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4 Ways to Introduce a Dog and a Rabbit -- Wednesday December 1st, 2021
4 Ways to Introduce a Dog and a Rabbit
Have you made your house a wonderful and loving home to a dog? If you are a pet parent to a pup or a dog, chances are you can appreciate what a rewarding and engaging experience being a pet parent is. Dogs are the most popular pet in the United States, with as many as 63 million households in the country being home to at least one dog. Adoption rates have increased by a whopping 40% in the year 2020, post the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the joys of pet parenthood have you wanting a new furry member in your family, a rabbit may just be a great choice to consider out of the many options you have! Not only do rabbits contribute to a significant reduction in stress levels, but they also have distinct personalities and can make for life-long, lovable companions.
However, can you consider adopting a rabbit with a dog already in the house? Are there certain traits you need to be aware of? How do you carry out a safe and amicable introduction between the two species?
Discover the answer to all of these questions in this blog!
Dogs vs. Rabbits in Nature
Before committing to a new bunny, it would be in the best interest of you and your resident dog if you consider the breed of your pet. There are certain breeds of dogs that are “hard-wired” and intrinsically motivated to hunt down small prey. Dogs have a primal hunting instinct that is buried deep underneath generations of domestication. Rabbits, on the other hand, are prey animals that are easily threatened by the barking of dogs, even dogs that do not mean any harm. Rabbits trust their fear and flight survival techniques as this is what has ensured they survive in the wild.
Introducing a Dog and a Rabbit
While domestic dogs and rabbits have the same instinct, it is possible to introduce a harmless and friendly relationship between the two. This can be established with obedience training conducted well before your rabbit is introduced to your pet. Additionally, you will have to consider the personalities of your pets before initiating the introduction. The best way to facilitate a friendly introduction is by taking the necessary precautions before, during, and after the introduction. Before you begin the introduction, ensure that your dog is well aware of basic obedience commands. Your dog should be able to respond immediately to vocal commands to “leave”, “back away”, “sit”, “lie down” and “gentle”. Your best bet would be to begin obedience training at least a couple of weeks before bringing a new bunny into the house.
Once obedience training is done, structure the introduction with the following 4 steps:
1. Create a Stress-Free, Neutral Environment
Choose a part of your house that is not frequently used or occupied by the dog. Not only will this space allow you maximum control over the pets, but it will also significantly eliminate territorial behavior. Make sure that each pet in your house has its separate playing, feeding, and the sleeping area down the line. The best way to ensure your dog and rabbit are in a good mood is by keeping them well-fed and comfortable. The best time to initiate the introduction would therefore be after the dog has been fed and walked. This will also help curb any excess of energy if present.
Keep both Pets within your Control
It will take a significant amount of time before your rabbit and dog learn to interact and play with each other. The key is to create a safe space for the two animals to meet for the first time. Consider placing your rabbit in an indoor hutch that is spacious and sturdy, allowing them the opportunity to retreat to a corner in case it is stressed out. Similarly, your dog may get excited about smelling the scent of the rabbit. They may start fidgeting or displaying signs of excitement and curiosity. Ensure your dog is on a fixed leash and a sturdy halo (if visually impaired).
The rabbit in a cage and your dog on a fixed leash will allow you to have maximum control over the situation and their behavior. If your dog starts showing signs of aggression, give them a few verbal commands to relax and retreat while maintaining a firm grip on the leash. If the rabbit starts showing signs of anxiety or distress, consider removing the dog from the room and allowing the rabbit time and space to calm down.
Break the Interactions into Small Sessions
Excessive interaction and stimulation can cause behavioral problems, both in the dog and the rabbit. It is recommended that both animals are kept in control and in the same room for at least an hour daily. This allows the pets to get familiar with each other’s presence while recognizing the same from the safety of the cage and under the control of the leash. While they are apart for the rest of the day, an excellent way to get the animals acquainted with each other is to use the scent familiarization technique. This refers to the process of transferring the scent of one animal to another and vice-versa. You can use a clean towel to gently stroke your rabbit’s back. Use the same cloth to stroke your dog, allowing it to get familiar with the scent of the rabbit and associate it with the pleasant nature of your petting.
Additionally, continue repeating these small and frequent interactions over a week or 10 days. Once you begin recognizing a sense of comfort and familiarity in both the animals, you can consider moving on to the next step.
Facilitate a Face-to-Face Interaction
Your pets may start recognizing each other by scent and may not show any signs of discomfort with the other’s presence. You can consider allowing them to meet without any physical boundaries in this case. However, make sure that your dog remains on a fixed leash. Place your bunny on your lap and ensure that they are at eye level with your dog seated on the floor. Being at eye level is necessary so that your rabbit feels less intimidated and your dog is more likely to view them as an equal. Curiosity may result in them sniffing and licking each other, which you can allow but only for as long as the rabbit seems comfortable. If the rabbit starts showing signs of distress, or your dog starts growling, immediately break the interaction. You must keep an eye on the body language and behavior of both your pets during the interaction.
Allow this interaction to continue for 15-20 minutes before breaking it off. If the animals seem okay, consider facilitating these interactions for brief periods over the next couple of days.
Remember, a good amount of patience and time will be needed before both animals learn to be comfortable in the other’s presence. Take things slowly, one step at a time, and the small steps will make all the difference in the end!
November Newsletter -- Monday November 1st, 2021
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Kitten Season and How People Can Help -- Monday July 26th, 2021
The spring season not only welcomes warmer weather but also initiates a phenomenon called kitten season. This season may feel like all sunshine and warmth to some, while to kitten shelter owners it's quite overwhelming. Kitten season is more than cute kitten paws, round bellies, pink noses, and playtime throughout the day.
What is Kitten Season?
As the winter months draw to a close, the warm weather allows female cats to go into heat. Going into heat means that the female cat is preparing its body to meet male cats and conceive litters of kittens. Sixty days after going into heat, these female cats give birth to kittens.
Many shelters get overcrowded with kittens usually between March to October. So why does a kitten season exist? The biological clock of cats registers only the warmer months as a safer time to give birth to kittens and raise them. Kitten season usually occurs twice a year but in colder regions, it gets limited to once a year.
How Many Litters Can a Female Cat Have At Once?
A litter is the number of offspring born to a female cat at one time through pregnancy. Cats on average can have around four to eight kittens. Additionally, cats can get pregnant multiple times during a year which makes the cat population grow at a bigger rate than the population of dogs.
During the period when the female cat goes into heat, the cat can meet multiple mates and be impregnated by them at once. This enables cats to give birth to kittens with different fathers at the same time.
Neutering or spaying your cat during the warmer months is so important to control the kitten season up to some extent. Additionally, there are several other ways in which you can help cat rescues and shelters during the kitten season.
How To Help During the Kitten Season?
Cat rescues and shelters are flooded with litters of kittens during the kitten season. Non-Profit cat shelters find themselves in huge need of donations and resources during this time to care for the new kittens and other homeless cats. So how can you make a difference?
1) Neuter and Spay your Cats
Take your cats to the vet to get them neutered and spayed. However, if you can't afford the high vet fees, you can opt for neuter/spay low-cost programs in your local community. Additionally, keep your cat indoors during the warmer months as female cats can get pregnant even if they are just five months old.
Donating is one of the easiest ways to help cat shelters during the kitten season. It is an incredibly low-cost commitment yet it can make a whole difference in the life of a kitten or a shelter cat.
You can donate to any of your local cat shelters by making a payment or providing supplies. You can donate toys, food items, blankets, exercising equipment , and other kitten supplies. This will ease the burden of the cat shelters and allow them to cater to multiple stray cats.
If you like to spend time with other cat lovers and cuddly cats, you can try volunteering at any local cat shelter. Volunteering is the ideal gig for cat-loving folks who don't want to commit fully to a pet yet want to enjoy some playtime with a cat. Whether you have enough space to adopt a pet or have a pet-allergic roommate, volunteering has got your back.
You can spend a few hours at your local cat shelter and perform various responsibilities. You can clean the kennels, serve out meals, or find families that are willing to adopt a cat. The cat shelters run various volunteer programs during the kitten season to distribute the excess workload.
If you don't want to put forward a lifelong commitment to a pet, fostering is your best bet. You can foster a litter of kittens or a cat to provide a roof over their heads and bring them to safety.
Fostering a cat is ideal for people who don't have that kind of energy, time, or money to care for a pet in the long run. You can foster a cat for a few weeks or months before handing them over to another foster parent or a permanent home.
During the kitten season, cat shelters are always looking for foster parents who can bring home these fuzzy paws. You can opt for kittens of various ages right from bottle-feeding newborn kittens to the older energetic kittens.
If you love the idea of becoming a foster parent to a baby kitten, you can talk to rescue groups and cat shelters in your area. You can take in a single kitten, a few newborns, or both the mother cat and her kittens.
Kitten season is the ideal time for pet lovers to adopt a kitten or rescue cat from a shelter. You can visit your local cat shelters to adopt a cuddle buddy and save its life. This will free up space in these cat shelters and allow them to help another cat in need.
Most animal rescue groups and shelters have a wide range of cats in multiple sizes, colors, ages, and personalities. Whether you want a couch potato or an adventurous little kitten, you can find your perfect pet in these cat shelters. Many shelters come with adoption counselors who will match you with a cat that fits your personality, needs, and lifestyle.
While adopting, ask your cat shelter owners if the cat is spayed or neutered. Additionally, vaccinate your cat completely and opt for a medical checkup before heading home with your new pet.
Kitten season often creates chaos in the cat shelters but you can make a whole lot of difference! Adopt, foster, volunteer, or donate cat supplies during the kitten season to help save the lives of these helpless kittens. With your help, the local rescue groups can reach out to more kittens and bring them into their shelter.
July Newsletter -- Thursday July 1st, 2021
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May Newsletter -- Saturday May 1st, 2021
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Introducing A New Animal to a Multi Animal Home -- Monday April 19th, 2021
If you’re considering adopting an animal to a household that already has dogs or cats, you’ll need to consider some of the aspects before deciding:
If you have decided and chose the pet already, we bring you steps to ease the transition of adaptation.
Grooming is an important part of the animal’s life. The first ever visit for dogs should be at around 16 weeks, as young puppies are easier to train. According to your dog’s breed, choose a style that will work for you. For example, the pomeranians hairstyle trend is skyrocketing.
You can groom your animals at home - make sure their nails are trimmed - this is especially important to avoid them being able to harm each other, and your furniture, with their nails. Cats in particular, when feeling backed up in a corner, will use their claws in defense.
Keep certain key areas clean, such as around the eyes and genitals. Brush your animals regularly to prevent any infections. For e.g., ringworms can be passed on from cats to dogs and humans. Early detection of skin infections might prevent the spread to another animal.
When it comes to cats, use a rubber cat brush to remove loose hair or use a fine-tooth metal comb to remove knots in the fur.
You can trim your cat’s nails, but we do not recommend declawing.
Of course, in the excitement we feel over the arrival of a new family member, you can easily fall behind in the line of things to do, but a veterinary visit should take precedence!
Health problems do not necessarily catch the eye, especially for a new owner, but even those experienced may not recognize certain conditions that can even be infectious to people and dogs in the household. The first visit to the vet will include a condition survey that can shed a light on a possible problem, and if there is a problem, it is important that we take action against it as soon as possible!
Puppies with an underdeveloped immune system have a higher risk of developing life-threatening infectious diseases, while poorly housed dogs kept in confined spaces are also at risk. If you adopted the pet from a shelter, he/she has probably already undergone basic immunization.
The goal of every introduction is to establish a long, healthy relationship between your pets.
Your pets that live with you consider your house their house as well. To prevent territorial aggression, you should introduce your new pet to your old one in a neutral area. Both pets should be on a leash to limit their possible attacks. Sniffing is a part of getting to know each other, don’t hold them back at doing so. First meetings should be short and quick and the owners should stay calm throughout. Dogs mimic the owners' reactions and they seek guidance from them. Thus, don’t make him sense your tension, but rather your positive attitude toward the newcomer.
When at home, your older pets should follow their everyday routine. For at least a week, keep the pets separated from one another, but let them get used to each other’s smell by giving one some pillows that have the scent of the other one. The getting to know each other part should be done at their own pace.
If you’re introducing a new dog to a resident cat, make sure to trim the cat’s nails, to protect the dog. The cat should have an easy escape route in case the dog gets aggressive. A cat might decide to hide for a couple of days so prepare a bowl of food and water near the hiding place.
Dog meeting another dog
Always try to set up the first meeting at a neutral area for both new and resident dogs . You’ll need another hand to help you out with this, as both dogs should be on a leash during the meeting. If traveling by car, use two separate cars for the ride. Separate both dogs in the case you’re not home with them to avoid any fight.
Dog meeting another cat
Again, the dog should be on a fixed leash to avoid him springing for the cat. The belief that dogs and cats are common enemies should be disregarded, as in most cases it’s not true. Both are usually curious animals and if you see signs of that it’s a good indicator their relationship will blossom. However, signs of aggression from a dog is not a good sign and you should consult a professional trainer.
Cat meeting another cat
The “dog-cat combination” sometimes proves to be an easier relationship than that of two or more cats, being as cats are territorial animals and don’t like others of their kind. The process of cohabitating cats might stretch out for a long time, while they get used to each other, or at least start to tolerate the other. Separate them by a door, feed them separately, get a litter box for each.
Cat meeting another dog
A residential cat should have a safe space to retreat in case the new dog frightens her. Clean out some book shelves for her to climb up on, put pillows on elevated spaces from where the cat will be able to observe the newcomer. Cats soon become indifferent to new dogs as they are able to climb up and hide from them when they don’t want to spend time with dogs, especially if they are puppies eager to play.
It’s always difficult to foresee if the cohabitations will go as planned - for the most part it will be determined by the personality of your animals. Small animals, such as birds, lizards, rabbits, hamsters should always be in their confined area if they are not under supervision. Cats have an instinct to hunt mice and birds, and dogs will probably like a chase with rabbits. Always keep an eye out for the animal’s body language, be it a big or a small pet.
With dogs and cats conflicts can be further avoided if you separate their food. In the first few weeks never let them eat at the same time, but as time passes, you should try to bring their bowls closer together and feed them at the same time - and while doing so, never leave them alone.
April Newsletter -- Thursday April 1st, 2021
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March Newsletter -- Monday March 1st, 2021
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February Newsletter -- Monday February 1st, 2021
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January Newsletter -- Friday January 1st, 2021
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December Newsletter -- Tuesday December 1st, 2020
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November News Article -- Sunday November 1st, 2020
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October Newsletter -- Thursday October 8th, 2020
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September Newsletter -- Tuesday September 1st, 2020
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August CARA Newsletter -- Saturday August 1st, 2020
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