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 punishment!

Dogs are den animals. They like being in their “den” or safe haven. The primary purpose of a crate is for housetraining. Dogs don’t like to soil in their dens. A crate is also great to help prevent destructive behavior that often occurs as a result of separation anxiety. It also helps to create boundaries and establish human leadership.

The key to crate training is creating a warm, cozy environment where your pooch feels safe. Many dogs love their crates so much, they spend time in it even when they don’t have to.

The important part of crate training is to make it a positive experience for your dog. It is important that he or she knows that they can get out. Here are some tips to help your dog love his or her crate:

  •  Give your dog his or her meals in the crate. This will create a positive association with the crate, especially if your dog is food motivated. Do this for about a week with the door open, then start closing the door while they’re eating. Their food will distract them from the door being closed. Open the door and let them out when they’re done so they know they can get out. Gradually increase the time that your dog is in there with the door closed and remain nearby.

  • Play the treat game- throw treats in the crate. Let your dog go in and get the treat then come back out. Do this a couple times a day for 10 or 15 minutes. After a few days, you can close the door and leave your dog in there for a few minutes, giving them treats and praises while they’re in there. You can gradually increase the amount of time that the door is closed.

  • Play fetch – similar to the treat game, throw a tennis ball or your dog’s favorite toy in the crate. Let them go in and retrieve it. This creates a fun experience for your dog and gives him or her a little exercise too!

  • Use a verbal command to enter their crate such as “kennel” or “puppy bye byes” – whatever works.

Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes without becoming anxious or afraid with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you’re gone for short time periods of time. Continue to crate your dog when you are home so they don’t associate the crate with being left alone. We recommend covering the crate with a towel or blanket to create a den-like atmosphere.

We all love to sleep with our pups, but it is recommended that you crate your dog at night, especially in the beginning. Put the crate in or near your bedroom so he or she knows you’re there. This is especially important for a puppy since puppies aren’t yet potty trained and will often need to go potty in the middle of the night. Keeping them nearby will allow you to hear them if they start whining, needing to go outside. Keeping the crate near you at night is also important for seniors so they don’t associate the crate with social isolation.

Your dog may bark or whine until he or she is fully crate trained. DON’T GIVE IN! This will only reinforce unwanted behavior. Depending upon the dog, it could take days or a few weeks to be completely crate trained.

**Make sure your dog is fully crate trained before leaving him or her for an extended period of time (no more than a few hours). You wouldn’t want your dog to become stressed and injure him or herself in an attempt to escape.

As mentioned before, crate training can help with separation anxiety once your dog is completely crate trained. However, if your dog has serious anxiety you may want to consult with a dog trainer or animal behavior specialist.

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 that they might not enjoy having each other’s company at home. Therefore, if your dog doesn’t immediately take to your cat (or vice versa), there are some simple things that you can do to help improve their relationship, so everybody can be healthy and happy at home. Here are four of the simplest and most effective tips for helping your cat and dog get along better.

1. Start on a Leash

The first time you introduce your dog and cat to one another, start with both animals on a leash. Try a harness and leash with your cat, and a head harness and leash with your dog. Let the animals meet slowly, sniff each other and get used to being around one another. Once neither seems fearful or overly-excited, you can slowly let the cat off the leash. Once the cat has gotten comfortable, let the dog off the leash last. This will give the cat time to adjust — and cats tend to be the more fearful creature in the dog-cat pairing.

2. Give Your Cat a Place to Escape to

When you introduce your dog and cat, give the cat a place to where she can run and hide. That way, if the dog is overwhelming her, or if she feels fearful, she can find a way to escape. Providing a hiding place for a cat lowers the stress level of the situation. Try providing a perch or a place up high, where the cat can get above the dog if she wants to.

3. Try Using Baby Gates or a Crate

Baby gates are a great way to slowly introduce animals to one another. Put up baby gates or a crate to contain you dog then let the cat wander. Baby gates and crates allow the animals to see and smell one another and get to know each other without the risk of an altercation.

4. Don’t Force It

No matter how much you want your cat and dog to get along, you can’t force them to like (or even tolerate) one another. If their rapport seems tense or uncomfortable, don’t force them to spend time together. It can take weeks or even months to get animals used to one another, so focus on slowly increasing their exposure to one another. With luck and time, you’ll see that animals are used to each other and maybe even enjoying spending time together, too.

Having both a cat and a dog as pets can be a lot of fun, especially if you can get them to love each other just as much as you love them. If you’re having trouble getting the animals to get along, you may want to consult your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist, who can work with your pets or give you helpful tips for improving their relationship.

4th of July Pet Safety: Think Twice Before You Light

4th of July Pet Safety: Think Twice Before You Light

Pets and 4th of July fireworks don’t mix!

Did you know:  Animal control officers across the country have reported up to a 60% increase in shelter intakes between July 4 – July 6? The most they see all year!

Many animals get very frightened and stressed at the sight and sound of fireworks!

So what should you do to keep your pets safe?

  • Designate a safe place in your home your pets can retreat to during the festivities. Put on the TV or soft, calming music.
  • Make sure they get plenty of exercise IN THE MORNING while it’s still cool to help them relax more.
  • Make sure they are wearing tags and their microchips are up to date. ** If you don’t have tags, go to your local pet store and get one printed. Need a microchip? Go to your vet or ask a local rescue organization if they can help.
  • Take a recent photo in the unfortunate event your pet does freak out and take off so you can make flyers to put up around your neighborhood and at your local vet offices. Make sure to check the shelters if your pet goes missing. Give them a photo and description of your pet along with a couple of good contact numbers in case your pet in brought in by a good samaritan or animal control officer.
  • Keep them at home. They don’t need to join you in the fun. They are actually happier at home anyway.
  • Consider boarding at your vet overnight to ensure they are safe.
  • Try calming products such as a Thunder Shirt calming vest, CBD oil, Benadryl, or essential oils.
  • If your pets get extra stressed and the over-the-counter remedies don’t work, speak with your vet about a prescription.

ALSO be mindful of other 4th of July factors such as BBQs and toxic foods, firework debris, and the heat (hot concrete, heatstroke, hot cars, etc.) Make sure they have access to cool shade and plenty of water.

Finally, make sure to keep the contact information for your Emergency Vet or your Veterinarian handy in case of an emergency.

We want the 4th of July holiday to be just as enjoyable for your pets as it is for you. These tips will help!

Miss Animal Rights Awareness Week? No Problem! There is Always Time to Help Animals in Need

Miss Animal Rights Awareness Week? No Problem! There is Always Time to Help Animals in Need

Animal Rights Awareness Week might have been last week, but there is still time to get involved. We thing every day should be dedicated to animals and give a voice to the voiceless!

Animal Rights Awareness Week was created to provide education and tools in the fight for animals’ rights. It also helps bring awareness to issues all animals face when it comes to animal abuse, abandonment and neglect, whether it’s domestic pets, farm animals, or wildlife.

While most people treat their pets with love and kindness, sadly so many animals don’t get to experience the same treatment. Many people are not aware of the horrors animals face, from puppy mills and neglect to cruel animal testing in labs, abuse on farms, and horrific conditions in animal shelters, zoos, and circuses. Just because an animal may be raised for consumption or was unwanted, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our respect and proper care.

In addition, there has been a direct correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence. In one survey, 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets. And while we know that animal abuse and neglect happens on a daily basis, it often goes unreported. It is considered one of the most egregious crimes with the least convictions. In addition, undercover investigations revealed that animal abuse runs rampant in the factory farming industry. With weak protections afforded to livestock under state cruelty laws, only the most shocking cases are reported, and very few are ever prosecuted.

Not only is it important to protect our animals and understand how people get away with animal abuse, it’s also key to know just how much animals enrich our lives. The therapeutic benefits of owning a pet have been proven time and again. Those benefits include reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. Animals also provide comfort and ease loneliness and can act as a catalyst for other therapy such as treatment for PTSD or a disability.  

So today, we want to share some ways you can continue to support animals and help fight for their right to live in a safe, cruelty-free environment.

  1. Buy cruelty-free products. Animal testing causes extreme pain and suffering. Often the abuse goes unnoticed as animals suffer and die behind closed doors. There are over 115 million animals who die annually in testing labs. Test animals are often blinded, burned, or forced to ingest or inhale harmful substances, along with many other painful procedures.

    Makers and brands of some of the most popular cosmetics, soaps, hair and skin care products practice animal testing methods.

    How do you go cruelty free? Look up your favorite brands and see if there are cruelty free alternatives. And, just because they say “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” on the packaging, that doesn’t mean animals haven’t been used for tests at other companies affiliated with the brand. Brands that feature the leaping bunny logo are guaranteed to be cruelty-free. If you want to know what brands feature this logo, go to:

    You can also support the Humane Cosmetics Act, which is designed to end cruel animal testing by cosmetics companies and make it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or knowingly transport in interstate commerce any cosmetic that was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing.

    Finally, buy organic or free-range meat, chicken or dairy products, and don’t wear fur.

  2. Support spaying and neutering programs. Sadly, over 1.5 million animals are put to death in our nation’s shelter system due to shelter overcrowding. By helping to reduce unwanted litters, you would also help reduce shelter overpopulation, the number of stray animals that roam our streets, and feral populations.
  3. Spread the word. One of the main reasons animal abuse often goes unreported is due to lack of awareness.

    Social media is such a powerful tool to implement change. Stand up against animal cruelty by sharing this blog post on your social media channels and encourage your friends, family members, and followers to take a stand too. You may also share our Facebook and Instagram

  4. Stop the wildlife selfies. We understand just how adorable and photogenic animals can be, but please refrain from taking selfies with wild animals. Close contact with humans causes physical and emotional stress, and negatively impacts just about everything in their lives: from feeding and sleeping, to breeding and birth rates. There have even been two high-profile cases of dolphins dying after being mobbed by selfie-seeking tourists and a mountain goat seeking relief from a human crowd and dying.

    Just like you wouldn’t want some random person grabbing you and forcing you to take a selfie with them, wild animals are not our playthings. They are not toys. They are living, feeling creatures with their own lives and agendas, who would prefer to be left alone and not be coerced or forced into being involved in human lives.

    Plain and simple: Leave wild animals alone.

  5. Adopt, Don’t Shop. We know how cute puppies and kittens are, but when you buy from a breeder, you are giving an animal suffering in our kill shelters a death sentence. As has been proven, adopted pets are just as loving and deserving as pets from a breeder. And, not all breeders breed responsibly. You never know if that cute puppy came from a puppy and will likely have significant health issues. Your fees only go to support that puppy mill and its owners nefarious and abusive practices.

    Next time you are looking to add a furry friend to your family, visit your local shelter or nonprofit animal rescue organization.

  6. Get involved. Animal shelters and animal rescues like Paw Prints in the Sand are always looking for animal-loving volunteers to help save more lives. Not sure where to start? You can fill out our volunteer application at On-site and remote volunteer opportunities are available.

    You may also want to consider fostering a pet. Fostering truly saves lives. Like most foster-based animal welfare organizations, we cannot save an animal in need unless we have a dedicated local foster home in place. For more information on our pet foster program, go to If you are not local to the Southern California area, look up animal rescues that are in your area and see how you can help make a difference.

    Another way to help prevent animal cruelty is to donate to your favorite animal welfare organization. Most rescues, such as PPITS, cover all medical and training costs and provide all supplies to our foster. We cannot help those who need us most without the generosity of our supporters. To donate any amount today, go to Be mindful of who you donate to. Not all animal rescues are reputable.

    Furthermore, donations to help end animal cruelty isn’t just relegated for animal rescue organizations. Many are unaware of just how many medical charities fund animal testing. While we all want to find cures for human diseases, using animals as test subjects is cruel, inhumane, and unethical. Do your research to ensure whatever charity you chose to donate to is reputable and it treats animals with respect.

These are just a few ways  you can get involved and help fight for animals’ rights today and every day.

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

Memorial Day is the day Americans gather together to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It is also considered the unofficial start of summer and with that, there’s the chance you will celebrate with friends and family members, both two-legged and four!

From barbecues and beach trips to camping, boating, and other fun outdoor activities, here are some Memorial Day safety tips for your pets that you can use throughout the summer!

BBQ Safety

Like children, pets are susceptible to risks when it comes to BBQs and outdoor grills. These include things like burns, eye and skin irritation, choking, interacting with grilling tools, and more. To keep your pets safe around the BBQ this summer, the National Fire Prevention Association says that pets and children should be kept at least three feet away from grills and grilling devices. Be careful with lighter fluid as well, as this can be toxic to pets if ingested.

If your pet does get burned, Dr. Kevin Windsor, DVM, of Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, recommends carefully cleaning the burn area. “Rinse the burn immediately with cold water, cover the area with a light bandage to prevent the animal from licking it, and take the pet to an emergency vet.”

Food Safety

We know Fido may like to beg, especially from guests who will gladly give him or her some table scraps, some foods may be harmful to your pets. Things like raw meats, bones, onions can be toxic to dogs and cats and can cause intestinal damage, or lead to stomach issues and anemia. Also, be mindful of foods like corn on the cob. While the corn itself is fine, eating an entire cob can cause choking or require surgical removal. Other foods that are toxic to pets include avocados, grapes, chocolate, chives, garlic, raw eggs, and alcohol, so these foods and drinks should be kept away from dogs and cats at all times.

If your pet ingests any harmful foods or grilling items, seek veterinary care immediately.

Water Safety

Whether you’re celebrating in your backyard or at the beach, water safety is just as important for your pets as it is for your human family. Dogs are not always naturally gifted swimmers like you might think. If they are still learning, make sure to keep them on a leash and under your control in case they get scared or a wave knocks them down. And don’t force them in if they are not interested in getting wet. At the beach, pay particular attention to any riptides or strong currents. Chat with the lifeguards if you’re unsure. And definitely do not let your pet drink ocean water! Make sure your pet is wearing a life vest as even the best swimmers can have difficulty with currents and waves- even in pools and lakes. Dogs should always wear a life vest when boating.

Sun Safety

Just like us, our pets need to be protected from sun exposure. To keep your pet safe from sunburn and the risk of developing certain skin issues such as skin cancer, consider applying a pet-safe sunscreen to your four-legged friend. Pets with light-colored fur or a thin coat are more likely to get burned, so protect them as best you can! This might mean using an old t-shirt to protect them from the elements, finding them a dog hat that slips over the ears and fastens under their snout, or just limiting their sun time altogether.

Also, make sure your pet has plenty of access to cool fresh water and shade. Click here to check out more tips on how to keep your pets cool in the summer.

ID’s and Microchipping

Summer holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day also include fireworks, which can spook your pets if they aren’t accustomed to loud noises. As you get ready for the summer, now is a great time to make sure their ID tags and microchips are up-to-date with your correct contact information. May is National Chip Your Pet Month, so if your pet is not microchipped, consider the importance of this noninvasive procedure that could help reunite you with your beloved pet if he or she gets out and lost in the frenzy of the holiday festivities.

Should you lose your pet, put signs up in the neighborhood and surrounding areas with a good, clear photo of your pet, some basic information, including temperament and any approachability notes as well as the best phone number to reach you. Also, make sure to check your local shelter as animal control agencies pick up more pets during the summer holidays than any other time of year. Sadly, many unclaimed pets end up being euthanized, so make sure your pets are contained, have proper identification, and ensure their safe return home.

Insect Repellant

Our pets are not immune from the insect annoyances that warmer weather can provide. Mosquitos, in particular, can be a real pest for pets and can cause heartworm, but there are natural insect repellants (some DIY) that you can use to help ward off the little buggers! Essential oils can be a huge help here when mixed with witch hazel or carrier oils like almond, grapeseed, or fractionated coconut oil. You can also buy a pet-friendly insect repellant if you don’t want to make your own.

We hope that you have a happy, healthy, and safe summer with your pets! 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).

What To Do If You Find Kittens

What To Do If You Find Kittens

In a recent blog post, we discussed “kitten season,” the time of year when the kitten population seems to explode and can be extremely overwhelming for rescues and shelters alike. Because we are right in the middle of kitten season now, we wanted to expand on what you should do if you find kittens.

You may be tempted to gather them up and bring them into your home, but sometimes, this can cause more harm than good. If you find a kindle (did you know that’s the name for a group of kittens?), here are some tips to keep in mind.

A Kitten Is Safest With Their Mom

Your instinct will likely be to bring the kitten(s) indoors, but kittens are definitely safest with their mom. For health reasons, if you find a mom and her kittens, please leave them be but keep an eye on them. Create a safe, comfortable haven for the mother cat to take care of her babies, and this should include warm bedding, as kittens require a tremendous amount of warmth.

Be sure to put out clean water and change it frequently, and both wet and dry kitten food is best so the mama cat can keep up her caloric intake while feeding the babies.

What About Kittens Without Their Mom?

It’s pretty common to come across kittens and the mother is nowhere to be found. If this happens to you, leave the kittens where they are, but plan to observe them every two to three hours to see if the mother cat materializes. This advice pertains to kittens who appear to be in good health, and are free from any obvious illnesses or suffering. If you do see the mother cat, leave the kittens alone and contact a local rescue to let them know what you have found. They can assist with safely trapping the family and providing them with the care they need.

What If The Mom Is Absent After 2-3 Hours?

If you have found a newborn kitten (even if their eyes are closed and the umbilical cord is still attached), wait a couple of hours to see if the mom returns. She may be busy finding food or relocating her litter, and you may have stumbled upon the lone kitten in the interim. However, if the mom is still absent after two or three hours, take the kitten(s) to safety.  

Keeping a Kitten Warm Is Your #1 Priority

Your first priority should be to keep the kitten warm or to help them regain a normal body temperature before you do anything else. This can be achieved by placing the kitten inside your shirt or creating a soft, warm environment inside a crate or carrier for them in your home. Fleece blankets are particularly effective, as are warming blankets and hot water bottles, but make sure to cover any warming objects to avoid burns. You are looking for a temperature of about 90F. A nearby heater is also a good idea.

Try To Help The Kitten Go Potty

After the kitten has regained their temperature, they will likely be more active and moving around. This is a good indication that you should feed them. But, before you do, help the kitten go potty by helping to stimulate them. Rub a paper towel on their genital and anal area, as kittens require assistance and can’t go potty on their own. Usually, their moms will help them with their tongues, so you don’t have to be super gentle. But know that this takes patience and practice, so don’t give up! They also may not have been fed for some time, and they naturally don’t have to go.

Feeding Time

Once you’re ready to feed the kitten, be sure that you have Kitten Meal Replacement (KMR) formula at the ready. The only suitable alternative is goat’s milk. Cow’s milk is not tolerated well by kittens and could cause them to have diarrhea and dehydration. You will need a kitten bottle, and you should follow the instructions on how to warm up the formula prior to feeding. Make sure you check the temperature before you feed, exactly as you would with a baby. Newborn kittens will need to eat every two hours if their eyes are closed, and every four hours if their eyes have opened.

Determining the Needs of a Kitten

A good rule of thumb is that if a kitten can walk on their own, they do not need to be kept warm as we discussed above. However, they can still be given warm formula if they are showing signs of hunger. Put down a saucer of formula to see if they will lap it up on their own, but you may need to feed them with a bottle too. Depending on their age, they may also be interested in dry kibble or wet food too. Be sure that water and food are available at all times for any kittens you take in. Also, kittens who can walk on their own will need a litter box to use, and you should use a soft litter for their sensitive paws.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind that many kittens who are in need of help will look for it and come to you. But others may be frightened and scared, hissing and spitting as you’re attempting to help them. Use a blanket, a towel, or gloves to assist you in handling the kitten if they are being a bit wild. Holding them close to your heart where they can feel it beating will help to calm them down. Be on the lookout for any signs of diarrhea that persist for 24 hours after you have started feeding. If you find this, it would be best to contact a veterinarian or rescue who can help you.

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 pet 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).