FAQ

Note: At the end of this section you will find a list of dog friendly Restaurants in Malta.

For updates, search ‘Dog Friendly Venues’ Malta on Facebook and join the group. You will then receive an updated list on a regular basis. Some of these restaurants allow dogs inside the restaurant, some only outside the restaurant.

CATS

How much food should I feed my cat?

When trying to determine an appropriate amount, there are several factors to consider – the cat’s age, the cat’s health, body type, activity level, type of food being fed, whether the cat is pregnant or nursing

Label instructions are general guidelines. Your individual cat may require more or less based on the above factors.

Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what your cat’s ideal weight should be and how to make any necessary and safe adjustments to the current nutritional program.

Why has my cat suddenly become so vocal?

Your cat may also be in pain so make sure she has been checked out by the veterinarian. If the excessive vocalisation is a change from your cat’s normal behaviour, be sure you make an appointment with the veterinarian. Some breeds like a Siamese are naturally vocal.

Other cats may become vocal for several reasons. Mostly it’s a sure-fire way of getting your attention.

When the less subtle method of staring you down, walking back and forth across your sleeping body or sitting on your chest doesn’t do the trick, non-stop meows usually work!

The odds are that because she is born with patience, determination and unrelenting persistence, you’ll eventually cave in and give her what she wants. It may take five minutes of meowing, but she now knows that as long as she doesn’t give up, you’ll give in.

Whether it’s to be let outside, fed, or petted, she knows that you know the only way to quiet her is to surrender. How do you change this behaviour? Don’t reward negative behaviour. Instead of rewarding her meowing, redirect her with interactive toy before she begins to vocalise.

The key is to retain the behaviour before it actually materializes. Redirect the behaviour while it’s still a thought in her head that hasn’t been acted upon yet.

Your cat may be vocalising due to insufficient stimulation. Make sure you’re engaging in daily interactive play sessions and that you are leaving enough activities available for her when you aren’t home. A cat tree that overlooks a bird feeder is a good choice and so is setting up a couple of paper bag tunnels.

An older cat may vocalise at night after everyone has gone to bed. As she walks through the darkened, quiet house, her declining senses may cause her to become disoriented.

Consult your veterinarian to make sure this isn’t the case. In some cases, it helps just to call out to the yowling older kitty to let her more easily find you.

Why has my cat stopped using the litter box?

Your veterinarian is the first person you should call if your cat begins rejecting the litter box.

Don’t automatically assume the problem is behavioural because there’s a chance that it could be medically related.

The rejection of the box can occur because the cat associates the pain that he feels with the box itself. He thinks that by eliminating in a different location he’ll avoid the discomfort.

Many cats are prone to FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) which often leads to accidents outside of the litter box.

Aside from the pain associated with the box, FLUTD causes the cat to experience a feeling of urgency whenever there’s a small amount of urine in the bladder. You may notice spots of urine on the carpet or even in the bathtub. Very often, the urine is blood-tinged.

There are other medical conditions as well that can result in urinating outside of the box. Diabetes and renal disease are two common examples.

Both of these conditions cause increased water consumption, which leads to increased urination. Getting to the litter box in time can be difficult for some of these cats.

If you’ve noticed that your cat has been having any type of accidents outside of the box, get to your vet immediately. Once the kitty gets a clean bill of health, then you can begin to tackle the problem from a behavioural standpoint.

It could be the litter substrate that your cat finds objectionable. Very often, if a cat doesn’t like the feel of the litter, he’ll perch on the edge of the box, sometimes hanging his hind end over the edge.

You may also notice that he bolts out of the box immediately after eliminating and paws the area around the box. If he doesn’t like the litter texture, you may find him eliminating on the nearby bathroom rug or on any towels left on the floor.

My cat won’t use her scratching post and she’s ruining my furniture. What should I do?

The first step in re-training your cat involves your understanding of why she needs to scratch in the first place. It isn’t motivated by her desire to destroy your sofa, nor is she being spiteful, stubborn or stupid. Scratching is a natural behaviour in a cat, serving many vital functions. The most obvious is that it keeps the cat’s nails in good condition. As she rakes her nails across the surface, the dead outer sheath is removed, exposing the new nail beneath.

Scratching is also used for marking purposes. In the wild, the marks serve as a visual calling card, letting others know that the territory is claimed. Additionally, scent glands in the cat’s paw pads leave an olfactory mark as well. Cats also use scratching to enable them to get a full back and shoulder stretch. Buy a good scratching post.

Once you have a great post, you’ll need to make your furniture unappealing during the re-training process. You can either put double-faced masking tape on the corners of the furniture or you can cover the piece entirely with a sheet. If using a sheet, be sure to tuck it in all around. Place the post right next to the covered furniture. The next time your cat goes over to scratch, she’ll see the new post and will be curious enough to try it out. You can increase her interest by conducting a play session around the post. This method only works if you have a great post so don’t attempt this with the current post that she already rejected.

How can I stop my cat from waking me up at 5:00 am.?

Unintentionally, you’re probably the one who has trained him to do that very thing. Very often, an owner will get out of bed and put food in the bowl just to quiet the cat. By doing that, you’ve just taught him that his early morning antics bring a reward.

Re-training is actually very simple but it does take patience. Shift your kitty’s internal clock by adjusting your evening routine. Engage in an interactive play session with him right before you go to bed. An interactive toy is based on a fishing pole design that enables you to keep the action going for your kitty. The game should last at least 15 minutes in order for him to feel satisfied. It’s important to wind the action down as the game ends.

Another trick that works well if you feed scheduled meals, is to feed him right before you go to bed. Don’t increase his amount of food, just save a little from his regular dinner and offer it at bedtime.

Make sure you leave a couple of safe activity toys out during the night so he can pass the time while you snooze. Even a ping pong ball inside of an empty tissue box or paper bag makes a great toy.

I’d like to adopt a second cat. How will my first cat react?

Initially, your resident cat isn’t going to look upon this matter lightly. The best way to bring in a second cat is to have a separate room set up for him. He should stay in there for about one or two weeks. This gives him time to get settled into his new surroundings and it also gives your resident cat time to adjust.

The introduction should be done a sense at a time – meaning, don’t overwhelm either cat by forcing them to confront each other. Let them get used to each other’s scent first, before they actually see each other. Put a sock on your hand and rub the new cat. Once you have collected his scent, place that sock in your resident cat’s territory. Take the mate to that sock and rub your resident cat down and deposit it in the newcomer’s room. This way, they can start to investigate each other slowly and safely.

The next step involves letting the new guy check out the rest of the house. Place your resident cat in another room and then let the newcomer walk around a bit. This helps him become further acquainted with your cat’s scent and it allows him to leave some of his own scent marks around the house.

The key to a good introduction is to keep the experience positive. Never force the cats together or they’ll certainly hate each other. When they do actually meet, it should be for short periods and you should use something positive as a distraction – such as treat food.

I’m expecting. Will my cat be jealous of the new baby?

There’s a misconception about cats when it comes to babies. Owners assume that the cat will become jealous, when in reality, the cat is just confused and anxious. Since a cat is a territorial creature of habit, the appearance of a strange-looking, odd-smelling creature who emits high-pitched noises, is very scary.

The best way to help your cat accept the new baby is to ease him into it. During your pregnancy is the time to get your cat used to the changes that’ll be taking place. First, decorate your nursery in stages – not all at once. Give your cat time between each stage to get used to the environmental changes. Also, get a tape of baby noises (enlist the help of a friend or neighbour) and begin playing it at a low volume while you engage in interactive play sessions with your cat.

One mistake many owners make is that they lavish an abundance of attention on the cat during the wife’s pregnancy. The problem is that the amount of attention always drastically falls off after the baby arrives. Keep your cat’s life as consistently normal as possible.

How do I stop my indoor cat from digging in my plants?

This is a common problem. Some cats will even use the soil in the planters as impromptu litter boxes. One of the ways to protect your planters is to cover the soil with rocks. Use large rocks so your cat can’t push them aside. Don’t use pebbles because they’ll resemble litter and also, you run the risk of your cat ingesting one. The rocks enable you to still easily water your plants.

Another solution is to put garden netting over the soil. Cats don’t like to scratch on the netting. There’s also a product called “Sticky Paws for Plants” that’s very effective.

Why does my cat seem to enjoy being petted but then suddenly bite me?

Generally, cats aren’t contact animals in the same way as dogs. Some cats can only handle a certain amount of petting or touching before it leads to over-stimulation. If you watch your cat carefully, you’ll notice that he’ll begin sending messages to you as he becomes more uncomfortable. The problem is, owners overlook these warning signs and don’t realize that the cat has had enough until they get bitten or scratched.

Some of the signals to watch for include: skin twitching, tail thumping or lashing, cessation of purring, growling, meowing, frequently looking back at you and flattened ears. If you ignore any of these signs, the cat probably feels that he has no choice but to bite you in order to stop the petting.

If you notice that you can pet your cat for ten minutes before he bites, then stop petting after about five minutes. If you cease petting while it’s still a very enjoyable experience, you’ll leave him wanting more. If you keep the experience very positive, you may be able to gradually increase the petting session to six minutes, then seven, etc.

We have 3 cats. How many litter boxes do they need?

Ideally, there should be one box for every cat. It doesn’t mean that each cat will use one box exclusively, but by having 3 boxes, there’s less of a chance for territorial disputes. It also increases the possibility that each cat will be able to find a clean spot in the litter box for elimination. Place each litter box in a different location in case one cat has a tendency to guard the immediate area surrounding one of the boxes.

How can I tell if my cats are playing or fighting?

Sometimes cats play with so much enthusiasm that it can be difficult for an owner to tell the difference. Generally though, if the cats are fighting you’ll probably hear hisses and/or growls. You may even hear some screaming. Also, when cats are fighting, one cat may repeatedly be the aggressor. In playtime, the cats take turns being in the aggressive position.

After playtime, the cats should immediately return to normal activity. If you notice that they avoid one another or seem afraid of each other, then they were probably fighting.

If cats who normally don’t get along appear to be playing together, keep an eye on the situation because there’s a good chance it’s actually a fight.

What does it mean when my cat rolls on his back and exposes his stomach to me?

What the cat is saying will be based on specific circumstances and his immediate environment. A relaxed cat may stretch out on his back and expose his belly. He’ll only do this in a secure environment where he feels safe enough to enjoy this type of total relaxation. A cat will sometimes expose his tummy to an owner or a higher-ranking cat when confused about the direction of the relationship. He may not be afraid enough to turn and run, but he’s also not sure whether he’ll end up having to defend himself.

A cat may expose his tummy to an owner when unsure whether the owner wants to play or be affectionate. When confronted by an opponent, a cat may expose his belly as an indication that he doesn’t want to initiate a battle but will fight if the opponent engages in an attack. This is an important signal because it gives the offensive cat the opportunity to back off. This isn’t a sign of submission the way it is in canines, but it does indicate reluctance to active engage in confrontation. If a cat is in battle with no means of escape, he may roll onto his back in order to fully engage all weapons.

DOGS

How do I teach a puppy to signal to go out for business?To teach your canine to signal when he wants to go outside, you have to train him to associate a certain cue with being let outside to eliminate. For instance, you could attach a small bell to the door and ring it each time you let your pooch outside to go potty. Each time he hears the bell, he’ll associate it with going out to eliminate. Eventually, you will want to encourage your canine to ring that bell himself. Reward your dog each time he rings the bell with a treat, immediately let him outside, and give him the command to eliminate. Your canine will be alerting you to potty breaks in no time.

How do you house train pups that are slow learners?

Watch your puppy as much as possible during the training period. If she does have an accident in the house, make sure you address her immediately. Tell her firmly, “No!” and then promptly take her to the appropriate elimination area. Do not wait even a minute after the incident to correct her. She won’t understand why she is being scolded. Always use a firm, but gentle tone.

If you cannot be in the house, place your puppy in a crate. Remember that she is still a puppy and still does not yet have good bladder control to hold it for long periods. Have a designated area where your puppy will go to eliminate so that she knows where to go. Always praise her for a job well done!

Is it safe to give my dog bones?

There is some current debate over whether bones are safe or not to give to your dog. Some say that chicken bones are brittle and may splinter and become fatal to your dog. The key is to avoid giving your canine any cooked bones. They become sharp and brittle and will not be safe for your canine to chew on. Never allow your dog to chew on a bone for hours on end and supervise him if he is chewing on a bone. The SPCA recommends that you do not give a dog a bone.

What style of dog training should I choose?

Trainers can use a method of positive reinforcement in order to train the dog. This method means that the dog is rewarded for achieving the behaviour that you want – through doggy treats or love and affection. Reputable trainers will use a method of training that instils trust and not fear in a dog.

What can I do to keep my dog from chewing everything?

If your dog is prone to destructive behaviour around the house when you’re not around, there are some steps you can take to get him to become a well-mannered pooch:

When you are home, make sure that you do spend time interacting with your dog.
When you can, take your dog out of the house for a change of pace and exercise. He may enjoy walks or heading out on errands with you.
When you’re not around, leave some doggy treats around the house for your dog to find.
If no one is home, leave the television or radio on. The sounds of a human voice will help reduce the monotony and loneliness.

How can I get my dog to swallow a pill?

The easiest way to get your canine to swallow a pill is to hide it in the food. If for some reason, you can’t do this, then you’ll have to place it in her mouth. Start by sitting on the floor in front of your pooch. If your dog is small, you can place her on your lap. Gently open her mouth and place the pill as far back on her tongue as you can. Close her mouth by holding her muzzle, tilt up her chin, and stroke her throat to help her swallow. You can also try blowing lightly on her nose to get her to take a breath and swallow the pill.

Why is my male dog urinating in the house and what should I do?

If your dog is peeing in the house, he could be doing so for a number of reasons. If he’s already house-trained, make sure that he doesn’t have any health conditions that could be causing the accidents. Also consider whether there have been any changes in his environment such as a new pet, baby, change in food or other event that could be causing stress and anxiety.

If your dog is not neutered and is becoming an adult, he could be marking his territory. Neutering your dog will often alleviate the problem of marking in unwanted areas.

To fix the problem, you need to correct your dog immediately any time you catch him urinating in the house. Do so by using a firm voice and then immediately take him outside or to a designated elimination area. You might also want to consider crating your dog if you cannot be there to make sure that he doesn’t continue this bad habit. Always give your dog plenty of opportunities to go outside.

How can I read my dog´s body language?

Canine Body Language: Submissive

A dog will use everything from his eyes and ears to tail to communicate. A canine who is acknowledging a person or other dog to be of higher rank, will lower his tail, send his ears back, and close his eyes half-way. A dog can also show submissive body language by lying on his back with his belly exposed.

One way to find out if a puppy has more dominant or submissive tendencies is to try and lay him on his back. If he fights back, he is very likely dominant. If he lies on his back willingly, then he is a submissive dog.

Canine Body Language: Anxious

Learning to read your canine’s body language and determining whether he is feeling anxious can go a long way towards deterring unwanted problems. If your dog draws back his weight on his hind legs, he may be feeling fearful and anxious. He’ll pull his ears back closer to his head and he may hang his tail down between his rear legs. He may also lick his lips in a nervous gesture.

How can I teach a puppy not to bite or nip?

To curb puppy nipping and biting behaviours, there are a few things that you can do. For a younger puppy, it’s usually effective to give a yelping noise like a litter mate might do. For the older puppy, keep some chew toys handy. If your puppy starts to nip, redirect her biting to the chew toy and she’ll eventually figure out what’s appropriate to put in her mouth. For the especially vigilant nipping pup, give her a sharp “No!” and then ignore her for a while. She may be biting to get attention and will stop if it ceases to become effective.

What is the best way to help my dog to lose weight?

Your dog is likely obese if you can’t see a difference between his ribcage area and his abdomen. Dogs become overweight due to lack of exercise, overeating, and occasionally a genetic tendency for extra pounds. i.e. reduce food intake and increase intake. Dogs should never be given human treats such as chocolate and biscuits.

Where can I find ‘dog friendly’ Restaurants?

This information has been given by ‘Dog Friendly Venues’ on Facebook. For further information on these venues or for additional information you can join their group on Facebook.

42 Summer Nights – Marsascala

1920 al Cafe – Marsascala

Rising Sun Bar and Restaurant – Marsaxlokk

Matilda’s – near University

Cafe Cuba – Tigne Point Sliema

Amigo’s – Dingli Stree,t Sliema

Angelica’s – Valletta

Sale e Pepe

Portomaso Cafe

Townhouse 5 – Rabat (on the road from the petrol station at the top of Saqqajja hill to Rabat centre)

Ferdinand’s – Siggiewi – (next to siggiewi parish church)

Il-Baxa – Rabat –

Downtown Hotel – Rabat, Gozo

Saracino’s – Attard

Step In – Blue Grotto

Take Off Bar and Restaurant -Lluqa (next to ex Mambra)

Kitchen Garden – Attard

Mgarr ix-xini bar and Restaurant

Cafe cuba – Tigne Point Sliema

Amigo’s – Dingli Street Sliema

Angelica’s – Valletta

Sale e Pepe

Portomaso Cafe

Note: It is advisable to ask permission before going in with our four legged friends.

 

Which are the dog friendly beaches?

The government has designated the following number of bays as being ‘dog friendly’:

  • Torri l-Abjad Bay near Mellieħa,
  • Rinella Bay at Kalkara,
  • Imġiebaħ Bay in Selmun,
  • Zonqor Point Marsascala
  • Marsaxlokk near “Il-Maghluq”
  • Marsaxlokk at Xatt is-Sajjieda
  • The coast near Xwejni Bay
  • l-Aħrax near the camping site in Mellieħa.
  • Daħlet ix-Xmajjar in Mellieħa,
  • Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq behind Splash and Fun;
  • Sliema near the “Old Chalet”
  • Tigné Point in Sliema;
  • Marsalforn in the “Ta’ Xjeni area”
  • Mġarr ix-Xini in Gozo
  • Triq il-Batterija in Żebbuġ, Gozo.

Beach Rules: 1) Dogs are to be kept on leash unless they are bathing. 2) You must carry poo bags and clean up after your dog immediately. 3) Owners are always responsible for their dog’s control and behaviour. 4) Owners not in line with the law will be fined.

Note: Other bathers may use these beaches too and Malta being a small island, beaches may be crowded on public holidays and weekends.

Where else can my dog swim?

Beaches that are marked as blue flag as well as sandy beaches are not dog friendly beaches. Therefore, rocky shores that are not given “blue flag” status are appropriate to take your dog. However, dogs may not swim within the bather zones, marked with yellow and red buoys.

We advise owners to be respectful of the environment and clean up after their dogs wherever they go.

Where can I let my dog run off leash?

There are three public dog parks or off leash areas. 2 are in Ta’ Qali, situated in the picnic area and near the water reservoir (2 minutes away from the football stadium). The third is in the family park in Marsaskala, next to the Sant Antnin recycling plant.