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Meeting a New Cat For the First Time

Whether you’re adopting a cat and are meeting them for the first time, or you’re meeting a friend’s or family member’s cat, you want to start off on the right foot. Follow these tips for meeting a new cat for the first time.

meeting a new cat

Ask about the cat’s preferences

If you’re meeting a cat through Get Your Pet,  you’ve probably already discussed them with their Guardian. Before meeting a new cat, you should have an idea of whether or not they like to be petted, and where. Not all cats like you to stroke their backs, but some cats love it! The best way to learn about a new cat is to ask someone who knows what they like.

Let them come to you

As tempting as it is, you should never immediately hold out your arm to a cat’s face when first meeting. They may perceive this as a threatening gesture. Instead, allow the cat to come to you, at their own pace. Approach them in a way that doesn’t startle or alarm them. Small, slow movements work best when meeting a new cat.

Learn cat body language

Meeting a new cat is the perfect opportunity to test your knowledge of cat body language! Do you know how to recognize when a cat is scared, nervous, or asking for affection? Look for a curved, upright tail and relaxed body language, or a tummy in the air as an invitation for cuddles. A wiggling body and wide eyes, on the other hand, means they’re about to pounce. Brush up on your cat communication skills so you can always know what cats are telling you.

Make them feel comfortable

If you know a cat loves shiny, sparkly things, then it only makes sense to spoil them with those things. Surround them with things you know they love, or offer to play with them using their favorite toy. Get them out of their shell by using a familiar toy or game and by appealing to what they like.

Give them time

It’s normal for cats to by shy around new people. Meeting a new cat is a learning experience for both parties. It’s important to give the cat time to get comfortable around you. Cats are curious creatures by nature, and will usually approach new people once they’ve had a chance to watch from afar.

If you’d like to adopt a cat, start browsing adoptable pets now with Get Your Pet.

Dog Training Tips Every Adopter Should Know

Congratulations! You’re a dog parent. Before settling into a routine with your new pet, you need to set some ground rules. Whether you’re training a new puppy or just brushing up on basic commands with an older dog, dog training makes life with a pet better. Even if you plan on hiring a professional dog trainer, you should still have a handle on some basic dog training tips to help make the process go more smoothly.

dog training tips

1. Establish Rules Right Away

Establish what your dog is and is not allowed to do right off the bat to avoid any confusion. Before your dog even arrives home, set them up for success by determining the rules and having alternative solutions ready. For example, if don’t want them up on the bed at night, then set out a crate or doggy bed next to the bed to encourage them to sleep there. Learned behaviors are likely to become habits if you consistently enforce them.

2. Be Consistent

Puppy or dog training only works when you enforce the rules every time. To make sure you aren’t sending any mixed signals, everyone in the household should be on board with the rules. If one family member rewards your dog with belly rubs after they jump up in bed, that teaches the dog that rules can be broken. Instead, have all members of the home agree to stick to the rules to make training go more smoothly.

3. Use Positive Reinforcement

One of the most basic dog training tips is to always reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior. Praise your dog with lots of pets, encouraging words, and treats when they do something good. When your dog engages in bad behavior, such as jumping up to greet you, turn away and ignore the behavior. Your dog will learn that to get your praise and affection, they must follow the rules.

4. Think Like A Dog

Unlike humans, dogs don’t have the ability to make associations between an action and a consequence unless one occurs immediately after the other. That’s why addressing any bad behavior in a timely manner is one of the most important dog training tips. For example, if your dog jumps up on off-limits furniture, address the situation immediately by telling them to get down. Scolding them later will do no good because they will have already forgotten the incident and will not be able to make the connection.

5. Teach Commands “Come” and “Stay”

Not only can dog training help ensure a lifetime of good behavior, but it can keep your furry companion safe in the face of danger. “Come,” “sit,” and “stay” are usually the first commands we teach dogs, because they are useful in many situations. Teach your dog to obey these commands before going on to any other tricks. Here are some dog training tips for teaching these commands.

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

5 Ways to Honor Your Pet’s Memory

Anyone who has lost a pet knows how terribly painful it is. Preserving your pet’s memory can help ease that pain. So, in observance of National Pet Memorial Day, we’re suggesting  five ways to honor your pet’s memory.

ways to honor your pet's memory

Make a memorial

Just as we do when we commemorate people, we can find comfort in having a special time or place to remember our pets. Many find comfort by creating a designated place dedicated to remembering their pet. You can fill yours with pictures, memories, and other trinkets that remind you of your missing friend. Or, maybe all it takes for you to feel closer to them is for you to set aside time to visit their favorite park.

Start a scrapbook

You’ve taken a ton of pictures of your pet, and look fondly back on them to revisit old memories. So, why not turn those memories into a scrapbook? Creating a memorial scrapbook can be a good opportunity to find closure, peace, and comfort after losing a pet. It’s one of the most personal ways to honor your pet’s memory, because you can reflect on all the good times you shared while you are making it. Plus, you can take it out and page through it whenever you want to think of your pet and smile.

Donate

One of the best ways to honor your pet’s memory is to make a donation in their name. You can choose a cause that has a personal meaning to you or did to your pet. For example, if your pet suffered from an illness like heart disease, you can donate to an organization that researches treatment options. Or, donate to a local shelter or rescue organization. Either way, your donation will have a personal meaning and will help other pets and the people who care for them. Never donated before? Check out these helpful tips and recommended charities.

Volunteer

You don’t need to have money to make a difference in the lives of pets – just some free time. Volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways to honor your pet’s memory, because you directly and personally help pets in need. Call to see if your local shelter or rescue needs help caring for the animals. If you find it too difficult to work with the animals directly, you can offer to help out at the desk or answer phones. Whatever you decide, there’s always a need for animal welfare advocates, and your compassion will lift you up.

Adopt a pet

One of the most common ways we can overcome the loss of a pet is to adopt a pet. Adopting a new pet doesn’t mean you’re replacing your old friend. It simply means you’re ready to begin accepting the love and companionship of a pet back into your life. Adopting is one of the best ways to honor your pet’s memory because you may be saving another pet’s life. If that is your choice, start browsing adoptable pets near you at getyourpet.com.

Why Should We Spay and Neuter Our Pets?

We hear it all the time, but why exactly is it important to spay and neuter our pets?

spay and neuter

Reduce Pet Overpopulation

The primary reason we spay and neuter pets is to reduce the overall pet population. By reducing the number of accidental litters, we can decrease the number of homeless animals. According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million animals enter shelters each year. Many of them are stray animals, but many are puppies and kittens from unwanted or unexpected litters. The simplest way to reduce the number of abandoned pets entering shelters is to prevent our pets from reproducing.

Prevent Health Issues

Health considerations are among the most compelling of the many reasons to spay and neuter pets. For instance, one of the benefits of spaying or neutering is a longer lifespan. Also, unaltered pets have an instinctual need to roam in search of a mate.  This causes them to get into fights, struck by cars, or injured in some other way. Because fixed pets don’t have these urges, they often live longer. Spaying and neutering can also reduce a pet’s chances of developing health issues like reproductive system cancers, uterine cancer, and fatal uterine infections.

Deter “Bad” Behavior

Although spaying and neutering don’t necessarily change a cat or dog’s personality or habits, they can help forestall the development of certain undesirable behaviors later on. When we spay and neuter our pets at an early age, we can prevent them from spraying or marking territory around the house, mounting objects or people, and even barking. Of course, we need to use training and reinforcement to correct any learned or habitual behaviors.

When Should We Spay and Neuter?

If you do choose to spay or neuter your pet, we suggest you discuss the timing with your veterinarian. Traditionally, dogs are spayed and neutered when they’re six to nine months old; cats, when they’re as young as eight weeks. Many veterinarians choose to spay and neuter early in the pet’s life to prevent health issues down the road. Others believe that allowing a pet to grow and develop their musculature before spaying and neutering is the way to go. Talk to your veterinarian to decide what is best for your pet.

Looking to adopt a dog or cat? Get started browsing adoptable pets now at getyourpet.com.

 

German Shepherd Dogs: About the Breed

German Shepherd Dogs are among the most popular, and most distinctive, dog breeds in America. What makes them so special?

German Shepherd Dogs

Loyal Personality

German Shepherd Dogs are loyal, dependable, and intelligent dogs. They take pride in pleasing their owner and find joy in serving them. While not necessarily aggressive, German Shepherds are extremely protective of their loved ones and will not hesitate to take action when they judge it necessary. Because of this, German Shepherds make excellent watchdogs. They are usually reserved around strangers, but soon warm up to be lifelong, faithful companions.

Working Dogs

German Shepherd Dogs are happiest when they have a job to do. For centuries, the German Shepherd has been performing jobs in agriculture, law enforcement, and the military, and has even provided services for the disabled. Because they are herding dogs at heart, they can sometimes display their ancestral herding instincts by nipping or herding small children. Though this behavior is not intentionally harmful, you can correct it through proper socialization and training. Because of their strong desire to work, German Shepherds should not be alone for long periods of time. When bored, they may turn to more destructive behaviors to keep busy. Always make sure your German Shepherd gets plenty of exercise, and be sure to stimulate his brain during play time. They often even enjoy agility training or obedience competitions.

General Care

Caring for German Shepherd Dogs is easy if you know what to expect. First, German Shepherds shed year round. You can minimize shedding by brushing two to three times a week. German Shepherds have a clean, thick coat that helps protect them from the elements. Because of this, you don’t need to bathe them unless they are extremely dirty. They also love to chew, so good dental hygiene and tooth protection is important. You can provide your German Shepherd with plenty of safe chew toys to keep tooth tartar at bay. Here are some great guidelines for dog chew toys that are best (and worst) for your dog’s teeth.

Are German Shepherd Dogs the right breed for you?

If you live an active lifestyle, enjoy time outdoors, and are a confident dog parent, then the German Shepherd might be a good choice for you. A German Shepherd owner should be able to handle some barking, chewing, and lots of playtime! German Shepherds make great family pets, and they get along great with kids. However, people who spend a lot of time away from home might be better served by adopting a lower-maintenance breed.

Looking to adopt a dog or cat? Get started browsing adoptable pets near you with Get Your Pet.

Meeting a Dog For the First Time: Dos and Don’ts

Hooray! You found a dog on Get Your Pet that you’re interested in adopting. You’ve messaged their Guardian, introduced yourself, and asked all the right questions. They seem like a great fit. Now comes the fun part—meeting them! Here are some do’s and don’ts for meeting a dog for the first time.

meeting dog

Do: Let the dog approach you

When meeting a dog, it’s important to be calm and go slow. Your first instinct may be to run towards the dog with open arms, but not so fast! Approaching a dog in this way may startle them, and it can come off as intimidating. Instead, hold a natural stance, and allow the dog to come to you. You want to avoid coming across as fearful, however, as this can lead the dog to be defensive. Be careful, yet confident, when meeting a dog for the first time.

Do: Let the dog sniff you

Introducing yourself to a new dog is all about understanding the dog’s instincts. Dogs have an extremely keen sense of smell. They use scent to understand, and make decisions about, their environment. In just a few sniffs, a dog can get a feel for the gender, health, and even the history of another dog. When a dog sniffs a person, they can determine whether that person has a dog of their own, where in the neighborhood the person might live, and more. They can also pick up on a person’s unique scent to jog their memory as to whether and when they’ve met before! To let a dog sniff you, don’t extend your hand to their face. Instead, let the dog approach you and sniff your hand on their own terms.

Don’t: Pet him on the head

When first meeting a dog, always take care to respect their boundaries. Petting on the head can be threatening for a dog, especially when the person petting them is a complete stranger. Rather than reach for his head right away, start by petting them gently on their back or shoulders. Then, you can work your way towards their face if they are comfortable with it.

Do: Pay attention to body language

Just like humans, dogs communicate through body language. When it comes to decoding dog body language, we have a few tips. In general, things like a curved body, wagging tail, and excitedly circling around you is a good sign; it means they want to get to know you. Bowing down with front legs extended is a gesture that says “Play with me!”. Watch out for anything that could indicate an aggressive or threatening mood, like showing teeth or a stiff, erect tail. It’s also important to note that all dogs react differently to stress. Some may express discomfort or anxiety by licking their lips or yawning. This is considered normal behavior for a dog who is put in a stressful or unfamiliar situation.

Do: Use a calm, low voice when meeting a dog

It’s common for people to use “baby talk” when first meeting a dog but the correct way to approach a dog is to speak in your normal voice. Keep it calm and low. Using a higher pitched voice can signal weakness as well as stress out the dog. Establish your relationship right from the start by emanating confidence and respect for any new dog you meet.

 

Looking to adopt a dog? Start browsing adoptable pets near you on getyourpet.com.

Diabetes In Dogs & Cats: Everything You Need To Know

Diabetes in dogs and cats is a growing problem in the U.S. It’s important to recognize symptoms and understand the factors that can contribute to pet diabetes.

diabetes in dogs and cats

What exactly is diabetes in dogs and cats?

There are two types of pet diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin production and is the most common type of diabetes found in dogs. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a lack of normal response to insulin and is more likely to be found in cats. Diabetes in dogs and cats is a common disease, affecting about one in 308 dogs and one in 230 cats.

 

What are the symptoms of pet diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs may include excessive thirst, frequent urination, urinary tract infections, lethargy, vomiting, a change in appetite, weight loss, cataracts or blindness, and chronic skin infections. Cats with diabetes experience similar symptoms, in addition to depression, issues with motor function, and, in rare cases, death. With proper treatment, care, and monitoring, however, dogs and cats with diabetes can live long and healthy lives. Contact your veterinarian right away if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog or cat.

 

What dogs or cats are prone to diabetes?

There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to a dog or cat developing diabetes, such as breed, age, gender, and weight. Generally speaking, older or overweight dogs and cats are more likely to develop diabetes. You can decrease your pet’s chances of developing diabetes by making sure they get plenty of exercise and eat a healthy diet. While diabetes in dogs and cats is not 100% preventable, you can keep your four-legged friend in good health by trying these 6 diabetes prevention tips.

 

Is diabetes in dogs or cats treatable?

The good news is that pet diabetes is treatable. Once a veterinarian confirms a diagnosis, he or she will prescribe your pet with the type and dosage of insulin your pet needs. In addition to daily insulin injections, your vet might also recommend a dietary change for your pet. Diabetic pets require special care, but they can certainly live long, happy lives.

 

Looking to adopt a pet? Browse hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats near you at getyourpet.com.

Cat Breeds: Types, Traits, and Breed Information

Most people don’t realize that there are dozens of different cat breeds. While some breeds are known for being more laid back, others tend to be highly active and energetic. Read on to see which cat breeds may be right for you.

 

cat breeds

 

American Domestic Shorthair

One of the most popular cat breeds in the U.S. is the American Shorthair, or American Domestic Shorthair. These cats are adaptable, good-natured, and relatively social. They have a good temperament, love to play, and are excellent hunters. American Shorthair cats are a great choice for families because they enjoy attention and get along great with kids or dogs.

 

British Shorthair

British Shorthair cats are muscular, stocky cats with reserved, yet easy-going personalities. They are adaptable, child-friendly cats that enjoy the company of their people. While not necessarily a lap cat, the British Shorthair is most content lounging near people. They are laid back, affectionate, and happy-go-lucky cats.

 

Persian

Persian cats have beautiful, long, silky coat and round faces. They are generally quiet, sweet, and tolerant of their surroundings. Because of this, they make a great pet for a home with children. Persian cats can be selective in who they love, however, concentrating their attention on the people they trust the most.

 

Siamese

Siamese cats are among the most talkative, opinionated, and social of cat breeds. They demand your attention, love to be by your side at all times, and do not do well with being left alone. Siamese cats are chatty, athletic, and intelligent creatures. Many Siamese owners choose to have two Siamese cats so that they can keep each other company and play together.

 

Bengal

While some cat breeds would prefer to spend the afternoon napping on the couch, the Bengal is an active, alert, and curious living partner. They prefer to busy themselves with toys, games, and other sources of fun when bored or left alone. Bengal cats are athletes at heart, and may take to unconventional forms of entertainment, such as playing in water or learning new tricks.

 

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds. Maine Coons generally enjoy being near people and they get along well with kids and other pets. A natural hunter, this cat breed will keep a keen eye out for any rodent that may be lurking nearby. They are smart, love a good challenge, and are eager to learn new tricks.

 

Sphynx

Perhaps the most distinctive and universally-recognized breed of cat is the Sphynx. Sphynx cats are hairless, wrinkly, large-eared cats that have a personality as singular as their looks. The Sphynx is a social cat that loves to meet new people and frequently seeks attention from whoever is around.

 

Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau is a true lap cat. They enjoy spending time with family, and are happiest showing devotion to loved ones. Egyptian Mau cats are vocal and expressive, displaying their happiness by kneading with their front paws and swishing their tails. They also like to jump, climb, and perch in high places, and have a special love for playing in water.

 

In Cats, Breeds Aren’t Everything

While all cat breeds have certain general characteristics, every cat has his or her own unique personality. Training, environment, and socialization can all influence a cat’s behaviors. If you’re looking to adopt a cat, you can start browsing adoptable cats near you with Get Your Pet.

Service Dogs: Awareness, Etiquette, and Things to Know

International Assistance Dog Week, or IADW, is the week each year in which we celebrate all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs. Service dogs help people cope with their disability-related limitations. They hold an important and valued place in our society, but we seldom know the proper way to act around them. So, in recognition of International Assistance Dog Week, here’s a quick primer on service dogs:

Service Dogs

What is a service dog?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, an assistance or service dog is “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.” This disability could be physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental. Service dogs typically train for multiple months before they are matched with their future handler. Common examples of work or tasks performed by service dogs include alerting a person who is about to have a seizure or calming a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack.

 

Using proper etiquette

If you’re crazy about dogs, chances are you want to pet each and every one you see. However, you should never touch a service animal without asking permission from the handler. The proper etiquette is to treat the service dog as you would a person on the job. Touching or petting a working dog can break their concentration and impede their tending to their handler.

You should also refrain from crowding around, talking to, or offering food to service dogs. All of these things can impact the well-being of the handler and the dog’s ability to do their job, especially if they are in the process of completing a command. The best thing to do is to politely ignore the dog and respect their space while they are on duty.

 

Are service dogs the same as emotional support animals?

Service dogs and emotional support dogs are two different things. While service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks, emotional support dogs offer moral support with their calming presence. For example, a service dog may guide a visually-impaired person, while an emotional support animal can provide support to their owner during a panic attack. Emotional support dogs also require a prescription by a licensed mental health professional.

Service dogs and emotional support dogs also have different rights. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are permitted in businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the general public. This means that service dogs can accompany their handlers in places where pets are prohibited, such as restaurants or hospitals. Emotional support animals are not protected under the ADA.

 

Be respectful towards handlers

When you come across an individual with a service dog, you may have the impulse to ask them, “Why?” Keep in mind, not all disabilities are visible. A person with epilepsy, for example, may outwardly appear the same as someone without the condition. When you ask a person why they have a service dog, it can feel like you are asking them, “What’s wrong with you?” It is disrespectful and an intrusion on their privacy.

In fact, there are laws in place that protect the privacy of a person with a service dog. You cannot ask a person with a disability to present medical or training documentation, or ask that the dog prove their ability to perform a task. There is also no requirement for service dogs to wear a vest. These laws exist to help protect the privacy of the handler. Always remember to be kind and respectful of the handler.

 

They have their downtime, too!

A common misconception is that service dogs never get to relax. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When services dogs aren’t on the job, they receive plenty of love and attention at home. Service dogs can be “regular” dogs when they’re not tending to their handler. Just like humans come home to relax after a hard day of work, service dogs get some much-deserved exercise, downtime, and (of course) playtime!

Looking to adopt a pet? Start browsing adoptable dogs and cats with Get Your Pet.

Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer With These Tips

Summer is in full swing and, for most pet owners, that means spending more time outside with their four-legged friends. It isn’t widely known that, like people, dogs are susceptible to sunburn and even heat stroke. Prevent any harmful repercussions from the heat or sun and keep your dog cool this summer with these heat safety tips:

keep your dog cool this summer

The “Back of Your Hand” Rule

Driveways, parking lots, and other walkways can get extremely hot in the sun. Always check the pavement or sidewalk before allowing your dog to walk on it. To see if it’s safe to walk on, place and hold the back of your hand on the pavement for ten seconds. Anything that’s too hot for the back of your hand is too hot for your dog’s paws.

Keep Them Hydrated

The best way to keep your dog cool this summer is to provide them with plenty of water. Keep a fresh bowl of drinking water available indoors and outdoors and change it regularly. Many pet owners carry around a portable bowl to fill when on the go. Also, to give them a nice break from the heat when they are playing outside, keep a sprinkler outside and give your pup a refreshing spritz of cool water. Kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy running through a water sprinkler on a hot day!

Don’t EVER Leave Your Dog Alone In a Hot Car

Even on a mildly warm day, the inside of a car can heat up fast. In fact, at 70 degrees on a sunny day, the temperature inside a car can reach 104 degrees after a half hour, and 113 degrees after one hour. Never leave your dog in your car, even if you think you’ll only be a minute or two, and even if the window is cracked open. It’s unsafe for your dog, and puts them at risk of overheating.

Use Shade To Keep Your Dog Cool

In addition to water, make sure there’s a shaded area outside that your dog can retreat to when the sun becomes too hot. If your yard doesn’t have trees, you can set up a pop-up tent, umbrella, or other cover to keep your dog cool and protect them from the sun’s direct rays. You can also close the blinds in your house to keep the sun from heating the rooms of your house when your dog is home.

Keep Your Dog Groomed

Be conscious of your dog’s size, breed, and coat when considering their ability to withstand hotter temperatures. While breeds like the Chihuahua thrive in warmer weather, breeds with thicker coats, like Huskies and Shepherds, are built to thrive in colder climates. Smaller breeds like the Maltese and Boston Terrier are usually most sensitive to extreme temperatures. If they have a thicker coat, make sure to groom them regularly through the summer months to keep your dog cool. Here are some great summer grooming tips.

When In Doubt, Don’t Go Out

The fact is, you can only do so much to keep your dog safe and cool outdoors in the summer. Even in moderate heat, most dogs would prefer to be indoors. In the heat, a fatal heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or overexertion can take just moments to come on. Keep your dog cool by following these tips.  Then use your best judgment when deciding whether or not your dog should be exposed to the heat.

 

Looking to adopt a dog? Start browsing adoptable dogs near you at getyourpet.com.