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Happy May!

Survival Guide: Puppy Teething

The puppy teething period doesn't last long in the grand scheme of things - it usually starts at about 3 months and, depending on your dog's breed, can last until about 8 months. You'll probably see puppy teeth around your home, red and swollen gums, and maybe even an upset tummy. Rover may respond by whining (it hurts), drooling, being fussy, and chewing everything in sight (including people). Chewing eases the pain, so be prepared with these tips.

  • Get a puppy-sized Kong; you can fill it and freeze it. The ice soothes gum pain, and the Kong lasts longer frozen. Don't give your pup ice cubes; he can choke on them. Most pet stores have a variety of teething toys that can be frozen too. A gentle game of tug-of-war with a rope toy may help very loose teeth fall out.
  • Consider feeding some wet or fresh food - it's easier to eat for his sore gums.
  • If Rover tries to chew on you, keep replacing fingers with safe, durable toys (he will eventually get it). It's never too early to start training.
  • Don't set your puppy up to fail - put everything away if you don't want it chewed up. Shoes, pillows, mobile phone, books, homework - you name it; if he's teething, he will gnaw on it! This is a great time to start teaching the "leave it" cue.
  • Teething can be hazardous too. Pups won't hesitate to chew electrical cords, clothing, socks, buttons - which can be dangerous if swallowed. If you can't watch your puppy, then put him in a crate, pen, or gated in a safe room.
  • Start dental care now; at least get your pup comfortable with you examining his teeth. Buy a small toothbrush and start lightly brushing, but be gentle and watch for sore gums.

If you're curious, puppies have 28 teeth, and adult dogs have 42!

This, too, shall pass! Be patient with your puppy; he is not being bad, he just has a very sore mouth.

Survival Guide: Coping with Copious Shedding

No matter how much we love our pets, their shedding can drive us nuts. Unless your pet is hairless, all dogs and cats shed! Puppies shed, especially, when they are getting their adult fur. Shedding is an entirely normal process where our pets get rid of old, dry, and damaged fur and replace it with new. It's healthy for them.

Most dogs shed seasonally. There are some breeds (often called hypoallergenic) that shed less, but they do shed all year long. Other breeds shed a lot including: Akitas, German Shepherds, Labs, Huskies, Corgis, Maine Coons, Persians, and Ragdolls. Shedding is their superpower!

So with the shedding season already upon us, what can we do about it?

  • Diet - a healthy pet sheds less. Read the labels! Make sure you're feeding a high-quality food with omega 3-fatty acids.
  • Water - make sure your pet has access to clean water. If they are not big water drinkers, try a pet fountain, it often encourages your buddy to drink more.
  • Reduce stress - many people don't realize stress can cause excess shedding. Stick to a predictable routine with your pet.
  • Brushing - Although grooming doesn't change the amount of fur they lose, it will lessen the amount in your home, on your furniture, and on you. During shedding season, consider brushing every day. Make sure you're using the right brush for your pet.
  • Baths - a monthly bath will help loosen up the dead hair, which can often intertwine with the new healthy fur. Furthermore, it will keep them clean. Don't bathe them more than monthly, as it could dry out their coat and skin.
  • Grooming - a professional groomer can do the hard work for you and are good at removing dead fur and mats. Many people get a summer cut for their dogs. Clipping doesn't change how much they will shed seasonally, but a shorter coat is less to stick to the sofa, floor, and people!

Keep an eye on your pet for unusual shedding patterns, like bald spots, a thinning coat, excess licking or scratching, or skin irritations. If you see these, you'll need to speak to your veterinarian.

Dealing with shedding is part of pet ownership. Just be ready for the season with the tips above. You may want to think about buying clothing in the same color as your pet's fur!

Real Simple's list of fur removal products

Bring Your Porch or Catio to Life

Spring is almost here, and your indoor cat may enjoy some porch or catio time. Having an outdoor space is so enriching for your cat.

Catios are rooms made specifically for cats. They are made with wire to keep your cat in and other animals out. They come in all sizes. Google catios, and you'll see a huge variety of choices, which you can DIY or purchase.

If you have a human screened-in porch, be aware that window screening used on porches is not cat or predator-proof. Be sure you use something sturdy to reinforce window screening - like hardware cloth. Otherwise, you'll need to hang out with your cat while they are on the porch.

Here are some tips for setting up your cat space, so everyone will find it delightful and cozy.

A sunny catio or porch is great, but make sure it has shade too so your pet doesn't overheat.

Comfortable furniture is a must! Fluffy would enjoy a bed and a hammock too. Cats love a good hiding spot, so have a box or cube they can nap in.

A small, easy to clean water fountain will bring the sound of running water to your space; very relaxing. There are many of them on Amazon; and Chewy has a great PetSafe Drinkwell fountain that is easy to clean.

Add a lot of cat-friendly plants to make a lush oasis. Most cats will enjoy a pot of grass; alfalfa, wheat, and oat grasses are all great choices. You can safely add these plants too: spider plants, Swedish ivy, impatiens, Christmas cactus, Boston ferns, catnip, roses, sunflowers, marigolds, and many more.

Consider some toys for Fluffy. A tunnel, ramp, scratching post, or even a good-sized branch that came down from your tree (remember to secure it in place). As usual with cats, think vertical; they love to climb. A kitty condo is great for climbing and napping. Add a few toys and your cat will love exploring their new space.

A wind chime is a nice addition, and even a bird feeder placed outside the catio or porch for visual entertainment for your cat.

Include a litter box in the porch/catio design this will make life a little easier for Fluffy.

String lights always make a space magical; however, they are not safe around your animals, the electric wire in them is fragile. The best way to use them is to hang the lights on the supports outside your porch or catio. That way, you get all the magic and none of the danger that claws can cause!

There are so many creative ways to dress up your summertime outdoor area. Get it ready and enjoy this delightful sanctuary with your best friend.

Great Pet Links!

May is:
Chip Your Pet Month

May 13 - Disaster Preparedness Day
May 20 - National Rescue Dog Day
May 23 - World Turtle Day

Safe Plants for Pets
Dogs Know When You Lie To Them
Disaster Preparedness for Pets
Low Shedding Cat Breeds
Low Shedding Dog Breeds


May 2023 Newsletter