Seven Signs That Your Cat Is Not Feeling Well

Seven Signs of Not Feeling WellCats are notorious for hiding the signs that they aren’t feeling well. Often independent by nature, cats will often suffer for a long time before owners are aware that their cat is sick. However, there are several signs that can indicate that something’s wrong:

Your Cat’s Breath Smells Bad

The bad smell coming from your cat’s mouth could stem from gum disease, tooth decay, or kidney disease. If your cat’s breath smells sweet, diabetes may be the problem.

Eliminating Away From the Litter Box

If this behavior is not normal, then it could indicate a bladder infection, urinary tract disease, or blockage. Any changes in elimination behaviors can indicate trouble. Pay special attention to changes in the color, smell, frequency, and amount of waste.

Vocalization Changes

Some owners have recognized changes in their cats’ meows, only to find out later that their pet was suffering. Crying, more vocalization than usual, less talking than normal, and other changes are often signs that your cat needs attention.

Changes in Appetite

Cats that suddenly show an increase in appetite or whose appetites drastically drop off could be suffering from a variety of different diseases. Your vet may do some blood work and other tests to find the source of trouble.

Weight Loss or Gain

Similar to changes in appetite, sudden weight changes can signal serious conditions. Weight loss often occurs when cats have thyroid disease or cancer. Weight gain accompanies several conditions as well. These changes should prompt a visit to the vet.

Grooming Habits Change

As with appetite and weight gain, this change can go either way. Some cats will begin to over-groom and may create sores or bald patches. This is a typical symptom of parasites or stress. The lack of grooming may be a sign of skin disease. If your cat begins shedding, she may be suffering from hyperthyroidism or from allergies.

Hiding, Sleeping, or Overactive Tendencies

It is very normal for cats who feel sick, uncomfortable, or nervous to hide. If your cat starts to hide more than usual, this behavior can be a sign of trouble. Cats who are normally very active who start to sleep all day may be trying to show you that they aren’t feeling well. On the other hand, a cat who is suddenly wide awake at night, vocalizing, or seems really overactive, even during the day, could also be trying to let you know that he isn’t feeling well.

When you visit with your veterinarian, try to be as specific as possible about the changes you’ve seen in your cat’s behavior. Although the signs that your cat is sick can be subtle, they should be a reason for you to call the vet. Contact the Pet Medical Center to schedule an appointment. The sooner you can identify what is wrong and begin a course of treatment, the sooner your cat can get back to normal.

Is Your Dog at Risk for Diabetes?

Risk for DiabetesMany dogs suffer from diabetes. This common disease occurs when the dog’s body is not able to produce enough insulin. Some types of dogs are more prone to diabetes:

  • Beagles
  • Cairn Terriers
  • Keeshonds
  • Poodles
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • German Shepherds

However, any dog can be affected by diabetes, no matter what the breed. Females are affected more often than males by three to one. The onset of diabetes usually occurs between the ages of 6 to 9 years.

Symptoms of Diabetes

There are some warning signs that might alert you that your dog is developing diabetes:

  • At first, your dog will start eating more frequently and larger amounts. As the disease develops, this increased appetite will drop off.
  • Extra glucose in the urine will lead to frequent urination and increased drinking.
  • Although, your dog is eating and drinking more, you may witness a drop in weight.

If you don’t get treatment for your dog’s diabetes, the advanced symptoms will include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Cataracts
  • Organ failure

Prevention of Dog Diabetes

You might consider taking your dog in for genetic testing, if you are concerned that your dog is at risk. Other steps you can take are to provide a well-balanced diet, encourage plenty of exercise, and arrange proper dental care for your dog. If you are concerned that your dog may be suffering from diabetes, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Treating Your Dog for Diabetes

One effective way to treat diabetes in dogs is to administer daily insulin injections. It will also be very important to control your dog’s diet. You can talk to your vet about food options that have been developed specifically for dogs with diabetes. You will make regular trips to the veterinarian for blood glucose testing and to fine tune the timing and dosage of insulin injections. In some cases, you will need to collect urine samples and test it for glucose levels.

It is important to understand that obesity can increase your dog’s risk for diabetes and will make treatment much more difficult. During the treatment of an obese dog, a weight loss plan will probably be a component. Your vet will help you to decide the best way to help your dog reach her ideal weight.

Exercise is a good way to help your dog lose weight and is also effective at lowering her blood glucose levels. Try to schedule exercise sessions at about the same time and for the same amount of time each day. Consistency is more important than increasing the exertion level. In fact, if you exercise your dog too long or too vigorously, the glucose levels could drop dangerously.

Maintain a Good Relationship with Your Vet

Your veterinarian can be a great source of advice, education, support, and comfort. Talk to a vet at Pet Medical Center as soon as you suspect diabetes and maintain visits are recommended. Your dog deserves the best quality of life that you can make possible.

Help Your Pet Stay Cool During the Summer

Pet Stay CoolPeople can be very conscientious about summer safety. They protect their children with sunblock, don sunglasses to protect their eyes, and think twice before going anywhere without water at hand. Too often, however, people forget how the high temperatures of summer can affect their pets. Cats and dogs need protection during the summer as well as the rest of the family.

Tip One: Visit Your Veterinarian

A quick check-up before you jump into summer fun is a must. At this check-up, you can discuss heartworm testing, summer parasites, the dangers of ticks, and fleas. The vet may recommend protection such as shampoos, sprays, sunblock, and more.

Tip Two: Never Leave Your Pets in the Car

This should go without saying. It takes very little time for your cherished pet to succumb to extreme heat of a car in the summer. In some states it is illegal to leave your pets in the car. Never, ever leave your pet in the car.

Tip Three: Provide Plenty of Shade and Water

Cats and dogs can suffer from heat stroke when left outside during hot days. A cool, shady spot in the yard with plenty of fresh water will keep your pets well hydrated. Avoid over-exercising your dog. Choose to walk him during cooler hours of the day.

Tip Four: Watch Out for Hot Surfaces

Hot surfaces like the sidewalk, street, sand, and patio can burn the sensitive pads on your dog’s feet. One recommendation is to place your hand on the surface and hold it there for 30 seconds. If it becomes uncomfortable or painful for you, then it will hurt your dog as well. Stick to the grass or walk when it is cooler outside.

Tip Five: Remember That Summer Temperatures Feel Even Hotter for Your Pets than for You

Inside their fur coats, cats and dogs can become sick if they don’t have a place to cool off. If you leave them home during the day, provide a cool area for them to relax or hang out until you get home.

If your pet enjoys the breeze through an open window, take precautions to keep the screen in place. Vets see an increase in injuries due to pets, especially cats, falling out of windows.

Tip Six: It’s Time for a Hair Cut

Some dogs with long coats can feel a bit cooler when they are groomed before the heat rises. However, some dogs have special layers of fur to protect them from the heat. Discuss grooming with your vet. Additional brushing for both cats and dogs can also help. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin before you head outside.

Summer can be an enjoyable time of year for everyone in the family when basic principles of summer safety are followed. Talk to the professionals at Pet Medical Center to learn more about the risks of summer. Protect your pet by scheduling an appointment.

Give Your Puppy a Healthy Start on Life

Healthy StartBringing home a wiggly little puppy is the start of a wonderful new adventure. During those first few weeks, you can plan on having a busy little dog trying out his new teeth, accidents in the corners, and a time of discovery for both you and your puppy. In order to provide your new little friend with all of the care he needs, you’ll need to devote a lot of time and energy to the puppy. In the end, you will be rewarded with unconditional love and loyalty.

Beyond the Food Bowls

Your puppy is going to need much more than food and water in those first weeks. By providing your puppy with the right attention, you can almost guarantee that your dog will be healthy and happy.

Visit the Veterinarian

It is only natural that one of the first places you go with your puppy will be the veterinarian. At the first visit, you can expect a few things:

  • Examination
  • Shots and vaccinations
  • Information about puppy’s breed
  • A schedule for further visits
  • Discussion about the pros and cons of spaying and neutering

Learn About Pet Dentistry

Hopefully, you already have a good tooth care regimen in place for yourself. Dog dentistry is just as important. The sooner you learn how to appropriately care for your puppy’s teeth, the more likely that she is to respond positively. Discuss with the veterinarian the best routine and products for your specific breed of dog. From time to time, the vet may provide services such as fluoride treatments, dental hygiene, or extractions.

Set Up a Wellness Plan

Sometime during the course of your visit with the vet, you should discuss a wellness plan with the doctor. This should include scheduled office visits and a plan of action for health problems. You can also discuss concerns with the vet such as grooming and training services in your area and emergency services. Begin grooming and training your dog early so that she can get used to both. Good habits are easier to instill when puppies are young and haven’t yet started to test boundaries.

Choose the Right Pet Food

Puppies’ bodies are changing and growing quickly during the first few weeks. You need to be sure that the food you provide for your puppy is appropriate. Watch for a declaration from the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or the AAFCO, on the package of dog food that you choose. Remember to choose puppy food as opposed to adult food. Visit with the vet before switching to adult food.

When you bring a puppy home, your life is bound to improve, especially when you take steps to ensure that your puppy has a healthy start on life. Make an appointment to visit with a veterinarian at Pet Medical Center.

Give Your Puppy a Healthy Start on Life

Healthy StartBringing home a wiggly little puppy is the start of a wonderful new adventure. During those first few weeks, you can plan on having a busy little dog trying out his new teeth, accidents in the corners, and a time of discovery for both you and your puppy. In order to provide your new little friend with all of the care he needs, you’ll need to devote a lot of time and energy to the puppy. In the end, you will be rewarded with unconditional love and loyalty.

Beyond the Food Bowls

Your puppy is going to need much more than food and water in those first weeks. By providing your puppy with the right attention, you can almost guarantee that your dog will be healthy and happy.

Visit the Veterinarian

It is only natural that one of the first places you go with your puppy will be the veterinarian. At the first visit, you can expect a few things:

  • Examination
  • Shots and vaccinations
  • Information about puppy’s breed
  • A schedule for further visits
  • Discussion about the pros and cons of spaying and neutering

Learn About Pet Dentistry

Hopefully, you already have a good tooth care regimen in place for yourself. Dog dentistry is just as important. The sooner you learn how to appropriately care for your puppy’s teeth, the more likely that she is to respond positively. Discuss with the veterinarian the best routine and products for your specific breed of dog. From time to time, the vet may provide services such as fluoride treatments, dental hygiene, or extractions.

Set Up a Wellness Plan

Sometime during the course of your visit with the vet, you should discuss a wellness plan with the doctor. This should include scheduled office visits and a plan of action for health problems. You can also discuss concerns with the vet such as grooming and training services in your area and emergency services. Begin grooming and training your dog early so that she can get used to both. Good habits are easier to instill when puppies are young and haven’t yet started to test boundaries.

Choose the Right Pet Food

Puppies’ bodies are changing and growing quickly during the first few weeks. You need to be sure that the food you provide for your puppy is appropriate. Watch for a declaration from the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or the AAFCO, on the package of dog food that you choose. Remember to choose puppy food as opposed to adult food. Visit with the vet before switching to adult food.

When you bring a puppy home, your life is bound to improve, especially when you take steps to ensure that your puppy has a healthy start on life. Make an appointment to visit with a veterinarian at Pet Medical Center.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog or Cat Calm During a Visit to the Vet

Keeping Your Dog or Cat CalmLet’s face it: pets hate going to the vet. Even the calmest, happiest dog or cat often turns into a wild animal when confronted with the idea of getting in the car for a ride to the vet. Sometimes, even the sound of the cat carrier opening is enough to send a feline into a panicked frenzy. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take as a pet owner to ensure that your furry friends stay as calm as possible when going to the vet.

Choosing a Vet

The first step to ensuring that your pet has a good time at the vet is making sure that the vet you choose is qualified, reputable, and experienced. Check online ratings of vets and ask your friends and neighbors who have pets for recommendations. Choose a vet who prioritizes making animals feel comfortable and who has your pet’s best interests at heart. If possible, try to schedule your dog or cat’s appointments during off-peak hours, so that distractions are at a minimum.

Things to Bring

Many vet exam tables are made of cold, slippery, stainless steel, guaranteed to make your dog or cat feel uncomfortable. An easy way to help your pet feel better is to bring something soft for them to stand on while being examined. A yoga mat or soft blanket can go a long way to helping your puppy or kitten relax. Additionally, a handful of favorite toys or bones can help, as well as treats like catnip to temporarily distract worried kitties.

Practicing at Home

The best way to ensure that your pet keeps it’s cool during a visit to the vet is to practice vet visits at home or on the go. If you have a dog, and regularly walk or drive him or her past the vet, you can stop in occasionally for a visit that does not involve an actual exam. This way, your dog gets used to the vet being a non-threatening place. Additionally, and especially for animal who don’t get to visit the vet in person, you can practice giving exams to get them used to being handled in a slightly strange way. For both dogs and cats, do a practice exam in which you examine their teeth, feel their bellies, and even touch them gently under the tail, all followed by ample hugs and treats. This will gradually train them to be handled in a slightly uncomfortable way without getting too upset.

Take Steps to Make Your Pet Feel Good

Whatever your method, it is important to keep your dog or cat’s best interests at heart. Only choose reputable veterinarians and think about what your pet likes best. This will help you and your best furry friends have a positive, healthy visit to the vet!

Simple Steps to Choosing A Veterinarian

Steps to Choosing A VeterinarianFor humans, choosing a doctor is an important choice that requires careful deliberations, recommendations, and a willingness to be picky. Doctors are responsible for not only maintaining your health, but for making you feel comfortable and relaxed. The same is true for pets, but since they cannot choose their own veterinarians, it is up to their owners to pick for them. When choosing a veterinarian, there are a few key items to keep in mind that will help ensure that you and your pet have a positive experience at the vet.

Finding a Vet

There are several ways to go about finding a vet with whom to set up an appointment. The easiest way may be to simply ask your friends or neighbors for a recommendation. This way, you will get their firsthand information about the type of facility you are going to, and the way the vet handles their pets. If you do not know anyone to ask, the internet is a great resource. There are many websites that provide reviews of local businesses, including veterinarians. It is also a good policy to check that the vet is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association.

Visiting the Facility

Once you’ve narrowed your choices to just a few, schedule a visit to the facility to make sure you feel comfortable with it. Most vets will understand your need to make a careful decision and will accommodate this request with no hesitation. While you are at the vet, see if the building is clean, organized, and comfortable. Find out whether appointments are required, how many vets work there, and whether pets are seen by veterinarians or technicians. Factors to check include convenience to your home, emergency services, and whether or not additional services such as x-rays and blood work can be done on site.

Go With Your Gut

One of the most important factors, besides technical details, is whether or not you feel comfortable with the people and facility that you are visiting. You should feel like the vet has you and your pet’s best interests at heart, and that they will be able to provide a loving atmosphere as well as a professional service.

Be a Diligent Pet Owner

Once you have selected a vet, there are a few important ways in which you can ensure that you are the best pet parent you can be. First and foremost, be sure to schedule regular preventative visits to the vet, rather than only taking them when they are sick. Pay attention to your pet’s behavior at all times so that if there is a problem, you will be the first to notice. After a visit, be sure to follow your vet’s advice carefully and precisely to ensure that your pet gets the best care possible!

 

Keep Your Dog’s Tail Wagging With Exercise and Healthy Foods

Dog’s Tail Wagging Providing your dog with the right amount of exercise and proper nutrition is central in keeping your pooch happy and healthy for years to come. Even if your dog maintains a good weight for his or her size, getting it outdoors for some fun in the sun, snow, or a local watering hole will help sustain lean muscles, flexible joints, and a happy disposition.

Easy Ways to Get Your Pooch Moving

Just like humans, dogs can become sedative if not given the opportunity to move. Some of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into your dog’s life include:

  • A morning walk or run, keeping your dog at a steady trot but resting when they appear tired.
  • Playing a game of fetch, tug of war, or keep away. These games also increase brain activity!
  • Finding a playmate for your dog that you can schedule time with on a weekly basis.
  • Taking your dog to a local lake or river for some summer swimming and stick throwing. However, make sure the water speed and temperature are safe for playing in.
  • Taking your dog with you on hikes and letting them take the lead for a short time.
  • During the winter you can utilize dog treadmills for easy indoor “walking.”

The Benefits of Exercise for Your Dog and You

Exercise is beneficial to both your dog’s health and yours! When a dog is able to exercise and play on a frequent basis, they will have a reduced risk for injuries, blood clots, obesity, and erratic behavior. They will also rest more peacefully and learn social skills while interacting with other dogs and humans. On the other hand, your health will benefit as well! When you increase your daily movement you will find you have more energy and a decreased risk for heart attacks, joint injuries, sleepless nights, and obesity.

Finding the Right Food for Your Dog

While exercising is a great way to keep your dog in good shape, the other component of their health is proper nutrition and foods. When choosing your dog’s food, look for these foods that incorporate meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, some dogs may not be able to tolerate certain grains or ingredients. Therefore, it is important to speak with your vet about your dog’s digestive system, age, and any specific medical conditions your pooch may have. You also have the option of choosing between wet or dry dog food. Wet dog food is a good option for overweight dogs or those who have poor chewing surfaces. Dry dog food helps clean the teeth and prevent the buildup of tartar.

If you are a dog owner, it is important to keep your dog well exercised and properly fed. Both of these components will help keep your dog smiling, happy, and healthy for many years to come. If you need help creating an exercise and diet plan for your dog, contact Pet Medical Center for professional advice.

Adopt a Shelter Animal and Bring Joy to Many Hearts

Adopt a Shelter AnimalIf you and your family are interested in bringing a dog or cat into your home, adopting from an animal shelter is an affordable and joyful option. The animals placed in these shelters can come from abusive homes, neglectful owners, or may have been picked up as strays. However, these animals are typically quite affectionate and loyal, and are in need of a safe and loving home.

How to Find Shelter Animals

Today’s animal shelters are quite proactive in providing prospective owners with opportunities to visit the animals. While many shelters have specific visiting hours for those interested in adopting, many also provide pictures and information for each dog or cat on their websites. However, not every shelter is proficient in providing accurate descriptions. Therefore, if you are interested in adopting, make sure the websites include:

  • Individual pictures for each animal, showcasing their physical features.
  • Individual descriptions that tell you about the animal’s personality, weight, and medical background.
  • A search engine for looking for specific breeds.

Even if you do find a dog you feel may be a good fit for your family, it is still important to visit the dog at the shelter. Many adoption agencies also provide times and areas for your present pet to meet and greet the animal you are considering adopting. This experience is important as it can create a bond between the two animals, or let you know that they are not compatible.

Benefits of Adopting Shelter Animals

While it may be more appealing to purchase a bright, energetic, and cute little puppy or kitten from a pet shop, there are many benefits to adopting shelter animals. Some of these include:

  • No need for potty training.
  • The prevention of the euthanization of an animal.
  • Support of the ASPCA and the fair treatment of animals.
  • A healthier animal due to the veterinary care received at the shelter.
  • Spaying or neutering is already completed.
  • The opportunity to create a strong bond between the animal and your family, meaning lots of love, laughs, and joy for many years.

Taking Care of Your Rescued Animal

 While many dogs and cats placed into animal shelters receive veterinary care while in the facility, it is still important for you, the owner, to stay up to date on your new family pet’s health care. Therefore, it can be helpful to schedule an appointment with a pet medical center. You may be able to set up a wellness plan for your new pet, providing them with yearly check ups, vaccinations, and help when health concerns do arise.

Adopting a dog or cat from an animal shelter is an affordable, satisfying, and smart option when adding a pet to your family. If you would like more information, contact Pet Medical Center for help in finding a shelter or learning about veterinary services your new pet may need.

 

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

Three ways you can help improve the treatment of animals

Preventing Animal CrueltyIn April of 1866, the charter for American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was signed. Every April since then, this organization has sponsored a month-long initiative to raise awareness of animal cruelty. Here are three ways that you can participate this April.

Set an Example

There is a cultural element to how animals are perceived and treated in any given country or era. For example, even fifty years ago most household pets were thought of as animals rather than “furry children” and treated as such. While people still loved their pets, they were more likely to make them live outside 24/7, feed them whatever scraps were at hand, and let them roam and breed at will. Now, such behaviors are increasingly viewed as unacceptable due to changing cultural norms. This process is still ongoing—there are still some parts of this country where dog fighting and other forms of animal cruelty are rampant. But, by standing up as a responsible pet owner and taking the following actions, you can help change how pets are perceived and treated in America.

  • Spay or neuter your pets
  • Get an annual veterinary checkup
  • Keep animals indoors or ensure adequate water and shelter outdoors
  • Don’t let pets roam
  • Never keep more pets than you can care for

Support a Cause

The ASPCA is involved in a wide variety of efforts to fight animal cruelty, including public awareness campaigns, political action, and on-the-ground efforts to save abused animals. You can contribute to these efforts by donating money or your time. Some of the top ASPCA efforts include:

  • Shutting down puppy mills
  • Ending dog fighting
  • Rescuing animals from hoarders
  • Rescuing animals after natural disasters
  • Collecting and analyzing evidence for legal cases
  • Ending horse soring
  • Improving treatment of farm animals

To show your support of ASPCA in general this April, participate in their “Go Orange” campaign to raise awareness of all ASPCA efforts. Wear orange to work, host a charitable event in your area, or get a snazzy orange collar, bandana, or outfit for your pet to wear in public.

Rescue a Pet

Animals rescued by the ASPCA and other advocacy groups need permanent homes. If you are looking for a new pet, make your local animal shelter your first stop. You can also try connecting with various breed-specific rescue organizations if you are looking for a specific purebred animal. If you can’t adopt an animal yourself, you can still contribute to the effort to care for homeless animals by donating as little as 60 cents a day to the ASPCA.

 

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