All posts by James

Helping Cats and Toddlers Get Along

Do you have both a toddler and a cat? Kids and cats are a super cute combination! Kitties can form strong bonds with children. They also make great cuddle buddies and playmates. However, cats and toddlers don’t always understand each other very well, which can lead to friction. Here, a vet discusses helping cats and toddlers become friends.

Warning Signs

When it comes to kitties and toddlers, one common fear is that Fluffy will scratch or bite. Those little claws and teeth are sharp! However, toddlers can also injure cats. You’ll need to keep both parties safe from each other. We recommend supervising all interactions closely. If your cat shows any warning signs, like flattening her ears, immediately separate them.

Escape Routes

Toddlers often try to chase cats, which doesn’t always go over well with our feline friends. Offer Fluffy a spot to retreat to in every room. Cat trees are great for this! If possible, put one in every room. (Tip: fasten it to the wall, just in case your toddler tries to climb it.) Baby gates will work as well. Your kitty may also appreciate having a spot under a bed or behind a couch, or even a pet tent or tipi. Teach your child that Fluffy should be left alone when she’s in her hiding spot. Think of it as a kitty do-not-disturb signal.

Teaching Empathy

It’s never too early to start teaching children to treat animals gently, and with kindness and compassion. Many youngsters have learned the hard way that kitty tails aren’t toys! Take time to show your toddler how to properly pet cats. Use your hand to gently guide theirs. Talk to your furball softly as you are doing this, and let her sniff your child’s hand. With any luck, your feline pal will show her approval with purrs and cuddles. Don’t force Fluffy to submit, however: if she wants to get away, let her go.

Safety

One thing cats and toddlers have in common is that neither of them really know what is and isn’t safe to eat or play with. Fortunately, petproofing and childproofing are quite similar. Remove or secure potentially dangerous items, such as plastic bags, small or sharp objects, medicines, and toxic plants. Also, don’t let your child give Fluffy treats without supervision.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Tips for Eco-Friendly Dog Care

We would all like to do our part to live more sustainably and make the earth a better place to be—both for ourselves and for future generations. Did you know that there are several ways to care for your dog in an eco-friendly, sustainable manner? Here are a few tips from your local veterinarian on earth-friendly dog care.

Use Sustainable Pet Products

Purchasing planet-friendly dog products isn’t difficult, and it can make a huge impact when it comes to your pet’s environmental footprint. There are plenty of options out there: biodegradable dog poop bags that won’t take up space in landfills for decades; “green” grooming products, such as shampoos and conditioners; eco-friendly cleaners and stain removers for those accidents on the rug; and toys made from recycled materials are just a few examples.

Try Eco-Friendly Food

Choose dog food packaged in recyclable or biodegradable bags, and try finding companies that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. You can also look for foods with higher quantities of plant-based ingredients versus animal-based ingredients, since animal products generally have a much larger environmental footprint than plant-based products.

Try making your own dog treats, rather than purchasing them and contributing to plastic waste. Do some research online to find recipes for healthy homemade treats. Of course, you’ll always want to check with your veterinarian to make sure what you’re feeding Fido is safe.

The DIY Route

When it comes to dog care, there are many do-it-yourself options that save you money while proving environmentally friendly at the same time. Try making your own dog toys out of old T-shirts, or turning that stray couch cushion you were going to throw out into a dog bed. Steps like these cut down on plastic and packaging waste while reducing the impact on your wallet!

Adopt From Shelters

One of the most effective and simple ways to own a dog sustainably is to adopt them from a shelter. Getting your pup from a breeder or pet store means that you’re perpetuating the cycle of breeding, which is very unsustainable. When you adopt your dog from your local shelter, resources like food, toys, medicine, and even energy are freed up to help other animals who need them—you’re saving a life and helping the shelter to conserve its resources.

Contact your vet clinic for even more great tips. We’re here to help!

Helping Your Pet Recover From Surgery

Is your pet having an operation soon? Perhaps Fluffy or Fido need to get fixed. Pets also sometimes require surgery for specific medical problems. This can be a worrying time for pet parents! Read on as a local vet discusses helping pets recover from surgery.

Follow Instructions

Your vet should provide you with written instructions for your pet’s care after surgery. Follow these guidelines to the letter, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Offer A Comfy Bed

Does your pet have a good bed? If so, wash it before you bring your pet home. If not, this is the perfect time to get one! Your four-legged pal will definitely appreciate having a clean, comfortable spot to rest and recuperate in.

Provide A Quiet Place

Just like people, pets need peace and quiet while they are recuperating. If you have other pets and/or young children, set your furry patient up in a comfy back room, so they can just rest quietly.

Don’t Encourage Play

It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to healing and recovery. Don’t encourage your pet to run, jump, or play until your vet gives the official all-clear. Better safe than sorry!

Protect Stitches

As you may know, many of our animal companions tend to worry at their stitches, especially once they start itching. Your pet may need to wear an Elizabethan collar, also known as the Lampshade or the Cone of Shame, to keep them from chewing their stitches. Inflatable collars also work, and are generally more comfortable. Medical pet shirts are another option. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Watch For Red Flags

Keep a close eye on your furry pal, and watch for signs of infection. Some of the things to watch for are swelling, discoloration, and/or redness near the surgical site; pus; foul odors; fever; lethargy; vomiting and/or diarrhea; and anorexia. Call your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss.

No Baths

Avoid bathing your pet until he or she has completely healed. You definitely don’t want bathwater getting into a surgical site!

Love

Last but certainly not least, pay lots of attention to your furry friend. Offer lots of ear scritches and forehead kisses, and just make sure they feel loved and safe.

Do you have questions about your pet’s surgery? Please contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.

Vehicle Safety Tips for Your Pet

According to the American Automobile Association, over 80% of dog owners drive with their pet in the car. That’s a lot of pets traveling in motor vehicles—it’s important for you to make sure your animal companion stays safe! Here are a few key vehicle safety tips for your pet:

In the Garage

There are several safety hazards to consider before you’ve even left home. Always check that your pet isn’t in the garage when you’re pulling out. Cats, in particular, like to hide under cars and can be seriously injured or worse if they become trapped under your vehicle. Never leave your car running while your pet is in the garage, as the noxious carbon monoxide fumes can do serious damage.

Heatstroke Risk

Did you know that the temperature inside a parked car on a hot day can skyrocket to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a half-hour? Never leave your pet inside a parked car, even on cloudy days, because the risk of heatstroke is simply too great. Cracking a window won’t do the trick, either—it’s best to simply leave your pet at home.

Short Trips

For shorter trips in the car, perhaps to the vet’s office or to a dog park, it’s important to make sure your pet is properly restrained. A pet who roams free in the car can be seriously injured in the event of an accident, or they can cause an accident themselves by interfering with the driver. Keep your pet in a carrier, or use a specialized car harness, to secure your animal friend.

Never allow your dog to put their head out of the window while you’re driving. Debris from the road could strike your dog’s face or body, potentially causing serious injury. You also run the risk of your dog falling out of the vehicle should you have to make a sharp turn or stop.

Long Trips

Thinking of taking your pet on a longer road trip? Apply the same rules above when it comes to safely restraining them. Take frequent breaks throughout your trip to allow your pet to use the bathroom and get a drink. Last but not least, check with your destination before leaving home to make sure that it’s pet-friendly.

A final tip: make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel. Set up an appointment at your vet’s office today to have your pet examined.

All About the Elizabethan Collar

When a pet is recovering from a surgical incision, wound, skin infection, or some other bodily harm, there is a natural tendency to scratch, bite, lick, or chew at the site. Of course, this kind of self-traumatization extends recovery time and can even cause a pet to heal improperly! That’s where the Elizabethan collar comes in—these cone-shaped plastic devices fasten around your pet’s neck to prevent any form of self-trauma during recovery.

The Basics

The Elizabethan collar—nicknamed the E-collar and sometimes referred to as the “cone of shame”—is named after the ruffs worn by the wealthy in Elizabethan-era England. It was first patented in the United States as a protective item for pets in the late 1950s. Elizabethan collars can be used on dogs and cats alike, and are usually made of plastic but may also be made from other materials, like fabric. E-collars may fasten around a pet’s neck with string or Velcro, or they may have adjustable tabs or bands built in.

Proper Sizing

There are different sizes of Elizabethan collars, and it’s important that the proper size is given to the pet who needs it. If a collar is too tight, it could choke a pet; if it’s too loose, it could fall off and allow the pet to inflict harm on themselves.

Another important consideration is the length of the E-collar. Ideally, the end of your pet’s cone will sit near the tip of their nose, allowing them to go about their business with relative normalcy while also eliminating their ability to scratch, bite, lick, or chew themselves.

Caring for a Pet With an E-Collar

Keep a close eye on your pet whenever he or she is wearing their E-collar. It’s possible for pets to get the collar stuck between things, or your pet could manage to bite off and ingest a piece of the plastic.

When an Elizabethan collar is sized and fit properly, a pet should be able to eat and drink without a problem. That doesn’t mean that they’ll actually do it, though! If your pet refuses to eat or drink while wearing the collar, you may have to remove it for meals while making sure they don’t chew or scratch at a healing site, and then reattach the collar when they’re done. Ask your vet for further advice.

To learn more about the Elizabethan collar, call your vet’s office.

Essential Oils That Are Toxic to Pets

Essential oils have become very popular, and with good reason. They smell wonderful, and can be helpful for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes. They are also often utilized for aromatherapy and in personal care products, like soaps and lotions. However, what is good for us isn’t always good for our animal companions. In fact, some essential oils are dangerous for pets. Here, a vet offers information to help keep your pets safe.

Cats

Cats have very sensitive skin, which tends to absorb things very quickly. They are also extremely sensitive to toxins. This is because Fluffy doesn’t have essential liver enzymes that allow her to metabolize toxins. Essential oils are particularly dangerous because they are distilled, and are therefore much more potent than the plants they are derived from. Kitties are also at risk through inhaling oils via diffusers or sprays.

Never use peppermint, wintergreen, citrus oils, tea tree oil, cinnamon oil, pennyroyal, or tea tree on or near cats or their belongings.

Dogs

Many essential oils are also unsafe for dogs. The list includes cinnamon, tea tree oil, citrus oils, pennyroyal, peppermint, wintergreen, ylang ylang, pine, and sweet birch. Clove, garlic, anise, thyme, wintergreen, juniper, and horseradish are also unsafe.

It doesn’t matter whether your pooch eats the oil or gets it on his skin. Keep in mind that Fido has a very, very sensitive nose. What may smell wonderful to you can be overpowering to pets.

Tips

Since the above oils are not safe for pets, it’s best to stick with safer oils, such as lavender, frankincense, and vanilla.

However, if you do use oils that are toxic to pets, exercise caution when using them. Keep them away from your furry friend, and store them out of paws’ reach. If you want to burn oil in a diffuser, keep your pet in a separate area. Also, be sure to wash your hands after using these oils. That way, you won’t accidentally transfer any to your pet’s skin. It’s also worth noting that each pet is different. One dog may immediately react to an oil, while another may not be affected at all. Individual allergies can also play a role in whether your pet reacts to a certain oil or not.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your pet’s care. We’re here to help!

Your Cat’s Body Language

If you own a cat, you know that they can sometimes be a bit aloof. One of the best ways to tell what your cat might be thinking or feeling is by studying their body language. While it’s not an exact science, there are a few traits common across most cats that are good indicators of your feline friend’s mood. Learn more below:

The Tail

Experts agree: your cat’s tail is one of the best gauges of their temperament. Most of the time, you’ll see your pet keep her tail in the “default” position when walking around; the tail will be held upright in a gentle fashion. A raised tail with a curl means your cat is feeling comfortable and playful, while wrapping the tail around your legs—or around another cat or pet in the house—is a sign of affection.

A tail that’s held rigidly straight up in the air, puffed with hair jutting out wildly, is a sign that your cat is alarmed and ready to defend herself. This tail position is likely to be accompanied by widened eyes, a hiss, and a crouched front half with claws extended. If you see this type of body language, it’s best to get out of the way!

The Eyes

As mentioned above, wide eyes mean that your cat is frightened or tense. Generally speaking, the wider your cat’s eyes are, the more anxious she is—and the more ready she is to defend herself or retreat.

Have you ever seen your cat blink slowly at you? The slow-blink is another piece of your cat’s body-language puzzle. Since closing the eyes around other pets or people is a sign of trust, the slow-blink is a way of communicating affection. Sometimes, cat owners are able to slow-blink at their cat and get a slow-blink in return… try it with your feline friend!

The Ears

When your cat is alert and focused on something, you’ll probably see the ears pointed upward and cocked forward. Pointed ears could also indicate tension or alarm. Ears that are upright but turned backward indicate that your cat is alarmed—she’s ready to bolt or defend herself if necessary.

Remember: every cat is different and might display certain body language traits that are unique to them. To learn more about your feline friend’s behavior, or to set up an appointment for an exam, call the office today.

Tips for Choosing Dog Toys

Does your canine buddy sometimes run up to you holding his favorite toy? Fido has a pretty adorable way of asking you to play with him! Playing is actually great for your pet. It keeps him active, offers him beneficial mental stimulation, and lets him spend time with his favorite human: you. However, doggy toys are not one-size-fits-all. A vet offers some tips on choosing your pup’s playthings below.

Age

One thing you’ll need to keep in mind is Fido’s age. If your furry friend is still a young puppy, he’ll need soft toys. Once the little guy starts teething, chew toys are going to be at the top of his list. When your pooch is all grown up, he will need toys that keep him active, entertained, and, hopefully, out of mischief. Treat-dispensing toys, Frisbees, and puzzle toys are all good choices for frisky adult dogs. If your canine pal is a senior, he may just want a few treat toys, or perhaps a snuggly plush toy. Toys that make noise are a great choice for older pooches that don’t see well, while light-up playthings are great for deaf dogs.

Size

Consider Fido’s breed and size. Bigger dogs can break or rip toys easily, so they need tougher, more durable playthings than a smaller pup would. Larger dogs can also choke on toys made for puppies or little pooches. Small dogs, on the other hand, can injure themselves on toys that are too big.

Lifestyle

Keep your schedule and lifestyle in mind as well. If you often play with your furry buddy at night, opt for toys that glow or light up. If Fido enjoys burying things, get durable toys that will stand up to your four-legged pirate’s treasure-hunting antics.

Safety

Always put safety first. Choose toys that are durable, and won’t easily rip or break. This is sometimes a problem with plush toys and stuffed animals. Fido could hurt himself if he swallows a squeaker or stuffing. If your canine companion has any aggressive tendencies, or is a bit rowdy, skip the rope toys and tug toys. Some dogs get a bit too into playing Tug-O-War, and can get really riled up. This can be dangerous, especially with larger dogs. Ask your vet for more information.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

External Parasites That Harm Cats

If you own a cat, proper parasite control is important not only for your feline friend’s health, but for your family’s—some of these pests can be transmitted from cats to humans! External parasites live on your cat’s body and feed off of blood or tissue. Below, learn more about external pests and how to keep your cat safe from harm.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny brown-colored parasites that cause skin irritation, allergies, and even more serious problems like anemia in severe cases. To make matters worse, fleas can jump several feet, possibly jumping off of your cat and infesting surfaces, items, and other pets or family members in your home.

If you’ve noticed your cat scratching themselves more than usual, or if there are visible black particles underneath your pet’s fur (these are flea droppings!), make an appointment at the vet’s office. A flea treatment will be prescribed—shampoos, liquids or gels applied to the skin and fur, a flea collar, oral tablets, and other products are available—and your cat will be put on a flea preventative after the infestation is over.

Ticks

Ticks latch on to your cat’s skin and draw out blood, growing larger the longer they remain. They can transmit many dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks can also be brought indoors on your cat and then infest other pets or human family members. Luckily, they’re easily prevented with simple precautions; keep your cat on a high-quality flea-and-tick preventative, and check your cat’s body regularly for ticks if they venture outdoors.

Lice

Lice are another type of external parasite that can hurt your cat, although it’s a far less common problem than flea or tick infestations. These tiny parasites, like fleas, cause skin irritation and can even lead to cases of anemia without treatment. Eradication involves applying shampoos or other topical products that kill off both lice and lice eggs on your cat’s body.

Mites

There are various types of mites, including some that live normally on your cat’s skin and don’t cause any problems. When an infestation occurs, your cat will suffer from irritated skin and possible hair loss. Medications to eradicate mites will need to be given for several weeks if your cat is found to be suffering from an infestation.

To learn more about keeping your cat—and family—safe from parasites, call your vet’s office today!

Meet the AKC’s Newest Breed: The Azawakh

The ‘puparazzi’ are all buzzing about the latest dog news: the AKC has just welcomed another new breed into their ranks. The Azawakh (pronounced Oz-a-wok) was formally inducted on January 1, 2019. This brings the total number of AKC-recognized breeds to 193, including the 2018 inductees: the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vandeen. In this article, a local vet discusses the Azawakh.

History

The Azawakh is actually an ancient breed, having originated in West Africa. They were first bred as guard dogs, companions, and hunters by the blue-clad Tuareg nomads, who cherish and love their canine friends. Long-legged and elegant, the Azawakh is a sighthound, hunting by sight rather than scent. In fact, their name means ‘Sighthound of the free people’ in the Tuareg language. Quick and hardy, these fast pooches are renowned at hunting antelope, wild boars, hares, and other game.

Physique

The Azawakh has a unique, elegant appearance. They have long legs and a short, fine coat, which only needs occasional grooming. These lovable pooches come in all colors and color combinations, from black and brown to fawn to brindle. Sometimes, they have a black ‘mask’ on their faces, and/or white markings on their legs, chest, or tails.

Training

Azawakhs are both smart and independent, so proper training is a must. Socialization is also very important. It’s worth noting that they are quite proud, and don’t do well with negative reinforcement. To keep things positive–and keep that tail wagging–focus on rewarding Fido for being good.

Diet

The Azawakh doesn’t have any specific dietary needs, so a good, high-quality dog food will do fine. You do have to be careful not to overfeed Fido, however. These friendly pups do tend to gain weight easily, and are at risk of becoming obese. Ask your vet for specific nutritional advice, including portion sizes.

Temperament

 

Azawakhs are quite affectionate and lovable, and become very attached to their owners. Though they have a sweet, calm, demeanor, they are quite energetic, and need regular exercise to stay healthy. These dogs make great pets for joggers! However, you may need to urge Fido to keep moving: left alone, your canine buddy will probably opt to just take a nap.

Please feel free to contact us, your local vet clinic, for all of your furry friend’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to offering great care!