Jun 23 2017

Fourth of July Safety Tips

It’s the time of year to celebrate Independence Day! It is an annual Federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and registering as a country, the United States of America. We typically celebrate with family, friends, fireworks, and good times. However, our furry friends don’t enjoy the holiday as much as we do, so we here at Wayside thought it would be helpful to provide tips on Fourth of July safety for our four-legged family members.

1. Have updated ID and photos of all your pets.

This goes without saying, but sometimes the animals get so nervous and scared they might try to run off and find a safe place. Having proper identification and updated photos greatly increases their chances of coming home sooner. At our store Whiskers & Wags, we sell a variety of collars and ID tags that you can purchase on campus.

2. Leave your pets at home.

To avoid something like a lost pet happening, and to ease your furry friends’ stress, consider leaving them at home for the celebration. Most pets do not want to be near fireworks when they are set off, and find the most comfort at home. Please do not lock them in the car either, because they could suffer from heat stroke and/or brain damage.

3. Don’t put insect repellant on your pet.

This also should go without saying, but if your family is having a get-together and you would like to take your pets before the fireworks show, do not put insect repellant or sunscreen on your pet. There are certain ingredients in both that are poisonous for animals, and will have effects like neurological disorders and lethargy.

4. Never leave alcoholic beverages unattended to where your pets could reach them.

Dogs and cats are naturally curious, and if a beer or cocktail is left on the ground, they might consider knocking it over and drinking it. If consumed, the animal can get intoxicated and very weak, and could even go into a coma. Put those drinks on coasters on a high-rise table so they are unable to reach it, and provide fresh water for them to drink instead.

5. Keep your pet on their normal diet.

This is the time of year when people are barbecuing more and more because the weather is nice. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea.

6. Don’t give your pet access to glow jewelry. 

Glow jewelry is that super popular item that people put in freezers and wraps around your joints in place of bracelets and necklaces. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

7. Don’t force your pet into a costume for the holiday. 

It may seem cute to dress them up in the red, white, and blue, but unless your dog (or even less likely, your cat) loves to play dress-up, don’t push the issue. If they have a medical condition, some sort of loose clothing is definitely acceptable. Also, if your animal shuts down during the fireworks, consider purchasing a thunder shirt, which can be found at our store Whiskers & Wags. They are proven to help make animals feel safe and secure, while keeping anxiety levels down.

8. Do keep matches and lighter fluid out of the animals’ reach.

Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. Keep those items on a high-rise table out of their reach, and all will be well!

9. Consider getting calming treats and Adaptil collars

Calming treats and Adaptil/anti-anxiety collars are both sold in our retail store Whiskers & Wags, and they have been helpful to ease stress for our animals here. The collar mimics the dogs’ natural pheromone that helps ease tension, and can help them relax during a fireworks display, as long as they are indoors. Calming treats will help do the same things, and will taste good as well!

10. Brush up on flea/tick treatment.

Ticks and fleas are more abundant than ever because of the mild winter we had. They will find a host environment in dogs and cats, and during a celebration it might go unnoticed. We also sell seresto collars which help battle unwanted visitors for up to eight months. They will help during that barbecue and high heated areas! They can be found at our retail store Whiskers & Wags.

These are just some tips that help our furry friends, and you, prepare for the celebratory holiday! Enjoy, and be safe! Our retail store Whiskers & Wags is open during our adoption hours, provided below.

Adoption Hours:

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: Noon-8pm
Thursday: Noon-8pm
Friday: Noon-8pm
Saturday: 10am-6pm
Sunday: 1pm-6pm

Written by Teryn


Jun 16 2017

Bert and Marla: Long-Term Residents

Wayside Waifs typically cares for 5,400+ animals per year, but some of our residents stay longer than what is expected. Sometimes the animals get extra medical treatment for maybe an upper respiratory infection, to something as severe as pneumonia. That can extend the stay of our friends here, and another reason they may stay longer is if they are involved in our behavior rehabilitation programs here. Every case is different, but these two long-term animals have the longest length of stay in the dog and cat categories. Bert and Marla are eager to find that fur-ever home, but here is a little background about them.

This is Bert, and he is a five-year old Basset Hound mix. His LOS (Length of Stay) is 184 days since he was returned from his previous adopter. Collectively, his LOS is longer than that. Bert was transferred to us back in August of 2016 when his previous shelter ran out of room for him. He came to us with a little upper respiratory infection, as well as being Heartworm positive. Bert received care for both conditions and is now healthy and ready to settle in a home.

Bert battled an infection on and off during his first few months here, and then he was medically cleared for adoption. Bert has a high reactivity to other dogs when on-leash, and he has been known to get stressed out around children. However he is a sweet boy, and very active! He LOVES going on walks and runs, and really loves to be outside when the weather’s nice. He loves toys as well, especially Kongs. The staff members and volunteers here have easily joined Bert’s fan club, as he is now a favorite throughout.

Jess, our Canine and Behavior Manager, speaks highly of Bert. “He’s a really fun guy, and if you’re looking for an active, lovable boy, Bert’s the dog for you.”

Jess also mentions his restrictions with children and dogs shouldn’t necessarily be set in stone. “Honestly, he needs a patient person or persons to train him properly, as he never has had the proper training. Once he has a good pattern of behavior, maybe he’ll do good with kids and dogs. At the beginning, it might be too much for him.”

Elise, a Canine Care Technician, also had some great things to say about Bert. “He will make you laugh, he’ll go outside and roll on his back with a big goofy grin. It’s hilarious!” Elise works with Bert and all of our canine friends regularly, and has seen his progress firsthand. “He needs a special person that will see how unique he is, and that will be Bert’s perfect home.”

This precious boy is looking for his big break, and who better to tell you about Bert than Bert himself?! If you want to watch his video, click here.

“Hi there, I’m Bert! I’m an adorable, 45-pound dog who’s looking for a place to call my own. After being transferred here by my shelter when they ran out of space for me, I’m ready to move on with my life and get things started with my new family! I’ll do better in a home without small children. Sometimes I forget how strong I am! I’d love to meet the whole family before heading home, so bring everyone out to meet me! I’m affectionate and loving with people! I like to stay active because being healthy is so important. I have great leash manners when I use my easy walk harness so taking walks together will be so much fun! Being outside is one of my favorite things so I hope we can spend some time bonding over the exciting sights and smells of this world. I also love to keep my brain sharp so teach me everything you know! I’ve already got the commands sit, down, and come covered but I know I can learn even more with your help. Oh, and I can even army crawl! I think that’s pretty cool. Get me extra motivated with fun toys or yummy treats! I’m so handsome and have a stellar personality. I’m one happy boy who doesn’t know a bad day! I’ll be sure to put a smile on your face whenever you’re around me. I hope you’ll come meet me soon so you can fall in love with my bubbly personality and handsome smile! Love, Bert”

This is Marla, and she is a three-year old tabby cat. Her LOS (Length of Stay) is 136 days straight. Back in February of this year, Marla was rescued from a hoarding case, and had no major signs of illness. With hoarding cases, we test for FIV and FELV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus respectively. Being around all those cats in certain conditions can bring life-altering illnesses. Marla was the only one out of ten in her group to test negative for both, she is resilient!

Even so, she did contract ringworm after staying her for almost a month, and was put in our isolation ward to treat her patches of hair loss. She was shy through all of this, so she felt a little run-down. However, with quick treatment and our excellent TABBY program, To Achieve Best Behavior Yet, she became the wonderful cat she is today! Our excellent staff and volunteers worked with her everyday to allow her to come out of her shell. She is a staff and volunteer favorite as well, mainly because of how independent she is.

Our Volunteer Coordinator Becky is Marla’s Waif Watcher, which is an advocate program to help promote our waifs. “I love how independent she is, but she also will come up for pets. She will enjoy playing with someone, and playing by herself. She’s the perfect cat!” Becky used to work in our Feline Care Department as well, so she also got to know Marla through there. “When she started to come out of her shell, we noticed how playful she is, and it’s adorable to watch. She is also unique looking for a tabby, so that is a positive too!”

Bonnie, our Feline Care Manager, also has some nice things to say about Marla. “I love seeing a really shy cat make a huge turnaround and become who they really are. The day Marla started to play with me was a great day!” Bonnie founded our TABBY program and it has helped cats like Marla become more confident. “Marla gives good signs when she either has had enough or if she wants more attention. She’s a smart girl!”

This gorgeous gal is looking for her fur-ever home, and that might be you! She would love to tell you about herself, and you can also watch her video here. Please note this video is earlier during her stay here, come meet her to see how much she has grown! Here is how Marla is now!

“Hi I’m Marla! I’m a pretty tabby cat with plenty of love to give. My friends at Wayside call me a Private Investigator. That means that I might spend some time behind the scenes while I make sure everything in the house is in order. I might be a little shy at first but I’ve been known to give purrs and headbutts. I love mice and wand toys! I will need a home where I am the only cat and there are no children under the age of 10. I’ll need someone to be patient with me and give me the private space I need to adjust to a new home. Once I’m comfortable, I’ll be your best friend. I can’t wait to have my own furever family!”

You can meet Bert and Marla at our facility during our adoption hours:

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: Noon-8pm
Thursday: Noon-8pm
Friday: Noon-8pm
Saturday: 10am-6pm
Sunday: 1pm-6pm

Written by Teryn


Jun 9 2017

Expect A High Tick Season in KCMO

It’s summertime, which means family vacations, trips to the pool, and fun times had by all. However, the hot summer days also bring things we don’t enjoy so much: ticks! Here are just some visuals of ticks that have been found in the KC Metro area;

Lone Star Tick:
Lone star tick American Dog Tick:TK5KAK4K6KAQ10WQ30VQJ0NQ10KKTK1Q1KBQC05Q10LKO05QNKKKTKIKCK8KBK9QTKBQAKVQT01QJ0BQTKQKTK4K Brown Dog Tick:male brown dog tick(1) Black-legged Tick:lymetickfemale_86086_7

Because we had such a mild winter, during the spring and summer, ticks become more active. KSHB 41 did a piece on what to look out for, which you can find here.

Ticks are commonly found in wooded areas, such as tree limbs, bushes, branches, and leaves, and the more time you spend outside, the more chance you get of facing off ticks, including your furry friend.

Even if you don’t suspect you or your pet has a tick on them, it is always recommended that you do a full-body check after coming from outside. If you see a tick, using tweezers to remove them is the best and safest way. Check your pet regularly, and fitting in a bath might be a good idea too! Here is a video tutorial on the whole process!

While they are a nuisance, the potential diseases they can transfer to us and our furry friends are not fun. Flu-like symptoms can start if you don’t notice them quick enough, and sometimes people develop Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is not necessarily prevalent in the KC area, but still something to watch out for!

Don’t let this scare you into staying indoors for the summer! Continue to go on walks, that is great bonding time for you and your pet! Having a dog version of a pool party is always a good time! Here at Wayside Waifs, we also sell Seresto collars that can help ward off those fleas and ticks at our retail store, Whiskers & Wags, purchased on site. Now is a good time to also check with your veterinarian to see what preventative you can get prescribed. From all of us here at Wayside Waifs, have a great summer, and be safe!

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Written by: Teryn J.


Dec 6 2016

Frosty Paws – Keep Your Pet Safe This Winter

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Winter is definitely upon us! Not only is it time for humans to dig out their cold weather clothes, it’s also time to think about keeping our pets safe during these arctic cold days. Here are some tips to keeping your pets safe.

1. Keep your pets inside. Limit your pets outside time for bathroom breaks when temperatures start to tumble. If it’s too cold for you, it’s defintely too cold for your pet. If your pet is normally outside, move them to a sheltered garage or heated dog house, away from the wind.

2. Outdoor cats have been known to find refuge underneath the hoods of cars. When the car is started, the cat could become injured or even killed by moving parts of the engine. If you have an outdoor cat, honk the horn before starting the car to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Keep your dog on a leash in the winter weather. Pets can lose their scent in the snow and ice and find refuge in unfamiliar places. This is also a good opportunity to check your dog or cats id tag to make sure they have the most current contact information in case your pet becomes lost or stolen. We also recommend mircrochipping your pet. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other time of the year.

4. When getting your pet groomed, don’t have them shaved down to the skin. A longer coat provides more warmth. Bathing your dog? Be sure to completely dry them before taking them out for a walk. For short-haired breeds, put them in a warm sweater with a high collar that gives the pet coverage from the base of their tail to the belly. My toy poodle Lucy loves to wear her jacket and waits for me to put it on her before going outside.

5. Make sure to keep a dry towel near the door when you bring in your dogs from being outside. Thoroughly dry their paws, legs and belly. They can pick up bits of salt, antifreeze and other lethal chemicals from being outside. It can also be painful for the animal to have shards of ice in their fur. A dogs paws can actually bleed from encrusted ice. This is also a good opportunity to give them some extra love and praise them for good outdoor behavior.

6. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. The vehicle can act as a refrigerator, keeping the cold inside and causing your pet to freeze to death.

7. If your pet spends a lot of time playing outside, increase his food supply. Make sure to include extra protein to help keep his fur in great shape.

8. Coolant and antifreeze are lethal for cats and dogs. If you have any spills in your garage or driveway make sure to clean them thoroughly. Stay away from product s that use ethylene glycol. If your pet should ingest any of these products, call your veterinarian immediately.

9. Rock salt is also dangerous for pets. “Safe Paw” is pet safe ice melt is available for sale at Wayside Waifs and is safe for pets.

10. Give your pet a warm place to sleep. Make sure beds are located away from doors and drafts. Warm blankets or a large pillow is great.

 

Written by: Trish Stinger, Digital Marketing/Brand Manager
Wayside Waifs


Sep 12 2016

Meet Waif of the Week, Ayla!

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Meet Ayla! Ayla is proud to be one of this week’s Waifs of the Week and is hoping this will be her time to get noticed by her new peeps! Ayla first came to Wayside Waifs when her old shelter ran out of space for her. She was then adopted, but brought back when her owners were worried about her health. When she arrived back at Wayside, we did everything we could to make sure Ayla was in amazing health and feeling more than ready to find her fur-ever home! She’s back and better than ever, waiting for the best family to go home with.

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Ayla is an adorable, Hound/American Blue Heeler who is 1 year and 8 months old. Like most young dogs, she’s energetic and loves to play! She did great with the 6-year-old she used to live with, so if you have little ones at home she’ll make a great companion. She loves to go on walks and does grr-eat when she uses her easy walk harness. Getting active can be a fun and enjoyable experience for both of you! Ayla could also try daycare or dog parks.

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Ayla is a very smart pup. She already know the commands sit, down, and stay and she’s the type of dog who’s always eager to learn. With some basic obedience training she’ll be able to add even more to that list. She’s extra motivated to learn when you give her yummy treats or fun toys to play with!

 

If you’re looking for a companion who is sweet, smart, and beautiful, Ayla is your girl. With those big brown eyes, you’re sure to fall in love at first sight! Ayla would love to meet you so stop by Wayside Waifs soon!

 

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Sep 30 2015

Luna’s Journey to Finding a Forever Home

Scared and hungry, Luna came to Wayside Waifs in need of medical attention.

Scared and hungry, Luna came to Wayside Waifs in need of medical attention.

This is Luna. She came to Wayside Waifs from a well-meaning animal lover that did not have his animals spayed/neutered. After a time he ended up with too many animals to care for and was over the city limit for owned animals. That’s when several cats and kittens were brought to Wayside, including Luna.

She was only 2 1/2 months old, underweight and suffering from Coccidia (a parasite that when not treated, can cause damage to the lining of a cat’s intestines.) We were able to give her life-saving medications to treat the parasites and she also received standard vaccinations. Once she was well, she was spayed and received a microchip.

While at Wayside, she lived in our kitten nursery with her sister Squirt, receiving nutritious food, care and love from our staff and volunteers.

Stay tuned for more about Luna’s story…


Jun 16 2015

Beat the heat! Keep your pet cool this summer.

Spending summer days with your furry friend can be a lot of fun but the weather conditions aren’t always suitable for your pet. The rising temperatures and extreme humidity that the summer brings can be fatal for your animal if you aren’t aware of the dangers they can bring. On a really hot day your pet probably prefers a cool, air conditioned environment, but if you take on the outdoors with them there are a few things to remember.

Keeping your pet hydrated is crucial. Make sure you provide fresh, clean water that your pet can access at any time.  Also, if you’re unable to keep them indoors make sure that they have a shaded area they can go to when they need to get out of the sun.  If they are outdoors in the sun for too long, your pet can become overheated.  If you are transporting them in a vehicle be sure to never leave them in the car while it’s parked. A parked car can quickly become way too hot for your pet, whether the windows are down or not. Leaving an animal unattended in a parked vehicle can be fatal for your pet so make sure you are able to keep them with you when you’ve reached your destination or just leave them at home so they can stay cool.

Another way to keep your pet cool is to trim their fur. If you have a breed that grows long hair, it can be beneficial to get their hair trimmed short in the summer time. This can keep them much cooler on hot, summer days. It also helps to brush your animal’s fur more often than usual.

Be sure to pay attention to the heat of the asphalt. If it is a hot day, chances are the concrete and asphalt have reached temperatures that can potentially burn your pet’s paws.  Don’t let your pet stand or walk where the ground might be too hot for their paws.

Taking your pet swimming is a great idea for the both of you to cool off.  If you decide to let your pet splash around in a pool, lake, or other body of water do not leave them unsupervised! Not all dogs are natural swimmers and may need help. Don’t just assume that they will be able to swim and take care of themselves while in the water.

It is important to know the symptoms of overheating so that you can know when there is a problem and when you need to take action. Some symptoms of overheating are excessive panting or difficulty breathing, an increased heart rate, excessive drooling, or mild weakness. When body temperatures get too high they can also experience seizures, diarrhea, or vomiting. Pay attention to the weather and be aware of the potential danger that the hot summers can bring. By doing this you can beat the heat and have a fun but safe summer with your furry friend!

 


Jun 8 2015

Calling All Cat Lovers!

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Who would not love to start their day with kittens, upon kittens, upon kittens? We are looking for a special group of volunteers to help us with this crucial shelter role. Keeping the shelter clean and our animals healthy is a big responsibility. Support is needed each day of the week from 8- 11am. We know it is early in the morning, but you will have other smiling and happy faces to work with while you are here. Do you know anyone else who loves cats? Volunteering with cats and friends is doubly rewarding.

Here are the details about what you would be doing. Keep in mind this is a short term commitment and your care will help these felines in their journey to finding a forever home!

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Volunteers will be asked to commit to a once a weekly schedule. All days of the week are available, even weekends. Shifts are 8am – 11am. Anyone interested in volunteering, but not interested in this specific opportunity, should sign up for our general program at waysidewaifs.org

To get started helping our kitties, sign up for one of these classes be emailing AnnMarie Thomas, athomas@waysidewaifs.org. Please note in your email which shift you are interested in filling or if you are interested in volunteering for more than one day.

*These classes are ONLY for the Feline Comfort Support volunteer position.

June 13th 8am – 11am

OR

June 15th 8am – 11am

Feline Comfort Support Volunteers support the Feline Care Techs (FCT) with a variety of tasks. These include cleaning and sanitizing kennels, picking up and distributing blankets/toys, and providing food and water. Volunteers will be provided with general volunteer training and one on one mentoring to ensure success in this position!

Purpose:

  • This is a partnership of volunteers and staff working to provide the best quality of life for the cats at Wayside.
  • Support feline socialization and the importance of touch.
  • Decrease shelter stress and the spread of disease.
  • Apply consistent deep cleaning techniques for kennels once they are vacated.
  • Provide cats with basic necessities, clean surroundings, and toys for mental stimulation.
  • Overall – Increase the adoptability, health, and welfare of cats at Wayside Waifs.

Have questions? Contact AnnMarie Thomas, athomas@waysidewaifs.org.

Abner

 


Apr 24 2015

Dog Training Tips: Excessive Chewing

How to help your little chewer 

It’s not uncommon for dogs to enjoy chewing on different objects, regardless of whether or not it’s something they should or shouldn’t be chewing on, all dogs have the natural instinct to chew.  Dogs chew on things for different reasons, some of these include: they’re bored, they’re panicking due to separation anxiety, they’re teething, they’re exploring the world around them, they’re hungry, or they just naturally enjoy chewing as a daily activity.  It’s our responsibility as their owners to try to figure out why they’re chewing and ensure they have appropriate items for them to chew on.  Below is some additional information about how to manage a dog that likes to chew a lot.

  • Puppies go through two teething phases, one when their puppy teeth or “milk teeth” start to come in at about 3 weeks old and the second when their adult teeth start to come in at about 3 months old.  It’s not uncommon for young dogs up to two years of age to continue to want to chew a lot into their teenage phase even though they are no longer teething.
  • Generally speaking, younger dogs have a lot more energy than older dogs so as a result they are much more active and need to be given constructive outlets to burn off all that energy.  If they’re not given the appropriate exercise and mental stimulation for their age and breed, young dogs can become very destructive in your home.  It’s imperative that you make the time to exercise your young dog, train basic obedience behaviors to your young dog so that they learn some manners, and give them appropriate chew bones and toys.  A tired dog is a good dog.
  • Always supervise young dogs to ensure they are not chewing on inappropriate objects and to ensure they are not choking and/or ingesting parts of the toys you’ve given them to play with and chew on.  Baby gates, crates, or keeping your dog on a leash tied to your belt are all good tools for total supervision until you get to know your dog and his or her chewing habits.  Not all dogs can play with the same toys safely so it’s imperative that you monitor your dog when you give them a new toy for the first time.  Ingested toys can cause serious life threatening intestinal blockages and the surgery alone to remove the blockage can cost a few thousand dollars at a veterinary office.
  • You can ensure that your dog is not chewing on inappropriate objects by keeping your personal items picked up and put away.  Also make sure that rooms are safe for your dog and that things like plugged in power cords are out of your dog’s reach.  Closing doors to extra rooms like bedrooms and bathrooms will ensure that your dog is not sneaking off and chewing on your things or harming herself.  Remind your children that it is their responsibility to keep their items like toys and shoes put away if they don’t want them chewed on by the dog.  It’s not uncommon for dogs of any age to want to chew things that smell strongly of their owners like dirty socks, underwear, shoes, etc. so make sure they are out of your dog’s reach.
  • If your dog is chewing on an inappropriate item, always redirect their chewing to their dog toys and bones instead of scolding them.  Scolding them will not diminish their need to chew and do something mentally stimulating; it will just teach your dog to fear you.  Instead teach them what they should be doing by offering them toys or chews that they should chew on.  See the list below of toys recommended for excessive chewers.
  • If your dog is chewing on larger items that you can’t put away like furniture, you may want to try a taste deterrent spray like bitter apple spray.  However, the best option is always going to be supervising your dog when you’re home and then redirecting them to an appropriate toy when they feel the need to chew.  If you’re not home to supervise then you may need to crate train your dog or baby gate them in a dog proof room like a kitchen or bathroom.  Some people can safely give their dogs toys to chew on while they are away while others cannot because their dog may have a history of ingesting or choking on toys.
  • If your dog is excessively chewing when you are not home and is doing things like escaping out of its metal or plastic crate and then chewing up carpets, doors, or the molding around your doors or windows, you most like have a dog that is suffering from separation anxiety and should seek immediate help from your veterinarian and a behaviorist.  Please see our separation anxiety handout.  Your dog is experiencing extreme mental and emotional distress, akin to a panic attack. Do not continue to try to crate your dog; she may severely injure her body or teeth while trying to escape out of a crate.
  • Recommended dog toys for excessive chewers*:
    • Kongs stuffed with peanut butter or wet dog food and then frozen
    • Himalayan Chews
    • Goughnuts
    • Nylabones
    • Wholesome rolled rawhide bones
    • Deer, moose, or elk antlers
    • Bull horns
    • Bully sticks
    • Rope toys
    • Tuffy plush toys
    • Leather toys
    • Red Barn or Merrick marrow bones

*Items above are generally safer if they are made in the USA compared to products shipped in from overseas, particularly animal products such as rawhides and marrow bones.  Wayside Waifs does not receive any financial reimbursement for endorsing these products.  Wayside Waifs can also not be held liable should your dog have problems while interacting with these toys.

 


Mar 31 2015

Introducing Your Cat to the Litter Box

The first step with any behavioral issue is to take your cat to the veterinarian for a full evaluation.  Cats are very stoic animals and will hide illness and injury.  Sometimes our only clue that something is physically wrong is a behavioral symptom.  Many behavioral modification programs can begin in conjunction with or shortly after your trip to the veterinarian.

Some cats can be quite particular when it comes to where they eliminate.   Some guardians expect cats to just “know” what to do and where to go, when in fact, they don’t always.  If a kitten has been separated from its Mother or littermates too soon, it might not learn on its own.   Someone has to help them, and that someone just might be you.

When you first bring your new cat or kitten home, they should be given their own room for at least a couple of days.  They need time to acclimate to their environment, to you, and this will help them to understand where they are to potty as well.  Give the cat time to investigate the room, and they will find the litter box on their own.  Do not place food and water bowls beside the litter box, put those in an area away from the litter box.  If you don’t see your cat investigating anywhere near the litter box, you can place the cat in the litter box, but only if they are comfortable with you doing so.  Don’t force them, and do not help move their paws in the litter box either.  This has to be a positive experience for them.  It is best to give them time to investigate on their own.

Which litter box do you need?  Start with a basic litter box, without a cover.  Buy a standard sized litter box or a large clear Sterilite container that is 1.5 times an adult cat’s length.  Cats need room to move around! They should have enough space to be able to turn around comfortably.  If you do buy a covered litter box, it must be tall enough so the cat can comfortably stand up.  Most cats don’t like having a cover.  Imagine walking into a small space, going potty, cleaning up (covering up), and then exiting.  The litter box needs to be a positive experience for a cat and spending several minutes inside a dirty litter box is an unpleasant experience.  Also, if there are other cats in the home, some might use this as a chance to pounce on the unassuming cat when it exits the litter box.  Some guardians will purchase a litter liner, and this is something you might have to try out to see what your cat thinks of it.  If the cat doesn’t like that sound or feel of it, stop using it.

Which type of litter do you need?  Kittens should not be given clumping litter.  Kittens are curious, and may actually play or try to eat it.  Unscented is best.  Scented litter may actually cause your cat to not use the litter box.  Two inches of litter in the litter box is recommended.  Adults prefer unscented, clumping litter at a depth of 3-4 inches.

Where should the litter box be kept?  It should continue to stay in the room your cat started out in.  The general rule for litter boxes is to have 1 litter box per cat plus 1 more.  So, the 2nd litter box should be kept on another level in the home or another area for easy access whenever the cat has to “go”.  The litter boxes must be in a quiet, stress-free area, and where the cat can have easy access to it at any time.  If there are young children or other pets in the home, it is very important that they do not try to prevent the cat from getting to the litter box.

How often does the litter box need to be cleaned?  Litter boxes should be scooped at least on a daily basis.  Depending on the number of cats in the home, this may need to be done more than once each day.  Change the litter at least on a weekly basis.  This is also a great time to clean the litter box.  Soap & water is usually good enough for removing any stains or odor.   You can use an enzyme-based cleaner if the urine odor is very strong, but it’s usually a good rule to allow a little odor, because your cat is familiar with it. Also, sometimes a chemical smell will turn off the cat from using the litter box.  If the litter box is cleaned entirely of the cat’s scent, they may not use it.  Remember, you probably won’t smell anything once it’s been cleaned with soap & water, but your cat probably can.

What if the cat refuses to use the litter box?  Please contact your Veterinarian if your cat stops using the litter box and using other areas.  If your cat is not eliminating at all, contact your Veterinarian immediately to rule out any serious health issue.

If after trying these suggestions you are still experiencing undesirable behaviors in your cat, SUBMIT QUESTIONS by clicking the link under Ask A Trainer on the Behavior and Training page of our website.


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