You Can Teach Your Cat To Walk On A Leash

Posted by on 2:43 pm in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on You Can Teach Your Cat To Walk On A Leash

Training a cat to walk with you on a leash takes patience, but it can be done. It’s different than leash-training a dog because cats and dogs have different motivations. Here is how to get your feline companion ready to go for walks in the park with you. Training a Cat Versus a Dog Dogs will put up with a lot of rigorous training activities for a few treats and attention. As a pack animal, they want to please the leader, so they are motivated to keep doing the training until you’re happy. Cats have a shorter attention span and tend to do something until they lose interest. While they enjoy attention from you, they may not be motivated by it. Teaching a cat takes patience, treats, and praise. Plan to make incremental steps to teach your cat over a much longer timeframe than it would take with a dog. Start With a Trip to the Vet Check with your veterinarian or a place like Midtown Veterinary Clinic to make sure your cat is up to date on their vaccinations and boosters. Any cat outside is vulnerable to encounters with other animals and potential disease. Should your cat escape from you while in a park, contact with the saliva of another cat with feline leukemia can infect your cat with this potentially fatal disease. Have your vet help you pick out a harness and leash for your cat. Cats don’t like the restricted feeling of being lead by a leash on a collar. The harness fits snug around their body, neck and legs, making it harder to escape from. Your cat will respond better to the leash pulling on the attachment point on the harness, normally at the middle of the back, as opposed to around the neck as with a collar. A Training Program to Make Incremental Progress Divide the training into small sessions, each containing several steps. Repeat each session until your cat is comfortable with it and doesn’t fight the harness and leash. For example, a training session to help your cat get used to you putting on the harness might look like this: hold the harness up for your cat to inspect slowly put the harness over your cat’s head allow your cat to get comfortable with the harness resting on their body slowly put their front legs through the harness adjust and tighten the harness around their body If your cat gets fussy and refuses to cooperate, stop the session for the day. If you try to force your cat to do anything, they can develop a negative response that will be hard to overcome in the next lesson. Be patient and praise your cat for what they accomplished in the session. A Sample Training Program Once your cat is comfortable with having the harness put on them, here is a suggested list of sessions to complete their training: getting your cat accustomed to wearing the harness around the house having them walk around the house with you with them wearing the harness and without the leash getting them accustomed to walking with the leash attached to the harness walking with your cat around the house while holding the leash guiding your cat with the leash as you walk through the house Give your cat...

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What Is That Smell? Do You Have a Skunk Living Under Your House?

Posted by on 7:40 am in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on What Is That Smell? Do You Have a Skunk Living Under Your House?

Do you suddenly have an awful smell in your home? Do you live next to a wooded area? You may have a skunk under your house, a common problem for residents near trees. Skunks are notorious for getting into basements and into crawl spaces and making themselves right at home. If you think you may have a skunk living with you, calling a professional for its removal as soon as possible is important. The Smell In Your House Is Caused By a Stinky Survival Plan Skunks are little guys and when out in the wild, they need a good way to protect themselves from predators like coyotes and badgers. The stinky oil sprayed by a threatened skunk can be smelled from up to a mile away from its original source. When sprayed, a skunk’s predator runs away with eyes and nostrils burning. While there are probably no predators under your house, the skunk living there might perceive the sounds from inside your home as a potential threat. Mating Season for Skunks Can Be the Worst Time for Homeowners If you have a mother skunk living under your house or porch steps with a litter of little ones, you could be in for several instances of spraying due to the mother being more aggressive and protective over her brood. Young skunks are usually born in the first weeks of May and into June, so if you have an adult skunk problem during this time period, you should know you might have an entire family of them to deal with as well. If you suspect a litter of young skunks is under your home, contacting a professional is the best way to remove them for higher chances of doing so without being sprayed. Preventing Another Skunk From Moving In with You In addition to always making sure household garbage is sealed in a container when taken out, you can also have screen buried around the foundation of your house. Skunks are famous for digging dens, which is one of the reasons they can burrow under your foundation to reach the crawlspace. When you hire a professional pest removal service for your skunk problem, the technician visiting your home may bury screen around the perimeter of your foundation to prevent any burrowing skunks making their way under your house. Never try to pick up or capture a wild animal if you have no experience doing so. Otherwise, you increase your risk of being bitten and possibly getting sick with serious diseases like rabies. Also, if your dog or cat has been sprayed by a skunk, you should know that wildlife and pest control professionals are not the ones to contact about it, as they will only handle the skunk removal. If your pets have been “skunked,” contacting your vet is the best way to learn what steps you will need to take for...

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Could Your Topical Medications Affect Your Pet?

Posted by on 9:45 am in Blog, Pets & Animals | Comments Off on Could Your Topical Medications Affect Your Pet?

Some human medications are best absorbed through the skin: It’s the best way to treat a handful of skin conditions, and researchers are finding that topical pain medication may be more effective for many ailments. The instructions with topical medications usually warn you to wash your hands and avoid getting it on your face or in your eyes, but they don’t tell you what could happen if you pet your dog after applying or if your cat rubs up against skin that’s been treated. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a problem with a kind of topical pain reliever, called flurbiprofen, and pet cats. Cats became ill and died in two different homes where the owners were using a product that combined flurbiprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxer. In these two cases, the owners were using the product on their necks and feet, respectively. Other cats in other homes also got ill but recovered. Warning Signs to Watch for in Your Pet The cats that died were found to have kidney damage that was consistent with an NSAID overdose. They showed some of the following symptoms before they died: Lethargy Vomiting No interest in eating Black or bloody stools Dilute urine or trouble urinating The animals impacted were cats, but dogs, small mammals and even horses may be at risk. Any time your pet shows signs like this, it is considered an emergency and you should visit your veterinarian or animal hospital immediately. Keeping Medications Safe People in the homes where the cats died believed they were being careful about their medications. There is no evidence to show how the cats came into contact with the medication, but it is possible that the owners got some on their hands, and then petted their cats, transferring the flurbiprofen to the cats’ fur. When they groomed, the cats could have ingested enough to make them sick. Another possibility is that the cats rubbed up against the owners’ skin, or walked through an area where the owner had walked with the medication still on his or her feet. In order to protect your pets, take the following precautions with any topical medication you use: Keep medicines where pets cannot access them. Wash your hands carefully after applying medications.  Cover or protect your skin after applying medications. Keep clothing that may have medicine residue out of the reach of pets before it is washed. Consider using a covered laundry hamper. Avoid getting any medication on carpets or furnishings. If you suspect your pet may have accessed a human medication, call your vet, animal hospital or pet poison control number as soon as possible for instructions on what to do in your...

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How To Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Posted by on 9:58 am in Blog, Pets & Animals | 0 comments

Just like you, your cat can experience tooth decay, abscesses and gum disease. Unlike you, your cat won’t show any symptoms until the dental problem is serious. The animal hospital uses anesthesia on cats to do a thorough examination and tooth cleaning. Helping your cat have good dental hygiene by brushing it’s teeth daily will prevent your pet from going through the drama of going to the vet. Here is how you can get your cat into the daily habit of brushing. Teaching Your Cat to Brush is Not Going to Happen Who are we kidding? Your cat is not going to brush it’s teeth any more than it will learn to program your Tivo. What you will be doing is gradually and incrementally getting your cat accustomed to you messing around in its mouth. If they come to enjoy the additional attention from you, then that’s a bonus. Be prepared for them to reach a level of just tolerating your actions, which is still effective. Getting Started Talk with your veterinarian about the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your cat. Don’t use the human equivalents. You need a softer brush for your cat and the toothpaste for them is usually fish or some other meat flavored. It’s possible that you could both use the same bacon-flavored toothpaste, but it’s best not to share when it comes to dental hygiene. Your vet can also show you some techniques for brushing your cat’s teeth. Since your vet won’t have their fingers near the sharp, pointy parts of your cat when you do this, they will give you all kinds of advice. Listen carefully, but you’ll end up with your own technique once you and your cat get into the routine. D-Day (Dental hygiene day) For the first few days you’ll need: a bowl of slightly warm water a finger (your choice) a box of bandages (possibly for your finger) an infinite amount of patience 1. Sit in a comfortable chair with your cat on your lap. If they aren’t a lap cat, put them on a table or counter where you can stand next to them. 2. Dip your finger into the warm water and slowly place it in your cat’s mouth and massage their teeth and gums gently. This sounds simple, but may not be so in practice. If it doesn’t work the first time, break it down into even smaller steps: Bring your finger in front of their mouth – They might think you’re playing with them. Put your finger into their mouth – Remember those sharp, pointy things. Massage their teeth and gums gently – A totally unnatural sensation for them but they may come to enjoy it. Once the cat is used to your finger, go to the next step. 3. Replace your finger with a cotton swab. Use warm water again and gently rub the swab over your cat’s teeth and gums. 4. When you’re successful with the cotton swab, put a couple drops of the cat toothpaste onto the swab. Massage the gums and teeth using a little more pressure against the teeth. 5. Once you get the cotton swab/toothpaste combination to work, try it with the toothbrush. Since the brush is quite a bit larger, if your cat fusses too much with it,...

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Factors To Look Into When Visiting A Cat Boarding Facility

Posted by on 3:31 pm in Blog, Pets & Animals | 0 comments

If you want your cat to be comfortable and healthy while you’re away, you need to put some effort into finding the best possible boarding facility. A visit to any facility you’re considering is imperative so that you can make sure your pet will have everything needed during his or her stay.  When you visit a cat boarding facility, such as the Academy Of Canine Behavior, you should chat with a staff member to get as much information as possible. The following are six factors you should look into during your visit: Boarding charges and special add-ons Go over the charges with a staff member and ask if there are any extras that can be added on like more space for your cat or different food options. Some boarding facilities will offer perks like grooming, playtime, and upgraded cages for an added charge. Food options You might have to pay extra for the food your cat will consume while being boarded. It’s important that you discuss any dietary restrictions that your cat has with a staff member. Many cats have allergies or other food related issues that you need to bring up so that your cat stays healthy while you are away.  The liability release Every boarding facility should have a liability release agreement that pet owners sign when they have their pets boarded. This release helps to legally protect the boarding facility from being sued if something happens to a pet while being boarded.  You need to look over this release carefully. While it’s understandable that a boarding facility wishes to legally protect itself, it’s also important that the facility is doing their part to be responsible and keep pets safe.  Lengthening a pet’s stay Something might come up while you are away that will prevent you from picking up your pet on the day you’ve designated. You need to be sure that the pet boarding facility you choose will be able to keep your pet a little longer if necessary to prevent stress and worry while you’re away.  The spaciousness of boarding areas One of the most important things you should be looking at to determine the quality of a boarding facility is how much room is given to each pet. Make sure you look at where boarded pets are kept to be sure that it is a comfortable, clean, and healthy environment for cats.  Administering medications If you cat is on any medications, you need to make sure that staff members can handle administering them during your cat’s stay. It’s especially important to look into this issue if your cat requires injections or any other type of medication that might require veterinary training to...

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Five Shocking Diseases Fleas Carry That Can Hurt You & Your Pet

Posted by on 3:13 pm in Blog, Pets & Animals | 0 comments

You know that fleas can be an itchy nuisance for you and your pets, but did you know that they can also spread deadly diseases, too? If your pet’s fleas are left untreated, they may be at risk of developing illnesses that can seriously harm their health or even kill them if they don’t receive immediate veterinary attention. Your health could be at risk too, if the fleas biting your pet are carrying certain diseases. Here are five terrifying illnesses that fleas can transmit and carry to pets and people. Plague Believe it or not, fleas played an integral part in spreading the plague, also known as the black death, which is estimated to have killed 50 million people in the 14th century. While time has passed, fleas are still capable of carrying this disease if they bite an animal that is infected. Rodents are more likely to carry the plague, but a flea can easily bite the rodent and then hop onto your pet, spreading the disease to your pet and even you. Typhus Fleas can carry a disease called typhus that can hurt pets and humans alike. This bacterial disease can be carried by scavenging animals like raccoons and opossums, and then spread by fleas jumping from these animals onto your pets. They can transfer the bacteria to you or your pet directly by biting or even by defecating near an open wound. Typhus can be easily mistaken for the flu with similar symptoms, like high fever, body aches, chills, and chronic headaches. Pets who become ill with this disease may also display high fevers and general lethargy. Cat Scratch Fever Despite its name, cat scratch fever isn’t the fault of your cat; fleas are to blame. Fleas carry cat scratch fever from cat to cat by biting an infected cat and then a formerly uninfected cat. Fleas can’t spread it directly to humans, but if you develop cat scratch fever because of a cat scratch, it’s most likely due to the cat’s claws having infected flea fecal matter on them. When that gets into an open wound, you can contract the disease. Symptoms of this disease can appear weeks after the initial scratch, which can make it difficult to recognize the symptoms. Tapeworms Tapeworms can wreak havoc on the health of your pets, and fleas are to blame. Tapeworms can’t be transmitted from pet to pet, but fleas carry tapeworm larva. These larva actually develop inside the flea, basically becoming a baby tapeworm. When a cat or dog licks themselves and ingests an infected flea, the tapeworm gets into their body and continues its development. This formerly tiny tapeworm can become a large, nasty parasite that grows inside your pet’s intestines, and can cause weight loss if left untreated.  Haemobartonellosis Haemobartonellosis is a disease that can be carried by ticks or fleas, and can make your pet extremely ill. When a flea transmits this disease to a pet, it causes the breakdown of red blood cells, leading to anemia. Red blood cells need to be replaced regularly, but the disease prevents this, resulting in less blood circulating through your pet’s body. The symptoms of this disease may be different depending on whether a cat or a dog is infected with it. Treating fleas these days is easier than ever,...

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Vaccinating Your Dog

Posted by on 11:16 am in Blog | 0 comments

Bringing home a new addition to the family can be an exciting time. Taking care of a puppy, however, requires more than just providing food and water. To stay healthy, it is important for a dog to have regular checkups with the vet and receive vaccinations. Why Vaccinate? Unlike cats, which could potentially stay inside their whole lives, dogs need room to run. They have to go outside for exercise and to go to the bathroom. Once outside the safety of the home, they may meet other dogs, other dogs that could potentially carry diseases. They will also come into contact with other animals, ticks, and feces that could be carrying infectious agents. Many pet owners are tempted to skip the vaccinations to save some money, but, if you value your dog as a member of the family, you will protect its life by keeping it up to date on vaccinations. What Vaccinations Should Your Dog Have? There are core vaccines that every dog should receive because they are transmissible to both dogs and humans. These include the following: Distemper Canine Hepatitis Canine Parvovirus Rabies Other non-core vaccines that your dog receives will depend upon its breed. Some of these might include vaccines for Bordetella bronchiseptica (canine cough), Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease), and Leptospira bacteria. When Should Your Dog Be Vaccinated? If your puppy nursed from a healthy mother, it should have many antibodies in its system to ward off infections. Even so, your puppy should visit the veterinarian as soon as possible so that it can receive vaccinations before the immunity it received from its mother wears off. First vaccinations are usually administered at six to eight weeks of age then given every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. A typical vaccination schedule would be: 6-7 Weeks – Distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, coronavirus, and parvovirus in a combination vaccine 9 Weeks – Second dose of combination vaccine 12 Weeks – Third dose of combination vaccine and Lyme vaccine 14 Weeks – Lyme vaccine and rabies vaccine (administered between 12-16 weeks depending on state laws) 16 Weeks – Fourth dose of combination vaccine 1 Year – Lyme vaccine (received annually) Once your dog becomes an adult, it may need to receive some vaccines annually and others at longer intervals, depending on its breed. Talk with a vet clinic, such as Basking Ridge Animal Hospital, to know what type of vaccination schedule to expect for your dog. What Are the Risks? While rare, some puppies do have a reaction to dog vaccinations. Signs to look for include Pale Gums Weakness Staggering Unresponsiveness Trouble Breathing It is normal for your puppy to be tired after receiving vaccinations, but, if your puppy shows any of the above signs, contact your veterinarian immediately. Also, adjuvants, a compound that is added to vaccines to increase their effectiveness, have been shown to cause cancer in pets. For this reason, it is advisable not to over-vaccinate your pet and to request the use of vaccines that do not contain adjuvants. You want to make sure the vaccines it receives will keep your dog healthy, not make it sick. With owning a pet comes a lot of responsibility. Before you bring your new friend home, make sure that you are willing to invest the...

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Four Reasons Why Your Horse May Be Itchy

Posted by on 9:18 pm in Blog, Pets & Animals | 0 comments

Every horse owner will find themselves dealing with an itchy horse at one time or another. Horses that are itchy will be seen scratching against objects such as posts and fences or constantly rubbing their eyes and faces against their legs. It may seem that the cause of itching might be easy to control; however, sometimes the source of the discomfort is not obvious. Here are four common causes why your horse may be itchy. Parasites: Parasites are usually what horse owners look for when they’re searching for why their horse is scratching. It’s a good first thing to look at as pests not only cause itching directly, but they can cause diseases that cause itching. Parasites can attack any part of the body, but are most commonly seen on the face and legs. A horse that is frequently scratching it’s rear-end may be suffering from intestinal worms. Keeping parasites in check with fly control measures or medication will help reduce the horse’s discomfort. Allergies: Allergies, including those to insect bites, are another cause of skin irritation. Horses with allergies often suffer from recurring hives as well as hair loss from repeated scratching. Allergies can be from insect bites, grooming chemicals, medications, and even certain types of food. Eliminating a component of the horse’s diet or grooming routine one at a time, can help narrow down the cause. If your horse is on medication, talk to a veterinarian, like Edisto Equine Clinic, about possible allergic reactions. Disease: Horses can be prone to different skin diseases and bacteria depending on the season. Certain diseases, such as eczema, can be a side effect of either insects or allergies. Different types of bacteria, such as dermatophilosis, or “rain rot” can grow on the skin and cause sores. Even though the rain rot doesn’t hurt the horses or cause itchniess, it can be transmitted on a horse’s “scratching post,” (AKA a fence). Common signs of skin diseases are large bare or raised areas of the skin. One way to prevent the spread of skin diseases is to not share tack or grooming supplies between horses. Consult your veterinarian to rule out anything serious. Fungus: Fungus can cause a variety of problems for horses. One of the most common fungi is ringworm. It can be identified by the round “rings” that appear in patches on the horse’s skin. This fungus can attack anywhere on the horse’s body. Specialized medicated shampoos can help alleviate fungal infections. The best way to reduce fungus infections is to keep your horse’s hair and skin away from excessive moisture for long periods. While itching and horses sometimes seem to go together, there is no reason why your horse has to live in discomfort. Keeping parasites away, managing allergies and disease, and keeping your horse’s coat dry and comfortable can help prevent many causes of...

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Splish Splash Doggy Bath: How To Bathe Your Dog Without Soaking Yourself

Posted by on 4:24 pm in Blog, Pets & Animals | 0 comments

Whether you have a Labrador that loves the water in any way, or a finicky poodle who would rather keep his paws on dry land, doggy bath time is usually a drenching experience. Your dog will splash, jump, and even shake to rid himself of water before you are done. When you have a dog that seems to love to get dirty, skipping bath time is simply out of the question. It may take some ingenuity, but giving your dog a bath without getting soaked yourself is possible with a little extra attention. Simple Changes in How You Bathe Your Dog May Help If you walk away from your dog’s bath sopping wet, there are a few simple changes you can make to your pet’s bathing routine that may help. -Skip the Wading Water – It may take a little extra water, but instead of filling the tub with several inches of water before dropping Fido inside, just turn on the shower after he is already in the tub. This is an especially effective idea if you have a shower head that is maneuverable. Using the shower head removes the water beneath your dog’s feet that is kicked around and splashed out of the tub. If you have a dog that is a bit skittish about  the sound of the shower, avoid turning the water on full force. -Do Not Oversaturate Your Dog’s Fur – It is a common misconception that dog hair should be completely saturated in order to get a good clean lather. However, dog shampoos are designed to lather well with little water. Dogs naturally have a lot of oil in their coat that is meant to deter moisture and keep their skin protected.  Therefore, moisten your dog’s hair with a quick spray, and pay more attention to getting soap on their hair than the water. Consider Dog Training While many dog owners only consider obedience school or training for behavioral issues, a professional approach to dog training can help with ordinary things, such as bath time. During training, your dog will be exposed to various types of stimuli, including water. These training tactics are designed to help your dog become more comfortable with things like bath time, and ultimately become more manageable for an owner who has a hard time making the pet behave. (for more information on training, contact Pet Medical Center) Just because your dog has to have a bath, it does not mean that you should have to get one as well. If you are still having a hard time staying dry with these tips, talk to your veterinarian or dog groomer for recommendations that may be able to...

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Does Your Dog Have Hookworms? Here Is What You Need To Know

Posted by on 2:07 pm in Blog, Pets & Animals | 0 comments

If you’re like most people, you love your dog as much as you do your other family members. This is why you go to great lengths to ensure that they are happy and healthy. However, your dog could have hookworms and you may not know it. This parasite is damaging to your pet’s intestines and can kill them if not treated. This guide explains what hookworms are and what to do to get rid of them. What Are Hookworms? A hookworm is a parasite whose appearance is somewhat of an “S” or a hook. Puppies can acquire these worms from their mother’s milk. Adult dogs typically obtain them from fleas, if bitten, or from eating fleas. When hookworms invade a dog, they settle in their small intestines using their tiny teeth. Their body parts consist of a head, neck and tail. The tail has several segments and is what they use to breed. The tail is a big part of the infestation process. Sections fall off the worms continuously and exit a dog’s body via feces. When fleas in the yard lay their eggs in the feces, they also eat the microscopic tail pieces, and then become infected. When fleas bite your dog, or your dog eats the fleas, they contract the hookworm. What Are the Symptoms of Hookworms? If your dog has hookworms, you’ll notice an overall unhealthy appearance and the dog will not eat. Even though these parasites attach themselves to the small intestine lining, they can multiply and migrate to the lungs. When this happens, your dog may cough a lot in addition to presenting with lethargy and a lack of appetite. Take your dog to the vet if you see any of these symptoms or notice that they are experiencing constipation, dark and tarry stools or diarrhea. You won’t see hookworms because they are microscopic and only your vet can tell if an infestation is present. How Do You Get Rid of Hookworms? The best way to get rid of, or prevent hookworms is to rid your pet, home and yard of fleas. Additionally, ask your vet for a once-per-month prevention treatment for your dog to protect against fleas and parasites. If your vet tells you that your dog is already infested with hookworms, expect them to administer a low-dose poison to kill off the worms. Caution: Take your dog to a vet clinic like Oakton Animal Hospital immediately if you suspect hookworms. These worms can be transferred to humans. Over half a billion people around the world have hookworms. Wash your hands after handling your pet before preparing meals or touching your face. Keep an eye on your pet to watch for changes in eating habits or behavior. If they don’t seem to be quite themselves, take them to the vet immediately to test for parasites and to obtain any necessary treatment. Ask your vet about safe lawn products to eradicate fleas and other pet...

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