June Is National Pet Preparedness Month - 06/07/2018
June is National Pet Preparedness Month. It’s a time to ensure that you are prepared for an emergency – not only for you, but also for your pets. The safety and survival of our pets lies with us, as pet owners, so take some time to make sure you have all of the supplies you need for your pet in the event of an emergency.
The following are items you should have packed in a “pet emergency kit.” Have this kit ready to take with you in case of evacuation.
~ Bottled water. In many emergency situations, water becomes contaminated and tap water is not safe to drink. You should have at least a 72 hour water supply for both yourself and your pet. How much water is a 72 hour supply?
A normal active person needs about 3/4 of a gallon (about 3 liters) of water (or other fluids) daily. In other words, for 72 hours, each person in your home needs about 2 1/2 gallons (9 liters) of water.
For pets, this amount varies depending on the size of the animal. Generally, a dog will drink between 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of weight per day. In other words, a 65-pound dog will drink between 1/4 to 1/2 gallon (1-2 liters) of water daily. For 72 hours, this sized dog would need about 3/4-1 1/2 gallons (3-6 liters) of water.
A cat’s daily water requirement is about 5-10 ounces of water per day. Therefore, a cat would need about 15-30 ounces of water for 72 hours.
In extreme heat, these water needs would be higher.
~ Food supply. Be sure to have a 72 hour food supply, including food and water bowls and a can opener, if you use canned pet food. Be sure to swap out food every few months to ensure that it stays fresh.
~ Pet medication. Keep a supply of your pet’s medication in your pet emergency kit. This is extremely important if your pet’s life depends on the medication. Swap out medication frequently, so that you always have fresh medicine in your kit.
~ Medical records and identification. Keep a copy of your pet’s medical records, along with your veterinarian’s contact information in your emergency kit. It’s also wise to keep a photo of your pet in the kit in case you are separated from him or her. If your pet is microchipped, keep a copy of the microchip number in the kit.
~ Toys, blankets, towels. These familiar items will help reduce the stress your pet will experience if you must evacuate your home. Consider rotating these items in the kit so that they remain familiar to your pet.
~ Brush and comb. Pack a brush and comb in your pet’s emergency kit. If your pet gets wet, you should towel her or him off and brush her or him well to avoid mats or hot spots.
~ Leash, collar, harness, crate. A carrying crate is essential when evacuating a cat. A sturdy leash and harness will help keep your dog safe and under control. Your pets may sense the distress in the situation and not respond to your commands as they normally would. Be patient with them.
~ Waste bags and hand wipes. Be sure to pack plenty of waste collection bags and hand wipes for quick hand cleaning.
ALWAYS take your pet with you. Never leave your pets behind, thinking you can return and get them later. Situations change and conditions can deteriorate quickly and you may not be able to return to your home.
ALWAYS have a back-up plan. Be sure that a friend or neighbor has access to your home to retrieve your pet and emergency kit if you are unable to get home.
Take some time and prepare or update your pet’s emergency kit with all of the important necessities and develop an emergency plan with your family that includes your pets. Hopefully, you will never need the kit, but it is better to be prepared. Your pet is depending on you to take care of him or her!
Separation Anxiety - 05/24/2018
Separation anxiety occurs when dogs are separated from their owners and become distressed, unable to relax while alone. Dogs are social creatures. They bond closely to their humans. When dogs are stressed, they will often attach to the person with whom they spend the most time and with whom they feel most comfortable. Often, dogs with separation anxiety will follow their owner from room to room when at home, and rarely spend time alone. Anxiety, defined as a feeling of uneasiness, worry or nervousness, often with a sense of impending doom, can be the cause of many behavior issues and affects about 20% of dogs.
Separation anxiety manifests itself when, as the owner makes their cues to leave (i.e. gathering keys, putting on shoes or coat, etc.), the dog associates those cues with the impending absence of their human, which then invokes the dog’s panic response. A dog’s panic response can be barking, pacing, crying, whining, urination or defecation, digging, destructive behaviors, and even depression. These behaviors continue when the dog is left alone, and when the owner returns, the dog often shows exaggerated welcoming behaviors.
Dogs can experience anxiety for a variety of reasons. Dogs that have been in shelters or recently been taken into a new home are much more likely to experience separation anxiety. The stress of being in a shelter, or of being taken from one home and brought into another, can cause a dog to strongly attach to their new owner for security. Dogs can also experience anxiety when changes occur within the household that are distressing to the dog, if they experience something while at home alone that is stressful, or as dogs mature and become increasingly attached to their owners. It is also more common in single-owner households.
How you can help your dog.
In order to help your dog deal with her or his separation anxiety, it’s important to understand that punishing your dog for any actions or behaviors that are the results of anxiety will only reinforce to the dog that she or he had reason to be afraid or nervous. Separation anxiety is a physiological response to fear, and working with your dog to modify his or her behavior should help him or her overcome the anxiety.
Training tips to help your dog:
Don’t pay attention to your dog when she or he follows you around the house.This helps the dog learn that following you around isn’t an effective way to get your attention.
Have your dog sit and wait before you interact with him or her. This sets up a predictable, structured relationship and helps your dog understand the proper way to get attention from you.
Make sure that you’re meeting your dog’s needs for social interactions. Be sure you are spending enough time playing, walking, and exercising with your dog, so that he or she isn’t feeling neglected or left out.
Spread feeding, caring, and play responsibilities between family members, so the dog doesn’t become overly attached to a single individual.
Train your dog to lie down and stay in a designated area for relaxation (I.e. bed, rug), placed in a busy area of the house, and accept periods of inattention while you are at home. Your dog will learn to relax and be content with seeing members of the household as they go about their activities, without having to be directly involved. Reward this quiet, relaxed behavior, so your dog learns that this is what will attract your attention. Gradually lengthen the periods of inattention, and your dog will become increasingly independent.
Train your dog that the departure cues that he or she associates with your leaving don’t always lead to your departure. Do these behaviors randomly, when you aren’t planning to leave, and your dog is relaxed and quiet. Repeat those actions several times a day, always when your dog is lying quietly. Your dog may respond initially to the cues with anxious behaviors, but seeing you put the items away without leaving will reduce the reaction these behaviors bring out in your dog. Eventually, your dog should disassociate those actions with your departures and the actions will no longer invoke an anxious reaction.
Before your departure, provide rigorous play or exercise. Then, when you leave, the dog is ready to settle down.
Keep your dog busy and distracted when leaving, preferably out of sight of the exit point. One helpful distraction is a treat. This also helps your dog associate your leaving with something good.
If you decide to confine your dog in a crate or kennel while you’re away, you can also confine your dog to his or her crate when you are home, with toys or a treat, so that he or she learns crate time is relaxing and pleasant rather than a punishment.
When you return, if your dog is overly excited to see you, ignore him or her until he or she settles down. Your dog will learn that the fastest way to get your attention is to settle down.
Remember, separation anxiety is based in fear. Consistently working with your dog in a patient and loving manner to change his or her behavior should help your dog overcome her or his anxiety. If you don’t feel your efforts are successful, speak with your veterinarian about alternative training and/or treatments to help your dog.
Your Pet’s Dental Health Is Important - 03/01/2018
Consistent, quality dental care is just as important for your pet’s health as it is for yours. You most likely brush your teeth daily, floss, and see the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. You take care of cavities or other dental issues as needed. You are proactive about your dental health, because you realize dental issues can worsen if neglected. They can also be more difficult to treat and more costly to address later on.
The same is true for your pets. The key to good overall health is regular, preventive dental care. Regular dental care also helps maintain a full set of healthy, pain-free teeth and gums.Periodontal disease, or more commonly, dental disease, is the gradual destruction of the teeth’s support structures, i.e. the gums and jawbone, over time. Periodontal disease begins with the accumulation of plaque that hardens into tartar, both above and below the gum line. Plaque and tartar above the gum line can usually be easily seen and removed, but accumulations below the gum line are much more damaging and challenging to treat.
Periodontal disease affects as many as 80% of dogs and 7-% of cats as early as 3 years of age. It can lead to swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth and tooth loss, pain and discomfort, difficulty eating, and infection and disease in other parts of the body, such as the liver and kidneys. Dental disease is the most common condition in pets, and it’s completely preventable. Improving your pet’s dental health is one of the best ways to prolong their life.
We are currently offering a dental special at our hospital, so, now is a great time to think about your pet’s oral healthcare routine. Although it’s something we should all be doing for our pets all year round, when life gets busy things tend to fall by the wayside. Or perhaps, like many pet owners, you are unaware of what you should be doing for your pet or unsure how to care for your pet’s teeth. The good news is that it’s easy to get started.
Bad breath is one of the first and most recognizable signs of dental disease in pets. If your pet’s breath smells strong or foul, he or she probably has dental disease. Check your pet’s teeth for plaque or tartar build-up, or red or inflamed gums. If you see any of these signs, your pet may have dental disease. Bring your pet into the veterinarian for a dental examination. Regular exams can help to identify dental disease early and treat signs before they become irreversible. Your veterinarian will also be able to recommend an appropriate treatment plan for any dental issues diagnosed as well as a home dental care routine for your pet.
To take care of your pet’s teeth at home, there are a number of products available and things you can do to maintain good oral care for your pets.Look for products that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal fo acceptance when considering dental health products for your pet. These products have been proven to slow development of plaque and/or tartar in pets.
Brush your pet’s teeth daily. This may seem difficult or even daunting; however, with a consistent, gentle approach most pets will become agreeable to daily teeth brushing. Training by your veterinarian and/or technician on proper technique, patience, and consistency are key. Be sure to use a toothbrush especially formulated for your type of pet and their size, as well as toothpaste formulated specifically for animals. Human toothpaste has ingredients in it that can make pets sick of swallowed.
Use oral rinses or gels designed for dogs. They usually contain chlorhexidine, an effective anti-plaque agent that is safe for dogs to swallow.
There are specially formulated diets and chew treats that usually have specific anti-tartar ingredients in them to help remove plaque from the teeth and reduce the formation of tartar.
Chew toys can help with plaque control; however, they must be chewed frequently and for extended periods of time to be effective. Further, water additives can be added to your dog’s drinking water, and are designed to reduce plaque and tartar as the additive coats his or her teeth.
Regular annual dental checkups and professional cleanings are recommended for all dogs and cats three years of age and older. In fact, senior pets should be seen twice a year for dental exams and possible cleanings. This not only helps maintain a healthy, pain-free mouth, it also helps prevent other more serious health issues and prolongs your pet’s life.
With patience and persistence, and the help of your veterinarian, it’s possible to take good care of your pet’s dental health. Committing to providing quality and consistent dental care for your pet will help him or her live a longer, healthier, and pain-free life.
It’s National Pet dental Health Month - 02/02/2018
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. If you don’t already brush your pet’s teeth and/or bring them to us for a regular cleaning, here are some important reasons you and your pet should participate in this important pet health month:
Prevent Periodontal Disease
Lack of regular dental care results in plaque build-up on your pet’s teeth. This plaque leads to tartar and gingivitis, which can develop into periodontal disease. Studies have shown that by the time a pet reaches the age of 3 years, 80% of cats and dogs have some form of periodontal disease. If it isn’t treated and/or managed, this disease can cause bleeding. eating difficulties, and lead to more serious health and dental problems.
Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent discomfort and pain. periodontal disease and loose teeth are painful. Our pets are remarkably good at hiding when they are experiencing pain. This is an instinctual behavior. However, just because they don’t appear to you to be experiencing pain, doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling discomfort and pain. Make sure your pet isn’t in pain or having any difficulty eating or chewing because of poor dental health.
Prevent Loose Teeth and Tooth Loss
If you’ve ever had a loose tooth, you’ll know it was uncomfortable, perhaps even painful. The progression of periodontal disease can cause loose teeth and even tooth loss. Loose teeth make activities like eating and chewing difficult for your furry friend. However, with regular care, you make sure your pet’s teeth remain healthy and prevent tooth loss.
Improve Your Pet’s Breath
Providing regular dental care can prevent bad breath. If your pet’s breath sends you running in the opposite direction, a good cleaning may be needed.
Maintain Whiter Teeth
A regular annual professional checkup and cleaning as well as daily dental routine can keep your pet’s pearly whites looking nice and white.
Increase Your Pet’s Lifespan
Gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, and periodontal disease can lead to other health problems outside of the mouth. The bacteria that develops around your pet’s teeth can enter his or her blood stream and cause more serious medical conditions, including heart, kidney, or liver disease or diabetes.
Save on Your Veterinary Bills
Although annual dental cleanings will cost you some money, they can end up saving you big bucks down the road. By maintaining your pet’s teeth – keeping them clean and free of disease, you could be saving yourself from expensive medical procedures in the future, including tooth removal, surgery, or the cost of dealing with other health conditions that could arise from periodontal disease.
These are all great reasons to schedule your pet for his or her annual dental checkup and cleaning this month. However, there’s another reason, too – you love your pet! Be sure to check out the sections on our website that talk in more detail about dental care and what is involved in a professional dental cleaning. Check out the before and after pictures, too.
Contact us today about getting started on the path to good dental care for your pet. We are running a special this month, so call to schedule your pet’s professional cleaning 480-893-0533.
Caring For Your Pet’s Paws - 01/04/2018
Your pet’s paws are made for walking and they are often accustomed to navigating tough surfaces. However, this doesn’t make your pet immune to injury or sore paws. Sharp objects on the ground or weather conditions can impact the condition of your pet’s paws. Furthermore, without regular maintenance, your pet’s paws may become sore and painful. Fortunately, it only takes a little bit of TLC to preserve your pet’s paws and keep them healthy and injury-free.
Regular maintenance includes:
Trims. The hair between your dog’s toes and around his or her paws may become matted and even painful if it isn’t maintained regularly. Regularly comb out and trim the hair to avoid tangles and keep your dog’s paws pain-free.
Inspect for foreign objects. Small and/or sharp objects may become embedded in your pet’s paws or between his or her toes. When cleaning and trimming your pet’s paws, take a moment to inspect and remove any foreign objects that may have become lodged in them. If you can’t reach it with your fingers, use a pair of tweezers to gently remove any splinters, etc.
Moisturizing. Similar to human hands, dog’s paws can benefit from a good moisturizing to prevent them from becoming too dry or even cracking. However, unlike human hands, your dog’s paws can get too soft if the wrong moisturizer is used. So, avoid your scented hand moisturizer and talk to your veterinarian instead about a moisturizer specifically safe for your dog’s paws.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Heat. Here in Arizona this is a big problem for our pets. Avoid hot pavement, concrete, and sand, and stick to the grass whenever possible. If you cannot comfortably stand on the surface, then neither can your pet. If it’s uncomfortable for you to walk on in bare feet, it’s also too hot for your dog. Additionally, try to keep walks to cooler parts of the day, around sun up and sun down. If you notice your pet’s paws seem tender or burned or blistered, bring him or her to us immediately.
Cold. Here in the Phoenix area this is not as common a problem as it is in some areas; however, if you travel up north or to cold areas of the country with your pet, it’s important to be cautious about cold, too. When it’s very cold outside, your pet is at risk of hypothermia and/or frostbite. Avoid leaving your pet out for long periods of time in very cold temperatures. When it comes to walks, you can protect your dog from the elements by dressing him or her in booties. If your dog resists wearing booties, make sure that you’re wiping his or her paws after they go outdoors to remove any salt or chemicals that could be harmful.
Be safe rather than sorry. When is your dog’s behavior indicative of potential problems with his or her paws? Limping could be one indication that your dog has painful paws. Excessive licking of the paws can also suggest a possible issue, such as an allergy or irritation that causes your dog’s paws to be uncomfortable or itchy. If your dog is continuously limping or excessively licking his or her paws, bring her or him in to us for a visit. When it comes to the health of your furry pal’s paws, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Pet Proofing Your Holiday Decorations - 12/18/2017
Many of us enjoy decorating our homes during the holidays. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards that these decorations can pose for our pets. Whenever you introduce something new to your home, there’s a good chance yoour pet(s) will want to interact with it, which can lead to some potential dangerous situations. Luckily, with a little pet proofing, you can ensure that your holiday decora doesn’t cause your cat or dog any harm during the holiday season.
The introduction of the Christmas tree to our homes each year always seems to catch our pets’ attention. Often, they can’t help but explore and interact with it in some way, whether it’s trying to climb its branches, paw at the bright lights and sparkling ornaments, trying to eat the decorations, or just knocking it over.
The tree itself can be a source of potential danger for your pet. The oils and needles of a live pine tree can be slightly toxic to your pet, causing irritation in their mouths and stomachs. Even an artificial tree could be dangerous if consumed. Don’t let yoour pet near the tree when you aren’t home, and when you are around, keep an eye on them and discipline your pets to stay away from the tree. If you do catch your pet eating the tree, get him or her away and monitor his or her behavior.
Additionally, be wary of the water that your live tree sits in. Your pets don’t know this, but the water of your Christmas tree could contain bacteria or preserving additives that could make them sick. To prevent your pets from drinking the Christmas tree water, cover it with a tree skirt.
It is also important to ensure that your tree is strongly secured. If your cat decides to scale its heights, you want to be sure that he or she won’t send it crashing over. If possible, also elevate your tree to make it less accessible and harder to tip over.
There are several types of ornaments that you should never utilize, including tinsel, real mistletoe, fake snow, poinsettias, lilies, and holly. However, that doesn’t mean your ome has to be dull or bear. You just need to decorate strategically. For example, place glass ornaments high out of reach so they can’t be pulled down by pets and broken. If your cat likes to climb, consider using ornaments that are less breakable. Also, ensure that hanging decorations, like wreaths and garlands, are securely fastened so they can’t be torn down.
Electrical cords attached to light can be tempting for pets to chew on. Prevent pets from suffering electrical burns or worse by covering the cord, placing it high out of reach, or using battery operated lights.
Candles are another hazard that are dangerous for both pets and you. Never leave open flames unattended, as pets may burn themselves or even start a fire by knocking candles over.
With only a few precautions, you can ensure that your home is festive and safe for your pets.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Your Pets - 11/20/2017
Thanksgiving is such a special time of year when we take the time to appreciate and give thanks for the important things and blessings in our lives.As you gather around the table with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, please remember to pay attention to your pet(s) and keep their safety in mind.
You may want to include your pet(s) in the festivities and spoil them with bites of food or leftovers, but some Thanksgiving foods may upset their stomach, or worse, they could be toxic and pose a threat to their health and safety. Therefore, before you share those bites or scraps, please take a moment to read these Thanksgiving safety tips for pets.
#1. Turkey dos and dont’s
It’s okay to share a little turkey with your furry friends, but avoid excess skin and fat. White meant is the best pet-friendly option.
Make sure the turkey is fully cooked and all bones have been removed before sharing. Don’t give your dog any turkey bones. They can splinter and cause serious health problems.
#2. Mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans and more
There are many vegetables that served for Thanksgiving and many are healthy options your pets can enjoy. Mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, asparagus, lettuce, and pumpkin are all okay.
#3. Avoid sharing onions, garlic, leeks, and other alliums
Whether raw, cooked, or in powder form, alliums can be potentially toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to gastric discomfort, pain and anemia.
#4. Say yes to cranberry sauce and NO to grapes and raisins
Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure in both dogs and cats if ingested.
Cranberry sauce is okay; however, limit how much you share as it can be high in sugar.
#5 Baking dos and don’ts
If you’re using sweeteners instead of sugar, make sure not to offer your delicious desserts to your pet – sweeteners can contain xylitol which is poisonous for pets.
Thanksgiving is no exception to the “no chocolate rule” for pets. Chocolate, especially baking chocolate, is very toxic and potentially lethal if ingested by your pet.
If you’re baking your own bread, don’t allow your pets to have any raw dough. When it’s ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in their stomach. As the dough expands, your pet can become quite sick and bloated, and may even require surgery to relieve the pressure.
Help your pet enjoy the holidays just as much as you do. Follow the “everything in moderation” rule. If your pets get too much of any of the special foods that they aren’t used to eating, they will likely end up with an upset stomach, diarrhea or maybe worse – overindulging can lead to pancreatitis.
if you want to play it safe, you could always pick up a new chew bone or toy or some veterinarian-approved treats for your pet.
National Pet Diabetes Month - 11/01/2017
November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a condition that affects both cats and dogs, as well as humans. Diabetes in animals is very similar to diabetes in humans. However, when it comes to our furry friends, it can be difficult for them to communicate when something is wrong. it’s up to us as pet parents to watch for signs something might be amiss, and get our pets the treatment they need. With diabetes, the common signs you may notice in your pet include increased thirst, increased urination, and weight loss in spite of an increased or excessive appetite. Additionally, lethargy, having urinary “accidents” when fully housebroken, cloudy eyes in dogs, lack of grooming in cats, and a dull, thinning coat can be symptoms. If your pet is displaying any of these signs, you should schedule a veterinary visit right away.
Diabetes Mellitus is the most common form of diabetes seen in cats and dogs, and is a disease of the pancreas (the other type, diabetes insipidus, is much more rare in both dogs and cats and affects the body’s ability to conserve water. The body releases too much water, often leading to dehydration). In animals with diabetes mellitus, their bodies don’t process insulin – the substance that turns glucose, or sugar from food, into fuel for the body – properly, or their bodies don’t produce enough insulin. Without the right amount of insulin in your pet’s body, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. As a result, your pet may act as though he or she is starving or malnourished; this is because the pet’s body isn’t using the food they are consuming effectively for energy.
Diabetes mellitus is a common disease, with between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 animals believed to be affected, with those numbers on the rise. Diabetes is often seen in middle-aged to older animals, animals that are overweight or obese, female dogs and male cats. Other risk factors for diabetes come from genetic predisposition to the disease and breed.
While there is no cure for diabetes, it is possible to manage it well for your pet and enable them to still lead a full, active life. Most pets with diabetes mellitus will require a daily insulin injection and diet regulation. They will need to be fed the same amount and type of food at the same time every day. A regular exercise routine is also beneficial. However, once a pet’s diabetes is properly regulated, prognosis is good and they are able to enjoy a quality life with little side effects or symptoms. However, if left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to other health problems, including cataracts, urinary tract infections, and eventually coma and death.
National diabetes month was created to bring awareness to this disease that affects a large number of animals, especially as they age, and ensure they are getting the veterinary treatment and care needed to manage this condition. If you’ve noticed any of the signs or symptoms outlined above, make sure you have your pet seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose, treat your pet, and advise you on ongoing management for your pet’s condition. He or she will be able to answer any questions you may have. Remember each pet is unique; therefore, diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management will be tailored to each individual pet. The earlier this condition is diagnosed and regulated, the better the prognosis and outlook your pet will have. With proper management, there is no reason your pet’s life expectancy should be affected.
October Is Pet Obesity Awareness Month - 10/03/2017
October is Pet Obesity Awareness Month. Obese and overweight pets have become a growing concern in veterinary medicine all over the world over the past years. The Australian Veterinary Association reports 41% of pets are overweight or obese. The rates are even higher in the United States (56%) and Canada (50%). That means that around half of all domestic pets could benefit from losing a few pounds. It also means that half of domestic pets aren’t living at an optimum level of health and are having their lives put at risk by a condition that is preventable and very manageable.
Overweight pets have a shorter lifespan and poorer quality of life. They also have increased risks of medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, heart disease, diabetes and more. Overweight and obese pets are also prone to greater risk of complications during surgical procedures and recovery. Dogs are at higher risk than cats; females are at greater risk than males, and older animals are at greater risk than younger pets. Additionally, the incidence of obese pets is also correlated to the obesity levels of their owners, which is often directly related to the amount and frequency of exercise pets get.
Most pet owners overfeed their pets. It’s important to follow the feeding recommendations made by your veterinarian. Often, free feeding (having unlimited food always available so your pet can eat as they desire) leads to pets consuming more calories than they need. Treats also contribute to your pet’s overall calorie intake and should be taken into account when considering what and how much your pets eat. Giving pets table scraps can also be a contributor to excess calories, especially depending on the types of human food your dog receives. It is also important to be sure that you are knowledgeable about what foods are safe for pets. This avoids accidentally giving your pet something that is toxic to them, such as raisins, grapes, or chocolate.
The average caloric needs for indoor pets who receive approximately 30 minutes of activity a day (i.e. brisk walk) are: Cats that are 10 lb. – 180-200 calories; 10 lb. dogs – 200-275 calories; 20 lb. dogs – 325-400 calories; and 50 lb. dogs – 700-900 calories. These caloric needs are based on adult spayed or neutered pets (who require fewer calories than intact pets). The needs of your individual pet may differ based on breed, lifestyle, genetics, activity level, age, and more. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your pet’s specific diet and calorie requirements with your veterinarian, who will be able to provide you with a tailored diet and exercise program.
Regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Your dog should be active at least 20 minutes three times a day, with a variety of activities such as a walk or jog, playing fetch, swimming, and playing other games or with toys. Cats should have 15-20 minutes of active playtime or exercise twice a day to stimulate their senses with activities like laser tag or fishing-pole toys.
If your pet is at a healthy weight, you should be able to feel his or her ribs, and when viewed from above, your pet should have a natural “waistline” that curves in past the ribcage. The belly should also slant upwards from the ribcage to the hind legs. If the belly is saggy, it’s a sign of being overweight. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a more detailed review of your pet’s body and provide a Body Condition score – the pet version of a BMI, which is a measure against which to evaluate body fat.
Keeping your pet lean and fit will help extend your pet’s life, keeping them healthier and happier to enjoy each other longer. Pet obesity is one of the top nutritional disorders in pets and is one that can be easily managed and avoided. Speak with your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your pet’s weight and health. Your veterinarian will be able to give you valuable advice and a plan to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Happy Cat Month Is The Purrfect Time To Schedule Your Cat’s Veterinary Check-up - 09/14/2017
This month is a great time to schedule your cat’s routine veterinary check-up and think about any health-related red flags or issues you may have noticed recently in your cat. Providing good health and wellness care for your feline friends can help them live longer, healthier lives.
Many cats don’t receive the level of veterinary care they should, generally because they don’t visit the veterinarian often enough. Routine, preventive care is very important even for healthy cats, and regular veterinary visits are an important part of your pet’s health care. Here are just of few reasons:
~ Cats age at a much quicker rate than humans do, so they should be seen by their veterinarian more often than humans see our doctors. Cats mature very quickly during their first two years of life, generally thought to equate to about 25 human years. After that, one human year is about 4 feline years, so a 5-year-old cat is about like a 37 year-old human, and a 10-year-old cat is about like a 57 year-old person.
~ Cats are very good at hiding pain and illnesses. While you, their pet owner may not notice anything is wrong, veterinarians are trained to spot potential issues before they become difficult to treat. You may not notice a gradual shift in your pet’s behavior until the veterinarian asks specific, pointed questions.
~ Over 50% of cats are overweight or obese. If your cat is among that 50%, your cat is at risk for many conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and more.
~ It’s always preferable to perform preventive care rather than reactive care. It’s much better to detect problems early and avoid emergency situations than to deal with problems after they’ve become an issue. Early detection means treatments are often more successful and less costly.
All cats should have a complete veterinary examination at least once each year, although some cats should be seen more often, depending on individual needs and the particular cat’s health concerns. The veterinary visit should include a review of your cat’s health history, lifestyle, life stage, activities of daily living, general behavior, and diet. The physical examination should include a dental assessment, pain assessment, and body condition scoring. It may also include testing, such as blood tests for heartworm and organ malfunction along with urinalysis, a stool sample to test for intestinal parasites, and screening tests for feline Immunodeficiency Virus and feline Leukemia, as a means of getting a complete picture of your cat’s health. You may need to have your cat’s immunizations brought up to date, and discuss or review ongoing parasite preventions. Any diagnosis for medical issues will be made after all of the information has been gathered and the examination is completed. Your veterinarian will also likely discuss a preventive healthcare plan for your cat going forward, to maintain his or her optimum health.
Veterinary visits don’t need to be stressful or scary for either you or your feline friend. Here are a few tips for reducing the stress of veterinary visits:
~ Understand why your cat gets stressed. The carrier, car ride, and veterinary office are all unfamiliar places with new sounds, smells, and sights, as well as other people and pets. Give your cat a chance to become familiar with the carrier and the car well in advance of the veterinary visit, to help reduce the stress they can cause.
~ Make the carrier more familiar by leaving it out and accessible for your cat will in advance of the veterinary visit. Place familiar toys, bedding, and treats in it, and encourage your cat to check it out, although it may take some time before she or he goes in voluntarily.
~ Make sure your veterinary clinic is well trained in feline-friendly handling and understanding feline-specific behaviors to increase the quality if care for your cat.
Visits to the veterinarian can be pleasant, positive experiences for both you and your cat. Because regular veterinary visits are necessary and important, it’s important to make a visit to the vet, at the very least, an event your cat doesn’t mind rather than one filled with anxiety and fear. For more information please don’t hesitate to call us or schedule an appointment: 480 893-0533.