All posts by James

The Building Blocks of Your Pet’s Nutrition

Proper nutrition is a must for any healthy pet. Modern pet foods are specially formulated to give great nutrition to your companion, and there are plenty of options out there. In the end, though, your pet’s nutrition comes down to the basic building blocks—you’ll find that the nutrients that your pet needs are many of the same ones that you do! Let’s take a closer look at the building blocks of your pet’s nutrition.

Protein

Protein is essential for building all of your pet’s bodily tissues. That’s why diets made for young pets—puppy and kitten formulas—are typically very high in protein; it promotes healthy tissue and muscle development as a young pet grows. A high-protein diet might also be appropriate for a pregnant dog or cat, as they need extra protein to safely deliver their litter.

Carbohydrates

Your pet’s body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a simple sugar that provides energy. Carbs are the “fuel” for the body’s cells—they’re what keeps your animal friend going! Foods like rice and potatoes are high in carbohydrates, and are therefore included in pet food formulas often.

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is also key for a pet’s good health. Insoluble fiber works to regulate glucose levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into your pet’s bloodstream. Fiber also helps your pet to feel full—it’s no accident that many weight-loss diets for pets are high in fiber!

Fats

Just like humans, pets need proper fats to stay healthy. It’s another important component for providing your pet with energy. The fat that your pet’s system doesn’t use for physical activity will be stored in the body to be used as a reserve.

High-energy pets will need more fat in the diet to retain high activity levels. A working ranch dog, for instance, needs more fat in their diet than an aging housecat does. Ask your veterinarian if your pet’s fat levels are appropriate for their needs.

Vitamins and Minerals

Of course, your pet also needs essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients, for proper nutrition throughout life. High-quality pet foods are made with just the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to keep your pet healthy for a lifetime.

Want to know more about your pet’s nutrition? Need a recommendation on a great diet choice? Call us today to learn more.

Kittenproofing

Have you recently adopted a kitten? Congratulations! Your tiny ball of fur is sure to keep you smiling over the next several months. She’ll also keep you on your toes! Baby cats are impossibly cute, but they sure do have a knack for mischief. In order to keep little Fluffy safe, you’ll need to do some petproofing. A Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet discusses kittenproofing in this article.

Small or Sharp Objects

Our feline pals have an almost uncanny knack for getting into trouble. If there’s one thing in the room that would be dangerous for little Fluffy to play with, chances are, that’s what she’ll go for. Small and sharp items are both high on the list of hazards, because of the potential for choking, strangling, or injuries. Keep things like beads, tacks, safety pins, jewelry, and other hazardous items well out of paws’ reach.

Appliances

Kittens love to explore, and will hop into pretty much anything they can fit into. This can be a dangerous habit! Dryers, stoves, and even toilets can all be deadly to a furry little explorer. Keep major appliances closed when you aren’t using them, and keep a close eye on your pet.

Kitten-Sized Holes

When little Fluffy is fully grown, you probably won’t have to worry about her getting stuck beneath an armoire or trapped behind a kitchen counter. However, when your tiny feline is a baby, she’ll be able to fit into some very small openings. Seal off empty spaces beneath and behind your furniture and cupboards. Also, make sure your windows close tightly. Your furball could also climb under a recliner, curl up under a blanket, or take a nap tucked behind a couch cushion. This can be quite dangerous! Keep a close eye on your kitten, and take care not to accidentally sit or step on her.

Toxins

Kittens are very curious, and are very interested in figuring out what they can and can’t eat and play with. Unfortunately, they don’t really know what is and isn’t safe for them. Cats can get very sick from eating something they shouldn’t! Remove or secure household chemicals, automotive products, lawn/garden products, medicines, and toxic plants. Wires, cords, and threads are also hazardous to frisky little furballs. Cat toys with strings can be dangerous as well. Store these things securely!

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

Caring for a Pregnant Cat

Is your kitty pregnant? Whether Fluffy got out one night and came home with something to show for it, is a pregnant foster or stray you’ve been caring for, or was bred intentionally, your feline pal will need some extra TLC in the coming weeks. A Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet discusses caring for pregnant cats below.

Food

Proper nutrition is important for all kitties, but it’s absolutely crucial for pregnant ones. Your furry buddy will need extra calories, as she’s eating for herself and her litter of furballs. Kitten food is often a good choice, as it has additional nutrients. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Handling

It is safe to pet Fluffy. However, you will want to avoid touching her belly, as it will be quite sensitive. If you have to pick your pet up, take care not to hold her by the stomach.

Birthing Box

Cats are usually in gestation for 58 – 67 days. As your kitty gets closer to delivery, you’ll need to give her a safe place to give birth. A big box is fine. You can also use a storage tote with one side cut out. Just make sure there are no sharp edges. Add clean, soft blankets or towels. You’ll want to choose ones you don’t really care about, of course. Put the box in a spot that offers your furball some peace and quiet, and show it to her. Don’t be surprise if Fluffy ignores it. If she chooses to give birth somewhere else, just move the kittens into the box after they’re born. Mama will follow!

Delivery

Most of the time, kitties can give birth on their own. However, you should monitor Fluffy, and watch for signs that something is wrong. If your pet takes more than two hours between kittens, if a kitten seems to be ‘stuck’ for more than a minute or two, or if your cat has contractions for more than 15 minutes without giving birth, contact your vet. Foul-smelling discharge is also a sign of trouble. We also recommend having your vet examine your feline buddy after the birth. Once the kittens have been born, the warning signs will change. Vomiting, diarrhea, and/or tremors are red flags at this stage. Call your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.

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

Signs of Aging in Dogs

Is your dog aged six or older? If so, Fido may be near—or already in—his golden years. Dogs don’t all age at the same rate, however. Your pet’s breed will play a huge role in how and when he ages. Large dogs, like Great Danes, are generally considered seniors by age six. Smaller pooches, however, aren’t considered seniors until they are about ten. No matter what type of pup you have, it’s important to watch for signs of aging. A Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet lists some of them below.

Confusion

Older dogs often get confused or forgetful. Fido may forget where his doggy bed is, or get ‘lost’ in the hall. He may also act disoriented and/or pace a lot. Or he just may not seem like himself. This type of behavior is often normal, but can sometimes be indicative of a specific medical issue, such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, or, in other words, doggy dementia.

Lower Activity

As Fido ages, he will slowly lose interest in his toys, and spend more and more time napping. He may also become stiff and sore, and have trouble getting around, especially if he develops arthritis or hip dysplasia. Ramps or stairs can help dogs stay mobile, while supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may help with bone/joint trouble.

Incontinence

Incontinence is not uncommon in older pups. (Never yell at your furry buddy for this: often dogs are very embarrassed by this issue.) If notice an increase in Fido’s urination, or if your pooch is straining to go, call your vet: these things may indicate kidney problems or UTIs.

Vision/Hearing Loss

Just like people, senior dogs sometimes have trouble with their ears and eyes. Fido may bump into things, for instance. Or, he may not hear you when you call him.

Other Issues

Some signs of aging are a bit more subtle. Dental problems, for example, are not unusual. These are often marked by bad breath, bleeding gums, and/or tartar build up. You may also notice skin issues, such as lumps and bumps, dry skin, or bald spots. Changes in weight are also quite common. If you see any of these symptoms, consult your vet immediately. Medicine, treatment, and/or dietary changes may help manage your beloved pet’s medical issues, and help keep him comfortable.

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

Teaching Your Puppy His Name

If you’ve recently adopted a puppy or plan on getting one soon, one of the first orders of business will be teaching young Fido his name. It’s the foundation of your relationship and the starting point for all other training. Use the following tips to successfully teach your puppy his name:

Choosing a Name

First, set yourself up for success by choosing a great name for your pup. Try to pick a name with two or more syllables, rather than a single-syllable name; it’s easier for your puppy to distinguish and understand, and it won’t sound like any single-syllable commands such as “sit,” “stay,” or “down.”

Another naming tip: don’t use nicknames (“Bud” instead of “Buddy”, for example) when training your puppy, as this could confuse him. Consistency is key!

Training

Begin by simply saying your puppy’s name. Speak clearly and firmly, but use a pleasant tone of voice throughout the whole process. When your puppy looks at you, reward him with a treat. Allow your puppy to look away, then repeat the above process. Offer a treat as soon as he looks—this is reinforcing the notion that looking at you upon hearing his name results in a reward.

Repeat this process a few times, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want your puppy to lose interest and make things harder on yourself. Try breaking up name-training into a few short sessions per day, and try training in different rooms of the home so that your puppy doesn’t start to associate his name with one particular area. It won’t be long before your puppy has learned his name successfully!

Avoiding Negative Reinforcement

Many puppy owners make the mistake of accidentally providing negative reinforcement. This might occur, for example, when your puppy has an accident in your home. Your instinct is probably to yell “Fido, no!” or “Bad dog, Fido!” but this could backfire. It’s associating your puppy’s name with a negative scenario, which could lead to behavior and training problems in the future. When your puppy misbehaves, leave his name out of your reprimand. Simply say “No!” in a firm, authoritative voice without adding your pup’s name.

Do you need help with your puppy’s training or behavior? Does your pet need his initial veterinary examination or vaccinations? We’re here to help with all of your puppy’s care needs. Set up an appointment here at the clinic today.

5 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Has your dog or cat been fixed yet? If not, we strongly recommend that you see to this right away. Although spay/neuter surgery should ideally be performed before your pet reaches sexual maturity, it can safely be done on adult pets as well. Making sure your furry pal has been spayed or neutered is very important! Read on as a local veterinarian lists some reasons to get your four-legged buddy fixed.

Better Behavior

Good petiquette is one of the biggest benefits to spaying or neutering your furry friend. Dogs and cats that have been fixed are typically much calmer—and therefore better behaved—than those who are intact. They’re also less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors, such as mounting and marking their territory by spraying.

Safety

Safety is another concern with intact pets. They often try to escape so they can go looking for love. This puts Fido and Fluffy at greater risk of being lost or seriously injured!

Support Animal Welfare

Pet overpopulation is a huge problem, and one of the main reasons that there are so many homeless pets out there. A single pair of cats can have 11,606,077 descendants in just nine years! We know, kittens and puppies are adorable, but there are already far too many wonderful dogs and cats in need of loving homes. Also, even if you do find great homes for your four-legged friend’s babies, there’s really no way to guarantee that their own offspring will fare so well. Making sure your pet doesn’t contribute to pet overpopulation is a great way to support good animal welfare!

Health Benefits

Did you know that spaying and neutering can prevent certain health issues? Getting your female dog or cat spayed will reduce the risk of her developing uterine infections and breast tumors, which are often malignant. Neutering male pets protects them from certain prostate problems and testicular cancer. Ask your vet for more information.

Spare Yourself The Sound Of Kitty Caterwauling

Have you ever heard the “love songs” of an amorous kitty looking for a mate? If so, you probably will agree that being spared Fluffy’s singing is reason enough to get your furball fixed!

Are you ready to make an appointment for your pet? Contact us, your vet clinic, anytime. We offer excellent veterinary care.

Common Wintertime Pet Toxins

Now that winter is upon us, it’s time to think about what substances can harm your pet during the colder months. There are several wintertime toxins that can prove harmful for your animal companion! Let’s take a look at some of the most common so that you can keep your pet safe.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze is used in car engines to keep them running properly. Unfortunately, many types of antifreeze contain ethylene glycol, a toxic alcoholic substance that can harm pets in very small amounts. Even worse, antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste that can attract pets! Use antifreeze carefully, and clean up spills right away. Store it in a safe place where pets can’t reach.

Ice Melt

Your pet might encounter ice melt while walking outside, or they may come across a container of it inside your home. Most ice melts are made with sodium chloride, which can lead to an upset stomach and skin irritation in small amounts, and serious cases of poisoning in larger doses. Avoid ice patches outdoors whenever you can, and store ice melt carefully.

Human Medications

When cold and flu season hits, you and members of your family might start taking over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, which is an NSAID. NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are very dangerous for pets! Too much of an NSAID can cause damage to the intestinal wall and reduce blood flow to the kidneys, leading to serious health issues.

Other human medicines, like cough syrup, prescription drugs, and more, can also cause harm. Keep your medicine cabinet shut tightly at all times.

Pesticides and Rodenticides

The chilly weather outside lures pests like insects and small rodents indoors, where you might fend them off by using pesticide or rodenticide products. Remember that these products can poison a pet who comes into contact with them! Use pet-safe varieties whenever possible, or consider non-toxic alternatives like traps, always placed carefully where pets won’t reach.

Plants

Plenty of plants that might be in or around your home during the wintertime can prove toxic to pets. The list includes lilies, mistletoe, holly, daffodils, Amaryllis, a variety of aloe plants, Autumn crocus, and Christmas cactus, among others. Poinsettias can cause minor mouth or stomach irritation, drooling, or vomiting in some cases.

Call your vet’s office today to learn more about winter pet toxins. We’re here to help with all of your pet-care needs!

6 Ways to Keep Fido Warm This Winter

Are you enjoying winter? Or are you counting down the days until spring? Just like people, some dogs do better with the cold than others. If you have a snow dog, such as a husky, your canine buddy may be delighted to run and play in the snow. Pooches with thinner coats, however, may spend most of the winter curled up in their beds. Read on as a vet lists some ways to keep your pet warm this winter.

Clothing

Dogs with thinner fur may need some extra insulation against the cold. Before you go shopping for Fido, text his measurements to yourself, so you always have them. Don’t get anything that could restrict your furry buddy’s vision or movement. Also, avoid anything that could potentially be tight, hot, or itchy. A word to the wise: choose items that are machine-washable.

Brushing

Did you know that old fur and dander actually reduce the insulating qualities of your dog’s fur? Brushing your canine friend will not only help keep his coat soft and clean, it will also help him stay warm!

Warm Beds

Make sure Fido has a cozy bed to snuggle up in. Older dogs and large breeds will benefit from the extra support of an orthopedic bed. Smaller pups may prefer beds with raised sides. If your furry pal tends to get chilly in cold weather, get him a thermal pet blanket or even a heated doggy bed.

Booties

It isn’t very much fun going barefoot in the snow! Fido may appreciate a set of booties, which will help keep his paws warm. Doggy boots will also protect your pup’s paws from snow, salt, sand, and ice. Of course, not all dogs like wearing shoes. If your pooch hates boots, use paw balm to protect his feet.

Food

Pups that are highly active and/or spend a lot of time outdoors may need to eat larger portions in winter. Fido will burn extra calories just keeping warm. Follow your vet’s advice.

Doghouse

Man’s Best Friend should always live indoors, especially in winter. Fido is happier, healthier, and safer living inside, not to mention more comfortable. However, if your pooch has a yard to play in, he may appreciate a doghouse of his own. Ask your vet for more information.

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

Holiday Gifts for Cats

The holiday season is officially here! As you start picking out gifts for friends and family members, don’t forget about your cat. Fluffy definitely deserves a few presents! In this article, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet lists some great holiday gifts for kitties.

Classic Toys

You really can’t go wrong with classic cat toys, such as catnip mice and wand toys. Of course, kitties all have their own purrsonal favorites when it comes to playthings. Some furballs prefer squeaky toys, while others love batting balls around. Offer Fluffy a variety to choose from.

Modern Playthings

There are some really cute modern toys you can get Fluffy, such as robotic mice, automated laser pointers, remote-controlled snakes, and mechanical ‘swimming’ fish. You can even download apps and games for your kitty to play on your phone or tablet!

Kitty Fountain

Did you know that many cats prefer to drink running water? Offer Fluffy a kitty drinking fountain!

Plants

Catnip is always a good gift option. Get your feline pal a small pot of it. Cat grass (or wheat grass) is another popular choice. Offer your furry friend a small container of it to munch on. Or, if you want to score some extra purrs, put potting soil and wheatgrass seeds in a shallow storage tote or an old litterbox. Let it grow in a sunny spot for a few weeks. Soon, your furball will have her very own edible lawn to lounge around on!

Beds

It probably isn’t much of a surprise to find beds on this list. Cats certainly are tired! This is a purrfect gift, even for kitties that already have comfy beds. In Fluffy’s book, you simply can’t have too many napping spots!

Catnip Bubbles

This one may be just as entertaining for you as it is for your cat! After all, there are few things cuter than kitties playing with bubbles.

Kitty Furniture

Cats love having things that were made just for them. Cat towers, pet tents, and kitty shelves are all great gifts!

Window Seat

Birdwatching ranks pretty high on the list of Fluffy’s favorite pastimes. Get your furry buddy a comfy window seat, so she can nap, sunbathe, and spy on local wildlife. You can find store-bought ones, or you can make your own.

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

Kitten Care Tips

Are you adopting a kitten? Has your feline buddy just given birth to a litter of adorable furballs? Baby cats are one of the cutest things on the planet. They’re also among the most mischievous. Read on as a local Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet offers tips on caring for little Fluffy.

Kittyproofing

Our feline friends are very curious, and love to investigate anything and everything in their domains. Keep your tiny furball safe on her explorations by doing some kitten-proofing. Remove or secure things like toxic plants; plastic bags and wrappers; chemicals; medication; wires, ropes, and threads; and anything small or sharp. Make sure your doors, vents, and screens close securely. We also recommend keeping large appliances, like toilets, closed when not in use. Get into the habit of checking under chairs, cushions, and blankets before sitting down. Baby cats don’t make very large lumps!

Veterinary Care

Your little buddy will need to come to visit us a few times in that first year. Little Fluffy will need her initial vaccinations, as well as a thorough exam and parasite control. Microchipping and spay/neuter surgery are also on the agenda. At home, watch for any signs of illness, such as fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or respiratory issues. Kittens can get very sick very fast, so call your vet immediately if you notice anything wrong.

Products

Avoid clay and clumping litters for now. These are fine for adult felines, but kittens aren’t quite that coordinated yet, and can accidentally swallow litter. This can be extremely dangerous, and even deadly. You’ll also want to offer little Fluffy a good, kitten-formula pet food, and provide her with lots of toys and comfy beds. A scratching post is another must.

Socialization

To get that little motor going, spend lots of time with your baby furball, and make sure she feels loved and safe. Kittens love to be snuggled and petted! It’s also important to play with little Fluffy regularly. Use toys that you control, like wand toys and laser pointers. This will not only make things more challenging for your pet, it will also help teach her better manners. If your furry pal tries to practice her pouncing and scratching skills on you, tell her ‘No’ firmly, and then blow in her face.

Please call us, your Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet clinic, for your kitten’s veterinary care needs. We are always happy to help!