Buying a Pet-Friendly Home: 4 Features You Can’t Live Without!

 

A cute dog holding a leash in his mouth sitting on a front door mat with the word "home."

“Don’t forget about me!” Dogs and cats play a big role in home buying decisions!

When in the market for a pet-friendly home, there are many considerations.  In this article, we will talk about four important, can’t-live-without features to look for in a home. Before you begin your search for the perfect home for you and your furry friend, make sure you are in good hands by reaching out to a pet-friendly realtor, like Elene Schachter of Weichert Realtors in Livingston, NJ.  A realtor can help guide you to discover not only the perfect home but also a neighborhood that is accommodating and will welcome you and your pet with open arms!  Within the neighborhood, you will want to look for nearby pet-friendly parks and trails, dog parks, groomers, vets, pet stores and a local pet care company like Canine Concierge, that will service your area.  

What are the most important features in a pet-friendly home?

1. Backyard

When you are searching for a home, sometimes you will make accommodations, such as the house has a brand new kitchen, therefore you can overlook the small, unfenced backyard.  If you have a dog, don’t make this mistake! The important features within a backyard in a pet-friendly home may include a fence (while invisible fence systems are very popular, they still do not contain dogs as well as a physical fence, and require an initial investment plus training).  Make sure the fence is an adequate height and that there are no gaps where your dog can fit through.  This is also a good time to ask about neighboring properties.  Do the neighbors own dogs? Elene Schachter, a sales representative for Weichert says, “You want to know your potential neighbors. It would be important to make sure your new neighbors don’t have a dog that will be barking at your dog all day long.” Another factor to consider is if your neighbors do own dogs, they may be more likely to empathize if your dog does bark now and then.  Also, make sure you ask to see the house after a good rainfall.  Does the yard have adequate drainage? Does it get muddy?  You may choose to look into alternatives to growing grass, such as pet-friendly turf, if the yard has improper drainage, gets too much sun/shade and if your dogs will be using it as their primary restroom.  One last consideration for a pet-friendly home would be which room in the home leads out to the yard? Is there a mud room or area where you can wipe down your dog if it’s been raining before they enter into the main part of the home?

A dog laying in grass in a fenced backyard holding a blue tennis ball.

A fenced backyard is a must in a pet-friendly home!

2. Mud/Wash Room

So you want to give your Labrador a hose-down?  Or your Pomeranian a quick spa treatment without a trip to the groomer or local self-wash station? AND you’d like to do it without having hairballs clogging up your kitchen or bathroom drains?  That’s not too much of an ask!  What you need to look for in your new pet-friendly home is a walk-in shower (for large breeds) or a large utility sink with a hand-held showerhead (this can easily be installed if needed) if you have a dog under 25 lbs.  You can also add built-in bins for food and accessories, or even built-in bowls, so they are out of sight and neatly tucked away when not in use.  Add some decorative hooks for leashes, collars, and harnesses and you will be all set.  Don’t forget to add a shoe rack or shelf to store your wellies on those muddy days!

A little dog gets a bath in a utility sink.

A hand-held showerhead and a large sink make bathing your dog a breeze!

3. Pet-Friendly Flooring

Hardwood, laminate, vinyl, oh my! The choices these days for flooring that can withstand the pitter-patter of pawsteps are endless.  I have had a great experience with luxury vinyl plank flooring, as it has stood the test of time (over 10 years) with hundreds of dogs coming and going from my daycare.  Not only has it stood up to dog spills and accidents, it also survived through 2 minor flooding incidents.  Laminate flooring is also a great option; however, make sure you opt for the planks thicker than 12 mm and that you purchase laminate that is marketed as waterproof.  Porcelain tile that looks like hardwood is very trendy and can withstand moisture (and sure feels good to lay on in the summer if you are a dog!). However, these plank-style tiles do require grout which can be difficult to keep looking new, and can trap odors since it is porous.  Lastly, we can’t forget carpeting! Dogs love carpets! It’s like one giant bed…and bathroom. If you are a fan of having plush carpeting under your feet, do not fear!  Newer carpets tend to be much more stain resistant than ever before.  We recently had Mohawk SmartStrand Silk carpeting installed, which claims to be pet odor and stain resistant due to its Nanoloc™ Spill & Soil Shield.  Luckily, we have only had one accident so far, and it cleaned up perfectly!

4. Dedicated Pet Room

A playroom for the kids? Check! A man cave for the men of the house? Check? A private space where your pet can escape for some uninterrupted, peaceful bliss? That may be harder to come by but not an impossibility!  As much as pets are social beings, they all like to have a little privacy now and again.  Sure, a comfortable crate can suffice.  But with a little creativity, you can turn a small nook in your pet-friendly home into your pet’s private hideaway!  If you have an entire spare room, you can dedicate that space to your furry friend.  Paint using fun colors in a semi-gloss (washable) finish. Decorate with theme-specific items, a plush (washable) rug, a couple inexpensive beds from a decor store, some trendy water and food bowls, and top it off with a Furbo dog-treat-tossing camera--so your dog may be out of sight but not out of mind! If you own a cat, Elene recommends a room that has nice windowsills, as they make a perfect perch for kitty! If you don’t have an entire room, try creating a little spot for them in a closet. Remove the doors, and decorate as you would a larger room, just scaled-down!  Many homeowners are now carving out a space underneath their stairs, creating a peaceful sanctuary for their pets.  Creating a space just for your pets will put them at ease in their new environment and will make them less anxious when you need to leave them to tend to your hooman life.

 

A golden retriever sits in front of a room in a pet-friendly home decorated like a backyard with a white picket fence.

Photo by Deanna Heller

Elene recommends a couple additional considerations when buying a pet-friendly home.  One is to try not to buy a home on a busy street since dogs and cats can easily run out of an open door and into traffic. The other is to consider how many stairs are in the home and what impact that may have on your pets, especially as they age.

“No matter your pet, they are a member of your family and you need to think of them, too!”

-Elane Schachter, Weichert               

What are some pet-friendly features you have found that you just can’t live without in your home?  What would be the ideal features in your new home? We would love to hear your ideas!  In the market for a new home or looking to sell your home?  Elene and her team will be happy to help you!  Click here to see her website or give her a call at 973-994-4884. 

Dog Behavior: How to Identify and Correct the Most Common Issues

Dog behavior issues? We have some ways to help you identify and correct the most common ones.

It is important to identify your dog’s behavioral issues before you can correct them.

 

Whether you’re looking into correcting dog behavior, or you are a dog walker wanting to help reinforce training, or maybe just simply curious about why your dog does what he or she does, you are at the right place! Before we can truly understand a dog behavior problem we must understand what’s considered “normal” behavior. Although all dogs generally have similar dispositions in behaviors, breed, training, and exposure does influence many different traits. It’s important as a pet owner or pet caregiver to educate yourself on animal behavior in order to help with any issues that could present themselves.

 

 

So what are some dog behavior issues that we may encounter?

Aggression, nipping and play biting, separation anxiety and destructive chewing.

 

 

Dog Behavior Issue #1:

Aggression

This is the most common and also most serious behavioral issue that often times requires professional intervention if it progresses. “Aggression” can encompass many things. So what can aggression look like?

 

  • Showing teeth
  • Growling
  • Snarling
  • Snapping
  • Lunging forward
  • Rigid stance
  • Quick nip
  • Quick bite
  • Biting that causes bruising or puncture wounds

 

Many times pet owners don’t recognize the warning signs. When their pet does spring into action, they’re shocked to see them ‘flying off the handle,’ when in reality the animal was strongly advising that something was wrong. Unfortunately, misunderstandings with aggression can lead to the animal being put down or surrendered; so it’s imperative to really hone in on what is causing this behavior to begin with and what you can do to stop it.

 

 

The first step in helping you identify where the aggression is coming from is knowing the different classifications that exist:

 

  • Territorial aggression
  • Fear-induced aggression
  • Pain-induced aggression
  • Maternal aggression
  • Predatory aggression
  • Conflict-related aggression
  • Inter-male aggression

 

Dog behavior issues? We have some ways to help you identify and correct the most common ones.

“I just got my teeth polished want to see?!”

 

Thinking of aggression in these terms can help determine the underlying factor of what motivates your dog to react to a certain action. This can help you identify what they hope to gain by displaying this aggressive behavior. Observe and learn from each encounter you have and ask yourself questions: What triggers were present? What are the usual targets? What else was going on at the time? When and where did this happen? Answering these questions can give you the best insight on how to begin to help your dog.

Always work with an expert! Your veterinarian, an ethnologist or a professional behavior expert are best qualified to develop a personalized treatment plan for your dog’s specific needs. They can also assist with coaching and monitoring progress that is made along the way. If your dog needs even further care, companies like Canine Concierge cater to YOUR individualized needs and are more than willing to work with or assist with any training or routine plans you have in place for your dog.

 

Dog Behavior Issue #2:

Nipping and Play Biting

 

Dogs spend a lot of their time playing, investigating and chewing. Puppies first learn by using their mouths so it’s normal to see puppy and adult dogs still following suit. When playtime rolls around, mouthing, biting and chewing on hands, limbs and clothes can occur. While it is a common consensus that playing using your mouth will result in some nibbling, it’s not a behavior you want to encourage.

It’s very important at a young age to encourage your puppy to be gentle and control their bite inhibition. They don’t understand the sensitivity of human skin so chewing on their toy will seem no different to them as chewing on your arm. As a dog walker, I can tell you there’s a huge difference! They still haven’t learned the strength of their bite and the force they can exhibit. Let’s say your adult dog is having these behavioral issues…can you really teach an old dog a new trick? You absolutely can! Adult dogs who mouth most likely weren’t taught in puppy-hood that they shouldn’t.

 

Dog behavior issues? We have some ways to help you identify and correct the most common ones.

“Get some extra help with training on mouthing from a certified professional dog trainer!”

 

It’s extremely beneficial for the training process that you establish what is and what is not acceptable. The ultimate goal is to completely stop biting and mouthing; so what are some tactics you can use for training?

 

  • Encourage non-contact play (tug of war, fetch, etc.).
  • Substitute a toy if the dog begins to chew your fingers.
  • Keep interesting and new toys around for your dog to play with.
  • Give your dog the chance to interact and play with other puppies and friendly adult dogs.
  • Give verbal cues such as “No” or “Ouch!” and “No teeth” if your dog bites or nips you. Be consistent with your cues.
  • Do time-outs.
  • Ignore dog for 30-60 seconds immediately after feeling their teeth on skin. If they persist with the behavior or try to get your attention leave the room for 30-60 seconds (just make sure the room is dog proof) and re-enter and proceed with whatever you two were doing.
  • Be patient. Understand your dog is learning and depends on you to show them the way.

 

 

Dog Behavior Issue #3:

Separation Anxiety

 

Dogs are highly sociable and develop strong bonds with their owners. In some cases, however, the bond is so strong that the dog feels anxiety when separated. This is known as separation anxiety that could actually lead to destructive dog behavior. Urinating, defecating, howling, chewing or trying to escape is a few examples of behaviors dogs could exhibit. Some dogs may get anxious while others get agitated. The most important thing when trying to help your dog who shows signs of separation anxiety is to resolve the underlying anxiousness of being alone. Teach them that it’s okay and maybe even enjoyable to be left alone.

 

Dog behavior issues? We have some ways to help you identify and correct the most common ones.

“I can come too right!?”

 

To help your dog with their anxiety counter conditioning is a great treatment process to change their fearful and anxious reaction into a pleasant and relaxed one. Repetition and patience are two things very much needed on your part with counter conditioning as you will be repeating many things over and over until your dog begins to learn that whatever they fear actually brings them good things.

A great example of how you can develop this is every time you leave the house you offer your dog a high praised food or treat to munch on while you’re away. KONGs work great as you can fill them with delicious yummies and goodies to entertain your dog. Make sure you fill the KONG with food that will take a while for him or her to get through. To further extend this time you could also freeze your KONG.  Just remember to remove these special items when you return home so the association begins to form. (Hooman leave → I get KONG goodie) (Hooman home → No KONG goodie).

 

 

Dog Behavior Issue #4:

Destructive Chewing

 

Chewing is very beneficial to both puppies and adult dogs. For puppies, it helps relieve pains from incoming teeth and for adult dogs, it helps keep teeth strong and clean. It’s also the way both explore their surroundings and even helps with reducing anxiety. We all have that one tick we do when we’re stressed, and dogs do too! But when does chewing become a problem? Where does that problem come from?

 

  • Lack of stimulation
  • Stress or frustration
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Teething

 

Lack of stimulation

Dogs get bored! They need a consistency in their everyday lives but also some entertainment. Bored dogs will try to find ways to entertain themselves and chewing is certainly an option for them. Daily walks, field trips, play, training classes, dog sports, food puzzles are great things to implement in your dog’s routine. If work or other obligations keep you away or limited on time check out dog walking companies like Canine Concierge. “Concierge” meaning 24/7 service tailored to your needs.

 

Stress and Frustration

Stress chewing adds an extra element to the problem. First, investigate what is frustrating or stressing your dog out for them to engage in this behavior. The best thing to do with this type of scenario is to observe. What’s going on around the dog? When and where did he or she begin to exhibit inappropriate chewing? What was different about their routine today? The best action for this problem is to anticipate when these stressors or frustrations might occur. When they do, proactively lead your dog’s attention to something else; give them a toy or a bone to chew on instead.

 

Separation Anxiety

As previously discussed dogs develop strong bonds with their owners that often times lead to them feeling fearful, anxious and depressed when separated. Many times they show these feelings via destructive chewing. Think of a baby, who wants attention; they begin to cry until their parent rushes over and picks them up. That’s why it’s important to establish a healthy association with the separation. Counter conditioning is the most effective method for achieving that.

 

Teething

Just like us, teething is a normal process all dogs go through. Unfortunately, it isn’t the most pleasant. Chewing is intensified at this time and necessary to help alleviate teething pains. Guidance on your part can mean the difference between the chair leg and a chew toy. Provide your puppy with ice cubes, a frozen towel or washcloth or special toys that could help ease and numb their pain and teach them that these items are appropriate objects to chew on. Consistency is key!

Dog behavior issues? We have some ways to help you identify and correct the most common ones.

Photo by: Alex Matravers

 

Trust, a reward system, reprimanding and consistency are all needed for dog behavior training to be effective. An animal’s trust in its caregiver’s confidence and ability to command is imperative. Rewards encourage and reinforce good behavior while reprimands discourage unwanted behavior. Being consistent creates a stable and predictable environment for your dog. Above all, your interest and patience determine how well your dog learns. Happy teaching!

 

Let us know what techniques worked for you below!

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Relief

Dog allergies can cause a lot of discomfort in your pet! Read to find out how to diagnose and provide relief to seasonal allergies!

Spring is in the air! And so are allergies!

 

April showers bring May flowers and allergies!

 

Most pet owners aren’t aware their best friends can also suffer from seasonal allergies just like them. They are just as susceptible to the horrible feeling pollen and other allergens cause. But just like we have options to help combat that stuffy feeling, there are many things you as a pet owner can do to help minimize and eliminate the effects of your furry companion’s condition.

 

Keep reading to find out what to look for and what you can do to help!

 

What are some common dog allergy symptoms?

Allergy symptoms in animals don’t always involve issues with the respiratory tract like it does for us. While they aren’t common, they do occur and animals can display the typical coughing, sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. The most common form of allergy among pets is allergic dermatitis – a condition where the skin becomes inflamed and irritated. The most important thing for pet owners to understand is that it is very uncomfortable. The skin becomes very itchy, excessive chewing and scratching can occur and if the cycle continues, the skin will become inflamed and tender. Other signs include open sores, scabbing and even hair loss; in extreme cases, hot spots can develop as well. Though more common in dogs than cats, hot spots occur when the natural bacteria inundates an area of skin.

Another form of bacterial reactions to allergies is a yeast infection in the ears; dogs especially suffer from this. Normally if an infection is present clear detection is easy due to discharge and odor. Other signs include head shaking, scratching and possibly hair loss around the ears. Often times the infection will manifest on the paws as well.

 
The more exposure your pet has to the allergens they’re allergic to, the longer the allergic response will be.

 

Dog allergies can cause a lot of discomfort in your pet! Read to find out how to diagnose and provide relief to seasonal allergies!

“Ohh that’s the spot!” Ear scratching is a common behavior seen in dogs with seasonal allergies.

 

What are some natural home remedies for dog allergies?

Since seasonal allergies depend on environmental allergens, heavy outdoor exposure will have your pet taking cover! It doesn’t mean they can’t and shouldn’t enjoy the great weather ahead because of this. The solution to help combat those uncomfortable itches calls for common sense remedies.

Any doctor will tell their human patients to shower at night and in the morning to remove any allergens or pollen. The same goes for your furry friend. Foot soaks and baths are a great and holistic method for managing their condition. Baths give immediate relief to itchy skin and wash away any pollen on the coat.  Foot soaks help reduce what your pet tracks into the house.

Tip: Mix in some coconut oil into the bath and soaks for added relief. Coconut oil contains lauric acid that helps reduce production of yeast.

 

Common sense is the best thing for helping your best friend through allergy season so this next one is a no-brainer!

 

Keep your home clean! Animals track in all kinds of goodies when they have their outdoor sessions. They are in direct contact with most allergy-causing elements such as grass, trees, weeds, etc. Regular vacuuming, washing pet bedding and cleaning floors is a great way to keep their environment allergy free!

 

Dog allergies can cause a lot of discomfort in your pet! Read to find out how to diagnose and provide relief to seasonal allergies!

“Running wild through the weeds!” Enjoy the spring wildflowers with your pets, just make sure to use our advice on how to limit allergen exposure once back indoors!

 

Do I need to notify my dog walker about my dog’s seasonal allergies?

Yes! When you hire a dog walking company like Canine Concierge LLC, they are always looking out for you and your dog’s best interests.  If you make your dog walker or pet sitter aware that your dog has been suffering from allergy symptoms, they can make sure to take precautions such as wiping down paws when coming in from outside, brushing out your dog’s coat or even administering allergy medication when needed.  When boarding your allergy-prone dog overnight or for an extended period, always pack a supply of allergy medication or a sensitive-coat shampoo.  You never know when allergy symptoms might “blossom!”

 

Do you have at-home remedies to share? Tips or stories? We’d love to hear them! Comment below.

How to Plan a Dog-Friendly Road Trip

 

Road-tripping is basically a summer must-have, and with the season rapidly approaching (ignore the fact that it is still snowing in some parts of the USA), it’s best to start preparing ASAP. Whether you’re taking a short drive to a hopefully snow-free Cape May or planning a visit to the Grand Canyon, these tips will help ensure that you and your pup have a super-fun, yet super-safe, dog-friendly road trip.

How do I Keep my Dog Calm?

As a dog owner, your biggest priority when planning a dog-friendly road trip is making sure Fido is as comfortable as possible. You may be fully aware of your plans to trek through the Great Smoky Mountains, a cinematic dog-and-owner duo roughing it like a couple of college dropouts in the 70’s – but pups tend to live in the moment. During a lengthy road-trip, your pal will most likely not be dreaming of digging their paws into the soft soil of a misty mountaintop. Instead, they’ll probably be concerned about things like, Woah, what the heck is this giant piece of machinery I’m sitting in? Why is it shaking? What is that sound? Can I tinkle here or should I hold it longer? Are we going to the vet? What’s that smell? I don’t want to go to the vet.

If you’ve noticed that your dog has a habit of panting continuously and is unable to sit still during trips, they’re probably suffering from some travel anxiety. Travel anxiety is incredibly stressful on dogs and it’s important to spend a few weeks in advance of your trip treating this issue. You basically want your pal to associate your car and being inside of it with positive thoughts – I get treats and pets when I’m here! – instead of negative ones – Why is my whole world shaking?! Preventative Vet has a very informative page featuring in-depth tips on how to incrementally help your pal get used to being on the road so you can make your dog-friendly road trip truly dog-friendly.

You can also reduce your dog’s stress through smell. Puppers have amazing noses, so during your road trip together, try providing them with something soft and familiar. Maybe your pup has a favorite stuffed animal, or even a blanket they enjoy sleeping on. Both of these things would help your dog feel more at home while you’re away.

 

Taking a dog-friendly road trip with your best pal may require some additional (scenic) stops along the way to keep them happy!

Provide your dog with ample stops along the way for potty breaks on your dog-friendly road trip! You’ll get to enjoy the scenery and they will feel much better! Photo by: Ben Goldstein

 

What Should I Bring on a Dog-Friendly Road Trip?

First thing’s first: It’s beyond important that your pal is secure at all times. Just as us humans have to fasten our seatbelts during a car ride, so too do our pups. It is incredibly dangerous to have your dog walking freely around the backseat or trunk. For this reason, find a harness that fits your breed; Kurgo has several options, including a car safety package that contains a crash-tested harness, kibble carrier, and collapsible bowl. Once your pal is wearing their harness, attach them to this dog car zipline, which allows your them to safely move around the backseat.

Be prepared with all of the proper documentation typically required when taking your dog to the vet – you never know if there will be an emergency. There are a variety of apps you can download that will make this process way quicker; a particularly important one being Red Cross Pet First Aid. On this app, you can create a profile for your pet where you can store all of their information and quickly locate the nearest animal hospitals.

Don’t forget the basics. Staple items such as your pup’s favorite kibble, food and water dishes for the kibble, a leash, treats, toys, doggy waste bags, a seat cover (which are also available on Kurgo’s site), and perhaps a crate should not be forgotten! If your pup is on any special medications, be sure to bring those along. And don’t forget to make plenty of stops for your pal to go potty – that is definitely another key element to planning a dog-friendly road trip!

 

A sleepy puppy sticks his head out of the covers! If you want to take a dog-friendly road trip, make sure you find dog-friendly accommodations ahead of time!

The best part about a dog-friendly road trip? Waking up next to your best friend! Photo by: Evan P. Cordes

 

Where to Stay During a Dog-Friendly Road Trip

On BringFido.com you can locate all of the dog-friendly hotels in your vicinity, no matter where you are on your road trip. Airbnb is also a great resource, and you can adjust the search engine’s filters so you’re only suggested spots that welcome furry guests. If worst comes to worst and you discover that your dog is a little less comfortable with long-distance driving than anticipated, do not fret! Canine Concierge offers a variety of services to fit you and your pet’s needs, including boarding, both dog walking and pet sitting visits, and even overnight stays in your home. So it’s really a win-win situation – either you and your pupper get an experience of a lifetime traveling à la Steinbeck and Charley, or you get to take the solo-Steinbeck track and your Charley gets to make new friends at Canine Concierge!

Happy travels!

5 Dog Myths Debunked!

This dog is ready for St. Patrick's Day and is going to help us debunk 5 popular dog myths.

In honor of St. Patrick, we are debunking 5 popular dog myths!

 
March brings many things to look forward to! One, in particular, St. Patrick’s Day! This beloved holiday is the creator of many legends and myths such as Leprechauns, pots of gold at the end of rainbows and lucky four-leaf clovers. Almost everyone has a myth or tale to share, even those with furry tails! So with the St. Patty’s Day folklore in the air, here are 5 dog myths about your best friend, where they started, and if they have been proven!

 

Dog Myth #1:

Dogs’ Mouths Are Cleaner Than Ours

From a young age, we have heard the saying “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than that of a human.” If you’re like me, you grew up thinking that to be true. However, when really thinking about what a dog puts into its mouth or picks up from the ground, how true could that be? Well, it’s not! The myth originated when people noticed dogs wounds healed faster when they licked themselves. In reality, wounds heal faster because the dog is essentially removing the dead tissue. Granted, they are also introducing new bacteria as they do this, but their rough tongues help stimulate the wound. Even though their mouths aren’t cleaner than ours, don’t fret if you’ve kissed your share of pups! The bacteria and germs dogs carry are usually canine specific and won’t cause you any harm. Keeping your dog healthy with routine checks and vaccinations helps avoid any issues.

 

Dog Myth #2:

Dogs Are Pack Animals

A dog’s common ancestor as we all know is the wolf, specifically the gray wolf. They share approximately 99.96% of their DNA and although they can produce hybrid offspring, they are different species. Dogs are domesticated while wolves are wild. Domestication began over many thousands of years and this very thing is what makes dogs non-pack animals. Domesticated means “of the house”; therefore there is no struggle for access to resources. Dogs have been bred to have more fluid social relationships than wolves and can develop bonds with not only their species but other species as well. The millions of videos on YouTube of cute dogs interacting with other animals is proof of that!

Here are three dogs enjoying each other's company. But are dogs pack animals? Or is that just another one of many popular dog myths?

Are dogs pack animals or is that just another popular dog myth?

 

Dog Myth #3:

Dogs Only See In Black and White

The full origins of this tale are not known but most have heard this myth. It is believed it started due to lack of knowledge of the canine eye and its functions. In today’s world we do know that dogs do in fact see in color; however not in the way you and I do. A canine’s color vision has been compared to red-green colorblindness in humans and dogs see primarily in blue and variations of gray, yellow and green. The types of cones in the canine retina allow dogs to see color best on the blue spectrum.

 

Dog Myth #4:

We Have To Display Dominance Over a Dog

This next dog myth ties into the wolf pack persona we tend to have about dogs, thinking of them as “wild” because of their ancestors. Backtracking to #2, we learned dogs are non-pack animals due to domestication. To go a little further, the law of nature that applies to all animals is as follows: secure territory, find resources and reproduce. Dogs are genetically programmed to accept humans and living with us they have no need to compete for resources. Most have zero interest in being the leader of the household. If their needs are provided for and they live stable, predictable lives, that is all they need to be happy. Therefore, there is no need to assert dominance over dogs.

 

Dog Myth #5:

Certain Breeds Are More Aggressive Than Others

Complete myth! Unfortunately, there are dog breeds that have a bad reputation and carry a stigma with them, so the common consensus is that ‘those’ specific breeds are more aggressive and therefore dangerous. While larger breeds could be more dangerous if they display aggressive behavior, ANY breed can show aggression. You could quote Freud’s theory of nature versus nature. The breed is not the issue, but rather the way the dog is treated and brought up by humans.

Pit bulls get a bad rap for being aggressive. But is that just another popular dog myth?

Are certain breeds of dog more aggressive than others? Many dog myths have given large breeds a bad reputation.

Did some of these dog myths sound familiar? Or were you shocked to learn they were debunked? What dog myths have you heard or even experience? Share them with us in the comments below.

Q & A: Introducing A New Pet

 

Introducing a new pet to your current one can be successfully attained by following our tips!

Photo by: Dirk “New Friends”

As animal lovers, we enjoy the companionship and affection our best friends offer. Sometimes we get the “fur-baby fever” and want more and more! However, as easy as it is to say “let’s get another dog!” one of the biggest challenges a pet owner may face is introducing a new pet to their current one.

Animals are just like us. They have preferences, and most importantly, they form relationships. It’s imperative that you as the middle man make sure the transition of introducing your new pet to your current one goes as smoothly as possible. Not just for yourself, but for the animals as well.

To get some expert knowledge on such an important matter, Canine Concierge was able to get the inside scoop from someone who not only works with but understands animals and their behaviors! We spoke to Linda Hartheimer (Dog Savvy), a local, experienced trainer and business owner, who kindly answered some questions most people have when adopting a new pet.

For any business inquiries or questions you can reach Linda either by phone or email at: (201) 638-5836; dogsavvynj@gmail.com. Check her out!

 

Introducing a new pet, such as a cat to a dog, can be tricky, but manageable!

Photo by: 紫流

 

Q: What are some expected behaviors a cat or dog may exhibit to a new pet?

A: There are so many factors that come into play, everything from age of the current pet to the age of the new pets, gender, whether they are used to other animals and the kinds of animals, level of training. The behaviors can range from play to aggression, to ignoring the new pet; fear of the new pet or a neutral reaction.

 

Q: Does breed influence certain interactions?

A: Breed definitely comes into play here. Some breeds have a high prey drive and their instinct is to hunt and that may have them see a new animal in the house as prey, or certain breeds have an instinct to guard and may see the new animal as an intruder or may be protective of the new pet. One thing to be aware of is that each breed was bred for a purpose and certain traits are instinctual so no matter how much training, you cannot extinguish the instinct, but depending on the level of training, control it. Certain breeds are known to get along with other breeds of dogs or other animals.

 

Q: How long could the introduction and assimilation period last?

A: This can take weeks to months depending on the age of the pets involved, their experience with other animals and temperaments of the pets.

 

Q: What are the most effective and safest methods for introducing a new pet?

A: There is no one most effective method, per se, however, having the animals meet on neutral ground, away from the home with both pets on a loose leash with a quick 3-second introduction, then walking together is a great start. Allowing, say, two dogs walked by two people to have a casual, not forced interaction, and then going for a walk allowing the dogs to just get used to each other without any pressure.

Once home, leaving leashes on the dogs but letting them drag on the floor in case you need to separate the dogs is a good technique. Also, if you are introducing a new puppy, the puppy should have a short drag line and not be allowed to bother the older dog. Baby gates are another great way to allow pets to co-exist and get used to each other without the pressure of being in the same space.

 

Q: What training techniques can be useful?

A: For the humans, wine and chocolate, to be relaxed and calm! Remember to have patience and reward any good behavior whether it is with food, toys or praise. If you know you will be bringing a new pet into the home, taking a refresher basic or even an advanced obedience class will help you not only gain better control of your dog but help build your relationship. It is also helpful to understand canine body language and keep a close eye on the dogs to observe any stress or possible aggression.

 

Q: What are things to absolutely avoid?

A: Never leave pets that you aren’t 100% sure about them getting along, unattended. Sadly, there are many stories of dogs killing cats or a horrible dog fight, when they have been left unsupervised. Also, avoid forcing dogs to interact. Not all dogs love other dogs or puppies but can happily co-exist with them in the same household. Remember to give your existing pet just as much love and attention as the new one or it will create jealousy.

 

Q: What are a few ways to reduce conflict if an interaction doesn’t go well?

A: Stay calm and separate the dogs for a time out. If the dogs are crate trained, crating them next to each other will allow them to safely get used to the other dog being near them without any pressure. Baby gates, at the appropriate height, are also great for separating dogs while still allowing them to see and smell the other dog.

If cats are involved, the cat must have a way to escape from the dog to a safe area. When reintroducing the dogs, try to do it in a more open space so they do not feel closed in and also have a way to retreat from the other dog.

 

It’s important to think about these questions when considering bringing in a new member into the family. With time, patience and consideration, you can achieve a healthy and safe transition and make a new friend!

 

Introduce new pets together on leash, so you have more control.

Photo by: Ze’ev Barkan

Five Dog Treat Ingredients with the Top Health Benefits

 

Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about February: the 20th is Love Your Pet Day, the 23rd is National Dog Biscuit Day, and the month as a whole is National Pet Dental Health Day (according to the AVMA)! Although we believe every day should be Love Your Pet Day, why not use the excuse to give your pup some extra pampering? And while your buddy’s nails are drying, how about letting ’em munch on some dog treats that aren’t just tasty, but are beneficial to your dog’s health? This way, you can bust out your celebration guns and honor two holidays – plus a whole month’s theme – in one sitting. All doggos deserve to have shiny teeth and strong joints, and February has come around to keep all of us in check. Here are some of the best ingredients – all rich with health benefits – to put in your pup’s goodies. Every ingredient listed is paired with both recipe and store-bought options. Happy holidays, x2!

A dog can get many nutrients from carrots; one health benefit is improved eyesight! The better to see you with!

Photo by: Andy Carter 

1. Carrots

***SHOCKER ALERT***

Carrots hold a multitude of health benefits for your pup. In addition to being low-fat and low-calorie vegetables, carrots are very high in fiber. This will for sure help regulate a blocked-up digestive system (just watch out for the farts). These root veggies also contain vitamin A, which in and of itself has tons of health benefits that could add to your furry friend’s well-being. Vitamin A has the potential to strengthen your dog’s vision. This means that whether your pal is ten or two, they can soak up those benefits like a sponge. It’s actually just like skincare; you’re never too young to start! For an incredibly elaborate list of the health benefits of carrots, check out this article on OLEWO.com.

Freezing up some of these veggies is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Frozen carrots act as both plaque-removing chew toys and healthy snacks that will keep your energetic pup busy. The brand OLEWO carries all natural, GMO-free, dehydrated carrots that you can mix in with your dog’s food if you’re looking for a quick and easy supplement. Treat-wise, check out these organic apple and carrot dog biscuits from Wet Noses. For a more savory fine-dining experience, try these Fromm chicken, carrot, and pea treats. In addition, this recipe for carrot dog biscuits is very simple and has very few steps, so you can get your pup their carrot fix ASAP.

2. Coconut Oil

Wow, another ingredient Shailene Woodley would approve of! Not only is coconut oil delicious, but it can basically be added to any recipe imaginable. Another perk? Those health benefits are unstoppable. Coconut oil can help improve your pup’s digestion and increase their overall energy level – the latter could even lead to accelerated weight loss. Because of the healthy fatty acids within this ingredient, ingesting it can possibly slow cognitive dysfunction in some dogs. Plus, coconut oil may also contribute to the shininess of your canine’s coat! The Daily Treat has an entire blog post centered on the nutritional value of coconut oil, so if you aren’t already convinced, check it out. These berry coconut bones by Doggy Delirious honestly sound super tasty, and coconut oil is second on the ingredient list! These no-bake coconut dog treats also look amazing, and also a little like those munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. Has your pal been feeling a bit itchy lately? Hit up these cool lookin’ flea-prevention treats!

Pumpkin can provide the health benefit of weight loss for your dog!

Photo by: PSOIRTAL .pl

 3. Pumpkin

Even though it may seem taboo for us humans to eat pumpkin year round, this restriction doesn’t seem to apply to pups. Pumpkin is a super popular ingredient among the dog treat scene, and for a good reason. Because of pumpkin’s heaviness, it doesn’t take much to fill up your dog’s stomach. Since it’s also very low in fat, the combination of these two elements can accelerate weight loss. Pumpkin is also rich in fiber, which can come in handy for a pup with an upset tum-tum or constipation – and the seeds supposedly act as a natural dewormer. According to PetMD, the oils found within pumpkin seeds are believed to promote urinary health, which could be beneficial for dogs with incontinence.

For a more savory dog treat made with both pumpkin flesh and pumpkin seeds, try making these around Halloween time instead of tossing those guts in the garbage. If you’re not in the baking mood, Uptown Mutt and PLATO have your back.

 4. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is an ingredient perfect to feed your dog in small amounts – like in treats! Similarly to carrots, this vegetable is packed chock full of different vitamins and antioxidants. Yet, cauliflower also has components that aren’t commonly spoken of; it contains both phytonutrients and isothiocyanates, which can potentially help prevent cancer. Likewise, since cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, it contains the natural compound sulforaphane. This compound acts as an anti-inflammatory, which could help treat arthritis in both humans and dogs (just remember that pups cannot consume this vegetable in large quantities – they could get pretty gassy, if not sick). These cheesy cauliflower muffin bites are delicious for both you and your furry friend, and could actually serve as a healthier alternative to, say, that mash-n-cheese bowl from the most exquisite of fine dining locations, Wawa. Just add some salt and pepper to a separate batch for yourself, whip out a classy gingham picnic blanket, and have a Valentine’s-do-over with the real love of your life. Or just order up a bag of these Dr. Becker veggie bites, which are also cat-friendly!

Tip Time: To reap the very most health benefits from cauliflower, simply chop up the head into small chunks, steam, let cool, and let your pal munch away.

Keep your dog happy by feeding them foods with health benefits such as eggs!

Photo by: Toshihiro Gamo

 5. Eggs

So, this is kind of weird and sounds a little repulsive, but is also fascinating (like watching certain episodes of My Strange Addiction). But, it turns out that feeding your dog an egg in its entirety can almost entirely act as a complete food source. Purchase some organic eggs and dry the shells out; then grind them in a coffee grinder and mix the powder into a basic dog biscuit recipe. Eggs are also loaded with vitamins and protein and can act as an amazing supplement for a deficient dog. This site includes recipes for three different types of goodie recipes that include eggs, and these store-bought treats are grain, gluten, and soy free!

Happy snacking!

 

Six Ways You Can Help Animals Worldwide or Locally

We all want to help animals, learn how with our six ways to help worldwide or locally.
Photo By: Maji Beach

We are all passionate about a cause, a movement or we try to stand for something. Either because it hits close to home, or it may be a personal interest, or we simply feel very strongly about it; those of us especially keen on our animal counterparts understand. Any animal lover knows the unconditional respect and love for these special beings that share this earth with us, even more so if you have pets of your own. You understand they are intelligent, loving, loyal and honest creatures who deserve a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, the reality is that not all live the best lives they can live. Therefore, put your love and passion to work and do your part to help animals, even if it is just one animal that benefits from your effort.

 

Here are 6 ways to do your part and help animals by getting involved!

 

Donating to a local shelter is one way to help animals locally.
Photo by: Tiani Taylor

 

1. Donating

Many organizations rely on donations and volunteers to keep their cause afloat.  Most animal organizations are non-profit and are set up this way for the simple reason of fully supporting their work within their cause. Instead of distributing its organization’s surplus income to shareholders for profit, they use its revenue to further achieve its purpose and mission. There are many noble organizations where your donation to help animals will be put to good use. To name a few:

Best Friends Animal Society whose motto is “Save Them All.” Their purpose is to work toward one day completely eliminating kill shelters so no animal ever has to die because they are considered too old, sick or problematic. They operate the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), established in NYC, whose message is “anti-cruelty.” They believe animals are entitled to respectful and kind treatment and protection under the law. Legally, there has always been an issue with how animals are viewed. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same rights as we do, going as far as calling them “property” rather than a living being. ASPCA combats that with their 3-step program of rescue, placement, and protection because they believe they should have the right to be treated with kindness.

LA-based rescue organization Hope for Paws was established to help animals suffering on the streets, in shelters, and often those who die because of abuse and negligence. They believe in second chances and the pursuit of happiness for every animal they rescue.

Any donation big or small is being put toward ensuring a better tomorrow and life for a very deserving animal.

 

2. Volunteering

As stated, organizations rely on the efforts of those invested. Go a step further to help animals and be at the heart of the movement yourself. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and understand more of what goes on behind the scenes. So change gears and check out your local shelters! Offer your time and service whether it is educating people about the great work that goes on or directly working with the animals themselves. Here are some local shelters/rescues you can help out!

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center Noah’s Ark in Ledgewood caters to the care of dogs, cats and small animals rescued by animal control, natural disasters, abandonment or overcrowded shelters. They provide services such as adoption, pet food pantry, and low-cost spay/neuter. They even have two other locations in Madison and Somerville to choose from!

Eleventh Hour Rescue in Randolph focuses on saving animals from kill shelters giving them the necessary means of a foster home, medical attention and care until they find their forever homes. Their mission: “We rescue dogs and cats at their Eleventh Hour—when they are scheduled to be put to death by shelters that can no longer care for them…We will not stop until all of the cages are empty.”

S.O.S Pets in Rockaway is a small cat rescue group. Taking care of our feline friends they ensure they get the full service of being spayed/neutered, vaccinated, treated for illness and fleas and deworming. They also help animals by taking care of many feral colonies nearby!

Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue to help animals, big and small.
Photo by: The.Rohit

 

 

3. Fund Raising

If you’re the creative type that enjoys talking and engaging in projects, fundraising is the way to go to help animals! Pick a topic you’re passionate about or perhaps in which you want to see a change. You noticed the local lake hasn’t been looking its best and is flushing out the turtles that inhabit that area and you want to set up a cleaning expedition or re-location transport for the reptiles; or maybe you want to help out a local shelter or business that are doing great work for which you would like to flow in more traffic.

Check in with your township on any processes or requirements if it directly involves your town. Your enthusiasm and drive will get people involved and participate where they can. Make it fun, invite friends and their pets and make posters or flyers with reasons why this is important and why they should care. Talk, meet and interact with others who are just as passionate. All it takes is one spark to light the match.

 

 

4. Support Local Businesses

Perhaps time isn’t easily available to you to set up a fundraiser or volunteer. The next best thing you can do to help animals is to support your local businesses. Shopping at a pet store, using a doggy daycare facility or contracting a dog walking and sitting company, contributing to the businesses growth is a way to ensure that the work you agree with thrives. Local businesses blossom from the relationships and support their neighbors give. These companies are started and operated by people you know; maybe they really are your neighbor!

Canine Concierge, for example, prides itself in providing the highest level of care possible for your pet. Not only because it is morally right, but because we understand that a dog isn’t just a dog but an extension of your family. We understand the trust it takes to let someone else in on the care of your pet, therefore, we hold ourselves to high standards. This dedicated company was established 14 years ago by a local Parsippanian who turned her passion for animals into a dream and then into a reality. Supporting your locals in their business shows the utmost comradery that you agree with their mission.

 

 

5. Fostering

This next way to help animals is perhaps the most significant and hardest. Fostering directly puts you in the situation of seeing for yourself day-by-day what your efforts can do. You become the safe haven for an animal that needs it the most. Often you may take in an abused or neglected animal that really needs your time, attention and patience. You get the opportunity to build them up again and show them kindness. Fostering is a responsibility, therefore, one you want to make sure you are ready to take on. If you are, it is extremely rewarding when you see your efforts reflected in a happy and healthy animal. Most shelters help with daily/medical costs of the animal while they are in your care and often times forever homes are found quickly; hence giving you the opportunity to take in another soul that deserves a chance.

Tip: If fostering is something you can’t commit to at the moment consider sponsoring an animal. Whether that is a dog or elephant, you can do your part even if they aren’t physically in your home.

Help animals by sponsoring one, be it a dog or an elephant!
Photo by: C.E. Timothy Paine

 

 

6. Educate Yourself

Knowledge is the biggest beacon of understanding, while lack of knowledge is the biggest creator of ignorance. Getting involved and doing your part is only one aspect of your aid in any movement or cause. The biggest help you can do for any single organization is being an advocate; a walking billboard. It’s as easy as taking a class at your local shelter about dog behavior.

Example: Maybe one day you see someone having a tough time with their dog. Advocate for the dog, explain what you know, the possibilities of why the dog is exhibiting this behavior. Due to lack of knowledge, animals do get surrendered because their owners don’t understand the cause of something that with a little more understanding could have been resolved.

Read books, articles, take a few classes. Learning a little more about something will only have positive outcomes.

Help animals by fostering a dog from a local rescue.
Photo by: Stacy

 

 

Everyone has the right to live a happy, healthy and respected life. Be a part of a movement: a change that wants that for every living being across the board. Help in any ways you can. Any animal lover would agree that if animals could speak, it would be the greatest thing in the world. What do you think they would say? Let us know below.

5 Fun Indoor Activities To Do With Your Dog This Winter

 

A white dog yawning waiting for some fun indoor activities for dogs!

Photo By: Marco Armendariz

It can be difficult to think of ways to keep yourself and your pup entertained once winter comes around. When the temperature outside drops and rainfall turns to snowfall, not all of us are able to locate our inner Siberian Husky (or feral cat). The same goes for our non-Siberian doggies! That’s why we’ve put together this list of five fun, indoor activities for dogs and their owners to do together – none of which will expose you to the season’s uninviting elements.*

1. Create Artwork

Say hello to your new puppy Picasso! There are a variety of indoor activities for dogs that involve art projects you that you can do with your dog. These are sure to let house guests know who is your numero uno! With some water-based acrylic paint, a plastic tarp, a canvas, and your pal’s four paws, the two of you can create a painting of priceless worth. Not super keen on super abstract pieces? Then pretend it’s spring and make these adorable paw-print bouquets. Or if you dig being festive, whip out a sick paw-print vase of roses for Valentine’s day. Finally, if you’re a fan of improv, try making a pot of paw-shaped gold under a paw-print rainbow for St. Patty’s.

2. Doga (Dog Yoga)

Keeping your curious dog at a safe distance while trying out a new Jillian Michaels DVD can also be a struggle. So if you’re feeling restless and in need of some indoor exercise, why not try out pup-friendly yoga? Doga not only strengthens the bond between you and your companion, but can potentially help relieve stress for an anxious pup. In addition, it can teach your dog to become more comfortable with things like getting their nails clipped. And as doga’s popularity has grown, its accessibility has skyrocketed. Tons of instructional books and DVDs on practicing doga are available online. Help your dog reach dogi enlightenment!

A dog trying Doga: one of our ideas for indoor activities for dogs

Photo By: 8 Kome

3. Agility Training

If you have interest in building your own obstacle course indoors, The Bark can teach you affordable ways to DIY. This being said, there are many aspects to the world of agility training that make the hobby not simply limited to leaping hurdles and running through tunnels. One trick that has a lot of use in the agility scene is teaching your pup left and right. This can definitely come in handy if you happen to share a bed with your dog at night. Sometimes your furry pal will lay down on your side of the mattress, and it’s almost impossible to get them to move. Now all you have to do is say “left,” and Rover will scootch right on over. And if you’re particularly adventurous and feel confident that your dog’s weight and energy level aren’t going to compromise your safety, teach them how to jump into your arms! Indoor activities for dogs can benefit you both!

4. Brain Games

Playing brain games that place a strong emphasis on nose work is another one of our favorite indoor activities for dogs. As a result, these mentally-stimulating games will both reduce excess energy and prevent your pal from getting bored. Although there are a variety of puzzle toys available for purchase online or at your local pet store – such as this Tricky Treat Ball – there are loads of DIY tutorials available on the web that will enable you to further strengthen the bond between you and your dog. The muffin tin game is a classic and a great way to show your nose work rookie the ropes. To play, you place treats in a few of a muffin tin’s cups, then fill every cup with a tennis ball, and let your pup do the detective work.

L'il Scout enjoying one of our indoor activities for dogs

Photo By: Courtney Lennon-Wallish

 5. Spa Day

And of course the best of all indoor activities for dogs is saved for last. Feeling especially relaxed after that nice long session of doga? Keep the chill flowin’ with a doggy spa day. Run the bath and add some all natural, non-toxic, hypoallergenic bubble bath that smells like vanilla and oranges. After that, suds up your pup in the tub. Toss in a rubber cheeseburger plus this squeaky cupcake and watch your pal have a water-bound smorgasbord à la Templeton from Charlotte’s Web.

Then what?

It’s PUPicure time!

Maybe skip out on the nail clipping unless it’s absolutely necessary. Most dogs tend to despise getting their claws trimmed down to a non-hazardous state. (That’s not really what a doggy spa day is all about.) Instead, head straight to the fun part and purdy up those paws with some quick-drying Color Paw nail polish. Add a layer of this super opaque color to those adorable daggers and your pup is beyond ready for the dogwalk. Need a playlist? You’ll be good to go if you listen to this song on an endless loop.

Snuggly Sadie after a spa day, one of our ideas for indoor activities for dogs in winter!

Photo By: Courtney Lennon-Wallish

*Pro Tip: If you want to give your furball a full-on Six Flags experience, try all of these activities in one non-boring sitting!

 

D.I.Y. Outdoor Shelter for Feral Cats

Too much snow! This cat is using a snowbank as her outdoor shelter.

Photo By: Christa Gampp

These past two weeks have been an ice age, especially for the tri-state area. New York City even implemented a Code Blue to shelter anyone seen outdoors during the severe weather conditions. That got me thinking; what about the animals? Is there a system in place to shelter them, too? In our December blog, we addressed the dangers of the cold for dogs. What about the cats, specifically those who do not have a home? I decided to help where I could, by making an outdoor shelter for feral cats.

There is a neighborhood cat that roams around. He is friendly and accepts food, but never lets you get close enough to pet him, let alone scoop him up to bring indoors or to the vet. As much as I would like to think he has a nice warm hidey-hole to hibernate in, the reality is he may not. I have heard a lot of talk about outdoor shelters for feral cats and thought it was a purrfect opportunity to build one of my own. D.I.Y.-selfers rejoice! Here are step-by-step instructions on how to build your own shelter for your furry outdoor friends!

A cat was walking through the snow in Nygårdsparken this morning. Possibly seeking an outdoor shelter! You can make a DIY shelter following our easy instructions.

Photo By: Jill

Step 1: Gather your materials for Outdoor Shelter

To get started, you need supplies. A 20-gallon bin works best. Find it at your local Walmart, Target or even Dollar Tree. Heavy duty duct tape, some scissors, utility knife, a sharpie, a ruler, small animal bedding such as straw, a small cat bowl (optional) and a roll of reflective insulation from your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. Once you’ve gathered your materials you are ready to start building your outdoor shelter for feral cats!

Step one in building an outdoor shelter for feral cats: buy a 20 gallon heavy duty plastic bin with lid.

20 gallon heavy duty plastic bin with lid.

Step 2: Prep 

Using the sharpie and ruler, measure and draw a 5 X 7 rectangle onto the bin, leaving a few inches between the bottom line and the ground level; you just drew the door! Next, measure the width and length of the bin lid and cut those dimensions from your insulation roll. Measure the inside of your bin. To make life easier most product stickers have the dimension of the item already on there. If so, measure that onto your insulation and cut. Don’t forget the bottom as well! Lastly, cut out a 5 X 7 rectangle of insulation for the door. When you get to the point of taping down your cut insulation you will see if there are any extra pieces you’ll need to cut out to fill in gaps.

Step 2 in building an outdoor shelter for feral cats: Draw a 5 X 7 rectangle onto the bin leaving a few inches between the bottom line and the ground leve

Draw a 5 X 7 rectangle onto the bin leaving a few inches between the bottom line and the ground level

Building an outdoor shelter for feral cats: measuring insulation for the lid.

Measuring the lid.

Building an outdoor shelter for feral cats: Cutting the dimensions of the inner bin.

Cutting the dimensions of the inner bin.

Step 3: Assemble Outdoor Shelter

Using your utility knife, carefully cut out the drawn rectangle on the bin; if cutting proves difficult, heat the blade with a lighter and a smoother cut will be easier to achieve. Don’t toss what you cut! That will become your swinging door. Next, gather your cut insulation and begin to tape it down with your duct tape. Don’t be meager on the taping! Use as much as you need to ensure the insulation is well placed. This is going to help maintain the heat the cat will generate themselves while inside. The final step to the assembly of your outdoor shelter for feral cats is attaching your door. You want to make sure it swings both in and out so make sure to evenly distribute the tape inside and out, not favoring one side.  At this point, your bin should look like the inside of a spaceship!

Building an outdoor shelter for feral cats: Carefully cut out the drawn rectangle on the bin.

Carefully cut out the drawn rectangle on the bin.

Building an outdoor shelter for feral cats: Don’t be meager on the taping!

Don’t be meager on the taping!

The inside of your outdoor shelter for feral cats should resemble a spaceship!

The inside of a spaceship!

Step 4: Final touches

Now that your outdoor shelter for feral cats is constructed, the finishing touches will bring it all together. Place an even layer of straw at the bottom of the bin. I know it’s tempting to throw in a nice fleece blanket in there, but blankets, towels, and newspaper will retain moisture and actually make the cat colder. If you want to make it a little homier include a small cat bowl with some kibble for your guest.

Building an outdoor shelter for feral cats: Distribute the tape inside and out.

Distribute the tape inside and out.

Building an outdoor shelter for feral cats, make sure the door swings in and out.

Make sure it swings both in and out.

Your outdoor shelter for feral cats may include a small cat bowl with kibble.

A small cat bowl with some kibble is a nice touch.

Step 5: Placement of Outdoor Shelter

Your outdoor shelter for feral cats is complete and it’s ready to go for a spin; now it’s just figuring out where best to place it! You want to make sure it’s not directly on the ground. If you don’t have a table or stand to place it on, you can throw some two 2 X 4 underneath it to hold it up. If your shelter is on the lighter side, throw another 2 X 4 on top to help with heavy winds. An extra tip, slightly tilting the bin helps so if it rains the water will roll off rather than remain sitting on top.

How to place your outdoor shelter for feral cats outside: High enough off the ground; low enough to get in.

High enough off the ground; low enough to get in.

Whether you’re doing it for a specific animal in mind or just for any animal that is in need, rest assured that they will be grateful for the cozy home you have just gifted them. An hour of your time and $25 or less of your wallet could save a life (or lives) during these harsh conditions we’re facing and will continue to face. The best part is its usability. Once winter is over, you can store it away for the next winter or keep outside as a year-round shelter for whoever passes by.

A forever shelter for those who have yet to find their forever homes.
Feral cats will be thankful for your DIY outdoor shelter this winter!

Photo By: Paul Joseph

Have any suggestions to make the shelter even better? Some comments, questions or concerns? Let us know below!

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