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Outfitting Your Pet - Part 1

With an ever increasing number of pet products, deciding what is helpful and what is excess can be a daunting task. Examining some basic pet needs along with some unique products may help define which items to purchase first. Starting with basics, a collar is usually a high priority item. For dogs, a standard buckle or clip collar is usually adequate. However, dogs that pull frequently, or dogs that are rambunctious and difficult to control may need a training collar. A slip collar or a head collar can be effective choices. Prong collars can be a useful training tool for large dogs. While they look harsh and extreme, they are a safer choice than a choke chain because they pinch, but don’t choke. Be careful if using a choke chain, improper use can injure your dog’s throat and neck.

With cats, collars are a different story. For safety a cat should be able to get out of their collar. Either a stretch collar or a release collar is a good choice. This can be frustrating for owners of cats that don't like to wear a collar, but it can be dangerous if a collar catches on something. For cats that slip out of their collar there are alternative ways to provide identification for your cat. Identification by microchip or tattoo may be a better alternative.



There are also a number of options to consider when purchasing a food or water a bowl; another basic pet item. For dogs in particular, while many would be happy eating from a paper bag, bowls have added conveniences. Ceramic crocks or stainless steel bowls, which come in many sizes, are good choices because they are durable and easy to clean. A nice feature for large dogs, older dogs, or dogs with hip or joint problems is an elevated bowl. This helps reduce strain on the neck and back. Another feature that dog owners often find helpful is a mat or skid guard on their bowl. This can help reduce the mess of an overeager eater, a problem particularly common with puppies. Some cats have ‘dish issues’ too. A frequent cause is whiskers getting in the way; consequently some cats will tip their dish over to keep their whiskers clean. A wider lower dish can be helpful in this case. Cats may also have another issue with their water dish. It’s not uncommon for a cat to not drink from its water dish in favor of a drink from a puddle or the bathtub. Sometimes a ceramic dish will help, but other times a cat may simply prefer puddle water. As long as they are getting enough water it is okay.



Cat boxes are a common early purchase. A wide variety of styles are available. Cat boxes now range from a simple plastic pan to an electric self-cleaning litter box with sensors. While your choice may vary depending on your cat and individual circumstance, a smart buy is covered litter box. This provides a secure environment for the pet and will help reduce mess and odor. Other pet suggestions will be detailed in future articles.

 

 


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