How to Take Action and Save Your Obese Cat from Health Problems

Here’s a good question for you: have you ever tried to pick up your cat and cuddle them, only to feel like they weigh more than you can handle? If so, your cat may be obese, and this is not a good thing.

Being overweight holds many of the same dangers for pets as for humans. The term “fat cat” is different in human terms as it applies wealthy, powerful people; in the veterinary world it brings to mind a kitty cat who has been eating too much and is not getting enough exercise.

There is good news, however. There are several actions you can take to help him or her slim down before their weight causes some serious health problems for them.

Health Issues that Can Develop in Obese Cats

  1. Diabetes – The development of diabetes is one of the most common problems. Obesity causes an increase in the production of insulin in response to the increased blood sugar levels in an overweight cat. When kitty’s body is no longer able to produce the amount of insulin needed, diabetes can develop with all its inherent risks.
  2. Arthritis and Lameness – Expect three to five times the risk of your cat developing osteoarthritis, movement problems, and even hip problems. A heavy body puts a strain on the joints.
  3. Liver Disease – When overweight, a cat stores too much fat in his liver, which can eventually cause a decrease in liver function. This can be a life-threatening problem.
  4. Increased Risk if Surgery is Required – Extra fat obscures organs and makes it difficult to find a problem quickly if your cat requires surgery. It also takes longer for kitty to come out of anesthetic, and a longer time to heal.
  5. Heart Problems – As in humans, being overweight can contribute to cardiovascular issues.

Diagnosing the Big Problem

Start With a Weigh-In – An adult male cat should weigh roughly 9 to 12 pounds and a female should weigh roughly 7 to 9 pounds. Take your cat to your veterinarian to be weighed and to rule out any problems interfering with their ability to exercise normally. A thorough vet evaluation and possible blood and urine testing may be needed to determine how healthy your cat’s insides are before starting any diet change or restriction. If there is an underlying cause of your cat’s being overweight, this needs to be dealt with and it will help your vet select the correct type of diet and exercise program.

Reassess the Amount of Food You Offer – Above all, don’t offer too much food. Read the labels on cans and bags and don’t just dump food into their bowl. Use a measuring cup and give them only the suggested servings. Normally you should offer a meal twice a day. A cat doesn’t need to have food available all day.

Not Getting Enough Exercise

An indoor cat doesn’t get enough exercise walking around the house any more than you do. If your cat stays indoors, plan some exercises for them. Cats like to stalk prey, but lose interest after a few minutes so you need to adjust your playtime accordingly. Prepare to be involved in order to help your cat get the exercise they need: 

  1. Chase-Toys – A laser pointer skipping along the floor can keep a cat interested in the chase for a few minutes, and so can a string tied around a wad of paper that you dangle and dance in front of your cat. A ping pong ball is a great toy because it is light and goes a long way when hit. Put your cat in an empty bathtub with a ping pong ball and watch the fun! 
  1. Critter Toys – Cats like toys that squeak and behave like the creatures that a cat would hunt, like mice, birds, and rabbits, although cats won’t play by themselves for long. You’ll have to help. A walnut makes a live-creature noise and moves irregularly when rolled across the floor, which will encourage your cat to chase it. 
  1. Leash Training – You can train your cat to walk with a leash but only to get them outside for a while and to stay safe while they get some fresh air and new things to sniff. They won’t run around that much, but they will probably like the change of scene and move around more. 
  1. Another Cat – Getting a second cat can help with exercise, but if you’re introducing a new cat to an old one, also introduce some new toys, new treats, or new foods. You want the older cat to view the newcomer as a creature who brings more comforts into the home so that he or she will be more likely to welcome the new cat.

If you reassess the amount of food your cat eats, increase your playtime with them so that he or she becomes more active, and ensure they are healthy via an exam at your vet clinic, your obese cat will lose weight. You will be rewarded with a cat who is happy, is in good health, and remains your companion for a long time.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

Ask an Expert: Cat Flea Prevention

Q: My indoor-outdoor cat has never been itchy; does he still need to be on flea preventives?

A: Yes, all pets that have any kind of access to other outdoor pets should be on a flea prevention program.

The old saying “prevention is better than cure” is especially true for a flea-infested pet. It can be very difficult to clear your house of a flea infestation, once your pet brings fleas home.

While most pets itch due to fleas, cats can carry a large amount of fleas in their hair coat without obviously suffering from this parasite.

Use only flea preventives approved for cats; some flea products made for dogs can be very toxic to cats.

Dr. Jangi Bajwa
Veterinary Dermatologist
Hastings Veterinary Hospital
Burnaby BC.

Ask an Expert: Cat Diets

Q: What is a good diet for my cat?

A: Nutrition is based on a number of health needs for an individual including species, age, lifestyle (indoor versus outdoor) etc. Cats have different needs in order to provide them balanced nutrition compared to canines. For example, taurine is an essential amino acid required for companion cats.

Cats should also be fed a primarily canned or soft food diet in order to supplement adequate water intake. Human food and excessive treats should be avoided. Some dry food feeding is suggested as well but older cats used to dry food may find it difficult to adjust to a primarily canned diet.

Dr. Jangi Bajwa
Veterinary Dermatologist
Hastings Veterinary Hospital
Burnaby BC.

How to Keep Your Pets Cool this Summer

When the temperatures soar this summer, you can help your pets chill out and stay safe using our cool ideas! (Pun intended.) While some of these ideas are useful for both cats and dogs, we also have some dog-specific tips as well as cat-specific tips. We’re also including a handy checklist to help you spot the signs of dehydration in pets.

Why Hot Temperatures are So Dangerous to Pets

Dogs – Dogs are particularly prone to becoming overheated because they don’t sweat. Instead they regulate heat by panting and by the few sweat glands in between their toes. Dogs are often exposed to such danger because of how often they’re included in family outings, shopping trips, outings to the park and the beach, and on walks in general. If it is extremely hot, it’s actually better to leave your dog at home and keep their walks short. Stick to being in the shade as much as possible and go out during cooler times of the day, such as early morning.

Cats – Cats have sweat glands on their paws and a few on their bodies as well, although they don’t help cool them very well through their fur. However, cats are usually left at home rather than being taken on family outings and aren’t usually taken on walks. Even so, they also need protection from the heat whether they’re indoor or outdoor kitties.

6 Hot Tips for Keeping Pets Cool in the Summer

  1. Pets in Vehicles Awareness – No pet should be left unattended in a vehicle in the summer. The car or truck is a heat trap and, even with all the windows cracked open, temperatures can climb to dangerous levels within a few minutes. For more tips on the subject check out our pets in vehicles-centered post.
  2. Water Supplies – Make sure fresh water is always available. Keep water bowls in the shade and secured so they won’t spill. Bring portable water and water bowls for dogs with you while you’re on the go. Cats—especially outdoor cats—should have multiple bowls left around the house or yard during hot weather. Put a few ice cubes in your cat’s water bowls to help keep them cool as well as hydrated – some kitties love to play with ice anyway!
  3. Shade– Make sure outdoor pets can find a shady spot in the heat of the day. Construct one if necessary. When indoors, pets may enjoy lying on tiles wherever they can find them. Check outdoor buildings before closing doors as a cat may seek shelter inside and become dehydrated because they can’t get out.
  4. Air Circulation – Cool air helps pets feel more comfortable. If your pet is indoors, open a window and put a fan on a low box near it. If there is no cooling breeze, create one by putting a frozen water bottle in front of the fan.
  5. Cool Him Down – A cool wet cloth rubbed gently over your cat can help cool them down; a dog may enjoy a light spray from a mist sprinkler or cold packs wrapped in towels. Don’t assume a dog instinctively knows how to swim and he or she should be watched carefully around a pool or lake. Standing in a tub of cool water can be refreshing for a dog but don’t use ice water as it is dangerous to cool them too quickly.
  6. Exercising Dogs – Alternate between grass, asphalt, and sidewalks when walking your dog. Booties may be needed if you can’t avoid the asphalt. Choose the coolest times of the day (usually early morning or late evening) for walks and don’t play chase games when it is really hot, as dogs don’t know their limits. Bulldogs and other flat-faced dogs have more difficulty breathing than other dogs when they get hot or when exercised in hot weather, thus it is especially important to make sure these dogs are kept cool.

Watch for the Signs of Dehydration and Heatstroke

Dehydration is dangerous for pets and can quickly turn into life-threatening heat strokes. If you see any signs, get help. A pet suffering from dehydration may have difficulty swallowing water, but a veterinarian can quickly and safely hydrate a pet.

The signs of dehydration are as follows:

  • Dogs will pant excessively and, when a cat begins to pant, he or she is already overheated.
  • Dogs and cats will have increasingly thick, sticky gums and saliva, and will drool as swallowing becomes more and more difficult. They will vomit and lose interest in food.
  • A dog’s eyes will become sunken, their urine will be dark, their skin will lose its elasticity, and they’ll be wobbly on their feet.
  • Dogs and cats will become increasingly lethargic and unwilling to move.

Get help from your veterinarian pronto before these symptoms become worse! The next stage is heat stroke and progressive illness can occur.

Try to keep you and your beloved pets cool this summer. Try using healthy exercise options, make sure they get plenty of water and shade, and protect them from excessive heat. They will love you for it!

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

Caring for Kittens, The Series. Stage 2: 8-12 Weeks

Welcome to part two of our “Caring for Kittens” series! This is an exciting period for you and kitty as your adventurous, playful little pet will be forming their very first impressions of people and the world. During these weeks, you will need to monitor his or her learning experiences and ensure they are both healthy and safe.

Normal Characteristics between Weeks 8-12

By week eight, most kittens know how to use a litter box. If your kitten does not, you can housetrain them in a few days by providing them with a litter box. Scoop kitty up and place them in it each time he or she starts to urinate or defecate. Never punish them while they are learning this important skill. Be patient.

You should also expect the following changes and habits:

  • During these weeks they will sleep about 20 hours a day.
  • When awake, kitty will be on the go, running, climbing, jumping, stalking, pouncing, and more than eager to play. Now is the perfect time to offer them paper bags, plastic, flexible straws, and anything they can chase as toys.
  • Kittens have very small tummies and will thrive on 4 small meals a day. They need access to a water bowl at all times.
  • They love to use their claws and will be happy to scratch and shred anything on which they can get their little paws—even you! You can deter this behavior by providing a scratching post.
  • They will grow bigger and heavier every week.
  • Whenever you run your hands over your kitten, there should be no lumps, bumps, or any indication of sensitivity to touch. If there are, you need to contact your veterinarian.

How to Make Sure Your Kitten Stays Safe

  • Cover any exposed wires in your home, and keep cleaning products, insecticide baits, and sharp objects out of kitty’s reach.
  • Make sure kitty doesn’t have access to the attic or basement if these areas aren’t well ventilated or if they expose tiny, inviting places where kitty can wiggle in and can’t get out.
  • Introduce him or her slowly to other household pets and supervise them until you are sure they all get along. Again, you need to be patient with this; all animals need lots of time to get used to each other’s scent.
  • Check for doors in your house that don’t close properly or give kitty access to rooms you want kept out of bounds. Also check for broken screens on windows and outer doors that could allow kitty to escape from the house.
  • Have your veterinarian insert an ID chip under kitty’s skin to make sure they can be identified if he or she is lost or comes to harm and is taken to a shelter or clinic.
  • Invest in a travel carrier. You will need it when taking kitty to the veterinarian and for visits elsewhere, and you should keep it near kitty for a while so that they will grow more used to it.

Checkup and Vaccinations

Kittens should have a nose-to-tail checkup from a veterinarian and a vaccination program started or planned.

When kittens stop receiving mother’s milk, they no longer have immunity from diseases for which their mothers were immunized or developed antibodies against. Kittens usually receive their first vaccination between 6-8 weeks, boosters at 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age, or 4 weeks after their first visit. Let your veterinarian be your guide to the vaccinations needed. Typically during their first visit your kitten will receive vaccination against feline distemper. Your veterinarian will discuss with you if there is any possible need for vaccinations against FELV (aka feline leukemia) and rabies based on your kitten’s lifestyle. 

Feedings

Make sure your kitten eats an appropriate diet—your veterinarian will be happy to make recommendations. If your cat receives canned food, don’t let it stay out for longer than 20 minutes. Canned food should be offered early as it does have some health benefits for kittens; you should also gradually introduce your kitty to dry food at this age.

Avoid letting him or her eat food intended for humans or dogs. Keep their water bowl full; it needs to be changed frequently in order to give them access to fresh water. If the water has a peculiar odor or taste and kitty turns away from it, you can give them bottled water.

Useful Training Tips for Kitty

  • Get them to socialize: Take time to pet and play with your kitten daily and introduce him or her now and then to other people so that he or she will learn to like and trust humans in general.
  • Teach them to accept the carrier: Put treats inside the carrier and, when he or she is used to wandering in and out, shut the door and move them to another room, then let them out right away and give them a treat. Take short trips in the car followed by a treat so that he or she will not be afraid of the carrier.
  • Train them to use their scratching post: If he or she starts to scratch your furniture or carpets, discourage them and then move them to the scratching post.
  • Teach kitty to come when you call: Use their name often and, when he or she starts to look up or at you when they hear their name, reward them with a treat.

Congratulations, you now have a healthy and happy kitten in your life!

Did you miss out on part 1? Read Caring for Kittens, The Series. Stage 1: Age 0-8 Weeks.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

Caring for Kittens, The Series. Stage 1: Age 0-8 Weeks

Congratulations, you’re a mother! Well, your cat is. While your cat is like any mother, you as a new owner of kittens have a few motherly duties yourself in terms of kitten care for these precious new babies.

That being said we do not recommend home breeding of cats! Spaying and neutering (especially if they are outdoor cats) is also important especially if you are not financially ready or have the space for properly raising a litter of kittens. We understand though that “oops” moments happen however, or perhaps you’ve even adopted your kitten from a shelter like VOKRA or other rescue shelters for foster care, so this article should help prepare you for those sorts of situations.

And if you just got your first kitten, this post is for you too!

Week 0-1: Babies have Arrived!

I’m sure many have heard that newborn kittens are born with their eyes shut, but did you know they are also born with their ears shut as well? Without any hearing or sight, they rely on their sense of touch and smell. Their mother will lick and clean them, a lot! This helps to stimulate the kittens, who also need their mother for warmth, stimulation of intestinal function for their bowels and bladder, and source of nutrition.

As with most babies, kittens eat, sleep, and poop. But unlike human babies, before being litter box trained, after they eat, mother cat licks their bellies and genital areas, stimulating digestion and keeping them clean.

Kittens need their environment to be kept consistent so they don’t develop hypothermia or hyperthermia. At this stage, your kittens will eat constantly which is vital to their growth, development, and immunity buildup against diseases.

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: each kitten has a preferred nipple they feed from and rely on its unique smell to locate it.

Week 2-3: My, What Bright Blue Eyes You Have!

Not too much happens this week, but every bit of development counts. Your kittens’ eyes should be starting to open, and their eyesight will be blurry. DO NOT force open their eyes! This can result in permanent eye damage, making them more vulnerable to infections. Keep watch for signs such as crustiness and white/yellow secretions. If you think something doesn’t look normal, bring them to your veterinarian’s office.

Like human babies, kittens are also born with blue eyes. As they get older, their eyes may change to the colour they will be permanently.

Your kittens should be twice the size they were when they were born!

Week 3-4: Tiny Explorer Ever Growing. Hello, Squeaky!

At this stage, the kittens’ sense of smell is getting better, their eyes may start to change colour, their ears are standing up and their hearing improves. Like humans, kittens get milk teeth (baby teeth) and eventually adult teeth.

They start to be more aware of their siblings and surroundings, and start to stand and crawl, exploring away from mom for short periods. But this still means you should resist handling those cute little bundles of fur. Too much handling in early stages upsets mom, and in worst cases, mom can reject them because of it.

By the end of this week, your kittens should be four times their birth weight. As they start to hear better, they will squeak when hungry, purr when they’re happy, and hiss when they’re scared, which means they’ll be extra sensitive to loud noises.

Week 4-5: Kitty Bobble Head, Potty Training, & Mom Weaning

Their hearing should be well-developed but their eyesight is still improving. At this stage, your kitties are starting to try and balance out, as they have reached the “bobble head stage” in which their head is bigger in proportion to their body. They will be exploring more but still sticking close to mom. The kitties can now start to groom themselves.

This is considered to be the weaning stage, to help reduce their dependency on mom. As the kitties start exploring more, be careful of things around the house that can be harmful to them such as chemicals, plants, and small openings as to minimize the risk of illness and injury.

During the weaning stage, provide a small litter box and shallow bowl with kitten milk replacer (as to not upset their digestive system with cow’s milk)in a small separate area. The litter box should be easy for the kittens to climb into.

With litter box training, keep the kittens from trying to eat the litter in case of obstruction; this is not normal behaviour. Make sure you get the appropriate kind of litter. Also, be wary that like any animal or human, they may have accidents or miss the litter box. Be sure their bedding is easily washable and keep their area clean regularly.

Week 5-6: Boy or Girl? Human Cuddles!

The kittens’ eyesight should be fully developed. They will now start to use the litter box voluntarily. The kittens may still be nursing, but as you start to help them wean, you can introduce them to a mix of canned kitty food or dry kitty food with kitten formula. You can try and place a small amount of food or formula on your finger and see if they will lick at it to accept it. Not all will take to food so patience is needed. Your vet may also provide you with diet recommendations should they be needed – just ask!

As the kitties become more explorative, they will be more graceful, start playing with toys, and pounce on each other. This is the time to start giving them lots of human cuddles! Handling them physically helps their development by getting them used to humans and help them be more social and friendly.

Weeks 6-8: The Cat Babies are Now Toddlers!

This time frame is typically when it’s best to take your kitties to your veterinarian for their vaccinations as well as precautionary worming treatment.

As you know, they are becoming a lot more active and playful, which means their claws are developing and they are going to start scratching to sharpen their nails. This is the time best to find a suitable scratching post to teach them that anywhere else (curtains, furniture, etc.) equals bad behaviour.

Between weeks 6 and 7 is the time you can gently start grooming them. Use a brush, give them a bath (careful with the soap), and handle their paws regularly. Their paws should have five toes on each front foot and four toes on each back foot unless they are polydactyl (more than the usual number of toes on one or more paws). Handling their paws helps to make nail clipping easier (gently press to extend the nails), cuddles, and handling their ears and mouths help make basic health inspections, medicating, and teeth brushing easier. This also helps give mom longer “me time.”  This interaction makes an active part in their socialization process without being intrusive.

Kittens can be homed from about seven weeks if they are fully weaned from mom.

By week eight, they should have all their baby teeth and be eating four small meals a day and mostly solids.

Be sure to keep records of their weight, to be sure they are gaining steadily. Look for signs of sickness: loss of appetite, sleeping alone (at a very young age), rejection of milk from mom, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, discharge from mouth, eyes, anus, etc. When in doubt, talk to your vet.

Now you’re on your way to having happy, healthy kitties!

Part 2 is available now! Read Caring for Kittens, The Series. Stage 2: Age 8-12 Weeks.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

Flea Prevention Tips for Springtime

Hooray for Spring! Flowers are blooming, the grass is green again, and you can take your pet out for a walk in sunnier weather. Unfortunately, the other thing that has sprung up with the season are fleas, ticks, and all other kinds of parasites that we don’t want going anywhere near our pets – or us!

Whether you live out in the more rural parts of Delta or in an apartment in downtown Vancouver, fleas can still crop up and appear in the open fields and dog parks you may want to bring your pooch to. We could fill an entire book about all of the pests that emerge during this time of the year, but today we’ll just focus on fleas as far as cat and dog parasite prevention is concerned.

So, without further ado, here are some flea prevention tips for your dog, cat, or both.

Tip 1: Learn How Fleas Get Around

The perks of being a flea – much to all of our dismay – is how teeny-tiny they are in size and how easy it is for them to find and latch on to pets. They may not have wings, but their back legs more than make up for how efficiently they jump around.

When they find a good place to nestle in your dog or cat’s fur, these little bloodsuckers – literally! – will suck up your pet’s blood, causing that obvious itchy bump to appear on your pet’s skin. During the time they spend attached to your poor pooch or kitty, they will lay eggs for up to 30 days. When they’re done, they will just hop off and then set up their new home on your furniture, continually on your pets…and perhaps even periodically on you.

“Ew, gross!” is definitely the right reaction you should have. Fortunately, now that you know how they get around, here’s what you can do once you know there’s an infestation.

Tip 2: Apply Flea Prevention Products Recommended by Your Vet

If you’ve discovered fleas in your home already, then find and use products that are meant for prompt cat or dog parasite prevention – in this case, fleas – immediately. You might need to give your pets a bath with flea-killing shampoo or apply a topical solution at once. The safest way to treat your pet is to call or visit to the vet to discuss the best product for your pet’s lifestyle (oral prevention, topical prevention, immediate treatment options, etc).

Tip 3: Clean, Clean, and then Clean Some More

Vacuuming is one of the absolute best things you can do to prevent an infestation from happening in the first place. Pay extra attention to nooks and crannies and wherever your pet spends their time, such as their bed, around your bed, in the corners of the room… basically, anywhere and everywhere you can think of.

Remember to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately afterward by sealing it in an extra garbage bag before throwing it out, especially if you suspect an infestation is present or if you’re currently trying to get rid of one.

Always mop up the floors when you’re done vacuuming to kill any potential eggs. Launder your pet’s bed, bedding, and washable toys in hot water and soap. If there are toys you can’t wash, but they’re infested, unfortunately you’ll have to throw them away.

If unfortunately all this doesn’t work, or if the infestation is too great, it may be time to call an exterminator. If that’s out of your budget, there are pesticides available over the counter for in-house use similar to a spray paint can, but this should be your last resort, as it’s always better to have a professional choose the best product for your house.

Tip 4: Keep Talking to Your Veterinarian!

We hope you followed our previous tip regarding calling your veterinarian, especially for products that can help prevent a future infestation. Not only can fleas be a trigger for allergies in pets, but also they tend to be carriers of intestinal parasites like tapeworm and “cat-scratch disease”, both of which can be transferred to humans.

Your veterinarian can help not only determine whether or not your pet actually has fleas – perhaps they have a food allergy or skin problem going undiagnosed – but also your vet can help you to prevent fleas before they’re even present by applying a monthly, topical repellant on to your pet. They can also provide you with the right tools you need for cat and dog parasite prevention, not only for fleas but also for other parasites such as heartworm and ticks.

This Spring, don’t let the fleas be the ones to rise up when the sun rolls out. Prevent them from coming anywhere near your pet and go out and enjoy the sunny weather without fear!

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Wait Until After Easter to Adopt a New Pet

How great would it be to have a puppy or kitten or rabbit running around the house for Easter? They sure are cute. But unfortunately, not every cuddly pet adopted during this time of year gets a happy ending. By getting a pet on impulse, you could be putting you, your family, and especially your new pet under a lot of pressure to adapt and get used to something so new so fast…as if Easter wasn’t enough of a busy time of the year!

If you are planning to adopt a new pet, it’s best that you wait until after the busy Easter season. That way, you and your family will have more time to learn about the necessary pet health care and training needed by your new family member.

Why Holiday Seasons Aren’t the Best Time for Adoptions

Adopting a pet is a more serious decision to make; it requires more forethought and planning than you may realize. There are also some dangers in purchasing any pet as a holiday gift:

  1. At Easter time in particular, parents often have a vision of their surprised and happy children holding baby animals when there may be no suitable place on the property to raise them. Any baby animal will grow into an adult, and so they will require extra living space as they grow.
  2. Your child may be too young to accept the responsibility of caring for a pet. Any small animal can be mishandled or mistreated by young children who don’t understand the consequences of their actions. Many Easter pets could be hurt by accident when they are dropped by excited children or not given proper support when held. Also, keep in mind that a frightened or hurt animal may harm the child as well.
  3. You may not have the time and opportunity to teach your child how to properly handle and care for new pets that are brought into the family unexpectedly.
  4. All animals need a safe environment, and holiday seasons present particular dangers not normally present, such as decorations, candy, and treats that may attract pets but are toxic to them.

Consider Your Lifestyle Carefully When Adopting a Pet

Animals always need love and attention, so they require a commitment from owners for a lifetime of pet health care. Ask yourself the following questions before you adopt:

  1. Can you and your family provide the care needed? Do you have time to housebreak a kitten or a puppy? Do you have a place to house your new pet? Will you be able to feed the new pet on schedule? Does your new pet require exercise and do you have time for that?
  2. Do you have the money for pet food or any other supplies that are needed to care for your pet: a leash, a harness, a cage, bedding, toys, grooming supplies, and other accessories?
  3. Will you be able to pay for veterinary care, which may include spaying or neutering, vaccinations, medications, flea and parasite prevention, and emergency care?
  4. If you buy a pet for your child, are you prepared to take over its care if your child loses interest and neglects the pet?

Animal-Related Easter Gifts Can Be More Welcoming and Exciting 

If you have decided to adopt a new pet and wisely choose not to spring it on to your family at Easter (or any other holiday season), consider animal-related substitute gifts. After deciding on the type of animal that would fit your lifestyle, announce at gift-giving time that the family is going to adopt a pet after the holidays. Present gifts of books and videos on pet care for the particular animal on which you have decided, or gift certificates for pet care items and accessories.

Once the Easter season is over, make sure everyone has had time to become familiar with the specific pet health care, training, and attention that will be needed for the animal you have chosen. It will then be the perfect time to select and adopt your new pet and, soon after, welcome him or her into your home. Enjoy your new family member!

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

Credit: Pixabay

Good Pet Treats to Offer During Easter Weekend

If you can’t give your pets Easter chocolate or candy, then what can you give them? If this is something you’re wondering, don’t worry – there is a way you can help get your favourite dog and cat (or both!) to join in the family celebrations during Easter without compromising their health and while practicing good cat care and dog care.

If you have children, you will probably prepare baskets filled with goodies from the Easter bunny. So, there is no reason you can’t prepare baskets for your pooch and your kitty at the same time! Yes, there are treats available for your pets when they start eyeballing those brightly coloured eggs and candies.

Cat Treat Ideas While Sharing Easter Fun

What kitty doesn’t want a basket of treats on Easter morning? You know your little pet will be delighted. Watch him or her as they explore the items you have prepared for them, and plan to play some games with them, too.

Cat treats are always welcome:

  • A few gourmet kitty treats for the fussy cat
  • A few low-calorie treats for the overweight cat
  • Cat grass – Another healthy option

Include some pastel-coloured toys in keeping with the season:

  • Feathered birds and feathered chicks
  • Plush toys stuffed with catnip
  • A cat ball with a bell inside
  • Cat teasers

Use your imagination and have fun choosing the perfect treats and toys at the pet store where all the Easter-appropriate items will be on display at this time of year.

Good Dog Treat Ideas for Easter Fun

Will your pooch want a basket of treats on Easter morning? Of course they will! Have fun in the pet store or gourmet pet treat store picking out treats and a couple of toys, too.

They’ll love the Easter treats:

  • Raw carrots, a classic
  • Duck or egg or bone-shaped cookies with small amounts of raw, unsalted peanut butter – which almost all dogs love to eat!
  • Cookies flavoured with cinnamon
  • Cookies shaped and coloured like carrots

You can’t go wrong with a new toy or two:

  • A new squeaky toy, appropriately Easter-themed
  • A new ball

How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Picking Treats

It is recommended that you stick to commercial dog and cat food treats (other than carrots for dogs) because there are so many regular human food items that are dangerous to pets. To ensure their safety, you would need an extensive list of foods to avoid if you decided to give homemade or human treats to animals. For example, raisins, alcohol, and chocolate are toxic to dogs. Candy, gum, and sweets for people who are on diets may contain xylitol, which is another product deadly for pets. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are harmful, too.

Remember when choosing toys, avoid anything that is, or could become, a choking hazard such as a toy small enough to be swallowed or with moving parts that could break off into small pieces or expose sharp edges.

Collect and discard wrappings used for children’s candy before your pet has a chance to pounce and chew on or swallow them and, of course, keep all human treats out of their reach.

Some flowers and plants should be kept away from animals, too. If you have a cat, avoid all lilies—Easter, Tiger, Day, etc.—because they are toxic to felines, and chewing on a flower or leaf, or drinking some of the water in the bowl or planter is dangerous. Substitute orchids, gerberas or violets (and remember this point when giving flowers to friends who have cats!).

By all means, plan to include the family pets in your Easter fun! But don’t forget, providing good cat care and dog care also means to make sure the Easter bunny wisely chooses only the safest treats and toys for them.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

How a Pet-Friendly Home Offers Safe Cat and Dog Care

A pet-friendly home offers cat and dog care with no threats to their safety from hazardous objects and materials in the environment. With a little effort, not only can your pets live and play safely but also you will be free from the worry that the animals in your care could come to harm if you are not able to watch over them every minute. Read more