It’s Kitten Season! Here’s What You Need to Know

It’s Kitten Season! Here’s What You Need to Know

Spring has sprung, and that means that “kitten season” is here! While kittens are some of the most adorable creatures on the planet, kitten season can be overwhelming for animal shelters and rescues who end up caring for the abundance of tiny baby kitties that are born homeless.

Generally speaking, kitten season runs from March through October. However, in warmer climates like right here in southern California, kitten season actually happens twice per year. That’s because weather plays a big part in regulating the heat cycle in felines.

The timeline goes something like this: an unaltered female cat goes into heat (usually in early spring to late fall), she becomes pregnant, and 60 days later, she gives birth to her litter. Typically, a mama cat will give birth to between four and eight kittens.

When you consider that female cats can have more than one litter each year, it’s easy to see why the cat population grows so quickly. Shelters and rescues fill-up with kittens at this time of year, so if you have been thinking about adding a kitten to your family, we encourage you to visit a local shelter or rescue first. Also, consider adopting kittens in pairs if your situation provides for it. Kittens love having playmates, and it honestly doesn’t add any more work to have two versus one.

Here are some quick kitten stats!  

  • Felines are considered kittens until they have reached one year in age.
  • Kittens instinctively know to use a litter box.
  • All kittens are born with blue eyes, and their permanent eye color appears around four weeks of age.
  • A kitten can be spayed or neutered when they reach two pounds in body weight, typically at eight weeks of age.
  • Unaltered female cats can become pregnant at just four months old, so it is crucial to spay (and neuter) your kittens!

Spaying and neutering cats is the best way to control the pet population, and to help prevent overwhelmed shelters and rescues during kitten season. In some places, local officials have established trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for community cats to help slow down this cycle. It has dramatically reduced the number of cats that are euthanized at community shelters.

If you’re looking for ways to get involved locally during kitten season, here are some things you can do!

  • Consider fostering a litter of kittens
  • Donate old towels, blankets, toys, food, litter, and more to a local animal shelter or rescue
  • Use social media to share posts about adoptable pets or fundraising efforts
  • Volunteer your time at a rescue or animal shelter
  • Ask your local shelter or rescue if they have an Amazon Wish List for supplies, and host a virtual “kitten shower” with your friends, coworkers and/or family members

While kittens are absolutely adorable, it’s very important to do your part in keeping kitten season under control for the rescues and animal shelters on the front lines. In an upcoming blog post, we will explore what you should do if you encounter newborn kittens with or without their mom.

If you’re interested in adopting, fostering or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:
Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant, and animal mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty). 

Working From Home With Pets

Working From Home With Pets

So many of us have found ourselves working from home over the course of the last year. And for pet parents, this has caused an abrupt and unexpected change in routine for our four-legged family members. Let’s face it: our pets love having us at home, but it’s not exactly possible to explain to your pet why you can’t hang out with them all day long.

But you can’t exactly hide the fact that you’re home. Pets have an incredibly strong sense of hearing and smell, so there’s no disguising when their favorite humans are on the premises. Working from home with pets in the house can cause them to be confused about your availability, but there are ways to mitigate this by keeping a routine and structure in place. Here are some tips to keep your work-from-home balance in order, while also keeping your pets happy and healthy.

Establish Designated Eat, Play & Potty Times

Just like humans, our pets thrive when they have an established daily schedule. This especially pertains to eating, playing and potty breaks. Take some time to map out a daily routine where your pet’s schedule and your work schedule can live in harmony. Create a schedule for meals, play breaks and potty opportunities that you can schedule around your work commitments. This will keep your pet healthy and happy, while also allowing you to focus during your working hours. If you have to make adjustments because of last-minute things, don’t stress. Try to keep as much routine in place as possible.  

Create a Separate Pet-Free Work Space

In some ways, this may be easier said than done, especially if you have pets who aren’t fans of closed doors. But creating a pet-free work space will allow you to remain distraction-free while you’re working, taking conference calls, etc… If your pet nudges you or cries for attention, start working with them on a command like “place” where they know to retreat to their designated spot when this training word is said. This could be their bed, a different room, and so on. Remember: training takes time and patience, and this won’t be an immediate solution. But keep working toward your goal and you will get there together!

Put Together a “Boredom Box”

Pets are a lot like humans, and they can get bored in a hurry. Consider putting together a “boredom box” that’s filled with chew bones, food puzzles, toys, and more. While this may work better for our canine companions, there are lots of toys and items to help stimulate cats too. Grab a leftover cardboard box and create a fun place for them to hide or play. This can buy you some time while you work through an important project, especially if you have a pet who resorts to destruction when they get bored or left alone. You might also consider rotating your pets available toys/activities in the “boredom box” from week to week to help stimulate their interest.

Keep Things Consistent

As you and your pet(s) learn about the necessary boundaries that working from home requires, consistency will be key. Focus on the progress that you’re making together, and understand that creating routine will cut down on unnecessary anxiety and stress for your pets. You may be tempted to leave your desk in the middle of the day to play or go on a walk, but try to stick with your established routine as much as you can. It will be best for both of you! 

How have you been successful in transitioning to working from home with your pets? We would love to hear your tips and ideas! Feel free to leave us a comment below.

And if you’re interested in adopting, fostering or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at

We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile:
Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant, and animal mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty). 

Disaster Preparedness: What To Do in the Event of An Emergency

Disaster Preparedness: What To Do in the Event of An Emergency

When disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, or fires strike a community, the impact reaches not only people but also resident livestock and companion animals. The impact on animals can include animals getting stranded and needing rescue, or permanent separation of companion animals from their owners or fosters.

Recent disasters highlighted the need for emergency response plans that include provisions for pet evacuations and to communicate relevant information to our fosters and volunteers. It is important for the Animal Emergency Preparedness Plan to be flexible and scalable, providing the protocols needed in the event of any disaster.

What To Do in the Event of An Emergency

If you have to evacuate please take all pets in the home, including foster pets. If it’s not safe for you to remain in your home, then it is not safe for the pets in your home to remain either.

Evacuate early. Don’t wait for an emergency evacuation order. Evacuating before conditions become severe will keep everyone safer and make the process less stressful.

Be Prepared!

1.    Check for and prevent any hazards that may already exist in your home such as:

  • Propane tanks – ensure they are safely kept
  • Monitor candles and heat emitting appliances such as ovens, stove, or clothes iron
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets
  • Test smoke alarms frequently to ensure they are in working order
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it
  • Prevent carbon monoxide leaks by having your HVAC system, water heater, and other appliances that use gas, oil, or coal serviced by a professional every year
  • Make sure to always keep anything that gives off heat at least 3 feet away from flammable materials or items
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure your chimney is checked and cleaned by a professional once a year. Use a metal or glass screen that is large enough to prevent escaping embers
  • Check the testing labels on all major appliances that indicate you purchased them in safe working order. You may not find testing labels on older appliances, so consider whether it’s time to replace them or have them checked by a professional.
  • Avoid cluttering debris or junk near a furnace, heater or nay heat source

2.    Make sure that all information on identification tags and microchips are current and that both include your cell phone number and the contact information of a backup contact.

3.    Prepare a disaster kit that includes:

  • Food & water for at least 5 days
  • Bowls
  • Manual can opener
  • Medications and vet records
  • Litter, litter boxes and/or poopie bags
  • Harnesses, collars with tags (preferably martingale collars so your dog can’t “back out” of the collar in fear), leashes and crates/carriers

4.    In the event another foster home is needed, write down anything a temporary foster may need to know about your pet(s) and foster pet(s) including behavior, feeding times, any medical issues, medication, etc.

5.    Develop an evacuation transport plan including where pets will immediately go in an emergency (car, neighbor’s house, etc). Determine the number of crates or carriers needed, and an emergency destination (Red Cross or FEMA shelter, family or friend’s house, vet’s office, etc.).

  • Contact hotels/motels that are at least 50 miles from you to see if they take pets during an emergency.
  • Other essential supplies to store in a secure room in the home:

    • Nonperishable food
    • Bottled water
    • Battery-powered radios
    • First-aid supplies
    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Duct tape
    • Plastic sheeting
    • Plastic garbage bags

Fires and Emergency Situations in the Home

In the event of a fire or emergency situation, call 9-1-1 immediately! Then:

  • Notify all people in your home as soon as possible by sounding any form of alarm- air horn, whistle, smoke alarm, or verbal.
  • Provide instructions to all occupants of the home as to where to exit and where to go once they exit the home.
  • Once all occupants including pets in the home are safe and emergency personnel have arrived on the scene, contact a friend or family member to notify them of the emergency and your location. Also provide an alternate contact number for anyone who is with you.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to fight a fire that has passed the incipient stage (that which can be put out with a single fire extinguisher), nor should you attempt to enter a burning building to conduct search and rescue. These actions should be left to emergency services professionals who have the necessary training, equipment, and experience (such as the fire department or emergency medical professionals). Untrained individuals may endanger themselves and/or those they are trying to rescue.

Evacuation Routes

Develop an evacuation route plan of your home, assign a Designated Assembly Area or Evacuation Site for your home.

  • Designated Assembly Area (DAA) is an outside location at least 50 feet from the building, away from roads and walkways used by emergency vehicles
  • Evacuation Site (ES) a building in close proximity to the evacuated building that will provide protection from the weather or other elements in the case of a prolonged evacuation.

If an emergency occurs while at home or work, local emergency personnel will instruct and direct you to the nearest DAA or ES.

Discuss all emergency evacuation plans with all members of your household.

  • Appoint 1-2 people responsible for evacuation assistance in your home.
  • In the event that a fire/emergency alarm is sounded or instructions for evacuation are given:

    • Everyone should immediately exit the premises/building(s) at the nearest exits, as shown in the escape route
    • Meet as soon as possible at the Designated Assembly Area.
    • The people responsible for evacuation are to check all rooms for occupants and pets.
    • Once a room has been checked and cleared, close the door to that room, but leave it unlocked. This will decrease the chances of a fire spreading.
    • Leave home exit doors open to allow any pets that may remain to escape to the outdoors. If you must, break a window to the room where you think pets may be hiding.

Securing Property and Equipment

In the event that evacuation of the premises is necessary make sure that gas mains, electricity breaker boxes and water mains are shut off.  Determine who in your home will be responsible for shutting off this equipment in your home.

Accounting for members of your household after an evacuation

Once a home evacuation has occurred to an evacuation site, an adult should account for each person and pet that was in the home and report this to emergency personnel.

Home Evacuation Re-entry

Once your home has been evacuated, do not re-enter it for any reason. All members of the home should remain at the Designated Assembly Areas or Evacuation Sites until the fire department or other emergency response agency notifies you that either it is safe to re-enter, or if relocation to a new location is discussed and determined.

Sheltering in Place: When not to evacuate

In the event of an emergency where authorities may determine that it is safer to remain where you are rather than evacuate in such instances as chemical, biological, or radiological contaminates have been released into the environment in such quantity and/or proximity to your home, please follow all instructions by emergency personnel and do the following:

  • Immediately lock exterior doors and close windows, doggy doors, and air vents.
  • Turn off, seal, or disable all fans, heating and air conditioning systems, and clothes dryers, especially those systems that automatically provide for exchange of inside air with outside air.
  • If there is a danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Ensure all pets are inside.

If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance. A safe room is a room that has no windows or exposure to the outside such as a walk-in closet, bathroom, basement or underground shelter.  Bring all supplies listed above (pet crate and supplies, any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies.) If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.

Write down the names of everyone in the home and inform emergency personnel outside of the building of who is in the room. Listen to the radio, monitor TV, phone or check Facebook updates. Do not come out until you know it’s safe and have been instructed to do so by emergency personnel.

Reporting Emergency Situations

All emergency situations must be reported as soon as possible. Emergency situations may include but are not limited to fires, earthquakes, floods, vehicle accidents during animal transport, injuries incurred by human or animal from bites and animal injuries incurred during physical exercise.

We want to ensure all members of your home are safe and accounted for in case of an emergency – both people and pets. For more information and tips on emergency situations, please visit the Red Cross and FEMA web sites. Also, please contact your local animal shelter and discuss their emergency plans for animal evacuations. You should also contact neighbors, family and friends to discuss emergency plans.


It’s Kitten Season! Here’s What You Need to Know

It’s Kitten Season! Here’s What You Need to Know

Spring has sprung, and that means that “kitten season” is here! While kittens are some of the most adorable creatures on the planet, kitten season can be overwhelming for animal shelters and rescues who end up caring for the abundance of tiny baby kitties that are...

read more
Working From Home With Pets

Working From Home With Pets

So many of us have found ourselves working from home over the course of the last year. And for pet parents, this has caused an abrupt and unexpected change in routine for our four-legged family members. Let’s face it: our pets love having us at home, but it’s not...

read more
Caring for a Senior Pet

Caring for a Senior Pet

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month! Here at PPITS, we love our senior pets. We even created a program called Murray's Purpose for at-risk senior shelter pets. If you've been thinking about adding a senior pet to your home, or if your current pet is starting...

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How to Deal with the Loss of a Pet

How to Deal with the Loss of a Pet

They say our pets are like family. I say, they’re not “like” family; they are family, and when you lose one, it’s a like a part of your heart and soul gets ripped out and taken with them. As the co-founder of PPITS, I’ve seen my fair share of pet loss. It is...

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How to Handle Your Pets’ Stress During a Crisis

How to Handle Your Pets’ Stress During a Crisis

In times of crisis, there is no better companion than a pet. There are countless articles and research showing the mental and health benefits that come with caring for a pet. Pets are wonderful at helping us cope with stress, and there is no better time for the...

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How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

Written by: Duncan Kingori, AuthenticDogs Like humans, our pets also experience separation anxiety. In dogs, separation anxiety is characterized by agitation, upset, and even destructive behavior. These behaviors are exhibited by dogs when they are separated from...

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Tips for Crate Training Your Dog

Tips for Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training is in an important part of dog ownership. Many think that it is mean or cruel to crate a dog. That is only true if the crate is used as a form of punishment. However, that is not what creating dogs was meant for.  A crate should NEVER be used as...

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4 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along Better

4 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along Better

Sponsored by AlliVet Having multiple furry friends in your home can be fun and fulfilling. However, if you have animals of different species -- like dogs and cats -- it can also be challenging. Many dogs and cats don't naturally react well to one another, which means...

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Four Common Cleaning Chemicals That Are Toxic to Pets

Four Common Cleaning Chemicals That Are Toxic to Pets

By: James Hall, Freelance Writer and Home Cleaning Expert, @Spotless_Vacuum It’s no secret that many household cleaning products are toxic to humans. A quick glance at a label shows just how careful we need to be when cleaning our homes. These chemicals are even more...

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October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month What Can An Adopted Dog Bring To Your Life? For millions of dogs, there’s something special about the month of October. No, it’s not holiday sweaters or Halloween treats. It’s the promise of a better life. You see, October is Adopt a Shelter...

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The 4th of July holiday is upon us, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with friends and family. You’ll want to include your pet too. With heat, sun, lots of greasy food, alcohol and fireworks, you need to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being. Paw Prints in...

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April is National Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month

April is National Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month

Even though Paw Prints in the Sand works year-round to prevent and bring awareness to cruelty to animals, April is special because it is officially the ASPCA’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month! We are asking supporters to celebrate by joining us in raising...

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Special Needs, Special Deeds

Special Needs, Special Deeds

“Special needs pets need special people!” This is a phrase that we hear frequently from rescues encouraging people to adopt special needs pets. But why is that? Is it because of the sacrifice we are willing to give and the extra...

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A Rescuer’s Insight on Breed Specific Legislation

A Rescuer’s Insight on Breed Specific Legislation

The following guest post was originally posted by the Paw Prints in the Sand Co-Founder and President in Pet Rescue Report What is BSL? BSL stands for Breed Specific Legislation, which essentially makes certain dog breeds illegal based on their looks or breed. The...

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Happy World Cat Day

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Happy World Cat Day from all of us at Paw Prints in the Sand! It has been 4,000 years since cats were domesticated and became members of our homes and families. The ancient Egyptians were the first to bring cats into their homes to control pests and vermin. Cats were...

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‘Tis the Season for Pet Allergies

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Think only humans suffer from seasonal allergies? Think again!  Like humans, pets can experience the negative effects of allergies. The most common pet allergies are fleas and seasonal allergies due to environmental elements such as grass and pollen. Symptoms of...

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Today Marks National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

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Dog fighting is one of the worst acts of animal abuse that exists today. The Humane Society estimates that there are over 40,000 "professional" dog fighters in U.S., and there could be an additional 100,000 "street" dog fighters. It is a cruel and inhumane money...

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Patience, Love and Determination.  These are the three words that come to my mind when I think of animal rescue.  My name is Angel Salazar. I am a volunteer with Paw Prints in the Sand Animal Rescue and this is what I have learned so far from volunteering with them. I...

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How to Handle Your Pets’ Stress During a Crisis

How to Handle Your Pets’ Stress During a Crisis

In times of crisis, there is no better companion than a pet. There are countless articles and research showing the mental and health benefits that come with caring for a pet. Pets are wonderful at helping us cope with stress, and there is no better time for the unconditional love and companionship that only a pet can provide during this time of crisis.

Pets have evolved to be attuned to their humans’ feelings and emotions. In the same way that we learn their likes and dislikes, they also learn about our emotions, behaviors, and and our stress levels. Pets can even learn our mannerisms and know what they can expect from us. Many pets can help us cope with stress and anxiety. However, because dogs and cats are the most affectionate of pets, they can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise, weight loss, and improve our cardiovascular health .

But what happens to our pets when our stress and anxiety is too much to handle?“We might see an uptick in depressive behavior like trouble sleeping, losing their appetite, not wanting to play or seeming listless.” — Ettel Edshteyn, a certified trainer at Karen Pryor Academy and owner of New York City’s Poodles to Pit Bulls Clicker Training

We are going through an unprecedented crisis with a global pandemic, social distancing, and quarantine restrictions. These are very uncertain times with heightened concerns about our health, the economy, jobs, our children, elderly family members, and if we can even get the every day necessities.

Because of the added fear and stress of it all, we may be projecting certain behaviors and emotions that our pets may be unaccustomed to.

Studies have shown that pets mirror their owners’ personalities. Researchers in Austria found that dogs can mirror the anxiety and negativity of owners. A study from the University of Vienna found that both owners and dogs influenced each other’s coping mechanisms with the human partner being more influential than the dog. So, during this time, we should expect that some dogs and even cats will be acting out in response to our current state of emotion, stress, or anxiety.

“Dogs are deeply sensitive to human emotions, especially in their particular guardians.” — Sally Morgan, a holistic physical therapist for pets and people, as well as the author of “Dances of the Heart — Connecting with Animals.”

Most of the behaviors that we can expect to see in dogs are associated with how nervous they may be feeling. Dogs do not understand why their owners are stressed, sad or angry, but they will react in many different ways. Expected behaviors associated with nervousness can include:Excessive Barking — Your dog is suddenly barking at unusual hours when he or she typically doesn’t bark such as in the middle of the night; excessive barking when someone comes to your door; or unexplained barking out of nowhere.

  • Hiding — Your pup may display increased shaking; hiding in their crate, or other secluded areas, not wanting to come out.

  • Excessive whining — This will likely occur at the most inopportune moments accompanied by excessive neediness. It is important that you do not pet your dog if this is happening as this tells your dog that he or she is being rewarded for the behavior, and you may be encouraging the behavior to continue further.

  • Aggression — Getting into scuffles and fights with other dogs in the home; unforeseen aggression towards other pets in the home and even in the most extreme cases; reactivity towards you, such as leash reactivity during a walk.

  • Destructive behavior — Chewing your things; having accidents in the house; destroying their own things like blankets or crates.

All of these behaviors are associated with a dog’s fight or flight response. Aggressive behaviors may occur out of fear, or as a way to let go of pent up negative energy.

In cats, you may see certain behaviors such as:

  • Excessive excitability- Biting or scratching when being petted, which is not uncommon during normal times, but it may happen more frequently or suddenly.

  • Hyperactivity — zoomies and unexpected chasing and pouncing on your legs or feet while you are out and about your home.

  • Destructive behaviors — extra clawing on items where they are not allowed on and excessive destruction of our most prized and cherished toilet paper.

  • Roaming — In extreme cases, your cat may want to venture in the outdoors. This is especially dangerous for indoor cats that may not be familiar with their external environment.

So, how should we handle these behaviors at a time when our emotions are running at an all-time high? Awareness is the first step. Being aware of our own feelings and being mindful of our emotions and addressing them or doing something to keep our stress and negative emotions at bay will help us to avoid unwanted behaviors in our pets.

We must realize that dogs are very intuitive and our body language alone can show stress without us even saying a word. They notice when we are tense and when something is wrong. It’s very important that you try to remain calm and do activities that help you relax and your pet relax such as:

  • Exercising and going on walks with your dog — this is a wonderful way to let go of some of the stress and to help your pup release some negative pent up energy. However, it is important that you start your walk in a calm, relaxed manner rather than the typical excitement that is often created when taking your dog out for a walk. Starting the walk from a more relaxed state will help to prevent your dog from demonstrating unwanted behaviors.

  • Meditate — taking time for yourself is vitally important all the time, but especially now when there is so much uncertainty, daily routines are off, and there’s more stress in general in the home and our world. Meditating first thing in the morning helps to create a sense of calm and clarity, which not only helps you; it can also help your pet.

  • Maintaining a routine — With more people working from home and kids out of school, your normal daily routine is likely “off”. This is not only a big adjustment for you; it’s also a big adjustment for our pets. Pets, especially dogs are more settled when they have a routine and structure. Try to keep your routine as close to ‘normal’ as possible especially when it comes to walking and feeding times.

  • Keep them entertained — In a time of quarantine, your dog’s unwanted behavior is likely due to their inability to go outside, especially if you live in an apartment or condo community. Keep your pooch entertained with puzzle toys or treat dispensers. . You can make your own puzzle toys with items you already have around your home.

Two simple puzzles that will entertain your dog:

Box Puzzle: If you have empty boxes, arrange them on the floor and hide treats in some of the boxes. Show your dog the boxes and let your pup use its nose to find the hidden treats. Rearrange the boxes with more treats.

Cupcake Puzzle: Get an empty cupcake or muffin pan and 12 (or as many as you have) tennis balls. Place treats or pieces of your dog’s kibble into some but not all of the pan’s cups, and cover all of the cups with the tennis balls. Show your dog the tray and see how long it takes for him or her to move the right balls and find the hidden food. Each time you play, change where you place the treats.

To address excitability in your cat, be mindful of his or her body language. You can get an idea of your kitty’s stress levels by looking into their eyes. If his or her pupils are dilated, and they flick their tail up and down, then it’s time to stop petting him or her and leave them alone.

Hyperactivity and destructive behaviors can be addressed by providing additional exercise with things such as a feathered toy, a laser pointer, or even playing fetch. Also keep you cat(s) away from the prized items by using a compressed air pet corrector, deterrent scents such as citronella, lavender, peppermint, lemongrass and orange.

Finally, when these behaviors occur during this time, don’t hold it against your pet or punish him or her for it. Be aware of the situation and remain calm. Provide guidance to your pet by responsibly correcting him or her so he/she understands that this behavior is unwanted. Help your pet by using one of the recommendations mentioned above. In the end, a tired pet is a happy and good pet.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your pet during this time, we’d love to help. Feel free to reach out to us at We want to make sure you and your pet(s) are happy and safe during this time and always.

Newly Adopted Dog Checklist: What You Need to Do and Buy for Your New Pet

Newly Adopted Dog Checklist: What You Need to Do and Buy for Your New Pet

Written by: Trevor James, DogLab

So you got a new dog? Congratulations! We hope it’s a rescue dog, of course. 😉

If this is your first time as a canine parent, then you should know that there are several things you need to do and buy before bringing your new pup home with you.

New Dog to Do List:

Like us humans, dogs have different habits and personalities – some good and some, well, not so good. Adopting a dog is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get! There’s no telling how your new dog will behave, so it’s best to prepare for anything and everything.

Dog-proof your home

Your new dog will be arriving soon, so you need to prep your house and make it dog-proof to avoid any accidents. Much like baby proofing a home, you should:

  • Remove all sharp and protruding objects that can injure your new dog. It helps if you go down on all fours and crawl around your house so you can see what a dog sees. If you find something dangerous, take it out. Taping cut cardboard over objects you can’t remove is a cheap and effective way to dog-proof your home.

Shopping list: Duct tape, box cutter

  • Seal all outlets that are not in use. Tuck away all plugs and cables of your electronics so your dog won’t chew on them.

Shopping list: Outlet covers, socket covers, cord shorteners

  • Assign permanent areas for food and water so your new dog will always know where to go (and keep the mess in one spot.)

Shopping list: Elevated stainless steel food and water bowls, food bowl mat

  • Keep everything you don’t want your new furry friend to chew and destroy out of reach – shoes, toys, books, underwear, everything! Dogs can and will gnaw anything because it’s fun and relieves their stress when they have separation anxiety. See our posts on ‘How To Reduce Separation Anxiety’ and ‘Tips for Crate Training Your Dog’.

Shopping list: Boxes, shelves, crate

Add “Safe Zones” and “No Fido Zones” to your home.

We know, these terms sound military!

But you need to have military precision to help train your new dog to get accustomed to his or her new home. Your home will feel foreign to your new dog, and it will take a while for him or her to adjust to her new surroundings.

Make your house feel more like your dog’s forever home by:

  • Plan where your dog will sleep. It could be your bedroom or any part of the house except the basement and garage. Make sure you give Fido space where there is interaction with other people or pets in your house to make him or her feel welcome – You don’t want your pup to experience separation anxiety!

Designating a safe space for your new dog is essential. Your pup needs to feel secure in her new surroundings, and letting her roam around in a large area may spook your dog or cause boundary issues between you and him/her. A crate with a dog bed inside is a good and safe spot for Fluffy to hang out until he or she gets used to their surroundings.

Shopping list: Crate, dog bed, pillow

  • Assign areas in your home where your new dog can go and seal off sections that are off limits. Creating different zones in your home is an excellent way to train your new dog where he can and can’t go.

A doggy gate is also a good option if you need to create a secure space for your dog, and you don’t have a crate. Zoning your home is vital if you have other pets because it gives your tenured dogs or cats freedom to walk around they are accustomed to while they get acclimated with their new housemate and vice versa.

Shopping list: Indoor dog gate or pen or baby gate

  • Make sure your home is clean and parasite free. If you have other dogs, use an enzymatic cleaner to make sure the designated areas are clear of urine. Dogs potty on places where they can smell it, so…start cleaning!

Double check the space where you want your new dog to stay and make sure it’s free of parasites, especially if you have other pets. Newborn ticks (larvae) can live up to 540 days without a host and feed for 5 straight days when they find one. Yuck! Apple cider vinegar is a non-toxic way to kill these buggers.

Speaking of cleaning, make sure you keep your cleaning products locked up. Many cleaning chemicals like ammonia and bleach are toxic to dogs.

Shopping list: Enzymatic cleaner, apple cider vinegar, spray bottle

When your new dog arrives.

  • Make sure you take things slow and steady. It takes anywhere from 3 days to 3 months for a new dog to feel at home in a new place, so please be patient. Expect to have a few accidents and hiccups along the way! Take your new dog for a walk around your house, backyard, and neighborhood so he or she can get a lay of the land.

  • If you have kids and other pets in the house, make the introductions stress-free. Try not to overwhelm your new arrival with hugs and kisses from everyone in your household or expect her to be chums with your other pets. Give any children instructions limit contact with Fido until he settles in.

  • Once inside your home, place your new dog inside a crate or sectioned off area where you want him to stay and feel secure.

  • Don’t force introductions to other pets in the home. Slow and steady wins the race, so be patient. Your resident pets are used to this being their space. Your new pup may have some anxiety in his or her new surroundings. Feel free to contact us if you need some integration tips for your new dog.

The Essentials

Now that you’ve prepped and primed your home for the arrival of your new dog, it’s time to get busy shopping. In addition to the items mentioned above, your shopping list should also include the essentials:

  • A sturdy leash

Get a leash that’s appropriate for the breed and size of your new dog. Make sure you get a strap that your dog won’t be able to chew through! Do NOT purchase a retractable leash! They are recipes for disaster! Read more on the dangers of retractable leashes:

  • Dog Collar and tag

Get a martingale collar to prevent your dog from slipping out of it if he or she gets excited or spooked while on a walk. Make sure to attach a dog tag with your contact information in case Rover runs off and gets lost.

  • Body harness

Using a harness is a great alternative for a martingale for walks. It is safe for your dog because it distributes the pull of the leash evenly. Harnesses are also help to prevent choking or putting pressure on their throat.

  • Microchip ID

Dog tags can come off and get lost. A microchip ID on your dog is forever. Make sure you register your dog’s microchip with the chip company so you can be easily notified if he or she is found.

  • Shots, Sterilization and Flea Control

Take your new dog to the vet and have him or her checked out. Your vet will give your dog shots (rabies, DHPP, Bordetella and Canine Influenza). If your dog is not fixed yet, make an appointment to do so ASAP! It is healthier for your dog and prevents unwanted litters. Also, purchase deworming tabs and a flea/tick preventative such as Comfortis or Nexgard.

NOTE: If you adopt a dog from a rescue, he or she should come with their complete set of shots. They also should already be spayed or neutered, microchipped and have had flea and deworming treatment.

  • Chew toys

Your dog will chew anything that he can get his paws on, including furniture. Make sure to keep this behavior in check by getting him some chew toys to keep him occupied. Don’t stick to one, get your new dog several toys because Fido also gets bored.

  • Puzzle, tug and fetch toys.

Walks aren’t enough if you want to bond with your new dog or drain her of excess energy. Playing a puzzle game with Fluffy will keep her mind sharp and is as taxing as any physical activity. Alternate between the tug and fetch toys to keep your new pal engaged!


The pure joy of bringing home a new family member and being a responsible dog parent is second to none. Before you embark on this beautiful journey, make sure that you dog proof your home for your new pup!

Speaking of fur, if you have a dog that sheds a lot, like a husky, a rubber pet hair broom is a worthwhile investment – sweeping up dog hair with a nylon bristled broom is almost impossible.

Don’t forget to get your new dog all the essentials she needs to feel secure and comfortable in her new surroundings. Get ready for some happy and unforgettable times!

Best of luck and happy parenting!