Written By: Briseis Schreibmam
Hey there, CUP fam, today we're going to talk about ways you can make traveling with your pet easier!
Whether your pooch only rides in the car for short visits to the vet and groomer or enjoys long road trips, we're here with some tips to help keep you and your furry friends safe and happy.
Three important things to consider when traveling with your dog are
1) managing distractions,
2) slowing the dog's acceleration in case of a crash, and
3) securing the pup after impact. Finding the right restraint for your dog's size and temperament is essential.
The non-profit "Center For Pet Safety" is an excellent resource. They have conducted safety tests on a variety of dog harnesses, crates, and carriers. Center For Pet Safety is a great place to begin your research, though I encourage you to do your own digging to find the best equipment for your furry friend.
Beyond crash safety equipment, we have some suggestions to make your life easier! From cleaning up to your pet's comfort, these tips focus on making every car ride as stress-free as possible.
Written By: Briseis Schreibman
Hey CUP fam, today we'll be demystifying Catnip. Also known as Catmint, Cats' plant, or even "Kitty Crack," this plant is well known for its effect on our feline friends. But did you know that humans also used to use this plant? For centuries, humans utilized Catnip to make teas, herbal cigarettes, and even cooking seasoning. Nowadays, this fascinating plant is used almost exclusively for cats.
What exactly does Catnip do? Catnip is one of the approximate 250 species in the mint family and has a leafy green appearance. Nepetalactone, the essential oil in Catnip, is a mild hallucinogenic that is not addictive and completely feline-friendly. However, sensitivity to Catnip is hereditary and only present in cats over six months of age. The Humane Society has a great description of what your cat experiences while affected by Catnip,
"The most intense catnip experience starts with the nose—one whiff of the stuff and your cat promptly goes nuts. Researchers suspect that catnip targets feline "happy" receptors in the brain. When eaten, however, Catnip tends to have the opposite effect, and your cat mellows out. Most cats react to Catnip by rolling, flipping, rubbing, and eventually zoning out. They may meow or growl at the same time. Other cats become hyperactive or downright aggressive, especially if you approach them. Usually, these sessions last about 10 minutes, after which your cat loses interest. It may take as long as two hours for him to "reset" and become susceptible to Catnip again. Be mindful of overindulgence though—cats are unlikely to overdose on Catnip, but they can get sick if they eat too much. Trust your kitty to know when they've had enough." (The Humane Society)
Now that you have a better understanding of how Catnip affects your kitty, you may be wondering how best to incorporate the plant into your pet's life? First up, consider what form you want to purchase the plant in. Catnip can be purchased as a spray of essential oils and distilled water, an herb-like mixture of dried leaves and flowers, pellets of dried leaves and flower buds, and as catnip-filled cat toys or dental chews. Whatever your preferred form, always make sure the product is fresh and stored in an airtight container in the freezer to extend shelf life. You can also choose to grow your own Catnip as it is a simple herb that can flourish indoors and outdoors.
Finally, it's time to determine the best use. Here is a list of some of the most popular suggested uses:
Written By Briseis Schreibman
Hey there, CUP family! I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ve been watching significantly more TV shows and movies lately. I thought I knew what a Netflix binge looked like, but I’ve realized over the past few months that I was sorely mistaken. Sure, some might see this as a waste of time, but I think the key to a successful binge-watch is picking your media carefully. Making a conscious choice about what media you consume can help make all that screen time super productive. It can feel comfortable to click on the same show or turn the tv on mindlessly to a random channel. However, being more intentional with your habits can leave you feeling refreshed and not so media fatigued as watching The Office reruns for the umpteenth time.
To help get you started, I’ve compiled a list of animal-focused tv shows and movies that will be both educational and relaxing!
Written By Briseis Schreibman
We’ve all heard the famous saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This phrase (or versions of it) have been around since at least 1534. The earliest citation of the phrase was included in “The Book of Husbandry” by Anthony Fitzherbert, where readers are encouraged to train their dog young as it will be harder, if not impossible, to do so as they age. Sheesh, with a reputation like that, it’s no surprise that modern-day owners may feel discouraged training their older pups.
Luckily, this bad rep is easily disproved with a little research into dog development stages. Just like babies go through different periods of learning as they mature, so do dogs. During the first months to a year of life, the puppy goes through an accelerated learning course. Naturally, this is an excellent period for age-appropriate training and socialization because they are already in “learning mode.” Their brains are absorbing vast amounts of information, and their personalities are still developing based on their experiences at this time. However, training can be just as rewarding a process when the dog ages.
As dogs grow older, they become set in their ways, and their personalities begin to solidify. This “stubbornness” may initially deter owners, but I encourage you to push through that discomfort. Training provides structure and mental stimulation that will help keep your dog sharp late into their life. And of course, keep your goals realistic. Setting expectations for both yourself and your dog will make training fun for everyone!
Written By: Briseis Schreibman
Noises! They’re a constant presence, especially in a big city like Chicago. Although some sounds like fireworks or other outdoor celebrations may be temporarily on pause, there’s still stormy nights and loud upstairs neighbors. Some animals pay these distractions no mind, but unfortunately, others turn into a mess of anxiety. My greyhound George certainly leans toward the latter. Fireworks are his kryptonite, one loud kaboom, and he would start whining and try to hide in the nearest crevice. At first, we thought he would grow out of this fear as he became familiar with the sound, but after a few rough nights, we realized it was time to take a more active approach. With some research online, along with trial and error, we found some reliable solutions. The most effective treatment for George was offering a safe place.
We put his bed in the most soundproof part of our home. This gave him peace of mind and a place to retreat to when he was feeling scared, allowing him some ownership of the process. When the sound is prolonged, we will often try to “compete” by playing a white noise machine or some other soft music. This provides a gentle distraction that can redirect a sacred animal’s attention. The use of thunder jackets and different calming scents are also often promoted by animal-help guides. For George, a safe place and some calming sounds are just the tricks to get through some spooky loud noises. Of course, every animal is different, and the solution to one pet’s anxiety might not be the same as another.
Whatever your pets’ speed, CUP would love to hear about your tips for managing animal stress.