Category Archives: Pet Parenting

4 Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Deaf Dog


Four days after the birth of Camilla’s son, she was bored and breastfeeding. A friend of hers who worked for a pet rescue mentioned that a new litter of puppies had come in, and all had been adopted—all except one. This puppy was deaf.

Immediately, Camilla—who had previously owned a “daredevil” deaf cat, and currently had two rescue cats and a dog—was moved by the pup’s plight, but her husband wasn’t so sure. They already had a lot of animals, and Camilla would have to balance the new pet with her work in tech support and the new baby.

When three months had passed, and the lonesome pup still hadn’t been adopted, Camilla convinced her husband to make the two-hour drive to visit the dog in person. He fell in love, and Charlie came home with them.


Camilla has always been passionate about rescue animals. “I like the rejects,” she told us. Recently, we interviewed Camilla about Charlie’s training, what she wants people to know about adopting a deaf dog, and how Pawscout has helped with some of the unique challenges of caring for a deaf pet.


1. Deaf dog training may be easier than you think

The question most people have about adopting a deaf dog is, “How will I train them?” Camilla had similar concerns herself, but Charlie proved a pleasant surprise.

Charlie caught on quick to basic signs: sit, eat, stay, calm. At night, when hand signals aren’t visible, the family uses flashlights to get Charlie’s attention. He’s very attentive to his people, so most of the time Camilla wants him to look at her, Charlie already is.

“We really thought it was gonna be a much bigger challenge than it was.”


Charlie also takes a lot of cues from Vader, his dog brother. Vader, a three-year-old pit bull mix, is also a rescue; his owner abandoned him in an apartment. Charlie always wants to do whatever Vader’s doing, which is not only adorable, it’s helpful for a pet parent. When Camilla tells Vader to “get off the bed” and Vader follows the verbal command, Charlie will jump down after him!


It hasn’t been totally smooth sailing. Potty-training was a challenge. Since you can’t order a dog to poop (and believe us, we’ve tried here at Pawscout HQ), Charlie’s family had to be proactive. They took him out every hour or hour and a half, waited for him to do his business, and rewarded him each time with praise, pets, and treats. It took Charlie less than a month to stop having accidents.


2. Deaf dogs will quickly become a cherished part of your pack


Now nine months old, Charlie is part of the family. Sweet to everyone and gentle with the baby, he can typically be found hanging out with Vader (who is usually by Camilla’s feet). “He’s so easy to handle and so easy to love.”

Camilla reports that Charlie’s a chewer, but that he tries hard not to chew things he isn’t supposed to. And of course, he’s got a few of those fabulous dog quirks that fill our hooman hearts with glee: Since Charlie is so sensitive to light, he’s freaked out by shadows, and tends to follow his around while barking at it.


3. There are unique challenges to caring for deaf pets

Camilla told us that before she found Pawscout, she fretted about Charlie’s safety. “I was always afraid that he was gonna run away, because we have a fenced-in backyard, but he’s a tall dog.” Camilla’s fears demonstrate some of the issues that can arise when you lose track of a deaf pet. A deaf dog investigating a nearby garbage can won’t be able to respond when you call him, and may not be paying attention to hand signals. During the daytime, flashlights won’t look different enough from surrounding lighting conditions to grab his attention.

Enter Pawscout. Camilla uses Pawscout to receive instant notifications when Charlie tries to leave the yard, providing her with an estimate of his location that doesn’t rely on visual confirmation. She also talks to fellow pet owners on Pawscout’s built-in social feed.


4. You don’t have to raise a deaf dog alone


If there’s one thing Camilla wants people to take from her story, it’s that deaf pets are just like hearing ones. “People get weirded out,” Camilla told us, but she maintains that anyone who can care for a dog can care for a deaf dog.

“It’s the same as training another dog, same amount of effort. Instead of verbal commands, they’re gonna have to learn visual commands. It’s not hard, it’s just a challenge until you get used to it.”

But you don’t have to get used to it alone. Camilla participates in a number of online groups for deaf dogs (including the aptly named Reddit sub r/deafdogs), which provide a valuable network of deaf dog owners who can answer questions and give advice. She also recommends the book “A Deaf Dog Joins the Family,” which gave her a lot of information about what to expect and how to handle it.


If you’re wondering whether to adopt a deaf dog, we hope Camilla’s story will help you decide. In the meantime, download the Pawscout App and start building your own community of pet lovers.

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Airplane Travel with Pets: Your Ultimate Cheat Sheet


Pets make everything better, so naturally that applies to vacations too. But before you can drink mimosas and puppuccinos by the pool with your golden lab, you’ve got to get there. And that opens up a whole new world of travel headaches, especially if you’re traveling by plane: Cabin or cargo? Pet carrier or no? What about emotional support animals?

Stick with Pawscout, kids. We’ve got the answers to all your burning questions about flying with pets.

(Note before we start: The following guidelines apply to pets you’re traveling with primarily for fun–not because you need them for reasons of health and wellness. Specific rules and rights apply when you travel with emotional support/comfort animals or service animals!)

Are there any pets that just can’t fly?

Before you head to the airport, you’ll want to make your you can take your pet on the plane to begin with.

  • Pets with heart conditions generally should never fly, whether in cargo or cabin.
  • Snub-nosed (brachycephalic) cats and dogs are at high risk for respiratory issues, which are often exacerbated by air travel. They should never fly in cargo, and it’s not super safe to fly them in the cabin.
  • Be aware of airlines’ breed restrictions. Snub-nosed breeds are banned on many airlines, but so are other breeds you may not expect.

Should my pet fly in cargo, or with me in the cabin?

We recommend that whenever possible, you should have your pet fly with you in the cabin. Some tips to bear in mind:

  • Under normal circumstances, a cat or dog can travel in the cabin only if they fit in a pet carrier that goes underneath your seat. (You can find a breakdown of underseat dimensions by airline here.) Typically, pets must be 15 lbs or less.
  • Your pet will need a recent health certificate from the vet. Check with your airline as to how recent it should be.
  • Acclimate your pet to the carrier you will use on the flight. During the flight, line the carrier with pee pads.
  • If you have a layover, research pet relief area locations in the layover airport. If possible, exit security with your pet and take a little walk.

We don’t recommend letting furry friends fly in cargo. But if you have no other option, you should do your best to maximize their comfort and safety.

  • Call the airline at least a few weeks ahead to make sure they have room for your pet. Be prepared to pay additional fees.
  • Research the airlines’ crate requirements and make sure you have the right food and water containers for the crate.
  • Many airlines have climate-controlled areas of their cargo holds for pets. However, ask your airline for specifics, including when the climate control is enabled.
  • Avoid excessively hot or cold seasons.
  • Trim nails. Pets can injure themselves trying to claw out of their containers.
  • Before the flight, make sure to place something with your scent in your pet’s crate.
  • Remove any collars or bandanas that could get caught on something.
  • Nonstop flights only.



And of course, to stay safe wherever your travels take you, make sure your pet is #pawscoutprotected! Get your Pawscout Tag and custom nameplate today (not the day before vacation starts):

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Young woman pets a cat with a white belly

5 Things to Look for in a Shelter Cat

Young woman pets a cat with a white belly

There are so many benefits to adopting a shelter cat. Apart from the warm fuzzies of giving a pet its forever home, adoption is less expensive than getting a cat from a breeder. An adult rescue cat has already settled into its temperament, so it’s easier to see how it’ll fit into your life. And if you happen to have your heart set on a purebred kitty, good news: up to 25% of shelter cats are purebreds.

But to find the right shelter cat for you, we recommend going beyond breed. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a shelter cat.

1. Behavior problems (that might not be problems).

Sometimes, overcrowded and underfunded shelters produce cats who aren’t at their best. They may be depressed, shy, or even aggressive—but experts warn that these “problem behaviors” don’t necessarily reflect a cat’s personality.

Talking to Maddie’s Fund, cat expert Joan Miller notes, “Almost all cats need gradual exposure to everything.” An unfamiliar environment filled with weird sounds and dozens of strange cats can cause even a well-adjusted feline to lose her cool, so don’t despair if a cat you like doesn’t have glowing personality recommendations. To get a better sense for the cat’s personality, you’ll want …

2. One-on-one time with the shelter cat.

Shelters often provide quiet rooms where pet-parents-to-be can get to know a cat in a calm environment. If this kind of space is available, take advantage of it! See what you can glean about the cat’s personality. Does he play with toys? Is he shy? Is he young and pouncy, or older and more sedate? The answers to these questions can help you find your purr-fect match.

3. Cats who are “hard to home.”

If you’re already considering adopting a rescue cat, chances are you want to bring love and happiness to a pet who’s had it rough. Think about whether you have the time, patience, and resources to pick a cat that others may pass by, such as senior cats or cats with chronic medical problems.

These cats can sit unadopted for ages compared to playful kittens, but they have plenty of love to give! Just make sure you consult with the shelter so you fully understand your new fur baby’s needs.

4. Health issues.

Shelter cats can experience health problems ranging from cat colds and fleas to scarier (and much rarer) ailments like feline distemper. A little planning will save you a lot of anxiety over your pet’s health.

Step one is to determine what vaccinations the shelter has already provided. This information may be available on their website, or you can ask in person. Be sure to inquire about your cat’s medical and vaccination history as well. Last of all, try to schedule a vet appointment on the same day you pick up your cat, especially if you have other pets at home—that way, you’ll avoid exposing furry housemates to anything communicable.

5. That special connection.

Adopting a cat is so exciting to many pet parents that they fall in love with the first fluff they see! There’s nothing strictly wrong with this, but it’s worth your while to take a look at all the adoptable cats in a shelter. Figure out which one you connect with—you’ll know when it happens.

Once you’ve brought your shelter cat home, make sure they’re protected with Pawscout! Our free App connects you with a network of engaged pet parents:

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