• Fleas and ticks are probably the most annoying things you have to deal with as a pet parent. You might have tried it all, and everything must have worked fine. But the moment you grow lenient, they are back. Ticks do not go away permanently, so you have to be vigilant round the clock. One way to deal with these parasites is to grow plants that repel ticks in outdoor and indoor gardens.

    Many use sage leaves to enhance the taste of food. Interestingly, the plant is also great at repelling ticks and protecting your pets. So, consider growing sage indoors to prevent infestations.

    As the name suggests, this plant smells like lemon. While the fragrance may be appealing to you, it repels parasites. Many prefer growing this plant to repel ticks as it requires little maintenance.

    While this plant is known for its calming properties, insects would beg to disagree. Lavender is an effective repellent against moths, mosquitoes, and ever-annoying ticks. Its color, as well as its scent, are unappealing to the blood-feeding parasites.

    Ticks find the scent of garlic abhorrent. So, if you are looking up for plants that repel ticks from your household, grow this one in your outdoor and indoor garden.

    This herb has a long list of benefits, and repelling parasites is one worth mentioning. Brushing the leaves of the rosemary plant releases fragrance and oil, which protects against ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and other pests.

    Your pet may need treatment in case of a severe tick or flea infestation. Here are a few options:

    Simparica Trio
    These are available as chewables to be used once a month. The effect of a single chewable can last for weeks, protecting against fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

    It is a topical solution to be applied to the pet’s skin. A single application protects against flea and tick infestations for around 30 days.

    NexGard is a beef-flavored bite-sized chewable treatment to eliminate ticks and fleas. The effect lasts for 30 days.

    Trifexis is an oral treatment for ticks, fleas, and heartworm disease.

    K9 Advantix II
    It is another topical solution to prevent ticks and fleas that can be applied to the pet’s coat.

    Advantage II
    Advantage II is a safe option for dogs between three to ten pounds and starts working in about 12 hours of application.

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  • One of the main concerns for new pet parents is toilet training their feline friends. Cats are smart species; they understand the tricks within a few weeks. However, teaching them the correct techniques from day one is essential as it will gradually mold the cat’s behavior toward using the toilet bowl or litter boxes. The transition can be challenging, so we have listed seven simple steps to help with the process.

    Decide and prepare a designated bathroom
    Choose a bathroom that is easily accessible to your pet. And place the litterbox close to the toilet. The idea is to get your cat to “go” in the litter box and train it to use the toilet bowl gradually. The cat will get familiar with the new spot eventually. 

    Move the litter box closer to the toilet bowl
    Move the litter box an inch closer to the toilet bowl. It will also be convenient for the pet parent to clean the box when they want to. Get rid of a layer of litter to a point where there’s a thin layer left in the box. 

    Raise the height of the litter box
    Stack a pile of newspapers, old magazines, or cardboards under the litter box, and gradually raise the height, so that the cat can easily jump onto the box. Initially, the cat will get confused by the height change. But gradually, it will understand the process and jump onto the toilet seat. Make sure you pay attention to your cat adjusting to the new method while training. 

    Use a training box
    Gradually, replace the litter box with a training box, and place it over the toilet seat; many options are available online. The training box is made for the pets to become accustomed to the new spot. 

    Make the transition
    After a few days, replace the litter box with a training seat. Secure the training seat on the toilet. These training seats come with or without a hole. You can simply fill in with the flushable litter. Some training seats have rings of different sizes ranging from small to big. It will help build trust in your cats to use the toilet seat.

    After a point, the cat will learn to balance on the toilet bowl. When cats start using the toilet bowl, pet parents can slowly get rid of the litter box.

    If you’re looking for cat litter, Fresh Step® brings you a series of cat litter products in scented, unscented, concentrated, crystal, and non-clumping varieties. You may buy litter that suits your feline’s daily needs.

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  • One may have to deal with cat waste if they have a domesticated feline friend at home. Many pet owners prefer using cat litter as they are easy to clean the excreted waste. All pet cats are litter trained, meaning they will only pee or poop inside the cat litter placed in the house. As a pet parent, one must ensure that the litter box is cleaned at least twice daily to keep it germ-free. But are there any dangers to having cat litter? Let’s find out.

    While having a cat litter box at home may not expose humans to fatal dangers, cleaning the litter box may lead to health issues if one is not careful with this sanitation process. There are different types of litter. Therefore, one must know how to manage them as they can adversely affect human health in the long run. 

    Clumping litter
    Clumping litter contains bentonite, a substance that allows the liquid to clump together. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is best if humans do not inhale or ingest this substance. Some of these clumping cat litters also contain silica, which has carcinogenic effects leading to an increased risk of lung cancer. However, the amount exposed to humans at home in the form of cat litter is not enough to cause major harm.

    Non-clumping litter
    These litter formulas are mostly clay-based and they absorb the liquid, making it less powdery than the clumping litter. Clay is a natural material, so harmful effects are not severe unless, of course, humans ingest or inhale high amounts of it, which may cause health problems. However, many people prefer non-clumping litter over clumping litter to avoid potential health challenges.

    Plant-based biodegradable litter
    This type of litter is made using recycled paper, grains, wheat, and corn. While these are biodegradable substances, don’t be fooled by the “natural” tag, as it is important to know that some chemicals might get added during the manufacturing process, which may have dangerous effects. Also, always be aware of what’s in the litter as you may be allergic to some plants, leading to a reaction or flare-up.

    If you have asthma, choose non-scented litter boxes which won’t trigger the symptoms. Also, always be careful while cleaning the litter box and wear gloves to protect yourself from any transmission of diseases.

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  • If you’re frustrated with how your cat uses its litter box, you’re not alone. Most cat owners admit that their furry friends develop issues with their litter boxes, which can be anything from not using the box altogether to defecating or urinating inside and outside the box. Health and behavioral issues could be attributed to this. Thankfully, there are a few tried and tested methods that can help solve your furry companion’s litter box problems.

    Consult the vet
    Before you try anything else, it’s best to take your cat to the vet. Sometimes, health issues can prevent your cat from using the litter box properly. These issues may include painful urination, constipation, diarrhea, injured paws, arthritis, dementia, diabetes, or kidney problems. The vet may inquire about your cat’s litter box problem in detail and recommend a urinalysis, stool check, or a blood test.

    Place the box in an appropriate location
    Like humans, cats need privacy when they do their business. If the litter box is currently located in a high-traffic area, move it to a quiet place where there’s the least disturbance. However, make sure that the new place isn’t too far or isolated, like in the basement. Also, avoid keeping the box close to their bed or food bowl.

    Have enough litter boxes
    If you own more than one cat but only one litter box, you may need to buy one for each cat. This may be especially necessary if you have an adult cat at home because they don’t like to share their private space with anyone else. Also, place a box for each cat in separate rooms.

    Clean the box frequently
    Just because they’re animals doesn’t mean they don’t need a clean place to relieve themselves. In fact, their sense of smell is much stronger than humans, so smelly litter boxes can be off-putting to them. Make sure to scoop the box every time your cat has used it, and wash them with unscented soap and warm water once a week.

    Experiment with different litter
    Cats develop a preference for a surface on which they like to eliminate waste. Interestingly, their choice may abruptly change for no particular reason. So, if your cat never uses a litter box or no longer uses the same box, bring multiple boxes with different surfaces, such as clumping litter, non-clumping litter, newspaper, sand, sawdust, and carpet remnants, and let them choose.

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  • As a dog owner, one of the biggest concerns to tackle is fleas and tick infestation. These parasites feed off the pets’ blood, causing excessive scratching and irritation. There is a variety of flea and tick repellents in the market. However, it is necessary to be aware of natural remedies. The following article lists some of the most effective treatments to manage flea and tick infestation in dogs at home:

    Clinical options
    Before discussing natural remedies to manage flea and tick infestation in dogs, it is also important to be aware of clinical treatment options. 

    • Simparica®
      This is one such option that prevents flea and tick infestation in dogs. The FDA-approved oral treatment option can be given once a month which remains effective for up to 35 days.
    • Other treatment options
      Other options include Bravecto® and K9 Advantix®, where the latter is a topical treatment used on a monthly basis, and the former is an oral treatment option used once in three months. Bravecto® can also be used for getting rid of heartworm.

    Foods to eat
    Experts say that fleas and ticks are likely to attack weak and unhealthy animals. If your dog is given healthy and nutritious foods, fleas and tick infestation won’t be a problem. Make sure your dog’s meal comprises of fresh whole foods and unprocessed proteins. Nutrients such as B vitamins, probiotics, sulfur, omega-6 fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for their health. These nutrients can be acquired from foods like meats, organ meats, fatty fish, flaxseed, poultry, eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, and more.

    Natural home remedies

    • Essential oils
      The topical application of essential oils is one of the best natural remedies for treating fleas and tick infestation in dogs. It’s best to use essential oils like lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, cedar oil, or eucalyptus oil. Spray this diluted mixture directly over your dog’s coat, avoiding their face. It is also important to avoid soaking their coat with essential oils— just spray once at any given spot.
    • Flea comb
      If your dog is already infested with fleas and ticks, use this traditional method to remove the insects from your dog’s coat. The flea comb features closely spaced teeth. When you run it through your dog’s coat, it effectively removes fleas, ticks, and their eggs stuck on the skin and coat of the dog.
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  • Cats are smart animals who are typically mindful of what they eat. But sometimes, seeds or pollen of a toxic plant get stuck in their fur or on their paws, and cats may ingest toxic substances while grooming themselves. To avoid this and keep your cat safe, all pet parents should take some time to learn the names of plants that are toxic to their health. Some of these plants are mentioned below.

    Peace lily (spathiphyllum)
    All its parts, including the leaves, roots, petals, and pollen, should be kept away from cats. If cats ingest peace lilies, they could get acute kidney failure. Other symptoms of poisoning would include vomiting, irritation of the mouth and GI tract, excessive drooling, and in rare cases, difficulty swallowing or breathing.

    Sago palm (cycas revoluta)
    Sago palm contains a toxic substance called cycasin, which, when consumed, may result in liver damage in cats. It could also cause vomiting, diarrhea, and black, tarry-looking stool. It could also lead to bruising, excessive thirst, lethargy, and in rare cases, death.

    Eucalyptus (myrtaceae)
    Eucalyptus can cause complications like drooling, vomiting, decreased appetite, and diarrhea in cats. The toxicity level of this plant is low, and the symptoms often disappear within 24 hours. But higher concentrations can cause serious problems.

    Dieffenbachia may be known by its various other names, including dumb cane or tropic snow. It is a part of a genus of tropical flowering plants in the Araceae family. Dieffenbachia contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause a burning sensation in the mouth if consumed by cats. It can also lead to excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

    All parts of this plant are toxic to cats, as it contains bufadienolides. This can cause gastrointestinal issues like drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If cats eat this plant, they can experience heart arrhythmias and seizures.

    This outdoor shrub contains cardiac glycoside toxins that are harmful to the heart muscle. Oleander can also cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and heart abnormalities, so it is essential to keep your cats away from this plant.

    Jade plants (crassula)
    Jade plants, also known as money plants or dollar plants, are easy to grow as they require little maintenance and are believed to bring luck and fortune. But not for your cat. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, depression, and incoordination.

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  • Dogs love smelling things. They want to put their snout on anything that comes across their path, be it garbage on the sidewalk or blossoming flowers in a park or garden. While some things are downright disgusting, other items can be toxic to your dog’s health. Certain plants can cause diarrhea and other serious issues like liver damage. Hence, it’s important to keep your dog away from the plants mentioned below.

    Sago palms
    These popular indoor ornamental palms are found in warmer climates. Every part of this plant is toxic to your dog. If consumed, it can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, and seizures.

    Aloe vera
    Aloe vera is another common household plant grown mainly because of its many beneficial properties. However, its gooey gel contains some components that are toxic for dogs. It can cause lethargy, stomach problems, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    Elephant’s ear
    Elephant’s ear is a beautiful plant commonly found in warm climates. This plant can be harmful to dogs as it contains glass-like insoluble oxalate crystals, which can result in severe irritation, swelling in the mouth, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    All parts of the azalea plant, including the flower, leaves, seeds, and  honey made from its nectar, are toxic to dogs. Signs of ingestion include hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, eye problems, slow heart rate (bradycardia), heart arrhythmia, low blood pressure, cardiovascular collapse. In some cases, it can even cause death.

    Some of the most common types of ivy are the English ivy and Devil’s ivy, also known as Golden Pothos. All of them are toxic to your furry pet. If consumed, it can lead to mouth and stomach irritation, foaming, excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea in dogs.

    Snake plant
    Snake plants are one of the most common household plants in the world since they require little maintenance. However, this plant is poisonous to your dog. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    If your dog has ingested any of the above-mentioned plants, take them to the vet immediately.

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  • Every pet parent wants their four-legged companion to have a lustrous coat of fur. Having a shiny coat isn’t just about looking pretty, the shein is a reflection of your dog’s good health. You don’t need to splurge on pet-friendly creams and lotions or put in a lot of time grooming your pet. Just following these simple tips can help ensure that your dog’s skin and coat are in the finest condition.

    Regular baths and brushing
    Giving you dog a bathing once or twice a month is enough. But keep in mind that using organic pet shampoos with natural ingredients is ideal. Additionally, brushing your dog every few days helps spread natural oils on their skin, producing a glossy and healthy coat.

    Feeding meals rich in fatty acids
    Omega-3s and 6s play crucial roles in maintaining a dog’s coat condition as well as overall health. Omega-6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and lustrous coat while omega-3s fight inflammation and improve mood. 

    Coconut oil massages 
    Coconut oil is incredibly beneficial for the skin. Applying and massaging your dog’s skin with this oil will instantly moisturize their skin and make their coat shiny. Adding a few drops of coconut oil to your pet shampoo will give better results.

    Oatmeal baths
    Oatmeal is full of skin-friendly nutrients. If your dog’s skin is dry and prone to allergic reactions, they’ll likely benefit from an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal also helps make the fur soft and maintains its glow.

    Safeguarding against parasites
    Fleas and ticks can irritate your dog’s skin and make them uncontrollably scratch and bite, leading to hair loss and skin damage. Several home remedies can help keep these pests at bay, such as feeding garlic, applying lemon spray or apple cider vinegar, and wearing an essential oil flea collar.

    If natural methods don’t help, consider these products to prevent flea and tick infestation in dogs.

    K9 Advantix II
    K9 Advantix II is a vet-recommended flea and tick prevention formula for dogs. It can also offer heartworm protection in dogs as mosquitoes that transmits heartworm are repelled and killed. K9 Advantix II is a topical prevention treatment for monthly use on dogs.

    Simparica Chewables
    Simparica Chewables are made for dogs to provide protection against flea and tick infestation. These tablets kills pests before they can lay their eggs and must by administered once a month.

    Flonase Allergy Relief
    Dog or cat fur can trigger allergies in humans. Pets shed dander, microscopic bits of skin and saliva, that circulate in the air and stick to clothes. This can cause symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, itchiness, runny eyes or nose, coughing, skin rashes or hives, and wheezing. Flonase Allergy Relief helps alleviate symptoms of dog allergy. It is a nasal spray containing corticosteroids that prevent inflammation and control symptoms of nasal congestion. It has a low risk of side effects.

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  • As a responsible pet parent, you do your best to ensure healthy nutrition and a happy environment for your cats. But it can be hard to resist feeding them a few tidbits off your own plate. However, there are certain human foods that should not be given to cats under any circumstances as they can prove to be life-threatening. Here are five foods that are an absolute no-no for kittens and cats.

    5 human foods that are toxic for cats

    Milk chocolate and dark chocolate, even in small quantities, can trigger vomiting and diarrhea among cats. Some felines may even experience a rapid increase in breathing rate and body temperature, in addition to the risk of seizures.

    Garlic and onions
    Both garlic and onions contain compounds that break down the red blood cells. These vegetables are harmful to cats in every form, be it raw, cooked, powdered, or dehydrated. If you notice shortness of breath and sudden weakness in your cats, it could be an anemic reaction.

    Raw eggs
    Raw eggs are loaded with millions of bacteria such as E. Coli and salmonella. Even mild exposure to these pathogens causes vomiting, diarrhea, and increased fatigue. Eggs also contain an enzyme that destroys essential B vitamins and increases the risk of convulsions.

    Grapes and raisins
    It is unclear why grapes and raisins trigger severe kidney problems. However, veterinarians advise against feeding any type of grapes and raisins as they are highly toxic to cats, even in the smallest quantities.

    Raw dough
    Raw dough used for baking contains yeast, a type of bacteria that causes gas buildup upon ingestion. It may trigger bloating, stomach pains, and could also cause the stomach to twist. Immediate medical attention is advisable at this stage.

    Best cat food brands

    Royal Canin®
    It is one of the popular pet food manufacturers featuring a variety of ingredients, proteins, vitamins, and essential nutrients in most of their wet and dry foods for cats. You can pick up Royal Canin cat foods on sale on their website or via pet stores.

    Open Farm®
    If you are looking for organic food options for your cat, then Open Farm brings you wholesome recipes featuring chicken and turkey from sustainable farms. These recipes contain no artificial meats and are rich in probiotics.

    Senior cats can benefit from Halo’s grain-free cat foods as they are made with non-GMO ingredients, contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

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  • If you have pet cats at home and occasionally feed them from your plate, you must know which foods are safe for them. Cats can be greedy eaters, and irrespective of the cute faces they make at the dinner table, it’s best not to give them anything besides cat food until you’re a hundred percent sure. To help you, we’ve listed a few human foods that are safe for cats to eat.

    Cats love fish, and vets recommend feeding them fish-based cat foods. Most options are rich in omega-3 and other nutrients. Oily fish, in particular, like tuna, salmon, or mackerel, is excellent for their eyesight and joints. However, don’t feed your feline straight from the can; they might lick it too aggressively and cut their tongues. It’s best to provide them with cooked pieces that have no bones.

    Whole grains
    Grains are power-packed with nutrients and are healthy for both humans and cats. Oats, mainly, have lots of protein, but not many cats like it. Some cats prefer coarse food made from brown rice and cornmeal. If you’re not feeding your cat meat or fish, whole grains can be a good substitute. You can cook smaller grains like millet, couscous, or wheat berries at home.

    Boiled eggs
    Boiled eggs are an excellent source of vitamin B and protein and are healthy for your cat. But ensure the eggs are cooked well to avoid bacteria like salmonella or E. coli from entering your feline’s system. Moreover, some cats can be allergic to eggs, so proceed with caution.

    Fresh veggies and fruits
    While not all cats are vegetable and fruit lovers since they cannot taste the sweet flavors, some do nibble on fresh fruits and veggies. Cucumber, cantaloupe, steamed broccoli or asparagus, baked carrots, and green beans have the proper nutrients and minerals.

    Apart from the above, you can buy healthy pet treats from stores. Cat food brands like Royal Canin have amazing sales on their assorted range on websites like Chewy, PetSmart, and Petco. Other brands known for high-quality cat food include Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Purina, and Merrick Backcountry. Further, consider the following if you’re looking for specific benefits:

    IAMS weight control cat food
    The specially formulated weight control cat food from IAMS contains L-carnitine. L-carnitine helps burn calories and maintain a healthy metabolism if supported by physical activity.

    GREENIES healthy pet treats
    Available in two flavors, SMARTBITES™ is a healthy cat treat option from GREENIES. Each treat provides your cat with the nourishment it deserves.

    Friskies Indoor cat food
    Friskies’ Indoor cat food line promotes nutrition in indoor cats. They also have foods to boost the immune system.

    Holistapet calming cat treats
    Holistapet offers a range of healthy cat treats that have a calming effect on your pet and even promote urinary health.

    If your cat has kidney disease, it is advisable to feed them products keeping the disease and nutrition in mind. Thankfully, several brands make such foods. Some of the best foods for cats with kidney disease include Hill’s Prescription K/D Kidney Care, Royal Canin Renal Support, Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet™ K+M Support, and Darwin’s Natural Intelligent Design™ KS Kidney Support. All these foods are low in phosphorus, a mineral that could worsen kidney disease. 

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