Monday, September 30, 2013

They don’t HAVE to “fight like cats and dogs”

Although the cliché image of a cat and dog together usually involves a large amount of chasing, barking and hissing, it is possible for these different pets to get along. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) 21st Century Dog Owners Study, there are a significant amount of dog owners, 38%, who also own cats. But what is the best way to introduce a cat to your dog, or vice versa?

As natural predators and territorial animals, cats and dogs actually have a lot in common. This can lead to butting heads, but it also means that they can learn to coexist peacefully. Although the AKC acknowledges that a puppy and kitten that grow up together are more likely to get along than cats and dogs that meet later in life, there are steps you can take to helping your existing pet get along with a new one. 

Prior to adding a dog or cat to your family, consider the breed of dog you have or are looking to add. Certain breeds are more likely to get along with a cat than others. Non-sporting breeds will have less of a hunting instinct towards your cat, as will some smaller breeds. Research your breed closely before making this decision and speak with your vet if you are uncertain how your dog, or new dog, might interact with a cat.

Once you’ve made your decision and bring home a new pet, you want that pet to grow accustomed to their new home, regardless of what other pets live in it. Begin by confining your existing cat or dog and allowing you new pet to wander the house as they please. This will help your new pet feel comfortable in their surroundings, and allow them to get used to the smell of your current pet. Once your new pet seems comfortable, switch places and confine the new pet but let the existing one run free, allowing him or her to get used to the scent of the new pet.

Gradually allow your pets to approach each other, starting with a baby gate or fence in between them so each pet still has their own space. When you feel comfortable allowing them to meet face to face, keep your dog on leash and give your cat the option to run off to a safe place if they feel threatened. Do not force interaction between them; this new relationship will take time to develop. Don’t leave your pets together unsupervised until you are sure of how they will react.

With proper preparation, research and patient training, your cat and dog can learn to defy the cartoon cliché and get along living in the same household.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pup Rally Brings Pets Back to School

It's Back to School time at Morris Animal Inn, and we're making "classes" fun for our furry students! Participants in this week's Pup Rally daycare party joined our Class of 2013 for a festive day of games, playtimes and study breaks.

Classmates became acquainted during gym class, where they swam in our indoor pool and ran laps outside. They cheered on football players and band members alike during recess, and took a break for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. After snoozing during study hall, each dog was sent home with a box of animal cracker cookies and their very own Class of 2013 Morris Animal Inn yearbook.

Cheering on our pups was the Morris Animal Inn staff, who wore varsity letters for the occasion! As a few pets put on cheerleader and football outfits, we egged on the fun with our Pup Rally Cheer: "While band members march to the beat of the woofs, it's time to have some fun, put away your books!"

We awarded each dog with a superlative based on their personality. From "Nicest Eyes" and "Best Ears" to "Most School Spirit" and "Most Likely to Become President," our 2013 students were just as diverse and unforgettable as any high school senior class.

Was YOUR pet a part of our Pup Rally party? Look for their picture and superlative in our Class of 2013 yearbook!

For more daycare festivities, stay tuned for more information about our Halloween Party, "Muttster Mash!" On October 30th, we invite pups to come in costume for a day of spooktacular fall fun. Call us at 973-539-0377 for more information!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Clearing up common Pet Myths

Like the old adage of “Man’s Best Friend,” there are many phrases, expressions and myths that pet owners hear constantly. Statements like “Cats have nine lives” and “Dogs are colorblind” are heard so often they have become somewhat cliché in the pet world. Although we say and hear them all the time, is there any truth behind these myths? Research throughout the pet industry has been done to investigate where these ideas came from, and whether any are rooted in fact after all.

Myth: Cats have nine lives.

Although your cat, like all other animals, does only have one life to live, this myth may be rooted in the fact that cats are incredibly self-sufficient and are known to make their way out of otherwise deadly situations. A article called “Muzzle the Myths About Dogs and Cats” tells us that many reports of cats surviving very harsh conditions without food or water may contribute to this expression, as does the fact that the number nine is considered by many cultures to be a lucky number.

Myth: A “dog year” is equal to seven human years.

Despite its popularity, the belief that you can multiple you dog’s age by 7 is not an exact formula for getting their “human” age. According to, the actual ratio is dependent on breed and size of the dog and decreases as the dog ages. Your one-year-old dog is actually closer to 15 in human years, and hits the 7 year mark somewhere between six and eight months of age.

Myth: Cats always land on their feet.


Cats are very agile and athletic, traits that contribute to the widespread belief that cats always land on their feet. Although this is often true, it is not an absolute and should definitely never be put to the test! A far fall will cause injury to a cat regardless of how they land, and even a short fall for a cat who is caught off guard or injured in any way may not allow time to twist around to feet-first.

Myth: Dogs are color blind.

Dogs, like most other mammals, have protanopia (color-blindness resulting from insensitivity to red light), which prevents them from seeing reds and greens in the color spectrum. They can, however, see shades of blue and yellow. demonstrates this in a recent article on how colors look to dogs, and introduces a mobile app called Chromatic Vision Stimulator that will allow you to see the world as your pet sees the world.

Myth: A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth.

A dog’s mouth contains different types of germs and bacteria than a human’s mouth, mostly due to the differences in our diets. As Pet Age reports, dog saliva was once believed to be a healing antiseptic, which may be the basis for this myth. Before you let your dog shower your face in kisses, remember that just as with humans, a dog’s saliva contains plenty of germs. After all, there’s a reason behind all that “dog breath!”

What other myths have you heard about your cat or dog? 

Friday, September 6, 2013

What Breed is Best for You?

So you want to get a new pet. From rescue dogs to baby kittens, there are endless options when it comes to deciding on a furry addition to your family. With so many possibilities, how do you decide?

Every dog and cat has their own needs, temperament and personality. You can prepare as much as possible for your new pet by doing research in advance. Research could help you decide what breed of cat or dog will work well for you.

Ask yourself what level of care you can commit to for different aspects of your future pet. For example, how much time can you devote to playing with your dog per day? How often will you groom your cat? Do you want a guard dog or a relaxed, trusting companion? Really consider your time and ability to care for this pet, both now and many years into the future.

These are important questions to discuss with your whole family prior to getting any pet. Once you feel comfortable with the commitment of raising a cat or dog, you can examine how the answers to these more specific questions might help you find the breed that is right for you.

Animal Planet’s website offers a Dog Breed Questionnaire that narrows down breeds based on your responses to a series of questions. From size to affection to interaction with other pets, the survey will rank a list of American Kennel Club dog breeds with a percentage based on their compatibility with your responses. This is a good place to start whether you are looking to adopt a rescue dog or visit a breeder, as it gives you detailed information about each breed. It can help you to focus on what you want most out of your relationship with your new dog.

For cat lovers, Animal Planet also provides the Cat Breed Selector, a similar series of questions that matches you with the breed that would fit best into your lifestyle. The site also contains a cat breed directory, where you can look up information about even the rarest and most experimental breeds.

Feel free to take these surveys multiple times to see what different results you get with slightly different responses! Have all members of your family try it, too, to compare your results. This is a great way to start when thinking about your next pet choice.

If you already have a cat or dog, these questionnaires can be fun, too. Try one and see if your results match up with your current pet. You may be surprised with the results!

Have YOU ever tried a dog or cat breed survey when looking for a new pet?