**This page is no longer being updated. Please see here for our most up-to-date resources and solutions to common pet issues **
Are you experiencing behavioral issues with your pet? Unwanted changes in behavior may be caused by medical issues. If you haven’t already done so, take your pet to your veterinarian to rule out physical problems.
You can find information online about many common behaviors in cats and dogs along with suggestions about how to address them. Below are some reputable online sources:
We recommend basic obedience training for your dog to alleviate some issues. Working with your dog on basic obedience is a great way to bond and make your dog a better family member.
Dogs and kids
Dogs and kids can be wonderful together, as long as they’re all having fun. The key is to understand what is fun for your dog and, more importantly, what is not. Whether you have toddlers or teens, we urge you to teach the young people in your household a few simple rules about how to play with their dog to keep everyone safe.
Watch this quick video called “Seeing Both Sides,” from The Family Dog which also provides many excellent teaching tools and resources geared to kids of all ages. Another useful resource for families with kids and dogs is Family Paws for Parents.
Moving and pet-friendly apartments
Moving is hard on every member of the family. Many people decide to give up their pet before moving because it may be difficult to find a pet-friendly apartment. Below are some sites that can help:
- East Bay SPCA Tips for Pet Friendly Housing
- ApartmentGuide.com (includes a search field for pet-friendly apartments)
- Doorsteps (includes advice on how to rent with pets and other considerations)
- RENTCafe pet-friendly listings
- Zillow pet-friendly listings for Oakland
Do you or someone in your family have allergies? The pet isn’t necessarily to blame. Animal dander (skin dandruff that flakes naturally) is just one of many irritants that can cause allergies but, unfortunately, the pet is often the easiest to blame. You don’t have to live without your pets, however. Many people who were told to give up their pets have found other solutions and are living comfortably, right along with their cats, dogs and iguanas.
Try these tips before surrendering to your allergies:
- Go to a reputable allergist. Insist on thorough testing. Some doctors give only a “scratch test.” This is not conclusive. More informative tests are available.
- Don’t give up your animal right away. Even if the doctor says your pet is part of your allergy problem, remember: You’re allergic to the dander, excess fur and other non-pet-related irritants. Try these alternatives:
- Invest in a good air purifier
- Desensitize your home. Keep everything as clean and free of dust, hair and animal dander as possible
- Live with as many washable surfaces as possible — the fewer carpets and upholstered pieces, the better
- Put washable covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows
A new baby
There are ways to ensure a happy and safe introduction of a new family member to the household. Learn how to address this important change so the new baby is welcomed and accepted by the resident dog or cat. Although rare tragic incidents of pets attacking babies do occur, you can prevent them simply by never leaving your pet and baby alone together.
- Teach your pets in advance which areas are off-limits
- Before the baby leaves the hospital, bring home an infant cap the baby has worn, baby products and used diapers to get your dog or cat accustomed to the new scents
- Upon returning home from the hospital, give your pet a warm greeting – let your pet sniff the baby, watching carefully (supervision is extremely important)
- During those first hectic days, try not to change your pet’s feeding and walking schedule
A new animal
Introducing a new animal into your home can be hard on your resident pet. Patience and a proper introduction can facilitate a lasting friendship or at least instill a permanent truce. There are many online resources to learn proper introductions, including the following:
- The Humane Society: Introducing Your New Dog to Your Other Dogs
- Introducing dogs to each other
- Introducing a dog to a cat
- Jackson Galaxy Video: Introducing Two Cats
- What to expect and how to thrive with your newly adopted dog
Too many pets?
Check our list of low cost veterinary services to find discounted rates on vaccinations and sterilization surgeries so you can stop the birth of new kittens and puppies. For small animals, our Animal Care staff can sex your pets so they can be separated into different cages based on gender to prevent any more accidental births. Many small mammals can be spayed or neutered as well.
Our financial resources page provides a list of organizations that can help you feed your pets.
Not enough time?
Hire a dog walker, cat sitter, or take your dog to doggie day care. Do some research – there are plenty of people in our community who will take care of your pet for a reasonable fee. As they say, “A tired dog is a good dog.”