Category Archives: Dogs

How to Choose the Best Dog Food

Dog food dish - How to choose healthy dog food

In this post, we discuss some of the ways you can choose the best food for your dog to help you sort through all the choices and keep them healthy.

When you go shopping for food for your dog, there are just so many choices.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re at a pet store, superstore or convenience store, there are just so many brands and types of dog food.

With all the choices, how do you choose the best food for your dog?


What makes a “good” dog food?

Good dog food will contain a high-quality mixture of meat, fruits, vegetables, and grains. It will have also undergone testing by dog specialists to ensure it’s quality and healthfulness.

It seems like almost every dog food brand will claim that theirs is “the best” or the “healthiest”. 

But what actually makes “good” dog food, whether dry or wet, good for your dog?

It needs to have all the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy. It should contain not only meat, but also grains, fruits, and vegetables. 

Your dog needs not just meat and proteins but also the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in these non-meat foods.


Dog nutritional needs

The most basic requirement for choosing a food for your dog is to ensure it meets their nutritional needs.

Dog chewingMost of the commercial dog food brands you find in the store will meet a dog’s minimum nutritional requirements, at least for the average dog.

It is important to note that not every dog will have the same nutritional needs. 

The needs of an adult dog and a puppy will be different. The nutritional needs of small breed dogs and large breed dogs will be different.

We suggest that you do your research, talk with your veterinarian and to not always believe everything you read or hear. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so make sure your source is credible.

One thing you should always check for is that the dog food states on the label that it is “formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.”

This is because the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has strict requirements to make sure that pet food products provide complete and balanced nutrition.

Ultimately, it will be up to you to ensure your dog is getting a healthy diet. We hope that you take your responsibility seriously. A healthy diet will benefit both you and your dog for years to come.


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet, and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Tips for Taking Your Dog to the Beach

Dog at the beach

Photo by Ruel Madelo from Pexels


When summer rolls around, it brings long days, sunshine and trips to the beach.

If you love to go to the beach, and you love your furry best friend, of course, you’ll want to bring your dog to the beach with you!

That will raise a few questions: Can I bring my dog to the beach? Are lake or beach water bad for my dog? Can a puppy go to the beach? How do I protect my dog on the beach?

In this post, we review tips and a checklist for taking your dog to the beach so that you can both have fun while keeping your furry friend safe.


Tips for taking your dog to the beach

  • Make sure dogs are allowed at the beach
  • Make sure your dog knows how to swim
  • Have fresh water and shade
  • Keep them out of dangerous water
  • Don’t let them drink salt water
  • Avoid a sunburn


Make sure dogs are allowed at the beach

First things first: make sure that the beach you are going to will allow you to bring dogs on the beach. Many beaches do allow dogs, but not all do, so make sure you’re following the rules.


Make sure your dog knows how to swim

Cute dog at beachSome dogs are natural swimmers, such as golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers. Others don’t like the water or are not very good at swimming.

If it’s your dog’s first trip to the beach, don’t just assume they can swim. Take it easy at first and don’t push them or get them overly excited.

There are places that offer dog swimming lessons. Consider searching for one and seeing if they will teach your breed of dog.


Have fresh water and shade

Just like you need to make sure you’re hydrated on a hot summer day, your dog needs to do the same. Make sure you have clean fresh water ready for your dog and a good bowl that won’t get too hot.

Also, make sure they will have a shady spot to rest, and if not, bring an umbrella or beach tent for them to rest under. Dogs can get dehydrated, exhausted and sunstroke, so don’t let it happen.


Keep them out of dangerous water

If your dog likes to go in the water, make sure it’s in a spot with calm water that’s safe for them to play in. Don’t let them go near any water that may have riptides. Keep them away from choppy water caused by boats or jet skis.  These can be tough even for a good swimmer.


Don’t let them drink salt water

Many dogs really like to drink salt water, but it doesn’t mean that they should. A little bit might be okay but don’t let them drink too much. You should have brought plenty of fresh water for them, so get them drinking that instead. If not, you might be dealing with an upset stomach or dog diarrhea. 


Avoid a sunburn

Just like humans can get a sunburn at the beach, so can a dog. This can be true if they are very lightly colored or have short hair.

Often the ears and nose are the most susceptible to sunburn. To keep your dog safe, limit their exposure during the brightest of the sun (10am-4pm), consider a dog sunscreen or even a dog sun shirt.

Related: Dog Sunburn: The Basics




The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet, and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Poisonous Mushrooms to Dogs – The Toxic Mushrooms in Your Yard

In this post, we review wild mushrooms and how they can be dangerous to dogs and share a list of mushrooms poisonous to dogs.

Toxic Mushrooms Dogs WarningMushrooms grow everywhere outdoors, in our parks and our yards. 

They are especially plentiful in years when there is a lot of rain, particularly during the spring and fall seasons.

With mushrooms growing everywhere, it’s natural to ask, is it safe for my dog to eat a wild mushroom?

Many dogs will ignore mushrooms growing outdoors, but some dogs will sniff one and then grab it to eat whole. Is it safe?

Just like you’ve been warned not to just pick up any mushroom you find outdoors and pop it into your mouth, the same would go for your pet.

You should not let your dog consume a mushroom it finds outside. 

99% percent of mushrooms are harmless but that remaining 1% can be extremely dangerous, and even deadly to both humans and dogs.

Do not let your dog eat wild mushrooms!


Remove mushrooms from your yard

False Parasol mushroom is toxic to dogs

False Parasol mushroom is toxic to dogs!

It wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to check your yard for mushrooms and remove any that you do find. It’s much easier to get rid of them all than to try and identify them.

It’s difficult for the average person to identify wild mushrooms and tell the difference between safe and poisonous ones. Sometimes the differences between varieties can be very subtle.

The safest thing to do is remove any that you find and throw them in the garbage. 


What types of mushrooms are toxic to dogs?

Many dogs die every year from eating poisonous wild mushrooms. Many others are sickened by them. 

The level of sickness or danger will depend on the type of mushroom eaten by your dog and how much of it was consumed.

One of the most common mushrooms that are dangerous for your dog are those in the Amanita family of mushrooms, otherwise known as the “death cap” mushroom.

Even a small amount of an Amanita mushroom can kill your dog because it is so toxic to their liver. 

Unfortunately, this kind of mushroom can be attractive to dogs because they have a smell that can be enticing to dogs.

Amanita Phalloides - Mushroom poisonous to dogs

Amanita Phalloides – Mushroom poisonous to dogs


List of mushrooms poisonous to dogs

  • Amanita phalloides (Death Cap Mushroom)
  • Amanita Ocreata (Angel of Death)
  • Amanita Pantherina (Panther Cap)
  • Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)
  • Lepiota (False Parasol)
  • Galerina
  • Inocybe
  • Clitocybe
  • Gyromitra Esculenta (Beefsteak)
  • Gyromitra Caroliniana
  • Mushrooms in the Verpa genre
  • Mushrooms in the Helvella genre
  • Boletus
  • Chlorophyllum
  • Entolomo
  • Conocybe
  • Gymnopilus
  • Psilocybe
  • Panaeolus


Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Inactivity
  • Bleeding
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Strong heartbeat
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If your dog is showing these symptoms and you believe they may have eaten a mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately.


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet, and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs – Pet MD
6 Poisonous Mushrooms That Are Toxic to Dogs – Pet MD
When dogs eat poisonous mushrooms: What to do? – Tractive
Mushrooms Poisonous to Pets – Petfinder
Mushroom Poisoning in Dogs – Pet MD
Are backyard mushrooms toxic to dogs? – Namyco
Can mushrooms make dogs sick? – Petfinder
What happens if your dog eats a mushroom? – AKC
Can mushrooms kill dogs? – Preventive Vet


Peanut Butter and Dogs Warning – Beware of Xylitol

peanut butter warning for dogs - beware of xylitol

In this post, we discuss a warning about not to give your dog peanut butter containing the sugar substitute Xylitol. It can be very dangerous!

We’ve been asked a lot lately if it is still safe to give your dog xylitol. 

There have been stories and images being shared a lot recently on Facebook and social media about how certain kinds of peanut butter can be extremely dangerous to your dog.

This warning caught some people by surprise because they’ve been giving their dog peanut butter as a treat for years and their dog loves it.

Dogs do love peanut butter! It can be a great treat for your furry friend.

However, the warnings are true. Certain types of peanut butter can be dangerous!


Xylitol dangerous for dogs

peanut butter on a spoonThe first time some people heard that some peanut butter could be dangerous for dogs, it seemed like a crazy rumor.

It was so hard to believe that fact-checking website Snopes even did an article about the story, proclaiming: Xylitol, a sugar substitute used in sugar-free gum and other products, can be harmful to dogs to be TRUE.

Their article discussed how in April 2015 a Wisconsin family’s 2-year-old golden retriever had died of severe liver damage after consuming gum containing the sweetener Xylitol while the family wasn’t home.

This is just one of many tragic stories about dogs eating food with Xylitol in it. 

Related post: Foods That Are Dangerous For Dogs


What is xylitol?

Xylitol is a common artificial sugar substitute sweetener that is in hundreds of products, especially “sugar-free” products.

It can be found in some brands of peanut butter. Xylitol is fine for people, but it’s extremely poisonous to dogs and unfortunately poisons thousands of dogs each year. 


Brands of peanut butter that contain xylitol


  • Go Nuts, Co.
  • Krush Nutrition
  • Nuts ‘N More
  • P28 
  • No Cow (previously called D’s Naturals)

Read labels and ingredient lists carefully! 

DO NOT assume that “all natural” or “no artificial sweeteners” on the label means that it is safe for your dog. Xylitol is technically considered by the FDA to be an “all natural” sweetener.

Related post: 5 Dangerous Houseplants that are Toxic to Dogs


Whining DogBrands of peanut butter that are safe for dogs

  • Peanut Butter & Co (Old Fashioned Smooth)
  • Jif Natural
  • Brad’s Naturals
  • Hank’s
  • Once Again
  • Justin’s
  • Smucker’s

These brands are safe as of April 2019. Please check the label to make sure the ingredients have not changed. 

*In this post we attempt to list safe and unsafe peanut butter brands for dogs. Ingredients may change over time. We cannot be responsible for the health and safety of your pet and keeping this information up to date in real time. 

Original peanut butter photo by PiccoloNamek via English Wikipedia


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet, and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Why Is My Dog Chewing His Paws?

Dog barking

Have you noticed your dog chewing at their paws and nails a lot lately?

It’s not unusual for a dog to lick their paws sometimes, but if this behavior has popped up only recently, it could be a sign of another issue.

If they are licking or chewing excessively, you should take notice and look to see if there are any other noticeable symptoms that could indicate a problem. 

Concerning symptoms could include pink, red, or swollen paw, bleeding, stinky paw odors, and limping.

Let’s examine a list of the most common reasons your dog could be chewing at their paws.


Reasons a Dog Chews Their Paws

  • Injuries
  • Dry Skin
  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom or Loneliness
  • Broken or Infected Nail


Injuries to paw

Houseplants Toxic to DogsThere are many potential injuries to your dog’s paw that could cause them to “lick their wounds” as the old expression goes.

This could be a sign of an injury to the paw, a puncture to the toe pads, or even a fractured or broken toe. It could also be a splinter or maybe an uncomfortable burr picked up outdoors. Very active dogs can be especially prone to these kinds of injuries.

You can try to self examine the paw and look for signs of injuries. Some can be more serious than others and may require a visit to the veterinarian.


Dry Skin

Dogs can suffer from dry skin caused by changes in the weather, just like humans can. This could especially be true during the dry months of winter. Since a dog can’t just grab a bottle of moisturizer like we would, licking their paws can provide some relief. 

Dry skin can also be an indication that your dog isn’t getting enough fatty acids in their diet. These fats in your dog’s diet help keep their skin healthy and if they’re not getting them, can cause dry skin. If this is the case, some adjustments to their diet could solve the problem.



OleanderJust like humans, dogs can have allergies. These could include food allergies, reactions to seasonal pollens and molds in the air during summer months, or reactions to household chemicals.

Food allergies are often the most frequent cause of allergic reactions that can dry out and irritate their skin. If this is the case, it’s likely that an ingredient in their dog food is the culprit.

This can be harder to diagnose on your own but your vet can help you review your dog’s diet and figure out what the problem is. 

Related: 5 Dangerous Houseplants that are Toxic to Dogs



Another common cause of itchiness in dogs will be parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites. Their chewing could be their way of trying to ease the discomfort or get rid of the invader.

Check your dog for ticks first because they are the one parasite that will be easy to find if that’s the problem. Mites and fleas are more challenging to find unless they’re really to the point of being out of control.

If your dog is not getting regular treatments for fleas and ticks, then this could be the problem. Your vet can also help you in this situation. 



Anxiety or other psychological issues can cause your dog to chew at themselves excessively. It could be anxiety, depression, loneliness, or boredom causing them to chew. 

Licking at their paws may be a way with coping

soothe a dog’s nervous system when he feels “too much” or doesn’t receive enough play, stimulation, or affection.

Of course, some dogs are naturally anxious, particularly when mom or dad leave the house. Rescue dogs may have experienced neglect or abuse that turned amplified their anxiety and fear. Observe when your dog engages in the behavior and what else is going on in the home at that time.

If your dog is alone frequently, a loving dog sitter or dog walker can do wonders to help alleviate their stress.


Boredom or Loneliness

7 Tips for Winter Dog Walking SafetyA dog chewing at their paws could be a symptom of boredom or loneliness, especially for some breeds of dogs that require a lot of exercise or activity.

Some dogs who aren’t getting the walks or playtime they want will find other outlets for their needs, and this can lead to troublesome behaviors. They may find outlets such as getting into things they shouldn’t, or obsessive behaviors, such as chewing. 

If your schedule prevents you from giving your dog the attention they require, hiring a dog walker could really help them expend the energy they need to.


Broken or Infected Nail

Chewing at a paw or a nail could be a symptom of a broken, cracked, or infected nail. Sometimes a break at the base of the nail won’t be obvious to you but it can be a real nuisance to your dog. This could be a case of your dog licking at his wound, a type of self-soothing.


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Reasons Your Dog Whines

Whining Dog

In this post, we discuss the reasons why your dog whines so that you can better understand your pet and what they are trying to communicate.

Dogs can have great communication skills, but sometimes we humans can’t quite understand what they are saying because we don’t “speak dog” well enough.

Whining can be one of the many ways our dogs communicate with us. If it becomes an excessive everyday habit, whining can become quite annoying. 

If your dog is whining too much and you want it to stop, you need to start by understanding why they are behaving this way so that you can address it, including dog training if necessary to break a bad habit.


Reasons your dog whines

  • They want/need something
  • Stress or fear
  • They want attention
  • Separation anxiety
  • Suffering from pain
  • They are saying sorry


They want or need something

Houseplants Toxic to DogsThis reason is the most common for dog whining behavior and usually the easiest to figure out. Your dog is whining because they want something.

Maybe you forgot to feed them on time. Maybe the water bowl is empty and you didn’t notice. Maybe they want to go for a walk.

Those kinds of whining behaviors can usually be figured out an addressed quickly. The problem can arise when your dog is still whining after being fed or after going for a walk. This could indicate a behavior problem or maybe a bladder or digestive problem. If a health issue is a cause then it’s time to go to the vet.


Stress or fear

Whining can often be a result of fear or anxiety in dogs. If it is caused by stress, the whining is often combined with other behaviors such as shaking, panting, or pacing. 

Are there changes in the household that could be upsetting them? What other factors could be making them anxious. Try to get to the bottom of this and address other issues and give your dog reassurance. 

Related: How to get your dog to stop barking


They want attention

Dog chewingAnother common reason for dog whining is pretty obvious… they want attention! You see this behavior in dogs and in children alike. They don’t like what’s going on or they don’t like the lack of attention and they whine. 

Make sure your dog is getting enough attention, play, and exercise. Some dogs need more attention and need your help in burning up excess energy with playtime and/or walks. When that doesn’t happen, they might whine until they get it, or engage in other destructive behaviors like chewing or digging.

Related: How much exercise does your dog need?


Separation anxiety

Some dogs react to separation anxiety by getting into trouble around the house, and others will whine or cry. Maybe they aren’t comfortable yet with their local pet sitter. There are ways for dog owners to address separation anxiety using desensitization and conditioning techniques. With some research and some behavior training, you can help your dog cope.

Related: How to leave your dog home alone


Suffering from pain

Dog barkingWhining is sometimes an indication that your dog is in suffering from some kind of physical distress. If they whine when they have to go up the stairs or jump down from the couch, this may be caused by joint pain or arthritis.

If your dog has all their needs being met, are getting their food, play and exercise with no obvious stress, then it’s probably time for a trip to the vet to have their physical health checked. 


They are saying sorry

Whining can be an expression of submissive behavior. They might be acknowledging that they are lower status in the pack. They might have broken the pack rules and whining is a way of letting you know they are apologizing.

This kind of behavior goes all the way back to their ancestors, the wolves. You can help by acknowledging their apology and walking away.


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walking, puppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


New Years Resolutions for Your Dog and You

Dog New Year Resolutions

In this post, we list some New Years Resolutions for your dog, and for you, to make the new year even better for both of you.

It’s the new year! Have you made New Years Resolutions for yourself?

How about resolutions for your best and most loyal friend?

Your dog wouldn’t mind having a better year either!

Here is a list of ideas to improve your dog’s health and happiness in the new year.


New Years Resolutions for your dog (and you)

  • Go to the dog park regularly (or more often)
  • Get a new accessory (collar, leash, sweater) for your dog
  • Brush your dog’s teeth more often
  • Add ten minutes to the length of your walks
  • Learn more about your dog and it’s breed
  • Buy your dog their favorite treat
  • Get rid of old, worn dog toys
  • Make your car trips easier
  • Keep vaccinations up to date
  • Teach your dog a new trick or lesson
  • Make more time for play and snuggling
  • Make a homemade dog treat
  • Help out a local shelter


Go to the dog park regularly (or more often)

Do you go to the dog park often or almost never? It wouldn’t be a bad thing for both of you to get out and get a little more fresh air and social time.

Get a new accessory (collar, leash, sweater) for your dog

Did your dog get any new accessories for the holidays? If not, you should get something that will be to the benefit of the both of you, whether it’s a new fancy collar, leash or even a dog sweater. 

Brush your dog’s teeth more often

Most dog owners don’t brush their pet’s teeth enough. It’s okay, that is common. Resolve to brush their teeth more often this year.

Add ten minutes to the length of your walks

You are walking your dog regularly, right? Great! How about you extend the walking time by another ten minutes? You’ll both benefit from the added exercise. Over time, that 10 minutes a day really adds up.

Learn more about your dog and it’s breed

There’s always a little something more to learn about dogs, breeds, and their behaviors. You could learn something that could make your lives easier, healthier, or less stressful.

Dog chewingBuy your dog their favorite treat

It’s the holidays! Your dog deserves a special treat.

Get rid of old, worn dog toys

Time to get rid of any old tattered toys and start fresh.

Make your car trips easier

There are lots of ways to make car travel safer and more enjoyable for your dog and you, including new harnesses, car seats, calming treats, and car seat covers.

Keep vaccinations up to date

Hopefully, you are doing this already and your veterinarian is helping you. But make sure it is done, it really is important.

Teach your dog a new trick or lesson

No matter how the saying goes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Most will actually enjoy the challenge and reward of doing so. It can make life a little more fun.

Make more time for play and snuggling

Are you too busy or too tired after work for play time? Let’s fix that! Make sure you are setting aside time for play, you will both get so much closer and happier because of it.

Make a homemade dog treat

Is there a favorite treat your dog loves when you make it? Then do it! And if there isn’t, now is the time to learn how to make something new. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and your dog will be thrilled.

Help out a local shelter

Almost every local shelter could use some assistance, whether you volunteer, donate, promote, or refer friends and family. Do something to help out the other dogs out there that haven’t found their home yet. You’ll feel great.


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


5 Dangerous Houseplants that are Toxic to Dogs

Houseplants Toxic to Dogs

Houseplants have many benefits in the home. They make a home cozier, can be used for medicinal purposes and purify the air. Unfortunately, there are some fairly common houseplants that can be dangerous to your dog. In this post, we will review some houseplants that are toxic to dogs.

Poisoning from these plants can occur in several ways such as:

  • Drinking the water from the plant tray or pot.
  • Eating the leaves, blossoms, roots or even the soil in the pot.
  • Skin contact with any plant sap or juice.

Before you purchase any houseplant protect your canine family member by doing a little bit of research.

Related: Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats

1. Philodendron

Philodendrons are very popular houseplants. They are fast growing, available in climbing and upright varieties and are easy to care for. These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates which are toxic to animals and humans.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

2. Pothos or Devils Ivy
Pothos (Devils Ivy)

The Pothos Houseplant has amazing air purification properties and is easy to propagate from cuttings which makes it a very popular houseplant. Though only mildly harmful in small quantities, Pothos also contains insoluble calcium oxalates.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

3. Peace Lily
Peace Lily

Containing insoluble calcium oxalates like Philodendrons and Pothos houseplants, the Peace Lily can be moderately harmful to your dog.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Drooling, pawing at the mouth, oral pain, decreased appetite, vomiting.

4. Aloe Plant
Aloe Plant

Aloe is a very common household plant due to its medicinal benefits such as purifying the air and is also provides natural burn/sunburn relief. For dogs though this plant should be kept out of reach as it contains saponins and anthraquinones.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea. Foliage is more toxic than berries.

5. Ivy or English Ivy
English Ivy

Ivy is a beautiful accent to your home with the way it cascades from hanging baskets but is very harmful to your pet especially if consumed in large amounts. Beware.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Vomiting, depression, anorexia, changes in urine color, and rarely, tremors.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance, call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

Pet Poison Helpline

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, dog walkingpuppy training andpet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

How to Introduce a Dog to Cats

Dog and Cat introduction

If you already are the proud pet-parent of a cat and are now thinking about adding a dog to your family, planning for their introduction should be something you think about.

Dogs and cats can and often do live together peacefully under the same roof.  It just takes some planning, patience, and guidance on your part.

With pets, like humans, first impressions can be important. A poor introduction between your dog and cat could set up the pattern for future interactions. Things won’t always go well the first time but if you can keep the situation from turning into a worst-case scenario, you will be making it easier for all involved.

Plan ahead, have a strategy and take your time. Don’t rush their meeting, even though you will be tempted. 


The difference between puppies and adult dogs

Dog barkingIntroducing a puppy to cats will usually be easier than introducing an adult dog. Puppies can still learn behaviors and one that grows up around cats will be more likely to see them as part of his pack.


Know their personalities ahead of time

As you know, different pets have different personalities. Some dogs and cats will just never get along, while others have the personalities to be tolerant, or even happy with each other.

Don’t try to force an introduction when your instincts are telling you it won’t work. Some dogs are just too aggressive towards any cat. Some cats will not tolerate a dog entering its territory. Some dogs just love to chase, and matching them up with a shy cat could be a bad decision. 

Before the introduction, your dog should be well-trained, and responsive to the commands to come, stay, and sit.


How to introduce a dog to a cat

Cat restingBefore the first introduction, make sure your dog has been fed and had a good exercise session. 

For the safety of your cat, there should be a safe getaway space in every room. This could be an area blocked off with a baby gate or even just a shelf or high spot that your cat can get to but the dog cannot. 

Let your dog and cat meet each other the first time by smell only. Give them a chance to become familiar be scent before they physically see each other.

Put your cat in a safe area, and let your dog roam the house for around 30 minutes. This will allow the dog a chance to “meet” your cat by smell only at first. Afterward, take your dog out for a walk and let your cat roam around and “meet” the dog by smell only.

Over a few days, rotate which animal has freedom and which is confined to a certain area to allow each animal plenty of time to investigate the other one’s scent.

The first time you introduce them, allow both animals to be in the same room at the same time, but keep your dog on a leash this time.

Your cat’s first reaction may be to hiss and run away. This is a normal reaction for cats.

Dog chewingContinue keeping them separated with this type of introduction until your dog is able to remain calm and ignore the cat, and your cat is calm, eating and using their litter box normally.

If they still show fear and aggression towards each other, go back again to keeping them in separate rooms only able to smell and be aware of each other.

All of the initial interactions should be while your dog is on a leash. Keep the litter box in a safe area and do the same with their food as well. 

They should spend at least a few weeks and maybe as long as a month having only supervised interactions. They should only have unsupervised time together when you are fairly certain that they will not hurt each other. 


Sometimes, despite your best efforts, some relationships aren’t meant to be. Some dogs are just too dangerous to be around cats. If instincts tell you that this meeting won’t work out, respect that message. It’s better for all involved.


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sittingdog sittingcat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Shorewood 


Dog and cat introduction resources: 

Introducing Dogs to Cats – American Humane
How to Introduce Your New Dog to Your Resident Cats – The Spruce
How to introduce a dog and cat – Animal Humane Society
Introducing Your New Dog to Your Resident Cat – Reach Out Rescue

Dog Sprayed by Skunk? Here’s What to Do and What Not To

skunks spray dogs

Taking care of your furry friends has many “ups”, but also a few “downs”.

One of the worst problems you may have to deal with is when your dog was outside and it comes to your door, wildly howling and barking.

You go to check what is wrong with her and you notice something right away…. THE SMELL.

Oh no. Not that smell. Your dog has been sprayed by a skunk. AHHHHHH!

In this post, we tell you what to do when your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, and give you a recipe for cleaning the skunk smell off of your dog. We also tell you a few things not to do.


Skunk FestWhat to do when your dog is sprayed by a skunk

  • Keep your dog outside until they are clean.
  • Check and rinse your dog’s eyes immediately.
  • Don’t cuddle your dog until after you’ve cleaned them.
  • Clean your dog as soon as possible. The sooner the better.
  • Mix your dog cleaning solution.
  • Wash and shampoo your dog.


Keep your dog outside of your living space until she is cleaned. 

If your dog has just been sprayed, you will want to keep them out of your home. We’ve heard plenty of stories about panicked dogs running through the home, rolling on the carpet, jumping on couches, and spreading skunk smell to everything they touch.

Don’t give yourself an even bigger mess to clean up! Keep them outside or in the garage. People sometimes bring them in the basement, and then regret that when the scent wafts through the ceiling to every room on the first floor


Trance Faced With Guilt Animal Cute Dog Daze

Check your dog’s eyes immediately. If the eyes appear red or irritated, be sure to flush them immediately with cool water. You cannot use the same cleaning solution that you’ll use to clean their fur on their face.


Don’t cuddle your dog until they are clean. Your dog may be upset but we don’t recommend giving them a hug right now. The oil from the skunk and the smell are very easy to transfer to almost anything they touch.


Clean your dog as soon as possible. The longer the skunk spray is on your dog, the harder it will be to remove. 


Mix your dog cleaning solution. The old tale of using tomato sauce to clean your dog after it was sprayed by a skunk is just a myth. 

Skunk spray removal recipe for dogs

Here is an easy skunk smell removal recipe that really works:

  • 1-quart hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap (for example Dawn dish soap)

Mix these three ingredients together in a large bowl or bucket. Once mixed, thoroughly rub it into your pet’s fur. Let it soak in for five minutes and then rinse it out with tap water. Don’t leave it in for longer or it may cause bleaching.

It’s likely that you may have to repeat this cleaning process a few more time to get rid of the smell.

After you rinsed them with the smell removal mixture, wash your pet as you normally would with pet shampoo and conditioner.


What not to do when your dog is sprayed by a skunk

  • Don’t let your dog inside your living areas.
  • Don’t let your dog on carpet or furniture.
  • Don’t use any towels you don’t want to ruin.
  • Don’t wash your dog with tomato sauce.
  • Don’t use a hydrogen peroxide solution stronger than 3%.
  • Don’t get the cleaning solution in your dog’s eyes.
  • Don’t mix your skunk smell removal mixture ahead of time. It can lose it’s potency and could potentially become explosive.

We hope these tips help you out when you’re in a stinky situation!


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sittingdog sittingcat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

Other outdoor dog threats:
Dogs and Ticks
Dog Sunburns
Common dog parasites
Protect your dog from mosquitos
How to stop your dog from digging
Does your dog need winter coats or boots?