How to Successfully Add a New Dog to Your Family

If you are thinking of expanding your family of pets, take some time to evaluate the personality, training and history of your current dog(s) and the one that you are considering adopting.

Make Sure You Choose the Right Pet for the Right Reasons

Adopt a dog with similar qualities. If your dog is active and outgoing, rescuing a dog with the same personality traits will be best for everyone. Check to see if your local shelter and rescue groups have temperament testing to evaluate dogs available for adoption.

Steps to Introduce New Dog To Current Family Dog

1) Adopt a female dog if you already have a male dog, and vice versa. Dogs of the same gender are likely to fight.

2) The dogs should first be introduced on neutral territory.

3) Each dog needs to be handled by a separate adult and kept on their leashes. Maintain control. The dogs may feel less anxious, fearful,or defensive when both dogs think you’re in control of the situation.

4) Your first dog sees your home as his territory and may feel threatened that another dog is on his turf. Until the dogs accept each other, all interactions should be supervised.

5) Some dogs may never get along well, but some may take a few hours to become fast friends. Please remember to be patient. While the relationship will probably improve over time, it can take weeks or even months for the dogs to accept each other.

6) Use a baby gate, screen door or other barrier that neither is able to jump over to let the dogs spend some extended time getting acquainted. One dog won’t feel threatened by the other’s space and therefore this can help them gain interest in each other.

7) Make sure each dog has his own space, den, or room to run away to in case of a confrontation.

8) Not everyone wants a new sibling, so take it slow.

Here are some things to remember if the dogs get into a fight:

  • Don’t stick your hand in the middle or grab a collar – you may get hurt!
  • Distract the dogs by spritzing them with water from a spray bottle.
  • Make a loud noise, like shaking a can of pennies.

When they have stopped fighting, separate them immediately and put each in his respective space to cool off.

If you just can’t seem to resolve the issues, then it may be time to call a local dog trainer.

When bringing a puppy home, however, the rules are slightly different.

Puppies usually wind up bothering adult dogs to no end, mainly because they are still learning. Also, they don’t realize that their actions are bothering adult dogs.

Most adult dogs, if they have a good temperament, will growl or snarl at recklessly playful puppies in order to show them the boundaries of acceptable behavior. This is a positive thing, and actually normal. For the safety of both dogs, while they are still getting to know each other, never allow a puppy and an adult dog to be left alone together. It’s also important to give your adult dog plenty of time away from the puppy.

When it comes to food, never allow the adult dog and puppy to eat out of the same bowl as it can lead to resource guarding. At least to start, feed each dog in a separate dog crate. It’s a great way to keep food fights to a minimum.

Please do not punish your dogs if they are not getting along. It may hinder their progress to punish them for their normal reactions to each other. The best thing to do is to contact a professional dog trainer to help you.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care

Melanie Lovett



Emergency First-Aid Tips For Dogs

Even though it’s unpleasant to think about, chances are your dog will become sick or injured at some point in his life. I would strongly advise that you also prepare for other emergencies such as weather disasters.


First Aid

The first thing you need to do is to restrain and or muzzle your dog to keep him from panicking or struggling against you. There are several items you can use to make a muzzle: panty hose, a cotton bandage, a necktie, or even a sturdy piece of fabric about two feet long.

Transporting an injured animal needs to be done very carefully to avoid causing further injury. Larger dogs can be placed in a piece of plywood to be moved, while smaller dogs should be placed in a box. You could also use towels or blankets as a stretcher.

To perform artificial respiration, first check to make sure the dogs mouth is cleared of mucus, blood, or any obstructions. Then you need to hold the mouth closed, inhale, completely cover the dogs nose with your mouth, and gently breathe out. Do not blow hard. Repeat every five to six seconds.

With external bleeding, don’t worry about cleaning out the wound until the bleeding has stopped. You need to immediately stop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure from a cloth, bandages, or even your own hand.

Internal bleeding, such as the result of being hit by a car, can be more dangerous. Internal hemorrhaging is extremely serious and needs to be treated by a veterinarian without delay.

Shock can occur from disease or injury. Treat any visible injuries, respond at once by keeping the animal warm and quiet, and take the dog to the vet.

Fractures require immediate attention. You need to get the dog to the veterinarian with as little movement as possible.

Vomiting and diarrhea are usually caused by problems with the digestive system. The resulting dehydration can be fatal. The veterinarian needs to be called if the condition does not improve after 12 hours.

According to the American Kennel Club, the following procedures should be performed if your dog is stung:

If possible, carefully remove the stinger with tweezers. (Only bees leave stingers.)

Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the area.

Apply an ice pick to relieve swelling and pain.

A single sting does not usually present a serious problem. However, multiple stings can be life-threatening. Intravenous catheterization, the administration of fluids, and monitoring of vital signs are performed when treating for massive stings.

The following items are recommended to be kept on hand in case of emergency. If you are unfamiliar with any of the items listed below, your veterinarian can explain it’s proper use:

  • Syringe
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Cold pack
  • Ipecac syrup
  • Liquid Styptic
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone 1%
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Tweezers
  • Latex Gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Muzzle
  • Aluminized Thermal Blanket


Dogs are at a high risk for accidental poisoning, due to their natural curiosity and their tendency to consume anything they come across. CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN AT ONCE IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG HAS INGESTED A POISON. Here are some common poisons and their side effects:

Insecticides and parasite medications such as flea and tick sprays. Shampoos and worm medications also must be used according to directions. Signs of overuse can include loss of bowel control, vomiting, drooling, and trembling and weakness.

Rodent poisons. Most rat poisons thin the blood so it is unable to clot. Ask your veterinarian how to get the dog to vomit. Inducing vomiting before 30 minutes have elapsed will usually get rid of most poisons.

Antifreeze is extremely toxic to digs, even in small amounts. Please use animal-safe antifreeze in your vehicles!

Below are some Common Household Poisons

  • Acetaminophen
  • Bleach
  • Deodorants
  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants
  • Hair colorings
  • Matches
  • Mothballs
  • Nail polish remover
  • Paint
  • Shoe polish
  • Windshield-wiper fluid

Many of the following poisonous plants may cause vomiting and diarrhea:

  • Castor bean
  • Soap berry
  • Ground Cherry
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Daffodil
  • Foxglove
  • Larkspur
  • Indian turnip
  • Wisteria

Evacuation tips

Plan Ahead!!

Most emergency shelters do not accept pets. Call hotels in your area and in surrounding states to inquire about their pet policies. Ask friends in the surrounding areas if you and your dog(s) can stay with them if you unable to find a hotel.

One of the best ways to be reunited with your dog if he runs away/gets loose during an emergency situation is to microchip him.

Assemble a disaster supply kit for your dog.


  • Collar and leash with ID tags
  • Current copy of vaccination records
  • Any medications and directions for administering them.
  • Recent photo
  • At least three days’ supply of food and bottled water.
  • Bedding and blankets

The last piece of information I’d like to share with you, is that obedience-trained dogs will respond better to commands and will be easier to handle during a stressful situation such as an emergency evacuation.


Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care

Melanie Lovett

Basic Cat First-Aid

When I decided to turn my love and passion for animals into a full-time career, I sat down and thought about some ways I could set myself apart from your “average” pet sitter. That thought process lead me to become a Certified Pet Sitter. While I learned many important aspects of cat and dog health, the most valuable knowledge I became aware of was general First-Aid.

If you are a pet owner and are not familiar with First-Aid for your pet, there are a few simple things you can do that could save your pets life until you can get them treated by your veterinarian.

Because this is such vital topic I am going to discuss this in two separate articles. We’ll start with basic cat First-Aid.

My first piece of advise is to try and stay calm.

Take some deep breaths and try to focus on the situation and what you can do immediately to help your cat. I know, easier said than done, right? Trust me, I’ve been in emergency situations with pets myself and it can be very hard to keep your emotions in check and not let your personal feelings take over the situation. Your cat will sense your alarm and that may make it impossible for you to administer the proper aid she needs.

My second piece of advise is to carry a basic First-Aid kit in your car. 

You may already have one but here are some items you may not have thought of including in case of emergency for your pet:

  • Tweezers with a sharp point
  • Rectal Thermometor
  • Scissors with a small-blunt point
  • A roll of sterile gauze
  • Eye dropper
  • Any medical conditions and a list of your pet’s medicines including dosage (This will be critical if you have to take your cat to an emergency hospital that is not familiar with your cat’s medical history.)
  • Also have the ASPCA’s 24/7/365 poison control center number taped to the inside of the lid of the kit: 888-426-4435

If you are able to get a reading on your cat’s vital signs, the normal ranges are:

Temperature: 100.4-102.5 F
Pulse: 160-240 per minute
Respiration: 20-30 per minute

I think it is a great idea, if you can, to take measurements when your cat is healthy and relaxed and keep those numbers in your First-Aid kit. Even when your cat is perfectly home and at ease, getting a rectal temperature may be challenging. So just keep the above numbers in mind, or even jot them down and keep them in the kit as well.

If you do take your cats temperature, you will need a helper to complete the
process. Always use KY jelly or other water-soluble lubricant on the tip of the

The person helping you needs to gently grab the scruff of your cat’s neck and
hold her front legs still. After you have lifted your cat’s tail, insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum.

Don’t force it! Insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum about one inch and hold it in place until it beeps.

You should not attempt to take your cat’s temperature if she is having
difficulty breathing.

To take your cats pulse, find her femoral artery. Press your two first fingers against the inside of her upper hind leg. However, the pulse may not be able to be found on a obese cat. Count the pulse for 15 seconds, then multiply by four to get the beats-per-minute.

For breathing rate, count either inhalations or exhalations for 15 seconds, and multiply by four to calculate the breaths per minute. Rapid, labored, shallow or irregular breathing can help to determine how serious the situation may be:

Shock or lack of oxygen can be indicated by rapid breathing. Obstruction or severe chest injury may be indicated by shallow breathing. The most serious respiratory sign is irregular breathing, and may indicate the need for immediate veterinary attention.

Here are some helpful reminders if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation:

Due to pain and fright, injured animals may lash out.

If possible, wear gloves and protect your face. Approach your cat slowly and
softly.To prevent and struggling, wrap her in a blanket or towel. Place her in her carrier and take her to the veterinarian immediately. If at all possible, call your veterinarian before you arrive so they are aware of the situation.

In closing, if possible, practice basic first aid before your cat’s life depends
on it. If you’re prepared for an emergency, you’ll be in a much better position
to save your cat’s life.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care

Melanie Lovett

Caring For a Senior Dog

In a previous post I discussed how to care for your senior cat. Now let’s look at ways to care for a senior dog.

At approximately six years of age, large breed dogs are considered geriatric and tend to have shorter life spans.

A 7 year old small dog is equivalent to a human aged 44-47, and for a large breed dog that age is 50-56.

At 20 years those numbers are 96-105 and 120 years, respectively, for small and medium breed dogs.

Senior dogs can become afflicted with many of the same problems as you and I in our older years. Some of which are:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney and/or urinary tract diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Joint or bone disease
  • Senility

Here are some things to consider when caring for an older pet:

To detect and treat signs of illness or other problems, geriatric pets should have semi-annual visits. They are more in depth than the annual visits for younger pets.

Geriatric pets should have foods that are more easily digested. The diet should also consist of different calorie levels, ingredients, and anti-aging nutrients more than is necessary for a non-senior pet.

The health risks increase when geriatric dogs gain weight. However with cats, the bigger concern is weight loss.

Because older pets may show signs of senility, stimulating them through interactions can help keep them mentally active.

Senior pets may need adjustments to their daily lifestyle. Changing sleeping areas to avoid stairs is one thing to keep in mind.

In the local area where I live, if you adopt a pet from a local shelter they must be spayed/neutered before you are allowed to take them home. If you rescue a pet that has not been altered please have the procedure done immediately. There are many low cost local clinics that provide the service and non-spayed/neutered dogs and cats are at a higher risk for several types of cancers. Breast and testicular cancers are largely preventable by spaying and neutering. Approximately half the deaths of pets over 10 years of age are caused by cancer.

Common Signs of Cancer in Pets are:

  • Persistent, abnormal swellings that continue to grow
  • Sores that are not healing
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Any body opening that has discharge or is bleeding
  • Offensive mouth odor
  • Difficulty with eating or swallowing
  • Difficulty with breathing, urinating or defecating

Behavior changes can serve as an important indicator that something is changing in an older pet, sometimes before any medical signs are apparent.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the following are possible behavior changes in older pets:

  • Increased vocalization
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased interaction with humans
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased anxiety
  • House soiling
  • Decrease in self-hygiene/grooming
  • Increased wandering
  • Change in sleep cycles

In the early 1990s studies conducted were the first to identify brain changes in older dogs that were similar to brain changes seen in humans with Alzheimer’s. There is a chance your pet may be experiencing cognitive dysfunction so it is important to have your veterinarian rule out any underlying diseases or causes.

If your pet seems to be in pain and isn’t as active as you think they should be have your veterinarian examine him for the possibility of arthritis. You may see one or more of the following signs if your pet has arthritis:

  • Favoring a limb
  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Sleeping more often than usual
  • Joints that appear to be stiff or sore
  • Not as eager to jump, run or climb stairs
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of interest in playing or general decreased activity
  • Increased irritability or other behavior changes
  • Being less alert

If your pet seems to have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it is best to have your veterinarian examine them, because signs of arthritis are often similar to signs of normal aging. Arthritis treatments for pets is similar to those for humans.

Some over-the-counter medications can be fatal for pets, so please do not give human medications to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett

How Clicker Training Can Be Effective

When you are trying to teach your family pet basic commands, clicker dog training is one of the most effective tools that you can use for controlling a dog’s behavior. It can be used to reinforce those behaviors that you want your pet to repeat…and to help stop them from doing things that you are not happy about.

Clicker training takes very little time to master and you can use it to teach your dog nearly anything you desire.

How Clicker Training Works

Your dog can hear the sound of a clicker from 20 plus yards away. The idea is that you are teaching your dog to associate the sound of the clicker with a specific command you give. The goal of the training is to reward desirable behavior with the sound of the clicker.

Obviously clicker dog training does not start with a clicker. Your dog must first be taught that the clicker is a reward for good behavior. This can be done with a bag of treats and a simple, two dollar clicker you can purchase from your local pet store.

It is important that you use a clicker in this instance and to reinforce to the dog that he will never hear that clicker other than to tell him that he did a good job and that a treat is on the way.

How To Be Successful at Clicker Training

There are three basic steps to get your dog to respond to training via a clicker. First, you will get the desired behavior – convincing your dog to do something that you want. It may be sitting, speaking, or whatever other commands you are trying to get him to learn. Once you’ve gotten them to perform the desired behavior, mark it with the clicker and a reward.

It usually only takes a couple of markings before a dog learns what the correct behavior was and he will start repeating it whenever you use the clicker. Clicker dog training works well because he will immediately respond, allowing you to reward him and immediately reinforce the positive behavior in his mind. A verbal command will take some time to get through.

Once your dog has performed the desired command and received his reward, continue to reinforce the positive behavior you want from them as much as possible. Treats do not have to be used every time. Praise works just as well.

Whenever you are about to use the clicker, say the command and then click, followed by the reward. The dog will quickly learn the command you are trying to get him to perform.

Transitioning to a Command

Once the dog has learned the behavior, clicker dog training will allow you to be able to transition to a spoken command that can be used anywhere, even when a clicker is not available.

Eventually, with successful clicker training, a dog will respond to a verbal cue and at that moment you need to praise him for the action and then they will learn it. Treats or praise will no longer be necessary and the dog will simply know that the action has pleased you, his owner.

With a simple, sharp command, you can mark and reinforce nearly any behavior with clicker training.

Peace and Love are present in my world now,

Lovin Pet Care
Melanie Lovett