At My Pet’s Animal Hospital, Dr. Donna McWilliams uses traditional Chinese medicine to expand her options for helping patients.
In every cover story, The Team profiles a different PSIvet practice to showcase the many ways that members are meeting and exceeding their goals, while doing business on their own terms.
Are you wondering how you are going to care for your pet as you age? Or if you should adopt a pet? Aging In Place can help you answer those questions and more. We are proud to support them in their efforts to raise awareness for seniors and pets. Check out the full article on their site and we are here to help you and your pet along the way.
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).
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Just like people, as dogs get older they have a tendency to take on certain aliments that the youth are generally exempt from. One such thing would be arthritis. And where we would not like to think upon our canine companions in a state of pain from this condition, it has been reported that it is very common in dogs. There are three main forms of arthritis in dogs. These are Osterarthritis, Immune related arthritis, and infective arthritis. Here are a few signs that your dog may have arthritis.
Limping or favoring one side of the body
As arthritis attacks a joint, pressure on the limb would cause pain for your pet. If you notice that your dog has shifted its weight to one leg or one side of the body, it may be an indicator. Also, look for your dog raising up a leg when he/she walks. Where this may be a sign of a more severe problem (such as a broken leg or an animal bite) this can also be a sign of arthritis. Your dog may also scoot across the floor more. This is due to the pressure and pain caused by arthritis (of course if the dog is scooting its butt across the floor it is probably not arthritis but worms). Look for the legs dragging or a slow crawl.
Difficulty Standing or Sitting
Older dogs, especially, may find that sitting or standing is difficult. If your dog gets up a bit slower than it used to it may be a sign. However, consider that age does affect your dog as well as you. Just because your dog does not have that spring in their step does not mean they have arthritis. It may simply be old age. You are looking for abnormal behavior. Your dog may appear to be disobedient (for example they will not sit on command or come to you), more irritable when sitting, or whine when walking. These are signs that arthritis may be present.
An increase in weight
Dogs that are active work off what they eat much in the same way that we as human do. Inactivity will cause your dog to gain weight. If your dog is not moving about like they used to or if you notice that your dog is sleeping more frequently, it could be a sign that your dog has arthritis. If your dog is not excited about play time, walking, or jumping about, it could also be a sign. Remember, these are not definitive markers. Your dog could also just be depressed.
A short temper
Passive dogs may start to show aggression if arthritis is present. As anything (human or animal) is more likely to show aggression and irritation when in pain, this should be taken as an indicator. Take special note of when the aggression occurs. Where the aggression may linger, those dogs which tend to get more irritable when sitting or walking may have arthritis.
What to do if you see the signs
As stated, these are signs and may or may not mean that your dog has arthritis. It is best to visit your vet and see the best course of action to take. In the meantime, try to make your dog as comfortable as possible.
When you adopt a pet, you do so with the idea that the animal will become a part of your family. You expect that he or she will live the rest of his life in your care. That’s ideal, of course, which is why we stress the importance of making sure you are truly ready and choosing a pet that suits your lifestyle. There are some cases, however, where unexpected life events render you incapable of caring for your best friend any longer. When this happens, you owe it to your pet to find a new home that will pick up where you left off.
There are a number of options available to those wishing to responsibly rehome a pet. Unfortunately, Craigslist and other similar classified ad websites are not one of those responsible choices. A quick glance through the “pets” section will show that a heartbreaking number of unwanted animals are being offered free to the first taker, without any thought for the pet’s well-being. It’s absolutely true that some of these ads are coming from loving pet owners who are sending out a plea for help, but the majority of them are careless and simply wish to dispose of an animal.
If you have determined that you are no longer able to keep your pet, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your pet’s new home will be a safe, wise choice:
- Before advertising that your pet is available for adoption, speak with your inner circle to see if anyone you know is looking for a new pet. Trusted friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors are a great place to start.
- Consider speaking with your family veterinarian about your need to rehome your pet. He or she may know of a responsible family who is looking, or the clinic may have a place for you to advertise on-site.
- If someone contacts you about adopting your pet, be sure to interview them. Ask as many questions as necessary to give yourself peace of mind. Allow them to meet the animal and watch how they interact. If they have other pets, ask if they are comfortable providing proof of adequate veterinary care.
Once you have found a good fit for your furry sidekick, make the transition slowly. If possible, allow the pet to become acquainted with his or her new family over the course of several consecutive days. Just keep in mind that the last goodbye should be exactly that. After your final visit, and once the pet has been completely transitioned into the new home, avoid repeat visits. This will only confuse the animal and may lead to anxiety (for both of you!).
When our beloved pets surprise us by displaying aggressive behavior toward a person or another animal, it’s hard to know how to respond. Of course, you want to defend your best friend, but the truth is that your pet’s aggression can become dangerous for everyone (including your pet).
Check out this great article where Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, offers some very valuable insight into the management of aggressive animal behaviors.
Click here to read Aggression is Managed, Not Cured.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
Ralph the Corgi
Instagram isn’t the only social network that delivers on cuteness over the holidays! Here are some of our favorite pawlidays highlights from YouTube: