a nervous pet.

 

3. No furry guests.

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Unless your dog has a previous friendship with your guest’s dogs, it’s best to have your guests leave their furry friends at home. This is especially important if you have a cat. New animals in your pets’ territory can cause stress and even fights between the pets.

Tell your guests to leave their pets at home for a fun and smooth New Year’s Eve.

 

4. Give them a room of their own.

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If your pets get nervous in large crowds, set up a comfortable room just for your pets. Move their beds, kitty condos, and favorite blanket into a quiet room. This will allow them much needed space from the festivities.

 

5. Provide white noise.

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To dull out the sounds of people or fireworks, add some white noise (Dohm white noise machine pictured above) or soft classical music in their designated room. These positive sounds will dull out the stressful loud bangs from lots of movement or fireworks, making your pets calmer and happier.

 

6. Occupy them with toys and food puzzles.

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To help distract them further, throw in your pet’s favorite toy. If your pet is more food motivated, a food puzzle stuffed with their favorite treat to keep them bust.

Planning on stuffing food puzzles with peanut butter? Make sure it’s xylitol-free, as xylitol is highly toxic to both dogs and cats.

 

7. Use natural calming methods.

If your pet needs extra help to remain calm, natural calming methods are an excellent option!

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For dogs, lavender essential oil (specifically, Lavandula angustifolia) has been shown to reduce heart rate, movements, and vocalizations during stressful situations.  You can administer this by applying a few drops to their bed, blanket, or behind their ears. Do not mix it in with their food or water!

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Alternatively, you can use an essential oil diffuser. Pheromone based treatments, such as Comfort Zone, Adaptil, and Sentry, are also options to keep your dogs calm. However, lavender oil treatments usually see better results over pheromone.

For cats, a plug-in pheromone diffuser, such as Feliway, sees the best results. It slowly releases the calming pheromone found in cat’s cheeks.

 

8. Comfort them.

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Don’t hesitate to take a break from your festivities to check on your pets. If they are showing signs of distress, excuse yourself and spend a few minutes petting, cuddling, and reassuringly talking to them in a soft voice. Often times, a quick check-in is all your pet needs to feel secure.

 

9. Opt for a quiet New Year’s Eve.

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If your pet has unmanageable separation, crowd, or noise anxiety, opt for a quieter New Year’s Eve. Consider gathering some friends to go on a camping trip or pitching in towards a cabin far away from fireworks and crowds.

Also, opt out of hosting parties and go to on instead. But make sure to leave your pets at home in a confined room with the tips above!

 

10. Talk to your vet.

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Last, but not least, if your pet’s anxiety cannot be managed by the tips above, consult your vet. Severe anxiety may be a symptom of a more serious underlying issue that may require medication and treatment.

7 Ways to Transition New Pets into the Home

The holiday season is a time of year where shelters everywhere experience many “gift adoptions.” While the thought of surprising your loved ones with a long anticipated furry friend might be heartwarming, many of these gift adoptions don’t work out. Why? Because many gift adoptions are impulsive. They can also be forced – where potential adopters feel pressured to pick any cute animal just to put him or her under the tree.

Instead of bringing home a pet for Christmas, we suggest purchasing a gift certificate from Seattle Humane. This way, you’re still surprising your family with an adoption, while giving your family time to search for your perfect furry friend! You’ll also be able to include them during the exciting search process.

But sometimes that PURR-FECT pet comes along, and you just can’t let go of him or her. If your home has resident pets, follow our pet tips below for a seamless introduction:

 

1. Introduce dogs in a neutral environment.

Dogs should be introduced in a neutral environment. Seattle Humane requires all dogs meet prior to introduction. But before bringing home your new family member, be sure to let the dogs meet again in a park.

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Leash both the dogs and introduce them in a calm area. Have one person handle one dog each. Make sure to keep walking until your dog’s body language is calm and relaxed. Keep leashes loose as tense leash can make your pet anxious.

Once the dogs are showing curiosity about each other, allow them some sniffing time. Treat good behavior in both dogs promptly. If the dogs lash out at each other, pull them away and resume walking.

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Typically, dogs will become at ease with each other after a good walk. But sometimes when taking them home, resident dogs may exhibit territorial behavior. Do not punish dogs for being aggressive. Remember that the introduction process is highly variable with each dog. Be patient and remain positive.

 

2. Introduce cats to resident pets by scent.

Cats should be introduced to resident pets by scent. Confine resident pets in one room and allow the new kitty to sniff around the house. Once kitty is adjusted to the new smells, confine him/her in a room of his/her own. See the picture below for room inspirations! Then allow resident pets to sniff out the house.

Once a day, rotate the pets. Confine and allow resident pets to explore kitty’s room. While resident pets are sleuthing, allow kitty to smell out the rest of the house.

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This process should take anywhere from 1-3 weeks depending on the pets’ personalities.

Resist the urge to throw the pets in one room to “work it out.” This ironically almost never works out and instead reinforces unwanted behavior. Also, never confine a cat in a crate while allowing resident pets to sniff around the crate.

 

3. Create positive associations with their scent.

To encourage a good relationship between pets, make sure to give them plenty of treats for good behavior. Do not yell, scold, and spank if they lash out on each other. This will make them associate each other’s presence with fear and anger. Instead, pull them away from each other and give them their needed space. Try again later, and promptly reward any good behavior.

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For kitties, feed new cats in their allotted room. And feed resident pets outside the kitty’s door. Once they seem comfortable, you may put kitty’s bowl on one side of the door, and resident pets’ food on the other side.

 

4. Allow sneak peeks.

For kitties and resident pets, once they’re comfortable with each other, allow sneak peeks. You may carry kitty and allow them to see each other. Reward good behavior. Moderate hissing is normal. But if fearful behavior comes out, put kitty back in the room. Try again the next day, and reward good behavior.

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Another good method is using a baby gate and keeping kitty on one side, and resident pets on the other. This allows them to get full view and interactions, while still providing a safe barrier.

 

5. Exercise the dogs regularly.

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If the dogs are tired out from exercise and play, a seamless home transition is more likely. Cooped up dogs are more likely to lash out from frustration.

 

6. Do not leave pets unattended.

Even though your pets might look like they get along, do not leave them unattended for a few months. You never know how pets will interact once you leave.

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Instead, continue to confine your new pet in their own space, while leaving resident pets in their usual set up.

 

7. Be patient and get your family on board.

Introducing pets to each other is a long process that requires lots of individual and team effort. Do not be discouraged if your pets need some time to get used to each other.

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Just keep trying, be gentle, slow down, and be positive. Also be sure to talk to your family to get a game plan on board.