4 Tips to Help Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy

Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy

Do you happily share your home with a feline friend? As an owner of a cat, it’s important to remember that cat’s aren’t just small dogs, and that there are several steps you can take to help keep them fit physically AND mentally. Try these 4 tips to help your cat live longer happily with you!

1. Make food a challenge. By utilizing a tool such as an indoor hunting feeder, not only will you tap into your cat’s innate desire to be a “hunter”, you’ll help stimulate his mind and prevent boredom. By stimulating his predatory needs, he’ll also act out less.

2. Be mindful of litter box location. Even if you want to keep your cat’s litter box out of sight and mind, be aware of the surroundings of it. Are there any loud noises? Is it hard to get to? Do you have one on each level of your house? If you’ve noticed any changes in bathroom routines for your cat, and medical issues have been ruled out, consider what may be impacting his behavior in regard to the litter box environment. Our Grantsburg Animal Hospital veterinarians are happy to give you tips on litter and location.

3. Enrich the environment with fun toys. No one really wants to sleep every day away! By having toys available, enhanced with the benefit of a tasty treat, not only will your cat be getting a side benefit of exercise, but also help fight boredom and obesity! We have some fun and feline tested items in our online store!

4. Bring your cat to come see us. Frequent visits to see us help to ensure your feline companion is at a healthy weight and detect any signs of disease that can impact his overall health. By catching disease early, interventions can be made when they impact your wallet less . Even if your cat is suspicious of visits, or resistant to getting into the cat carrier, we offer helpful ideas for easing this stress.

We strive to provide the very best in quality of medical care possible. If you ever have questions, or suspect changes in your cat’s behavior that are concerning, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-924-0588.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Fall into a Flea and Tick Free Autumn

Flea and Tick

There are a number of ways that most pet owners work on to ensure their pet always enjoys optimal health. Vaccinations, of course, are an essential choice; researching the right diet is also beneficial; worming is a must; and then there’s the constant need for regular flea and tick prevention, especially in our Grantsburg/Wild River area.

Thanks to a variety of innovations regarding spot-on treatments, tick and flea prevention is simpler now than it has ever been before - much to the relief of pet owners the world over. However, there is some confusion amongst even the most dedicated of pet owners as to when these treatments should be used and - most particularly - whether they are still necessary during the cooler seasons.

What happens to fleas and ticks during fall?

There is no doubt that fleas and ticks are more active during the warmer months of the year, and particularly in summer. The warm weather helps to encourage breeding, and many pet owners will ensure their pet is fully protected during this time.

However, fleas and ticks don’t suddenly vanish from the world the moment September rolls around. They may be found in lower numbers, but they’re still there. Fleas and ticks are accomplished at using various outdoor features for shelter; they’ll nestle beneath a wood pile, warm themselves under the cover of leaves, or even make their way into your home to take advantage of your central heating. While their numbers do fall, and breeding becomes less frequent, they’re still in the world - and that means your pet still needs to be protected against them.

How do I protect my pets from fleas and ticks?

There are no new or special measures required to protect your pet from fleas and ticks during fall; the same trustworthy products you rely on during the spring and summer are still more than capable of handling the task. There are a variety of preventatives available here, so after our veterinarians have helped in choosing the best option for your pet, it's easy to keep your pet protected.

If your pet has been treated for fleas and ticks, much of your work is complete - though it’s still worth keeping an eye out for signs of infestation. While these irritating pests won’t be able to do any damage to your pets if your pet has been treated, fleas and ticks can still hitch a ride on your pet’s fur and make their way into your home. If you see any fleas, or even experience bites yourself, then you may want to consider contacting a pest control specialist for further advice.

Is the medication to prevent fleas and ticks safe for my pet?

The FDA came out with an alert on September 20, 2018 that some pets experienced neurological adverse effects while on oral flea/tick preventives. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but we want you to know that we take the health of your pets very seriously. When we recommend a product, we only do so after knowing the full health history of your furry family member. As your trusted veterinarian, we consider many factors, including overall health, lifestyle, age, previous adverse reactions to medications, etc, before suggesting a product which would assist in keeping your pet parasite-free. 

We are following this alert closely and will keep you informed as we continue  to learn more.

In conclusion

It would be handy if fleas and ticks were to suddenly vanish during fall, but unfortunately, the natural world isn’t quite so convenient. As a result, you should continue to use flea and tick treatments through fall and into winter; it’s the best way of ensuring your beloved pet’s continued health and happiness.

Photo Credit: Chalabala / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Autumn Safety for Your Pet

Autumn Safety

Strange as it may sound, fall can be one of the most dangerous times of year for domestic pets. While the worries regarding dehydration and overheating fade with the summer sun, there are a number of hazards that your furry friend may potentially encounter during the cooler months of the year.

In an effort to ensure your pet is as safe as possible through the fall months, below, we’ve put together a simple guide to the pet health hazards all owners need to be aware of at this time of year.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms thrive in the fall months but, unfortunately, cats and dogs cannot tell the harmless from the harmful. If you spot any mushrooms growing in your yard, remove them immediately, and remain vigilant when walking your dog in woodland areas.

Rat and mice poison

As detailed in this post, rodents tend to be more noticeable to humans during fall, often attempting to enter properties in an effort to find warmth. For fall safety indoors, many pet owners will place rat and mice poison in areas where these critters are suspected, but this can be highly toxic to your pets. If you have a rodent problem, you could try traps instead; alternatively, if you use poison, ensure your pet is kept away from the area at all times.

Antifreeze

Any guide to managing your car’s maintenance will tell you that this is the time of year to change your car’s coolant or washer fluid to a variety that provides antifreeze benefits. This is a great idea for car maintenance, but the chemicals found in antifreeze are highly toxic to pets. To prevent any mishaps, change antifreeze outside of your own garage or parking space, so there’s no risk of leaks that your pet may then walk on and lick from their paws. When it comes to storing the antifreeze itself, ensure the container is securely fastened and kept at height, far away from any areas your pets are able to access.

What should you do if you suspect your pet has ingested a poison?

Even with the best will in the world, there is a chance that your pet may ingest a poison: your cat may nibble on a rodent that has ingested poison, or your dog discovers a patch of mushrooms and tucks in before you have the chance to stop them. As a result, it’s useful to know the signs of toxin ingestion:

  • Excessive salivation or lip licking
  • Subdued behavior 
  • Panting
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea 

If you notice any of these symptoms, or have reason to believe that your pet has consumed a toxic substance, then contact 1-800-924-0588 as soon as possible for further advice.

In conclusion

Fall is a wonderful season, but it can undoubtedly pose a number of hazards to pets. To address these issues, keep the above tips in mind, and be prepared to take swift action should you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have. With these precautions in place, you and your furry friend should be able to enjoy the season - and all the cuddles in front of the fire that it provides!

Photo Credit: stockphotog / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Pet obesity

Pet Obesity

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention conducted a study back in 2014 that revealed 53% of dogs and 58% of cats are obese. If you were to look at these percentages in actual numbers, it translates to 41 million dogs and 49 million cats that are living with extra pounds! Those few extra pounds that your pet has packed on may look cute to you, but it’s not. Pet obesity can lead to serious problems for your animal's health which may result in health complications. This is why you need to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent your pet from becoming obese. As a pet owner, you must take pet health as seriously as you would your own.

Common Conditions

Some of the most common weight related issues in pets can include the following:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Kidney Disease
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Respiratory Disease

In addition to these conditions, if your pet is obese then it is possible that this will cause their lifespan to be decreased by around two and a half years. As a loving pet owner, you are going to want to do everything possible to spend as many quality years as possible with your pet.

How To Combat Obesity

The first thing that you can do to help your pet lose weight, or even before it gets that far, is make sure that you are feeding your pet the appropriate amount of quality pet food every day. Most food packaging labels will give you the recommended amount of food for your pet’s weight. Use a measuring cup to get the amount of food accurate at meal times.

If you tend to give your pets treats through the day for good behavior or for any other reason, you should also consider cutting down on the amount you are giving them. While this may be a good way to train your pet, if you are giving them unnecessary calories, it can lead to pet obesity.

Exercise is the other option we strongly advise. It is very important that your pet is being exercised adequately everyday. If you have a dog, you should make sure that they are getting thirty minutes of walking/running or at least some sort of exercise where they need to exert themselves. This could be something as simple as repeatedly throwing their toys in the yard to place fetch. Your pet will love the extra attention (and mental stimulation) from you.

If you have a cat, you already know that for a large portion of the day they will be asleep. As this is the case, you need to make sure that you are fully utilizing the time that they are awake and you can do this by playing with them. Try providing them safe toys that they will chase after or play with.

For both our feline and canine friends, our online store offers healthy food options and toys to keep your pets active.. You can head over there and take a look at our full range of products that could benefit your pet.

If you are unsure about whether your pet is overweight, you can always request an appointment with our veterinary team to get them checked out by a veterinarian. Our veterinarians will be able to help you to develop a plan to help your pet if they are overweight.

Sources used in article:

“Pet Statistics.” ASPCA, www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics.

Photo Credit: forisana / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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