Woof! Woof! What? The Meaning Behind Dog Barks

A tan dog trying to get across the meaning of his barks.
What is your barking dog trying to tell you?

Most loving dog owners are sure they know what their dog is thinking and feeling at all times. The problem is that our furry friends don’t come with a bark dictionary, so we are left wondering what each sound actually means. 

If your dog is the chatty type, we can help decipher those barks into a relatable vocabulary. The team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital is here to explain the meaning behind dog barks.

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Should You Leash Your Pet?

In Maine it is “unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting.”

Of course, “at large” refers to a dog not under the immediate control of an owner in public places. Sure, there are many dogs that don’t get into any trouble while away from home. But to ensure their own health and safety – not to mention the wellbeing of the public – it is imperative to leash your pet dog while outdoors.

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They Do What they Want, But Do Cats Want to Swim?

You may think, “When cat’s swim!” could very well be the equivalent of “When pigs fly!” 

While it is true that some cats detest water, you may be surprised that some don’t. 

Amazingly, certain breeds are not only open to the idea of exploring water but welcome opportunities to play and even swim in it. Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, Turkish Vans, Manx, and Abyssian can easily take to the water, given the chance and a proper introduction.

Just Keep Swimming?

You may be surprised to learn that cats can swim incredibly well. In addition to some breeds actually enjoying the water, all cats naturally move in ways that resemble basic survival swimming. 

But How Do I Teach a Cat to Swim?

Many cat owners have found success by positively introducing their cat to water at an early age. The more they get used to water, the better. Kittens are more apt to acclimate to water if it’s part of their overall socialization process. But, if you approach the introduction with patience and a gentle hand, a cat of any age can learn that water is a-okay. 

Keep the splashing to a minimum and never never force cats to enter the water. Likewise, be sure the water is a comfortable temperature. 

Swimming itself presents certain challenges, some of which you may not have anticipated. For example, be sure that your cat knows how to safely exit the water. Ramps or a feline-friendly ledge can work wonders, but make sure your cat understands that.

Our Amazing, Astounding Cats

If you have questions about teaching cats to swim, overall feline behavior, cat wellness, our veterinarians and staff are always here for you!

Curb Destructive Cat Scratching Before It Gets Out Of Hand

Oddly, cats like to sleep inside cardboard boxes instead of fluffy, soft beds. They like to meow for food despite their bowls not being empty. And, undeterred by well-placed scratching posts throughout the house, they like to scratch up the furniture or curtain panels.

What’s an owner supposed to do? Well, for starters, it’s important to recognize that cats aren’t doing any of this to be irritating. With patience, guidance and positive reinforcement, you can stop destructive cat scratching in its tracks.

Feline Nature

Cat scratching provides an excellent back stretch, and it feels good in the arms and toes, too. Speaking of their toes, scratching helps to remove the dead outer sheath of the claws. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that cats leave their scent on the scratching location, which also visually communicates “I was here”.

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To Understand Feline Body Language, Look No Further Than a Cat’s Tail

The magic of cat communication may be lost on people that live exclusively among dogs. Instead of actively vying for their owner’s attention with barks or whines, a cat may simply stare. Likewise, they may not wag their rears for a treat, or lick your face with abandon, but a closely bonded cat will likely greet their person with a long, meaningful blink. 

Incredibly subtle at times, feline body language has a lot to say and it does so by way of their long, fluffy, expressive tail.

The Whole Picture

Of course, cats are known for meowing at their owners to convey their interest in food, snuggling, playtime or outside access. But perhaps more important is the fact that they use feline body language signals to get what they want, or show how they’re feeling.

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When It Comes to House Training a New Pet, It’s All In the Timing

Following the adoption of a new pet, a “honeymoon period” commences. Pet owners are understandably smitten with their new addition and forgive certain transgressions, like waking up at dawn, climbing on the furniture or leaving a puddle or pile behind. 

It takes time for newbies to learn and conform to the rules of the household, and in some cases the process of house training a new pet can be painstaking. Take heart. Getting your pet to understand when and where they can relieve themselves is an investment with sizable returns. 

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What To Do About a Super Smelly Dog

There are so many positives when it comes to dog ownership, but that doggy smell is not one of them. It’s not always bad per se, but it is unmistakably “canine” in nature.

It’s easy to overlook or ignore mild odors, but when the aroma of a smelly dog takes over the entire house, it’s time to act.

Clean and Shiny

After a nice scrub and rinse, most dogs will continue to smell pretty nice for a while. Naturally, they will begin to smell somewhat doggy between baths and grooming appointments. Why does this happen?

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When It Comes to Cat Care, Should You Be Worried About Parasites? 

Owners of indoor cats come in all shapes and sizes, but they have at least one thing in common. The majority of these dedicated pet owners fall for the misconception that, because their cat doesn’t go outside, parasites aren’t a real threat. 

Sure, with fewer chances of exposure to bugs, indoor cats are at less risk for potential diseases spread by parasites. But, sadly, cats aren’t immune to parasites, no matter their lifestyle. When it comes to cat care best practices, creating a buffer between all pet cats and the world of creepy crawlies is the answer. 

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Snow, Ice, and Everything Not So Nice: How to Help With Winter Paw Care and Safety 

As winter keeps its icy grip, the spring thaw probably seems far away. You’ve probably taken precautions to keep your pets safe from freezing temperatures and extreme weather. But what about the steps (ahem) needed to ensure winter paw safety? 

Snow and ice, not to mention the dry air and de-icing chemicals, can all wreak havoc on your pet’s sensitive paws. 

Keep reading to learn how to keep your dog’s paws safe in winter weather, from your friends at Androscoggin Animal Hospital.

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Taking Stock: Androscoggin Veterinary Hospital’s Top Blogs of 2019 

The new year always brings about a chance for reflection and taking stock of our blessings and accomplishments. And at this time of year it feels natural to be grateful for our clients and patients, and all we’ve experienced with you this past year. Although it wasn’t always rosy, the chance to help you care for your pets is always an honor. 

Androscoggin Veterinary Hospital is always looking for ways to help enhance pet health and reach pet owners who may be interested in new pet health information or even just a dose of silly fun. And our pet care blog is one way we can do that on a regular basis.

With that in mind, we’ve looked back at most-read blogs of 2019, and compiled them here for you. Enjoy! 

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