Tips for helping your cat avoid hairball-related problems
Besides cleaning out the litter box, one of the most unpleasant chores related to indoor cat care has got to be dealing with hairballs. While most cats will faithfully deposit all their waste in the litter box, they may cough up a hairball just about anywhere—on an expensive rug, in a hidden corner where you won’t find it for weeks, or even right in the middle of a heavily trafficked area where someone is likely to step in it. Here are some tips to help you understand why cats get hairballs and how you can make this process as natural and comfortable as possible for your feline friend.
Like it or Not, Hairballs Are Part of Life
As unpleasant as hairballs are for humans, they can be much more uncomfortable for cats. Most cats can successfully rid themselves of the excess hair swallowed during grooming by vomiting or passing the hair through their digestive tract. In some cases, however, hairballs can become “stuck” inside the cat. You may notice your cat repeatedly gagging over the course of a day, appearing constipated, or even having diarrhea. In most cases, the cat will pass their hairball on its own in short order. If not, you should definitely pay a visit to your veterinarian. In rare cases, hairballs can become lodged in the esophagus or the intestine and may require surgery to correct.
How to Handle Hairballs
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to try to reduce the frequency and difficulty of passing a hairball:
Brush your cat: The fewer loose hairs your cat encounters during its daily grooming routine, the less frequently it will develop a hairball. If you have a long-haired cat, try to brush it daily as long-haired breeds will be more prone to hairballs otherwise.
Try a hairball care diet: Certain types of cat foods are specially formulated to reduce hairballs. These foods typically seek to improve skin and coat health and reduce shedding while also adding extra fiber to the diet to help the pass hairballs through your cat’s digestive tract more easily.
Consider a hairball remedy: Hairball remedies seek to lubricate your cat’s digestive tract to further aid the passage of hairballs through the intestine. Definitely seek the advice of a veterinarian before using any kind of hairball remedy.
Address excessive grooming: Sometimes cats engage in excessive grooming behaviors out of anxiety or boredom. Naturally more grooming results in more hairballs. By giving your cat a new toy or making a point of having daily play time, you may be able to distract the cat from excessive grooming and reduce the size and frequency of hairballs.
Help your pet stay healthy with dental care at home and at the vet’s office
We all know the benefits of regular dental care for humans: better breath, stronger teeth, and reduced risk of pain, infections, and tooth loss. Don’t you want these same benefits for your pet? Regular dental care—both at home and at the vet’s office—is vital for the long-term health and comfort of your pet. Fortunately, good dental care for pets is relatively easy to achieve. All it takes is a little bit of training and commitment. Here are some tips to help you make sure your pet is getting the dental care they need.
Check Teeth & Gums Regularly
Like people, pets can develop gum disease, cavities, tumors, and cysts in the mouth that can not only be very painful, but potentially even cause life-threatening complications in the case of an abscess or a cancerous growth. By simply inspecting your pet’s teeth and gums on a regular basis, you can help catch any oral health issues early and get the proper treatment. Your pet’s gums should be pink, not white or red, with no signs of swelling or bleeding. Teeth should be intact, ideally with very little brownish tartar.
Brush to Remove Plaque
Plaque, or the film of bacteria that lives on dirty teeth, can cause cavities and gum inflammation in pets just like it does in people. In order to help keep plaque levels down, you should brush your pet’s teeth at home on a regular basis using a specially formulated pet toothpaste and a cat or dog toothbrush. For best results, ask your veterinarian to help you select a quality toothpaste and to demonstrate proper brushing technique. With time and proper training, your pet will come to tolerate their tooth brushing sessions.
Watch What Your Pet Eats
The types of foods that your pets eat can contribute to or help prevent dental problems. For example, wet pet foods tend to stick to teeth more, potentially leading to tooth decay. Dry foods and specially designed chew toys can actually help remove plaque and tartar to promote healthier teeth. Ask your vet about possible changes to your pet’s diet that may help improve oral health, such as switching to a product like Hill’s Prescription Tartar Control Diet.
Visit the Vet for Regular Dental Cleanings
Once plaque turns into tartar (that brown stuff on your pet’s teeth near the gum line) the only way to remove it is with a special dental cleaning at your veterinarian’s office. Dental cleaning or dental scaling is safe and effective for any pet that is healthy enough to be sedated for the procedure. A professional dental cleaning also provides a good opportunity for your pet to get a thorough dental exam, which will help identify any issues such as cysts, tumors, or severely decayed or infected teeth. These problems can then be addressed with surgery at a veterinary hospital to help your pet feel better and hopefully live longer.
Six tips to help manage your pet’s weight
Pet obesity is a real problem in America today, with some studies indicating that up to 60 percent of pets may be overweight or obese. Just like for people, being significantly overweight can cause medical issues which affect a pet’s quality of life and life expectancy. Because you are with your pet every day, you may not notice that they’ve been gaining weight steadily to the point where it has become an actual health problem. Fortunately, you can take a more active role in monitoring and managing your pet’s weight with these six tips.
Assess Your Pet
First of all, you need to assess your pet’s condition to determine if he or she is overweight. Weighing your pet and comparing that weight to the standards for the breed and age is a good starting point. But because every pet is different, there really is no ideal weight, even within breed categories. Many veterinarians recommend feeling your pet’s rib cage. If there seems to be more padding there than you would feel on the back of the average person’s hand, your pet is probably overweight.
Again, there is no single magic number when it comes to determining how many calories a pet needs. However, you do want to be sure that most of the calories your pet consumes come from a quality pet food rather than treats. Keep track of everything you feed your pet during the day and add up the calories. If pet treats or table scraps make up more than 10 percent of the total, you need to cut back on those items.
Adjust Diet as Needed
Pets’ dietary needs change according to age, environment, and medical conditions. For example, if your pet gets fixed, their calorie requirements will decrease dramatically within just a week. If you don’t adjust their diet, your pet may start gaining weight and eventually become obese.
Give Non-Food Treats
People love to give treats to their pets as rewards or to show affection. However, this adds additional calories to the diet that may push the pet over the edge into obesity. It is okay to give the occasional food treat, but you should also consider ways to reward your pet without giving food, such as a thorough petting, an extra walk, or a few minutes of playtime.
While kittens love to play, it’s a lot harder to make an adult cat—especially an overweight one—exercise when it doesn’t want to. However, if you’re dealing with an overweight dog you can definitely help your pet to get more exercise. Start taking longer walks or extra walks, or engage your pet in play such as fetch or tug that will get them moving.
Consult a Veterinarian
If you are not successful in helping your pet to lose weight simply by reducing calories and increasing exercise, there may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to identify and address your pet’s unique nutritional needs.
Both types of food can give dogs the nutrition they need
One of the most common questions dog owners have is what kind of dog food is best for their pet. And typically before you can even get started on how to choose the best brand of pet food, you need to make a decision: wet food or dry food? Both types of food have their pros and cons, and ultimately the decision will probably come down to your pet’s preference. So beware of introducing wet dog food unless you’re really willing to supply it every day for the rest of your dog’s life—some dogs love the taste of wet food so much that they will essentially go on a hunger strike to get more of it, turning up their noses at their dried kibble until their masters relent and give them the good stuff. Here are some additional things to consider when deciding between wet and dry dog food for your pet.
Both wet and dry dog food can provide the necessary nutrition for your pet, assuming of course that you choose a quality brand that is appropriate for the age and health of your pet. However, wet dog food does tend to contain more meat protein and fats and less carbs than dry dog food. And because wet dog food comes in an air-tight package, it doesn’t need to contain synthetic preservatives like dry dog food does.
Many veterinarians recommend dry dog food because crunching up the dry kibble helps to clean teeth and promote better dental health. While this may be true to a certain extent, dry dog food isn’t a valid substitute for professional dental cleanings at the vet. Regardless of whether you feed wet or dry food, you will need to take special measures to care for your dog’s teeth. If you have an older dog that already has dental problems, you may need to feed wet food because dry food would be too difficult or painful to chew.
Wet dog food is sometimes helpful for dogs that need to lose weight. The additional moisture content present in wet food means that they can eat a larger volume of food without exceeding their caloric requirements and feel fuller than they would after eating dry food.
Wet dog food does tend to cost more than dry dog food, which can be bought in bulk at a discounted price.
Many dog owners find dry dog food more convenient than wet food. Because it doesn’t require any refrigeration, it can be left out in the bowl for free feeding without concern about spoilage.
Learn how you can help prevent poisoning if your pet eats something dangerous
We all love to feed our pets people food, even though we know it’s bad for their health. However, there are some foods and substances that are worse than others and as a responsible pet owner you need to know about them. Here are the top 5 things that pets should never be allowed to eat, along with advice on what to do if your pet does snatch an unauthorized and dangerous snack.
Chocolate is bad for pets for all kinds of reasons. It contains caffeine and fat, both of which can be harmful, but the real problem is methylxanthines. The darker the chocolate, the worse it is for pets because of higher concentrations of methylxanthines. Eating chocolate may cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, tremors, and seizures.
Tea, coffee, energy drinks, and even some sodas are dangerous for pets because they contain caffeine, which can affect the heart, stomach, and nervous system. Pets may find coffee beans particularly intriguing and fun to chew on. A pet that has ingested too much caffeine will show symptoms like restlessness, muscle twitches, increased heart rate, and even seizures.
Alcohol affects pets more quickly than it affects humans. Once a pet ingests alcohol, this can trigger dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature in short order. Seizures or respiratory failure may even occur.
Candy with Xylitol
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener sometimes found in candies, baked goods and sugarless gum. It’s often recommended for diabetic humans, but it can have a very dangerous effect on dogs. Xylitol causes a rapid release of insulin whichcan lead to hypoglycemia and perhaps even liver failure.
Antifreeze poisoning is a risk for both children and pets because this chemical smells pretty good and has a sweet taste. Just a few tablespoons of antifreeze has the potential to be deadly, especially if you don’t notice the symptomsof antifreeze poisoning early. So keep your pets out of the garage and watch out for symptoms like lack of coordination, grogginess, lethargy, and disorientation.
What if Your Pet Eats Something Dangerous?
No matter how vigilant we are as pet owners, dogs and cats can still get into trouble. If you know that your pet has eaten something dangerous, you should call your veterinarian for help and advice. In the case of chemical poisonings,you will not want to induce vomiting unless your vet recommends it. However, if your pet has consumed anything on theabove list, you should induce vomiting as soon as possible, and within a maximum of 2 hours of the incident. Simply prepare a dose of 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide (the 3% stuff from the first aid aisle) per 10 pounds of your pet’s body weight. Make your pet drink it down (maybe with a teeny bit of ice cream) and your pet should vomit up the hydrogen peroxide and whatever bad thing they ate in about 15 minutes.
Tips to help you ensure your dog or cat gets quality nutrition
Quality nutrition is extremely important for your pet, but considering that there are dozens of different brands of pet food on the market and each brand has several different offerings, it can be hard to know which food is best. These tips will help you choose a food that can give your dog or cat the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy immune system and digestive system, a shiny coat, and an energetic, playful attitude.
The very first thing you need to do when choosing dog or cat food is to make sure you are only considering products that are age-appropriate for your pet. Babies, adults, and seniors have specific and distinct nutritional needs. So do pregnant or nursing animals as well as pets with certain medical conditions.
Many people assume that the titles given to various food products are just marketing. However, these titles are actually very descriptive thanks to the efforts of The Association of American Feed Control Officials. Any pet food said to contain a single ingredient contains 95 percent of that ingredient. A food called a “dinner”, “platter,” “entrée,” etc. doesn’t have to contain more than 25 percent of the named ingredient. A pet food product advertising a “flavor” only has to have a “detectable amount” of that ingredient. So a “beef” dog food would be 95 percent beef but “beef dinner” would probably only contain 25 percent beef.
As with people food, the more natural ingredients on the label of a pet food the better. The ingredients will be listed by weight, and ideally you should find a food where a meat product is listed first. Grains and glutens will probably come next. This is okay because most dogs and cats can metabolize these carbs easily and they actually need them for energy. Don’t be concerned if meat by-products appear on the label—in a quality pet food, this signifies nutritious organ meats not horns or hooves.
Your pet’s preference is also very important. You can try out different foods to see which your pet finds most appetizing. Just remember that you need to transition slowly from one food brand to another in order to avoid upsetting your pet’s stomach.
Ask Your Vet
If you are concerned that your pet isn’t maintaining a healthy weight or has issues eating or digesting their food, consult your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can examine your pet to determine if they have an allergy or a health problem that may or may not be related to the food. Your vet can also recommend a specific food for your pet and prescribe supplements as necessary.
Consider the vet, the staff, and the facility when choosing a veterinary hospital in Temecula CA
If you’re looking for a veterinarian to take care of your beloved pets, you should definitely consider a veterinary hospital. Veterinary hospitals have caring staff just like a small vet’s office, but they are able to offer a more comprehensive range of care. Here are some tips for choosing the best veterinary hospital in Temecula CA.
A veterinary hospital typically has multiple veterinarians on staff. Since you might end up seeing any of the vets in an emergency or if your regular vet goes on leave, it’s a good idea to meet all the veterinarians on staff and look into their backgrounds. Make sure they are all qualified and find out if any of them hold board certifications in special practice areas.
You’ll interact with lots of people besides the veterinarian on every visit to a veterinary hospital in Temecula CA. From the receptionist or office manager who books your appointment, welcomes you to the waiting room, and handles your billing to the vet techs who keep your pet comfortable during an exam to the kennel assistants that will care for your pet pre or post surgery, there are lots of staff members to meet and evaluate. The best veterinary hospitals have lots of long term staff members who love their jobs and your pets.
Complete Range of Services
One of the benefits of choosing a veterinary hospital in Temecula CA rather than a small vet’s office is that a broader range of services and treatments will be available. You’ll be able to get the routine care your pet needs, like exams and vaccinations, as well as a wide variety of diagnostic tests and special treatments including surgeries, dental care, and even behavior counseling.
You should definitely choose a veterinary hospital in Temecula CA that has its own pharmacy, as this will help ensure that you can get the high-quality medicines your pet needs as soon as they are prescribed. Ordering medications online or from a catalog doesn’t provide the same convenience or protection for your pet, as medications that are not received from a trusted source may be expired, overheated, or otherwise compromised.
Clean & Comfortable Facility
Finally, be sure that you and your pet feel comfortable visiting the veterinary hospital you choose. The facility should look and smell clean, and ideally it will have separate waiting areas for dogs and cats to reduce stress on the animals. One good indicator of a clean facility is membership in the American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA membership means that a veterinary hospital has voluntarily pursued and met AAHA’s standards in the areas of facility, equipment and quality care.
The best veterinarian in Temecula CA is one you and your pet can trust to provide superior care
Having a good relationship with an expert veterinarian that you can trust to provide quality advice and compassionate care for your pets is vital for their health and well-being. Here are some things to consider when looking for the best veterinarian in Temecula CA.
The quickest way to get a lead on the best veterinarian in Temecula CA is to ask around. Friends, neighbors, fellow customers at pet supply stores, groomers, animal shelter employees, etc. will all have an opinion on the subject. You can also research veterinarians online by using review sites like Yelp and Google. Look for a veterinarian with a reputation for providing expert care and treating their clients’ pets like their own.
Facility & Equipment
Once you’ve identified some veterinarians with good reputations, the next step is to check out the clinics where they practice. The facility should be clean, comfortable, and well-organized, with opening hours that suit your schedule. You’ll also want to ask about the types of diagnostic equipment that the veterinarian has at their disposal and what kind of services they are able to provide. The best veterinarians in Temecula CA can provide almost every treatment your pet may need, including supplying prescription medications, rather than having to refer you to a specialist.
Even routine preventative care can get expensive, especially if you have multiple pets. It’s a good idea to compare prices for standard services like office visits, exams, and vaccinations before choosing a veterinarian. You want to make sure the prices are reasonable, but you shouldn’t feel the need to choose your vet based on price alone. If you have older pets or pets with pre-existing medical conditions that require expensive treatment, you may want to ask if the veterinarian offers financing programs such as CareCredit.
Availability of Emergency Care
Knowing that your regular vet can handle any sort of emergency need your pet may have is vital for your peace of mind. Whenever possible, choose a vet who accepts emergency patients with little or no notice so that you know you’ll be able to get help from a veterinarian you and your pet already trust in an emergency.
Vet’s People Skills & Animal Skills
The best veterinarian in Temecula CA will be able to put you and your pet at ease. They will demonstrate their good people skills by being friendly, really listening to your description of your pet’s health issues, and taking the time to fully explain any treatments that may be recommended. They’ll demonstrate their animal skills in the way they confidently yet gently handle your pet when giving an exam or providing care. Ideally, you’ll find a vet whose pet care philosophy matches your own.
Five factors to consider when choosing a facility for pet boarding
Pet boarding facilities run the gamut from basic jail-like cells to luxurious “pet hotels.” If you need to put your beloved pets into a kennel for a single night or for a long-term stay, obviously you want to make sure you choose the best possible pet boarding facility. Here are 5 tips to help you in your search for the best pet boarding.
Visit the Facility First
Visiting the pet boarding facility before you commit to a stay is highly recommended. During your visit, you will be able to view the areas where your pet will be kept. Pay close attention to the amount of space your pet will have to move around, as well as the lighting, ventilation, temperature, and cleanliness of the facility. For dogs, check that they either have an outdoor run with protection from the elements or else a schedule for outdoor exercise. For cats, make sure that the food bowls can be placed far enough from the litter box. All pets should have beds that are raised up off of concrete floors.
Check Health & Safety Provisions
Many states require pet boarding facilities to pass regular inspections and earn a license or certificate. These will usually be displayed at the facility. You will also want to ask if all pets are required to have their vaccinations, as this provision helps prevent all pets from communicable diseases. Finally, ask if you can bring your own food for your pet as this will help avoid stomach upsets.
Meet the Staff
Often, meeting the staff will help you get a better idea of what kind of experience your pet will have at the kennel. You want to meet the people who will actually be feeding, exercising, and cleaning up after your pet, not just the front office manager.
Ask About Playtime
Pets can get lonely away from their owners! Many pet boarding facilities offer playtime so your pet can interact with someone and so that dogs can run around outside. Be sure to find out exactly what playtime includes so you know what you’re paying for, as these sessions may cost extra.
Consider Boarding at a Vet Clinic
Boarding your pet at a vet clinic can be a really good idea, especially for pets that are older or have health issues that require medication. With a vet clinic looking after your pet, you’ll know that a qualified profession is keeping a close eye on their health, and that if an emergency should occur expert treatment will be readily available.
Even southern California pets need help preparing for fall and winter!
Part of the reason we all love living in southern California is that the weather tends to be pleasant with few extremes. Winter certainly isn’t as harsh here as it is in, say, Fargo ND! However, the change of seasons does affect pets. Here are some tips for helping your pet stay happy and healthy in fall and winter.
Get a Fall Checkup for Outdoor Pets
If your pet lives outdoors, you should visit the vet for a checkup before the weather turns cold. Changes in age and health conditions can affect your pet’s ability to stay happy and healthy outdoors during the winter, so don’t just assume that because your pet was okay outdoors last winter they’ll be okay this winter as well. Get a professional opinion!
Keep Pets Dry
Winter brings rainy weather, and pets need to be kept dry. If your pet lives outside, be sure that their sleeping area is raised up off the ground, and try to avoid using blankets or rugs for bedding as these can draw moisture and feel damp and cold. Use straw or cedar chips instead. You may also want to put a flap over the door of the sleeping area to keep out the wind.
Provide Extra Calories if Needed
Staying warm during the winter requires extra calories, so be sure to provide additional food for your outdoor pets. One of the expert vets from Pet Medical Center can help you determine how much extra food may be needed.
Brush Your Pet Often
As the seasons change, many pets will shed their summer coats and begin growing in their winter coats. By brushing your pet daily or weekly as needed, you can help with the shedding process. This will make your pet happier and it will also help keep your home from becoming coated in shed pet hair. If your pet goes outside, brush them afterwards to remove mats and prevent trapped dirt from causing skin problems.
Keep an Eye on Male Cats
Perhaps due to the fact that they start drinking less water as temperatures cool, fall is the most common time for male cats to develop bladder stones. If your cat seems to be straining to relieve himself, visit the vet right away.
Avoid Holiday Hazards
The winter holidays are a joyful time, so don’t let the season be marred by a pet accident! Many types of decorations, like holly, mistletoe, strung lights, glass ornaments, candles, spray on snow, etc. can be harmful to your pet. Keep decorations out of pets’ reach and be sure to cover up or hide electrical cords to avoid exploratory chewing.