March2011

Don’t Forget to License Your Pets

Across the country, cities and counties require pets to be licensed. You might be asking why municipalities feel the need to do this. Several reasons actually make up the answer. In the Omaha metro area, license fees help fund animal control services, which include stray pet pick up, dangerous dog quarantine, animal cruelty investigations and all the other duties that fall under the enforcement of the city’s animal laws. In Omaha and Sarpy County, the Nebraska Humane Society is contracted by the cities to carry out those duties and also to enforce licensing.

Every year the due date for licensing pets is March 15. All registered pet owners receive renewal invoices in the mail. And every couple of years, the cities send out “blanket” notices to all other addresses to try to inform people who might be new to the area, or have acquired a pet for the first time, that they need to license. The Omaha metro tries to make licensing as easy as possible, so there are several ways pet owners can comply. Residents can license:

  • In person at the Nebraska Humane Society at 90th and Fort St., Omaha. Business hours are weekdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • At many veterinary office (handy if your pets’ rabies vaccination needs updating)
  • On-line at www.nehumanesociety.org (forms are also downloadable here)
  • Through the mail with your invoice or downloaded form

All pets must have a valid rabies vaccination to obtain a license. However, if pet owners cannot get a timely vet appointment they should still pay the licensing fee by March 15 to avoid penalty fees. Then they have 30 days to obtain a rabies vaccination.

In Omaha, if you don’t license your pet by March 15 you are subject to a hefty penalty fee imposed by the city (on top of the cost of licensing) so it’s a good idea to get licensed on time. Not licensing can also be considered a “first strike” toward a reckless owner designation—another reason to license on time!

  • Licensing means your animal is registered with your city. If there is a dispute over who owns a pet, a license is a legal record of your ownership.
  • License tags are also a great way to identify stray pets and get them back home safely.
  • Licensed pets found running stray may be eligible for a “free ride home” if the owners are at home to receive the pet and there are no other animal control violations.
  • In order to license, your pet must have a current rabies vaccination. That requirement on a nationwide basis has significantly lowered rabies cases in the U.S., protecting both pets and people from this fatal disease.

For more information about licensing your pet and the Nebraska Humane Society, visit their website.

Written by:  Pam Wiese

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

Some people are “cat people,” some are “dog people.” Others of us, however, are “animal people,” and we prefer a multi-species house. Many families want both a cat and a dog, but are nervous about fights and discord. Introducing a canine and a feline can be a tricky situation, but I assure you, it IS possible for cats and dogs to live together in peace.

Breed
If you want to bring a new member to your house, the first thing you need to do is consider the breed of the dog. Plenty of dogs get along perfectly fine with cats, but some breeds are inherently incompatible. Sight hounds (like Grey Hounds, Whippets and Salukis) were bred to see running prey and chase it down. Terriers (especially the “working terriers” like Jack Russells and Fox Terriers) were bred to aggressively chase small prey, seize it, and occasionally kill it. Asking a sight hound or terrier to ignore a running animal is like asking a retriever to ignore a moving tennis ball. Unfortunately, a fleeing cat triggers the same impulses as a fleeing squirrel or rabbit. While it’s not technically impossible for a terrier and cat to live together, the dog would  have to frequently overcome their natural impulses. If you have (or are considering adopting) a sight hound or a terrier, you may want to reconsider adding a cat.

Age
It is undoubtedly easier to mix cats and dogs when at least one of them is a baby. My mom always got puppies when our cats were adults, because then the cats could “defend themselves.” Our adult cats were certainly able to defend themselves against a goofy puppy, but we also had kittens that routinely stalked and harassed the family dog. Combativeness aside, it is easier to get an animal used to a thing if you start from a young age. It’s the same reason you play with puppies’ feet, take their bowls away, and socialize them with other dogs: so those experiences become normal. The same principle applies to other species: when kittens and puppies learn early on how to interact with other members of the family, the cat-dog dynamic isn’t such a big deal.

Safety
I mean two things here: first, always be safe and make sure your pets are safe. With such high stress, it’s easy to get clawed or even bitten. Be careful and aware of your pets’ emotions during this process. But I also mean make sure each animal has a “home base,” a place they can retreat to without being followed or chased. When I moved in with my roommate, I was bringing three adult cats to a house with one 80 pound adult Lab. I immediately made the basement a “dog-free zone”: the door was always shut and the dog was never able to get to them. The litter box, food and water were all within easy access for the cats.  After a week or so, I started leaving the basement door open at night, while the dog slept. This gave the cats some time to safely explore the rest of the house.

Introductions
The first time Hadley the dog, met Bastet, my cat, was an accident. Hadley managed to sneak past me as I was walking down the basement. She hurtled down the stairs, as she always does, and found herself staring Bastet directly in the face. Bastet immediately puffed up to twice her normal size and gave a threatening yowl. And Hadley, sweet, goofy, submissive Hadley, emitted the deepest, scariest “I will destroy you” growl I’ve ever heard.

I do not recommend introducing your animals in this manner.

For a more harmonious introduction, start with smells. Give each animal at least a few days with a blanket or toy that smells like their counterpart. This takes away a little of the “unknown” factor. When you actually introduce the animals, use some kind of barrier to keep them apart if possible. I know some people use kennels for this stage, but I’m kind of leery about it. Even though the cat is safe, it’s also trapped. In my personal experience, cats are a lot more relaxed when they have an escape route. And Hadley hadn’t been in a kennel since she was a puppy: being shut inside one again would have just added to her stress. I personally found my cat tree and baby gates to be an effective solution. The cats and dog could watch each other, they were a safe distance apart, and they both had complete freedom to move (or hide).

Final Step: Ignore Them
Prey-drive aside, dogs tend to get excited about cats because they’re new and exciting! Once the cats stop being new and exciting, your dog will be less inclined to chase. So this means if your cat walks into the room, you should ignore her and, pretend she’s not there. If your dog starts to get wound up, correct him, but then go back to whatever you were doing. Whatever you do, do not lunge at your dog and grab his collar so you can restrain him. This only confirms her suspicion that cats are new and exciting, and she should get a hold of one as soon as possible. For several weeks, chasing was a bit of a problem: the dog would get excited, the cat would run away, the dog would chase the cat. I always corrected Hadley immediately, and was usually able to stop things from developing into a full-out chase.

After two years of cohabitation, Hadley and the cats aren’t friends exactly, but they do live together in relative peace. Everyone roams freely about the house without fear of harassment. The cats permit Hadley to sniff their butts (as dogs are wont to do) and Hadley lets the cats sleep on her dog bed. They drink from the same water bowl, occasionally at the same time. They all sleep together on our bed at night. To be clear this isn’t a guaranteed fool-proof way to get any cat to live with any dog. But it was an effective way for me, and if you are a multi-animal person, it’s totally worth it.

Don’t Forget About Clearance!

So you want to treat your pet, but you’re not made of money. You can’t afford every single cool toy or heated pet bed or nifty food dispensing gadget. No need to worry though because we feature an extensive clearance section that would satisfy any furry friend. All of our items on sale are competitively priced so you can buy items for your dog or cat without breaking the bank. We carry a variety of products, so whether you’re searching for a new collar, leash, food dish or toy, you can find it at a great price. So what are you waiting for? Get in on the great savings and peruse our clearance section.

Responsibility and Pet Ownership

Teaching a child responsibility can be accomplished  in a fun and creative way. One great way to teach your child responsibility is taking care of a pet. Whether it be a dog, cat or someone small like a hamster, taking care of a pet can teach your child valuable lessons about different aspects of responsibility.

All the different aspects of taking care of a pet can teach your child how to prioritize and organize tasks and time. Some pets needs to be walked and fed at specific times throughout the day. This allows your child the opportunity to create a schedule and set out blocks of time in order to accomplish the tasks involved with taking care of a pet. This also gives your child experience in having to juggle multiple tasks. For example, on a week night a child needs to both accomplish homework and make sure his or her pet is taken care of. Maybe a pet needs to be feed and/or walked in the morning. This requires your child to get up earlier and make sure his or her pet is taken care of before the day starts. This provides the opportunity to prioritize and set a specific amount of time to a given task. This also creates in a child the awareness of balancing obligations and free time for playing outside and other activities.

Taking care of a pet allows your child to understand even though a task may not be fun or he or she may not want to do it, the task still needs to be accomplished in a timely manner. A not-so-fun activity involved with taking care of a pet is cleaning up when they make a mess or disposing of their waste on walks or in the yard. Taking care of a pet can also teach a child responsibility in the sense that if his or her pet goes to the bathroom on a neighbor’s lawn or public property, the child needs to clean that up as a sign of respect for his or her neighbor or a public area such as a dog park.

If your child receives an allowance, one way to teach them financial responsibility is to have him or her contribute part of his or her allowance to the products and supplies required in having a pet. Every time he or she receives an allowance, a specific amount could be set aside designated as the pet’s fund that should not be used for anything else. This provides the opportunity to learn that not everything in life is free. On the flip side your child can learn that not everything fun and meaningful requires cost, such as a quality companionship and play-time with a pet.

It is also important to remember safety while choosing a pet for a child – making sure the child is age appropriate and the pet is appropriate for your child. Supervision may also be required in activities such as a walking a dog, feeding, etc.

Careful consideration should be taken into account before choosing a pet. Once you have one though they are a great addition to a family providing love and companionship.