Category Archives: All Posts

An Overview of Cat Bladder Stones

Cats are creatures of habit, and so, when your cat starts to act a bit abnormally there may be cause for some concern. If you have a cat that is usually passive and are starting to see an aggressive side, especially when he/she visits the litter box, it may be bladder stones. Here are a few signs to look out for.

Look at the Urine

Your cat will most likely have a place that it urinates frequently. If your cat starts to urinate in unusual places, this may be a sign of stones. However, this is not definitive. It could be that your cat is just trying to expand his or her “boundaries,” in which case you would need to re-establish the boundaries with your pet. When inspecting the urine, look for signs of blood. If you note that there is blood, this is an indicator that your cat has bladder stones (or at minimum a UTI).

Genital Licking

It is common for cats to clean themselves frequently. According to webvet, a cat can spend up to 50% of its waking life grooming. Just because your cat has increased his or her grooming frequency is not a cause for alarm. When your cat abandons full body licking and grooming, and starts to focus, primarily, on grooming or licking the genital area, this is cause for concern. Cats that increase grooming in this area should be restricted, if possible, as constant licking can cause additional irritation and rawness.

Visible Straining to Urinate

WebMD states that one of the signs of bladder stones in cats is straining to urinate. Again, your cat is probably a creature of habit and has certain times and areas where it urinates. Observe your cat to see if it appears to be in pain or is straining to urinate. If so, increase the water content in your cat’s diet and see if that fixes the problem. It could be a case of dehydration. However, you should note that any disturbance to your cat’s regular routine can be an indicator of a bigger problem. Also, look for painful urination (cat cries out when urinating), urine spraying, and an increase in your pet needing to urinate.

What to Do if  You Think Your Pet Has Bladder Stones

If your cat has the symptoms of a bladder stone, you should take them to a veterinarian. Where there are sources that state your cat may pass the stone on his or her own, I would state this: You would not want to just wait it out, so your cat should not have to either. What you can do is minimize the calcium in your cat’s diet (lower the milk content and increase water). A vet may prescribe a specialized diet, flush the track, or (depending on the severity of the stones) opt for surgery.

Why Proper Grooming is Essential to Your Pet’s Health

When it comes to our pets, we want to ensure that they live long and happy lives. It is for this reason that we buy the pet beds, the best food available, and actively engage in games and interactive activities with our pets. All of these are crucial to your pet’s overall health. But, did you know that the way in which you groom your pet is also essential to your pet’s health?

The dangers of poor grooming

Primarily, grooming provides your pet with a way to get rid of foreign debris and other things that can alter their health. Such things typically include dried dirt, fecal matter, which may have gotten matted into the hind area, twigs/sticks from playing outside, and larger bugs. Where it is true that your pet will need to have flea and tick treatment, your pet will also need to have the dead bugs groomed out of their fur (be it with shampooing and brushing or another grooming method). Leaving such in the fur can quickly cause bacterium, viruses, and injury to your pet.

The Three focal points of grooming

While you want to maintain proper grooming over your pet’s entire body, there are three main areas in which an owner needs to focus. According to Bernadine Cruze, on WEBMD, these areas are:

  • The Fur – Fur, even if short, should be brushed to keep down hairballs and allergies. Pollen and other irritants can accumulate in the fur, so brushing is crucial.
  • The Eyes – Eyes should be nice and clear. If there is fur in your pet’s eyes, this can cause irritation, and irritation can be a sign of a bigger problem.
  • The Ears – Ears should be cleaned to prevent mites and dirt buildup. Ears that are not properly cleaned can lead to internal ear infections and even deafness in your pet.

More than just the physical

Just like people, pets need to feel comfort and love. Grooming your pet properly increases the trust and bond that they share with you. Pampering also improves your pet’s mental state, which leads to better behavior. So, if you are having behavioral problems with your dog or cat, consider pampering and grooming him/her, and you may see a difference.

Failing to groom properly can lead to depression in your pet. If you notice that your pet has decreased their activity, consider taking them to the groomer. If the problem persists take them to your vet.

Grooming is just good all around

Grooming shows that you care for your pet. It is both hygienic for your pet as well as emotionally beneficial. Ensure that your pet lives a long and happy life by implementing proper grooming techniques into your pet’s daily routine.

4 Outdoor Activities that You and Your Pet Can Do Together

If you have a pet, then you understand that they sometimes go beyond the “man’s best friend” status and become part of the family. As such, you want to include them in your daily life, but finding activities in which all can participate may be a bit challenging. Here are four outdoor activities that you and your pet can do together.

  1. Go for a hike

WebMD reports that hiking is a good way to lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood pressure, strengthen your core, improve your balance, and boost your mood. For your pet, hiking is also a great way to get rid of the monotony of the everyday. According to canidae.com, hiking with your pet gives them that extra perk of engagement to their routine (meaning fewer holes in the yard and chewed furniture). Also, like humans, pets need exercise to stay in peak health.

  1. Fetch

Playing a game of fetch with your dog is a great way for you to get some exercise and for your pet to get out and run. Keep in mind, however, that not all breeds will be thrilled about the game. Fetch is not limited to just dogs, either. For example, where a cat will not play “traditional fetch,” you can toss a ball of yarn and have them wheel it back in.

  1. Swimming

If you own a pool, you will find that a great many animals love to go swimming. Cats are a bit weary of the activity, but dogs, ferrets and iguanas can swim, and they thoroughly enjoy it. Through research, you’ll even find that many professionals encourage you to let dogs, in particular, swim; it all depends on the breed, size, and personality of your pet.

  1. Go to a park

One of the best outdoor activities that you can do with your pet is to go to a park. Most parks allow pets, and there are even some that are catered to particular pets (e.g. dogs only). A park allows you to combine various activities, such as hiking, fetch, picnics, etc. Also, going to a park opens the door for you to meet other pet owners and socialize your pet with them. Remember, your pet needs to have friends, as well, in order to keep him/her from getting lonely.

Considerations

With any outdoor activity, you will need to comply with local ordinances on pet restraints. Do not put anything too constricting on your pet. When performing an activity, ensure that you are fit enough to engage in it. Should you swim with your pet, please take the cleanliness of your pet into consideration. Above all, ensure that you and your pet are safe by having the proper equipment, checking the weather, and resting when needed.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Natalie via Compfight cc

New Years’ Resolution That You Can Share With Your Pets

New Years’ resolutions can get a little silly sometimes. We’ve all heard those outlandish, impossible-to-achieve promises that people make to themselves each year, and as each year passes, it becomes more and more difficult not to roll your eyes. This year, do yourself a favor, and commit to something reasonable. For both you and your pet, healthy changes occur gradually. Here are a few ideas for new years’ resolutions that you can share with your best friend in 2016.

Try a New Activity

Variety is the spice of life, as they say.  For pet owners, incorporating pets into exciting new activities is easier than ever before. There are dog-friendly hiking trails, dog parks, and dog beaches just about everywhere you turn. You can also give agility a shot, which is fun for both you and your pup. There is even such a thing as “doga”! These are all fantastic opportunities for adding something new to your routine, and they are also a great way to bond with your pet.

Eat Healthier

From a human perspective, healthy eating is pretty straightforward. It’s all about balance, and as long as you can avoid your favorite fast food drive-through, you should be okay. Our pets, however, depend on us to provide healthy, balanced meals for them. This is not only about measuring quantities, but also quality. It’s also important to choose an age-appropriate diet. If all of this seems extremely complex, you’re right. There’s a lot to consider where your pet’s nutrition is concerned, so be sure to speak with your family veterinarian if you have questions.

Exercise More

Exercising more is another no-brainer. Fortunately, if you own a pet, exercise often comes in the form of playtime. The idea is to move your body more.  Burn up all of those calories that you consumed over the holidays. It doesn’t have to mean structuring your entire life around a set gym routine. Get out and get active, and bring your pet along for the fun, too!

These may seem like extremely simple suggestions, but that’s the point!  Very few good things happen overnight. Make these gradual changes, and you are sure to see a difference in yourself and your pet in no time.

Featured Photo Credit: ceiling via Compfight cc

Your Pawlidays Roundup: Christmas Pets Around the Net

The holidays are a busy time for pets in the news and on social media! Here’s a roundup of what we found around the internet for Pawlidays 2016!

In the News

Forget the terror and tragedy that’s usually in the news. Here are the cheerful news snippets you need to get into the holiday spirit:

Cats, Dogs Party Like Animals in Ugly Christmas Sweaters via The Columbian

Santa Paws: NYC Pets Dress Up for Christmas via AMNewYork

Are Pets Good Christmas Gifts? via WIAT Durham, NC

Instagram

The internet is never short on cute pet photos, but it’s safe to say that the web is especially adorable on holidays. Where is the best place to find said pet-related loveliness? You guess it. Instagram! Here are some of the best pet instagram accounts for Christmas 2016:

Doug the Pug

Courtesy of @ItsDougthePug

Milla the Cat

Courtesy of @MillatheCat

Ralph the Corgi

Courtesy of @RalphtheCorgi

YouTube

Instagram isn’t the only social network that delivers on cuteness over the holidays!  Here are some of our favorite pawlidays highlights from YouTube:

 

Featured (top) Photo Credit: jadamsowers.net via Compfight cc

The Importance of Training Your Dog

If you’ve ever met (or owned) an unruly dog, you know how totally overwhelming their presence can be. They’ll jump on you and others, pull a leash until your shoulder aches, bark into thin air until your ears are ringing, and so much more. These kinds of behaviors absolutely do not work with the modern American lifestyle, where our dogs are like family and go just about everywhere we do.

Dog training is an investment in a happy, healthy, lifelong relationship with your companion. When you teach your pup to obey, your home is more peaceful for everyone (including the animal). It may not be obvious now, but your dog wants to get along with you. Dogs enjoy praise, and they are also affected by scolding. They are emotional creatures who, at the end of the day, want nothing more than to be your best friend.

Here are a few ways that dog training can make your life easier:

Voice commands make the outside world safer for your pooch.

Understanding voice commands, in certain circumstances, can quite literally be the difference between life and death for your furry sidekick. The classic combo, “come, sit, stay,” can keep your pet out of the way of vehicles, predators, and other potential threats.

Social training makes it easier for your pup to make friends.

Socialization is a very important part of the training that puppies receive in their first few classes. Even if you choose to forego formal training classes, allowing your dog to be around other dogs teaches them to have manners around their peers and to be friendly toward them. Failing to properly socialize your pet will not only result in a limited social life, but it can also lead to unnecessary anxiety.

Having good manners means your pet will always be welcome.

A well-mannered dog is really a joy to have around. That means that your friends and family will be happy to see your pup tag along when you visit, and road trips will be easy. You won’t need to be selective about your company, because there is no reason to be concerned about your dog’s behavior around elderly people, disabled people, or children. You will feel comfortable bringing your dog anywhere that dogs are permitted, which is not true for untrained animals.

There are a variety of reasons that point toward the importance of properly training your dog, and they all point to a better overall quality of life for both of you.  If you haven’t looked into training options for your pup, we want to encourage you to do so. Whether you do some form of at-home training on your own, private sessions with a professional trainer, or group classes at a local pet facility, the investment will be well worth it.

January is also National Train Your Dog Month, so be sure to keep an eye out for special promotions around your hometown next month!

Featured Photo Credit: modesrodriguez via Compfight cc

Air Travel For Pets Isn’t As Safe As It Once Was

Traveling with pets is no picnic. It has never been simple to bring your furry sidekick along for a long distance trip, and the challenges increase in proportion with the size of the animal. Unfortunately, that has never been truer than it is now. Airlines are really buckling down on the way pets fly, and it’s such a change that you may even find it more appealing to make your next vacation a road trip.  Delta Airlines is the latest company to join this growing trend. Here’s what you need to know:

Size matters.

As of March 2016, you will no longer be able to check your pets as baggage. Nobody would ever argue that checking your family member along with your suitcases was ideal… but the alternative is even worse for those pets who are too large to ride in the cabin. That brings us to our next point.

Animals are cargo.

If your pet is too large to fit into what would be considered acceptable size for a carry-on bag, then he or she will be forced to ride in the cargo area. This poses a significant risk to the health and safety of your pet. In some cases, it’s a necessary evil, but you should really take the time to consider it carefully. Noise and temperature are not controlled in the cargo hold. Imagine if you had to ride there yourself, sometimes on flights with a duration of many hours. It’s a pretty scary thought.

You’ll need to plan ahead.

If you will be flying with your pet, a separate booking is required. You’ll need to make these reservations in advance, but no more than 14 days ahead of your planned departure. Pets will need to be dropped off at least 3 hours before your scheduled boarding time.

Expect to Pay More.

In the past, the fee to check your pets with your baggage was $200. You can expect to pay at least double that amount when your pet is flying with cargo. You’ll be quoted an exact fee at the time of booking, and the price you pay will depend largely on the weight of the animal and the size of the carrier he or she is transported in.

The decision to travel with your pets should not be taken lightly. The risks of flying with pets are significant, especially if they will be flying in the cargo area. That statement really hits home when you take a look at the monthly consumer travel reports that are published by the Department of Transportation. In September 2015 alone, 5 pets suffered reportable injuries and 4 pets died while in the care of an airline.

If you’re considering air travel with a pet, speak with a representative of the airline about your options, and be sure to discuss your pet’s individual concerns with your veterinarian, as well.

Featured Photo Credit: whiteafrican via Compfight cc

Making the Choice to Say Goodbye

Under any circumstances, saying goodbye to a pet is an extremely difficult thing to go through. So, it only makes sense that the heartache is amplified considerably if you’re in the situation of deciding whether or not euthanasia would be best. Even when all of the end-of-life “signs” are staring you in the face, it’s virtually impossible for a pet owner to choose euthanasia without second-guessing their decision.

If you have found yourself in this terrible position, remember that the doubt you’re experiencing is a very normal part of the process. In many cases, your veterinarian can offer reassurance, but ultimately, you’ll need to make the final call yourself.

Some good indicators that euthanasia may be a good choice for your family include:

  • Chronic pain that has a significant negative impact on your pet’s ability to lead a normal and happy life
  • Definitive diagnosis and progression of a terminal illness
  • Long term inability to eat or chronic gastrointestinal complications that are affecting other systems in the body
  • Loss of limb control or inability to walk
  • Incontinence to the degree that it is causing severe discomfort for the animal (such as sores on the animal’s skin)
  • Sudden acute illness or injury (at any age) that is not easily treated with medication or surgery

Essentially, any symptoms that progress beyond the point of reasonable therapy may cause you to consider the possibility of euthanasia. The “breaking point” is different for every animal and every family, so you shouldn’t judge your own circumstances against what others have gone through.

If your pet’s quality of life has deteriorated so severely that you think euthanasia may be an option for you, speak with your family veterinarian about your options. He or she may be able to suggest other forms of therapy that you may not have considered, or it may end up being the reassurance that you need to make this very difficult decision for your pet.

In the end, the choice to euthanize is one that should be made with your pet’s comfort and happiness in mind. This service is available in veterinary medicine as a means of preventing pain and suffering for pets, and the result is that owners are also spared the heartache of watching their beloved family members endure something that they shouldn’t have to. So, while the choice feels impossibly difficult, remember that it’s simply another way for you to show your pet what a special part of your life he or she has been. This is another opportunity for you to provide love and care for your best friend; it certainly doesn’t negate the lifetime of happiness that you’ve already shared.

Featured Photo Credit: Julep67 via Compfight cc

No Rest for the Wicked [Pet Owner]

Pets and sleep are a topic of hot debate, it would seem.  The tender-heart pet owners – we absolutely love them – will tell you that pets are people, too.  They’ll ask you how YOU would like to sleep all alone in a kennel on a cold winter’s night. The answer: not very much at all.  “Exactly my point,” they’ll say.

“…but my dog loves his kennel.  It makes him feel safe.” That’s what the opposite side will say. They’ll tell you that if you’re losing sleep because your pet shares your bed, then you probably deserve every bit of that under-eye baggage you carry around with you.

Then, we have the third group of pet owners.  They’ll balk at the very mention of their pet sharing their bed, and they’ll scoff at the idea that a kennel would ever make a difference, anyway. These are the folks who share their home with the anxiety-ridden border collie who barks at every little creak of the floorboards or the cat who randomly traps a squirrel in the basement at 2am. This crowd is losing sleep, no matter what. If you’re thinking that these accounts are far too detailed to be hypothetical, you would absolutely correct.  It’s easy to relate.

Even if you are the owner of one of the unicorn types that obey every command every time without fail, the fact remains that living things (including humans, border collies, cats, and even squirrels) move in their sleep. Unfortunately, those subtle movements are among the many aspects of your environment that can negatively impact the quality of your sleep, along with temperature, sound, and odors.  Oh, and don’t forget that crowding can also stand in the way of adequate beauty rest, so be sure that you’re giving your border collie enough personal space at night.

The recent study that sparked this train of thought was performed by the Mayo Clinic, and results were just posted in October 2015. More information can be found HERE, but in the spirit of saving time, we’ll go ahead and give you the spoilers:

In the end, researchers decided that they did not have sufficient evidence to say that pets do, in fact, contribute to issues with disrupted sleep. This was largely due to the very small size of this particular study. However, their findings suggest that it’s at least worthwhile for physicians and sleep therapists to speak with their patients about the possibility that their pets are affecting their sleep patterns.

Maybe there is something good on the horizon for sleepless pet owners. If we’re lucky, studies like these will lead to exciting innovation and answers to our questions about where our beloved best friends should sleep. For now, though, get ready to get cozy until spring rolls back around… because how would YOU like to sleep all alone in a kennel on a cold winter’s night?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Finger Food via Compfight cc

The Latest in Celebrity Pet Instagram

As pet lovers, there’s no denying that we simply can’t get enough of social media account dedicated to pets. Whether it’s an adorable pet bunny or a pair of irresistibly cute French bulldogs, it just never seems to get old. So, how could it possibly get any better? Answer: when the pet in question belongs to one of your favorite celebrities.

Here are some of our favorite celebrity pet Instagram accounts.  Our advice?  Go follow now.

Dr. Meredith Grey Swift

https://instagram.com/meredithswift/

Dr. Meredith Grey, along with her best pal, Detective Olivia Benson, belongs to the one and only Taylor Swift. We really can’t get enough of the adorable Scottish Fold, who is cute as a button, just like her owner.

I, Dr. Grey, can confirm that I am in fact, allergic to joy.

A photo posted by Meredith Swift (@meredithswift) on

Asia Kinney

Follow: https://instagram.com/missasiakinney/

There is never a dull moment with Miss Asia and her other half, Koji. The two French Bulldogs can be found frolicking in grassy open spaces or gracing the cover Harper’s Bazaar… as it is with their superstar mom, Lady Gaga, you just never what to expect.

#takemeback to my first cover shot with Mommy!! 🐽💖💡📷🎬 #timeflies #luxurypig #harpersbazaar #tbt

A photo posted by Miss Asia Kinney (@missasiakinney) on

Neville Jacobs

Follow: https://instagram.com/nevillejacobs/

Just like his fashion designer dad, Marc Jacobs, Neville is always seen wearing the latest, hottest trends. Even better, he takes to Instagram with a sense of humor.  Case in point:

diet on fleek.

A photo posted by Neville Jacobs (@nevillejacobs) on

…looking for Thelma… (@choochoocharlies)

A photo posted by Neville Jacobs (@nevillejacobs) on

Cecil Delevingne

Follow: https://instagram.com/cecildelevingne/

What bunny WOULDN’T want a super model mom?  Cecil really lucked out.  He gets to ride along in his bunny box to all the coolest A-List events.

Mumma hi ❤️

A photo posted by Cecil Bunny Delevingne (@cecildelevingne) on

☁️

A photo posted by Cecil Bunny Delevingne (@cecildelevingne) on