Tips for Blending Your Furry Family

cats and dogs
How easy was your adjustment to becoming a couple? It can be difficult to get used to living with someone day in and day out, even when you are in love with that person. It can sometimes be harder to get used to living with the other person’s pet(s). One man actually divorced his wife over cats. Albeit she had 550 cats. He said he couldn’t even lay down in his own bed because it had become overtaken by cats.

While that story is uniquely extreme, it’s more common to have one spouse be slightly jealous over the other’s beloved pet, especially when that pet has been with the owner for a long time and is used to being fussed over. But it’s not always a walk in the park when you both had pets before. Now under one roof, your pets must get along, like a furry Brady Bunch family.

Before kids, raising a pet can stir up issues that are very similar to parenting, such as being too lenient, not setting rules, letting the dog/cat do anything, etc… And that’s why so many couples fight over their pets. It’s key to take baby steps and introduce the dog to the new person or another dog very gradually before taking a big leap. It’s also important to be honest upfront with your partner if he/she does something that bothers you with the dog or cat. And don’t forget to talk to your vet about adding another pet or person to your living situation who can likely give you personalized tips for your specific pet.

Here are some general ideas to keep in mind when blending a furry family:

 Establish rules from the get-go.

Who will do feedings and walks? When and how often? If you set up a schedule with clear expectations, there will be less conflict in the future.


Set bedtime rules.

This is a biggie. Many fights stem over the dog sleeping in the bed or not (just like kids!). If your partner really doesn’t like the dog in bed with you, keeping a pet bed on the floor next to you can be a great compromise — and you might sleep better, too.


Help your partner get to know your dog before you live together. 

Just like a person, it takes time to get to know all of a pet’s little idiosyncrasies and moods, and the more time your partner spends around your dog or cat, the more likely they will grow to love them.


Be responsible for your dog’s behavior. 

If your pup is chewing on your partner’s shoes, it’s a no-brainer that may cause conflict. You know what your pup’s tendencies are, so try to prevent mishaps before they occur. If your dog is a chewer, supply an abundance of chew toys and keep your partner’s shoes out of reach.


Be honest with yourself.

If you have done everything to mend the relationship, but your partner really just does not like your dog, you might have to dig deeper into what is going on. Anyone who loves you will make an effort to learn to love your pup. It goes without saying that if your partner is ever abusive with your dog, it’s time to move on and keep your dog safe.

10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs

It’s every owner’s worst fear.

Your older pup is getting on in years and slowing down. Of course, with regular check-ups your vet will help identify any concerns he/she might have but in the back of your mind, you’ve heard stories or perhaps had other dogs who seemingly overnight were diagnosed with cancer.

While you can’t prevent your dog from getting cancer, you can educate yourself about early warning signs. As with humans, early detection is key.

Here are the top 10 warning signs of cancer in dogs, courtesy of petMD.

(Keep in mind that no single sign is indicative of cancer alone, but if notice two or more signs, take your pet to the vet for a complete check-up.)

Coughing or Difficulty Breathing

Although symptoms of heart and lung disease, coughing and abnormal breathing can also indicate cancer. This symptom will most likely occur if the cancer in your pet's body has metastasized into his or her lungs.

Lethargy and Depression

If your pet has cancer, there is a chance that he or she will suffer from depression and sleep more, become less playful, and be less willing to go for walks. Although lethargy or depression in dogs and cats can set in with any illness, it is commonly seen in pets that have cancer.


Changes in Bathroom Habits

Any changes in your pet's bathroom habits including difficulty using the bathroom, frequent bathroom use, and blood in urine or stools are potential warning signs that cancer has developed in your pet.


Abnormal Discharges

Discharges such as blood, pus, vomit, diarrhea, and any other abnormal substance being excreted from your pet's body should be checked out by a veterinarian immediately. A bloated or distended stomach could also be a sign of internal discharge.


Evidence of Pain

Limping or other evidence of your dog or cat in pain when he or she is active, or if the pain is too great for them to be active, can be indications of cancer of the bone.


Abnormal Odors

Foul odors from any of your cat or dog's orifices and/or body parts may be a cause for concern. Cancers of the mouth, nose, or anal regions can cause your pet to emit offensive odors.


Lumps and Bumps

Not every lump or bump is necessarily cancerous, but consulting with your vet is the only way to be sure. If the lump is growing or not resolving itself, contact your vet and he or she will do a biopsy to determine the contents of the bump.


Weight Loss

Sudden weight loss in cats and dogs not on a diet can be an indicator of many diseases and illnesses. If coupled with another warning sign of cancer, you should contact your vet right away and inform him or her about your pet's symptoms.


Change in Appetite

While a lack of appetite in dogs and cats can be an indicator of many things, they never stop eating without a cause. Not necessarily a sign of cancer, a decrease in appetite can indicate an oral tumor, which would make it painful and difficult for your pet to eat and swallow.


Non-Healing Wounds

Lacerations or sores that do not heal within a normal time range on the surface of your cat or dog's body may indicate infection, skin disease, and possibly cancer.


Coughing or Difficulty Breathing

Although symptoms of heart and lung disease, coughing and abnormal breathing can also indicate cancer. This symptom will most likely occur if the cancer in your pet's body has metastasized into his or her lungs.

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Signs Your Dog May Be Overheated

My Hayley and Django were really huffing and puffing one particularly day last summer. Just going out in the yard to do their business caused them to come back in the house looking like they just braved the Sahara. Here in New York, we’ve had a few heatwaves this summer with temperatures feeling about 100 degrees. While my kids relaxed in the pool, our dogs tried their best to stay cool.

When we were out in the yard, Django felt the need (as she always does) to stay with us, even though our living room was air-conditioned. Hayley, older and wiser, did what she had to do outside and quite happily retreated to the cooled off room with the A/C. I sprinkled Django a little with the hose but she still seemed pretty hot and was panting quite a bit, so I went inside with her after a little while. The truth is that I wanted to go inside, too.

When temps get this high, it’s vital for dog owners to keep a watchful eye on their pups because dogs can become overheated quite fast. Unlike us, panting is their only way to cool off and it’s a pretty inefficient system at that. 

Dogs with smushed up faces, likes pugs and bulldogs, need even more vigilance during the heat and should be kept in air conditioning. The same goes for older and overweight dogs.

Signs of Overheating in Dogs

How can you tell if your dog is overheated? Look for these signs:

—Heavy, rapid panting


—Glassy-eyed expression

—Anxiety and restlessness


—Exhaustion or fatigue

—Bright red or blue/purple gums

—Vomiting or diarrhea


What To Do

Owners need to act quickly if they think their dog may be in distress from the heat. Take the dog immediately to the shade, offer a bowl of water to drink, and put cool, not ice cold, water on them, especially their belly area. Very cold water will constrict the blood vessels and actually trap heat. If you can take your dog’s rectal temperature, do so and report the findings to your vet. A normal temperature is about 101.5 or so. A reading of 105 is life-threatening. When in doubt, always take your dog to a vet.

And it goes without saying that you should never, ever leave your dog in a car, even for a short time. Even when temperatures are what you might consider mild, cars can heat up fast and reach dangerous temperatures in a short amount of time.

Make sure there is a shaded area for your dog to stay in when outside and always leave plenty of fresh water available. But really, I’m a firm believer that dogs should live inside — not out — ever, and especially when it’s too hot or too cold. 

Dogs deserve to be inside with you in front of an air conditioner or fan on hot summer days. Remember, if you’re hot, they are, too!

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