4 Tips for Keeping Indoor Cats Comfortable

Cars, dogs, and wild animals can cause serious harm to cats, which is why it’s best to keep your pet feline indoors. Cats can be healthy and happy living inside a house, as long as they’re provided with opportunities to exercise and plenty of mental stimulation. 

Here are some tips to keep your indoor cat comfortable and content indoors.

Encourage Your Cat to Exercise

Being active is important for your cat’s physical and mental health. If they don’t exercise, cats can become overweight, anxious, and destructive. 

Purchase a variety of toys that will encourage your cat to run, jump, climb, and pounce. Those may include toys that your cat can bat around with its paws, a laser pointer with a light that your cat can chase, a piece of string that the cat can jump and reach for with its paws, and toys that will require your pet to solve a puzzle to access food inside. Switch the toys out regularly so your cat doesn’t get bored.

A cat tree is a structure that has several levels so a cat can jump and climb. It’s a great way to let your cat act on its natural impulses and get some exercise. Having your pet jump on a cat tree is also better for you than having it jump on your kitchen counters.

Let Your Cat See What’s Going on Outside

Cats are naturally curious, and they want to know what’s going on in the world around them. You don’t have to let your cat outside, but you can allow your pet to see what’s happening there. Let your cat sit or lie on a windowsill so it can watch people and cars pass down the street and see birds and other animals fly and run. Observing the scene outdoors can give your cat lots of mental stimulation.

Provide for Your Cat’s Physical Needs

Talk to your veterinarian about what type of food to feed your cat, how much, and how often. Make sure your pet has access to quality food and fresh water. Also be sure to clean the litter box regularly, especially if you have two or more felines who share a litter box. Not doing so may cause a cat to act out.

Use Indoor Pet Boundaries to Keep Your Cat out of Trouble

Cats like to explore, and they sometimes go places where they shouldn’t, such as in trash cans, on countertops, and on new furniture. It can be difficult to teach a curious and stubborn cat not to do what it wants to do. 

DogWatch sells indoor pet boundaries that you can use to keep your cat out of areas that you want to be off limits. You can block off small areas or entire rooms, depending on your needs. Contact us today to learn more.

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

According to the American Humane Society, there is an estimated 3-4 million animals in shelters each year looking for a loving home where they can feel comfortable and happy to share their time. To help bring awareness to this need, the society created an entire month for the cause. 

Each October since 1981, has been known as “Adopt-a-Dog-Month.” We are total advocates for helping precious animals make it to their forever homes. This month, we’re taking time to recognize all those shelters working, foster pet parents and adopters who take the time to care for these animals and welcome them as pets in their homes. 

Here are a few tips to help you with your pet adoption or rescue. 

Find a Companion That Fits Your Lifestyle

It’s important to remember that many of these pets have been abandoned from other homes or experienced abuse. THey’ll need some gentle care in the beginning, but they can be great friends and companions. Humane and canine interaction is known to help boost emotional health, increase socialization and can even add to your quality of life if you let them! 

Consider how active you are, will you be able to incorporate increased activity for dog walks. How much time you spend at home. How other pets and members of the household will interact with the dog. 

Prepare Your Home in Advance

If you know you will be bringing home a rescue of adopting a pet, it’s important that you have a pet-friendly home. That means ensuring they cannot get to garbage cans or other dangerous decorations as they explore the home and run around. You’ll also need to tuck out of reach of any toxic foods, like those with Xylitol in them, and any other chemicals, plants or other items that could lead to injury in your pet. Consider a wireless pet containment system installed both indoors and outside that will give you and your new pet ultimate freedom! 

Consider Donations

Even if you cannot adopt a pet to bring it into your home, you can also consider donations to your local rescue or shelter to assist the veterinarians, trainers and animals with their healing, food and care. There are typically also opportunities to volunteer your time if you’d like to help out! 

Don’t Let Fleas & Ticks Ruin Your Pet’s Summer

The summer months are arriving here in New England, and with temps fully warmed now there is a giant concern for ticks on our pets if they travel outdoors. Both fleas and ticks can be bothersome and risky to your dog and cat’s health.

Here are some tips for treating and preventing these pesky parasites from invading this summer’s fun.

Take Steps for Prevention

Flea and tick medications specially formulated to help ward off the insects are critical in the line of defense for your pet. Whether you choose an oral tablet, collar or special spray or shampoo, it’s important to follow up with daily checks of your pet’s coat to ensure the medication is working and no ticks have attached to them.

Treat the Spaces They Frequent

You can also be proactive about prevention by treating the areas of your home inside and outside where your pet frequents. Special non-toxic sprays can be purchased for application to your lawn or your pet’s bedding. You should also ensure you are combing and bathing your pet regularly as well as washing and dusting areas around the home where they typically lay.

Set-up Safe Perimeters

If you want your pet to enjoy more freedoms while outdoors but are worried about a key area in the yard – such as pine trees where ticks might be in greater frequency, you can set-up a hidden wireless fence around your yard that dictates specifically the areas you feel safe letting your pet roam. Total control and peace of mind.

DogWatch Western Mass serves the Pioneer Valley and provides installation, training, and great customer service for all DogWatch Hidden Fence products. 

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Caring for Your Pet’s Skin

We all know the furry and cuddly feeling of snuggle with our pet. Cats and dogs can be great comfort givers and they surely love having their coats combed and fur rubbed. One thing to also consider when it comes to your pet’s health is the condition of their skin underneath the fur.

Skin conditions are common in both cats and dogs and sometimes they can signal a larger issue. It’s important to recognize the difference between a regular itch and something that’s irritating your pet – or worse.

Here are some tips for caring for your pet’s skin and what signs to look out for.

Allergic Reactions

It can be difficult to spot an allergy to your pet. Unlike humans who may sneeze or sniffle during allergy season, our pets could display signs they’re also suffering from allergies by obsessively scratching or even nibbling at their own fur. In addition to dander, mold, and other common allergens, your pet could also be having a reaction to a food such as soy or wheat. If this is happening to your pet you will need to have a professional look further into it and perhaps start a regimen of allergy shots.

Infected Skin

Another common skin condition you should know about in pets is commonly referred to as “hot spots” and they appear in the form of red lesion-like inflammation. What starts as a small cut can quickly grow into these painful spots and antibiotic and medicated topical will be needed to aide your pet in clearing up the condition.

Facial Acne

Yes, you read that right. Our four-legged friends share in our human experience of zits on the face! They too can end up with small pimples on their chin area if they become too stressed (sound familiar) or are not being properly groomed. Similar to treating human acne, benzoyl peroxide or other topical will be needed to treat the pimples.

Perimeter Training and Wireless Fencing Go Hand-in-Hand

We talk a lot on the blog about the ways you can make living with your pet a more pleasing and comfortable experience for both. We care about your dog’s health and safety and want to help make that process a smooth and seamless one for you.

With our DogWatch hidden dog fence, you can keep pets out of dangerous situations and those areas indoors or outside that you’d prefer they keep away from.

Anytime your pet gets close to a boundary they receive a warning signal – either an audible warning or a vibration – so they know to stop the action.

Our transmitters and receivers come with a lifetime equipment warranty when you choose DogWatch of Western MA for hidden dog fence installation and our patented FM radio signal protects your pet from unintentional correction.

In addition to electric dog containment systems for both indoors and outdoors we also offer professional perimeter training services that help dogs and cats feel more confident about their new boundaries and freedoms. We believe these elements go hand-in-hand for long term success.

As your pet learns the warning needs corrective action to be taken (turning back away from the boundary) over time they will adjust to their new space.

In the training sessions, we work with dogs on an individual level to teach them based on their unique personalities. Working through voice commands and visual flags a few minutes each day over the course of a week can help build the confidence your dog needs to run and play safely.

Take the next step to peace of mind and comfort. Contact us today!

Planning a Vacation with Pets

Summer vacations are fun for the whole family. If you have pets, taking them with you can make a vacation even more special, but it will require some extra planning and research.

Preparing for a Trip

Contact your veterinarian to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations and doesn’t have any health issues that could be problematic. Ask about medication for car sickness and diarrhea, just in case. If your pet isn’t microchipped, consider having a chip implanted so you can be reunited with your pet if you get separated.

Many hotels, campgrounds, and other places are advertised as pet-friendly, but what that means in practice may vary widely. Some go out of their way to welcome pets, while others simply tolerate them and charge extra fees, have strict weight and breed restrictions, only allow pets in designated areas, and don’t allow guests to leave pets unattended in rooms. Before you make a reservation, ask plenty of questions so you understand the business’s policies. Online reviews from previous guests can help you figure out which places do the best job of accommodating families with pets.

Pack any supplies you might need for the trip, such as your pet’s food, bowls, medication, bed, toys, and leash. Bring your pet’s vaccination records since they will be required at hotels, kennels, dog parks, and other locations you may visit. It’s also a good idea to have recent photos of your pet in case it gets lost and you need to create posters or fliers.

How to Have a Successful Vacation

Your pet should be in a carrier, crate, or car harness when riding in a vehicle. Dogs and cats will move around if they can. Having an animal suddenly decide to sit on your lap while you are driving could cause you to lose control of the vehicle and lead to a serious accident.

Don’t try to cram too much into your trip. The most important thing for your dog is to spend time with you and your family. Your dog would rather wander through a park or play fetch for an hour than be rushed to a new place without having enough time to enjoy the first one.

Stick to your pet’s routine as much as you can. Bring along the same food your pet eats at home and keep mealtimes as close to normal as possible. If you walk your dog at the same times each day, stick to that schedule as closely as you can while on vacation.

Make Vacation fun for the Whole Family

If you are thinking about taking your pet on vacation, conduct research to find the right hotels and activities and bring everything you will need to keep your pet comfortable and to deal with any emergencies that might arise.

At DogWatch of Western Mass, we care about your four-legged friends and want you both to feel comfortable and secure at all times. If you’d like to offer them the freedom to roam in the house or the yard, contact us to learn more about Pet Containment Systems and obedience training.

Pet Products Industry Heats Up: Top Must-Haves and Splurge Items

There’s no doubt that we live in a consumer’s world. Today with easy access to just about anything we can think of, it’s become important for brands to be innovative and offer the “next best thing.” The pet product industry is the latest market to see some steam in the way of new fun things you can buy for your four-legged friends and other pets.

Our pets have always kept a special place in our homes, but lately, they are becoming even more incorporated into families – many even taking them along on vacations, eating meals at the same time and admitting to letting them share snuggling time in their beds at night.

It’s no surprise that products targeted at pets are also on the rise. From fresh, healthy food options to tech gadgets – there are start-ups and longtime pet brands all vying for a piece of the emerging market.

According to one estimate from the American Pet Products Association, U.S. consumers spend about $72 million on their pets in 2018. Here are some of the latest trends. We’ll let you decide if they’re a must or just a splurge.

Pet Subscription Boxes

Why not let pets get in on the fun everyone else in the house is having to get a monthly curated subscription box sent to them with fun things like new toys and treats to try out. There are companies emerging each targeting a specific need. From fun themes to boxes for the big, rough chewers.

Activity Tracker for Your Dog

And what would new product development be for dogs without the ability to track and manage their daily activity levels? Much like humans, dogs are required a certain amount of exercise each day. Now you’ll never be left wondering if your pet has had enough of the requirement when retiring for the day.

CBD Products for Pets

This is still a new emerging market even for the rest of consumers, but it’s taken off in just about every avenue. Naturally, there are companies developing products for the market that they claim help dogs and cats relax and keep a more, “normalized”, “healthy” state.

Nothing beats allowing your pet to have the freedom to run around and enjoy themselves. This doesn’t have to come at a cost to their safety. With DogWatch pet containment systems we help you set-up pre-determined perimeters indoors and outside.

Give your pet the ultimate freedom and let one of our experts at DogWatch of Western Massachusetts guide you through the process.

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Beware These Toxic Household Cleaners When Spring Cleaning

With the spring season and warmer weather finally making its way to New England, now’s the time when most homeowners are taking the opportunity to open the windows, let in the fresh air and finally clean up some of the dust and clutter that’s settled indoors over the winter months.

While doing some deep cleaning each season is beneficial there are things to be aware of when it comes to the types of cleaning products you use. Both for your family and your pet’s safety.

Harsh chemicals used in many cleaners actually do more harm than good when they’re released into the air. Everything from asthma to other respiratory conditions and even some cancers has been linked to these toxins.

When it comes time to clean your house, be sure to do your research and use environmentally safe products so you’re still cleaning the house without putting yourself or your pets at risk. For this post, we’re specifically looking at those products that pose risks to your four-legged friends in your home and that, while safe for humans, can be poisonous to pets.

Swap to Natural Alternatives

Thanks to the power of the Internet today it’s only a search away to locate the natural, DIY alternatives for all kinds of cleaners for the home. From polishing pastes, to shower cleaners and even fragrances for the home, there is a way to mix common and safe household items to create a product that will work and is much healthier for everyone who comes in contact with it. Doing this will also lessen the incidences of residue causing allergic reactions or illnesses.

Keep Everything Locked Away

Like children, pets can be curious and get into anything within their reach. It’s important in a home with pets or children that these dangerous chemicals are always tucked away in a safe and locked cabinet where they won’t mistakenly be ingested.

Even with everything locked away, it’s important to set-up safe perimeters around your home for your dog or cat that you feel comfortable with them having access to and blocking from traveling to other hazardous areas of the house. This is achieved by setting up a wireless containment system for your pet.

If you’re in Massachusetts and surrounding areas let DogWatch of Western Mass come help you gain peace of mind while giving your pet freedom.

Contact us today!

Tips for National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month and we’re celebrating by going over some of the best ways to ensure your dog or cat are getting the best care for their oral health.

The American Dental Association recommends adults and children brush at least twice a day after meals and floss regularly. They also recommend regular visits to the dentist and provide guidelines on healthy eating habits and foods and drinks to avoid to keep teeth healthy.

For pets, it can be easy to forget that they too need some routine and attention when it comes to oral care. The month of February serves as a great reminder to put a plan in action for your pet’s dental care.

Here are some of our top tips.

Brushing at Home is a Good First Step

While there are many products on the market that claim to help keep your dog’s breath fresh and clean their teeth, there’s really nothing that can match the benefits of a good old toothbrush and toothpaste. Be sure to use a small brush and veterinary-grade paste and reward them with a treat once you’re done. This positive reinforcement will help train them so they are willing to sit through the cleanings each time. It is recommended that teeth are brushed every 1-3 days for the best results. Cats can also benefit from regular cleaning of their teeth and specially designed paste and gauze on your fingertips to clean their choppers.

Hard Chew Toys Won’t Help

Just like treats and toys won’t work to clean the teeth, they should also be avoided because some can actually do more harm to the integrity of the teeth and gums. Especially super hard toys that scrape against the tooth, there is an increased risk of cracking a tooth while biting down or even tearing into the gum line and loosening the teeth unnecessarily. As with all toys and treats, never leave your pet unsupervised and if they’re extreme chewers and have started to break apart the toy, it’s time toss it in the garbage.

Treat Your Pet’s Dental Visits Seriously

Both cats and dogs should be taken for regular dental check-ups just like their human owners. Whether an exam is done while at their vet check-ups or you set aside some time for actual dental cleanings and procedures, this is the best way to protect them from future health issues. Maintaining a quality diet and taking your pet to be checked out at the first sign of discomfort are also great ways to keep their teeth clean and safe.

At Dogwatch of Western Mass, we care deeply about your pets and want to be sure they’re always safe and healthy. Happy cleaning!

Pet Ownership on the Rise

Here at Dogwatch of Western Mass, we love our four-legged friends and it looks like most of the population does too. A new study “2017-2018 Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook” by the American Veterinary Medical Association, says having pets is on the rise today with dogs topping the list as our most popular companions.

The study found that around 38 percent of households across the nation own one or more dogs. This is the highest it’s ever been since beginning its annual study back in 1982. And have no fear feline lovers, cats came in as the second most popular pet with 25 percent of U.S. households owning them.

There’s more.

Another study conducted by Kelton Research for Banfield Pet Hospital uncovered that most C-suite executives today attribute their professional success to the bond they shared with a pet as a child.

They also touted benefits to having a pet for building better relationships with coworkers and clients as well as getting big business ideas while walking their dog.

We love hearing this news and know that responsible owners welcoming these furry friends into their homes want to keep them safe while also offering them freedom.

dogwatch hidden fence system

That’s where our hidden fences can offer the most value. With DogWatch Hidden Fences you choose the boundaries you want your dog or cat to stay within (indoors or outdoors) and they can play freely (without getting into the trash or jumping on the couch). It’s a win-win for all!

Contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts