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Dog Parks and What You Need to Know Before You Go
How to Choose the Right Cat Litter for Your Furry Feline
How to Socialize Your Cat

Dog Parks and What You Need to Know Before You Go
Parks are a great place for people and dogs to have fun. Then there are dog parks – a place just for dogs to romp and get together with other canines. What should you know before you bring your furry friend?

Most important is that dog parks have rules that should be followed so that pets and pet parents can enjoy them. The rules are there “to ensure good manners and help promote safety,” according to the article, “Play It Safe and Be Polite: Dog Park Rules You Should Never Break” at Vetstreet.com. “For this reason, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of the dog park and to follow them every time you and your pooch visit the park.”

Some of the do’s include:

• Ensure your dog is vaccinated and protected against parasites.
• Keep your dog leashed until he’s in the off-leash section.
• Remove his leash before joining other dogs in play.
• Have your dog enter the dog park calmly.
• Keep small dogs and large dogs separate.
• Pick up your dog’s poop.

Some don’ts include:

• Leave young children, babies, and toddlers at home.
• Do not get distracted or leave your dog unattended.
• Leave very hyper dogs at home.
• Prevent your dog from mounting other dogs.
• Do not get in the middle of a dog fight.

According to the article, “Dog Park Etiquette: 7 Rules for a Well-Behaved Pet” at WebMD.com, keep home dogs who are not spayed or neutered. Also, keep puppies at home. They are more difficult to control. “People find them cute, but older dogs often think they’re a pain,” the article said. “Plus, those who haven’t yet had all their shots can be exposed to diseases.”

If you stick to the dog park rules, chances are you and your pooch can have a good time.

How to Choose the Right Cat Litter for Your Furry Feline
Cat litter is an important part of a cat’s life. But are all litters created equal, and how do you know if you are choosing the right one? From clay littler to scooping/clumping litter, there are many types from which to choose.

According to the article, “Preventing litter box problems” at HumaneSociety.org, “Most cats prefer fine-grained litters, presumably because they have a softer feel.” But there are newer and scoopable litters that clump and have finer grains. Plus, they have less odor.

When you find a litter that your cat likes, the article suggests staying with it. “Switching litters constantly could result in your cat not using the litter box,” the HumaneSociety article said.

Cats who were previously outdoors 24/7 prefer dirt and could get into house plants. You can keep them out of plants with rocks placed on the soil. You also can mix soil into their litter. “A cat who rejects all types of commercial litters may be quite happy with sand,” the article said.

There are some things to consider when choosing a litter, according to the article, “How to Choose a Cat Litter Box and Kitty Litter,” at PetCareRx. These include:

• Choose unscented, absorbent, and dust-free litter. Dust can cause respiratory issues.
• Stay away from scented litters that mask odors. The scent is often a huge turnoff for cats who may choose to do their business somewhere else in the home. “To keep your litter box smelling fresh without scented litter, simply clean it more often,” the PetCareRx article said.
• Clumping or non-clumping? Clumping is easier to remove waste but it comes down to preference in the end.

When you find the right combination of litter and box that works for your cat, stick with it and everyone should be happy.

How to Socialize Your Cat
There are classes to help socialize your dog, but what about your cat? Socializing felines is just as important.

Building trust in cats and getting them used to other people and other animals at home is necessary. “A cat who is not socialized can be timid, distrustful, scared or aggressive,” according to the article, “How to Socialize Your Cat” at Catster.com.

With socialized cats, things will be better all around. Your cat most likely will be more “loving, trusting, affectionate and well-behaved,” the article said. Socialization is also essential when there are small children at home to help prevent being bitten or scratched.

Socializing your cat is not as difficult or as time-consuming as you may think. Some tips include:

• Have your cat adjust to being handled and held in your arms. Start slowly if she is fearful.
• Pet and stroke her slowly.
• Provide treats after a “touching” session, according to Catster.
• Add sessions including handling of feet and toes.
• Speak calmly in a soothing voice.
• Play with your cat by scheduling times each day and use her favorite toy.
• Never reinforce bad behaviors.
• Ensure your cat trusts you before introducing her to strangers, and do not force interaction.

According to the article, “How to Socialize Your Cat” at ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, the following tips can help when socializing your cat:

• Ensure she is up-to-date on vaccinations before interacting with other animals.
• Cats do great when socialized in pairs, so think about adopting two!
• Bring toys that are rod-style “that allow for some distance between your kitty and you,” the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance article said.
• Work on socialization in small areas, such as a bathroom.
• Take it slow and be patient.

Before you know it your cat will be the social “butterfly” at home.

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