Monthly Archives: April 2012

How to Feed Multiple Cats

According to the American Pet Products Association, more than half (52%) of cat owners have more than one cat. Some of the problems that plague multi-cat households, such as turf battles and litter box issues, are well known; but owners often overlook the challenges associated with providing balanced nutrition to each individual feline.

Picking the Right Cat Food

Not every cat food is right for every cat. What constitutes balanced nutrition varies with a cat’s age, lifestyle, and health. For example, kittens need to eat kitten food, while a moderately active 3 year old would probably thrive on an adult food, and an otherwise healthy but sedentary 15 year old might do best on a senior diet.

Separating the Therapeutic Diet from the ‘Regular’ Diet

Many feline medical conditions can be treated with therapeutic diets. In most cases, if a healthy cat takes a bite or two of a therapeutic diet no harm will be done, but the opposite is not always true. For example, the benefits of a diet for hyperthyroidism or a food allergy will be negated if the patient regularly gets into even small amounts of their housemate’s food.

Choosing the Amount of Cat Food

Obesity is the biggest health concern facing pet cats in the U.S. today. In fact, a survey by the APOP estimated that 54% of cats are either overweight or obese. Overfeeding and a lack of exercise are the primary reasons for this epidemic. Filling up several food bowls and topping them off is certainly the easiest way to feed a multiple cat household, but it puts cats at high risk for over-eating and obesity. Conversely, if one or more individuals are especially dominant around feeding stations, less assertive cats may not have adequate access to food and may become malnourished.

Finding Time to Monitor Your Cats

A change in appetite is an early symptom of many feline illnesses. Cats with hyperthyroidism or diabetes mellitus may eat more than normal; while other common conditions, like kidney disease and dental disorders, typically cause a reduction in food intake. When multiple cats in a household have 24/7 access to food, owners lose their ability to closely monitor each individual’s appetite, which can lead to delayed treatment and poor outcomes.

Pet Profile: Pomeranian

The Pomeranian is the smallest dog in the Spitz family. A companion dog, it is not only known for its compact size, but its thick, rounded coat. Pomeranian owners also love their “Poms” for their bold and exuberant personalities.

 Physical Characteristics

The Pomeranian has a fox-like and alert expression. A small, square-proportioned breed, the Pomeranian’s distinctive puffy appearance comes from its thick, soft undercoat and harsh, long outer coat, which stands away from its body and is usually a variation of red, orange, cream, black and sable; an up-gazing head carriage and thick ruff further enhance the Pomeranian’s physical appearance. It also has a curled tail, small ears, and an effortless and free gait with good reach and drive.

Personality and Temperament

The busy, bold, and vivacious Pomeranian, utilizes each day to the fullest. It is playful, inquisitive, self-confident (sometimes too confident), attentive, and always in the mood for an adventure or game. The breed is generally shy around strangers and some Pomeranians may bark a lot or be unfriendly towards other dogs.

Care

The small but active Pomeranian requires daily physical stimulation — short walks or indoor games. Its double coat requires brushing twice a week or more frequently during shedding periods. As it is very family oriented and small, it should not kept outdoors.

Health

The Pomeranian has a lifespan of about 12 to 16 years. It has a tendency to suffer from minor health conditions such as open fontanel, shoulder luxation, hypoglycemia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and entropion, or major issues like patellar luxation. Tracheal collapse and patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) are sometimes noticed in Pomeranians. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run cardiac, knee, and eye exams on this breed of dog.

Pet Profile: Pekingese

Surprisingly stocky and muscular for its size, the Pekingese is a toy dog breed which originated in China over 1000 years ago. The breed has hardly changed over that time and still remains a happy, lovable, and cute lapdog — perfect for apartment tenants or people in search of a small dog.

       

Physical Characteristics

The Pekingese has a slightly long, pear-shaped build with heavy forequarters and light hindquarters. Its unhurried and dignified gait appears much like a slightly rolling trot. Its undercoat is thick, while its outer coat is coarse, long and straight, standing away from the dog’s body and forming a mane around the shoulder area. This lion-like appearance and bold expression lends itself to the Pekingese’s Chinese origins.

Care

The Pekingese enjoys leisurely walks outside, but is just as happy having a romp indoors. Heat prostration can be fatal for this breed, so in warmer climates, the dog should be kept in well ventilated, air-conditioned rooms. In cooler climates, it can be allowed to roam outdoors, but should be brought back in the house to sleep at night. The Pekingese is a perfect apartment dog.

To avoid matting, its coat should be combed every week. The Pekingese’s nose wrinkles, meanwhile, should be cleaned daily in order to prevent infection. The Pekingese also has a tendency to snore because of its flat nose.

Health

The Pekingese, which has an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years, is prone to minor health problems like elongated soft palate, patellar luxation, stenotic nares, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), trichiasis, corneal abrasions, disticiasis, and skin fold dermatitis. It also known to suffer from urolithiasis occasionally. This breed does not tolerate heat or anesthesia well. Additionally, Pekingese pups are often delivered by cesarean section.

Common Pet Emergencies

It can be quite frightening to see your pet suffering, especially if you are unsure the situation should be considered an emergency. When in doubt, always contact your veterinarian or the nearest animal hospital. But to hopefully better prepare you, here are 10 of the most common pet emergencies found in emergency veterinary hospitals around the country.

Pain

Pain can occur in pets for several reasons and can be displayed in a variety of ways. Pacing, agitation, restlessness, panting, rapid heart rate, or even aggression, are all symptoms of possible pain. Spinal pain can often times be misinterpreted as abdominal pain, and vice versa. If your pet is acting in a strange way and you suspect pain, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Difficulty breathing

Increased respiratory effort typically occurs when the lungs or airway is compromised. This can occur due to trauma, allergic reactions, heart failure, toxins, infectious agents, cancer, or leakage of air. Any difficulty breathing should be considered a serious problem, requiring immediate evaluation by a veterinarian. Often radiographs are necessary to evaluate the lungs and airways.

Seizures

Seizures are episodes of abnormal electrical activity within the brain. They can be triggered by intra-cranial problems (such as epilepsy, brain tumors, or brain swelling) or extra-cranial problems (such as low blood sugar, electrolyte disturbances, etc). Any seizure can be life threatening.  Seizures can occur singly or in clusters, and can occur at any time and in any frequency. If your pet has a seizure, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Coughing and Choking

Choking can be a serious problem, even if the symptoms resolve within seconds. Lack of proper oxygenation or the build-up of fluid within the lungs can be dangerous consequence of choking.  Coughing is a vague symptom of several possibilities, including viruses, bacteria, fungal pneumonia, allergic bronchitis, or even heart failure. Any compromise in your pet’s respiratory ability should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Blunt force trauma

Many pets sustain some sort of blunt force trauma in their life.  The external appearance of a pet can be deceiving.  Even a minor bump by a backing up car can prove to be life threatening due to internal injury, some of which can take hours to become apparent.  If your pet has sustained any sort of blunt force trauma, seek veterinary care right away.

Dog bite wounds

Although a dog bite wound may appear small, the damage to the underlying tissues is usually much more extensive. Dog bites tear the layers of skin, fat, and muscle apart, creating a pocket of air, seeded with infection. In some cases, penetration into the chest or abdominal cavity can become life threatening. Veterinary care is a must with any bite wound, no matter how minor it may appear on the surface.

Pet Profile: Bombay Cat

The Bombay breed is perfect for cat-lovers who secretly want to own an affectionate panther. Copper-eyed, black and short-haired, this cat has the exotic appearance of a tiny, black leopard. In fact, the breed derive its name from the Indian city, which is also considered the land of the black leopard.

Physical Characteristics

Curiously, this well-built, medium-sized cat looks rather mundane as a kitten. The Bombay does not develop its lustrous, satin-like black coat, stunning gold eyes, and other exotic characteristics until after the fourth month.

Personality and Temperament

Bombay cats get along well with children and prefer to be around humans. In fact, not only will it display affection and attach itself to one particular member of the family, but to all members. However, it will only call for attention in a gentle and polite way, without being troublesome. This intelligent cat also enjoys playing and exploring.

History and Background

The late Nikki Horner, an American breeder, is credited for creating the first Bombay in the late ’50s. Her objective was to breed a cat which looked like a miniature panther, with a glossy black coat and yellow eyes. However, she wanted the cat to have certain characteristics of the Burmese.

Although her first attempt at crossing Burmese cats with black American Shorthairs were unsuccessful, she continued to persevere. Eventually Horner succeeded when she crossed a black American Shorthair male, endowed with rich eye color, with a champion Burmese.

To her dismay, Horner found that the various Cat Associations showed reluctance in accepting her creation, and was denied Championship status. But Homer persisted in her efforts and in 1976 the cat was finally registered by the Cat Fancier’s Association. After almost 18 years of struggle, the breed was allowed to compete in the Championship Classes on May 1, 1986.

Though this breed is not easily available, the Bombay has found favor with many people and has a steady fan following.

Keeping Your House and Pup Clean

You don’t need a green thumb to get in on the going green trend. As a dog owner, there are plenty of opportunities for you to help the environment, raise your dog’s quality of life, and color your own nook of the world green.

Odor Neutralizing Plants

Dog-friendly plants such as bamboo palms, Brazilian orchids, cape marigolds, or duffii ferns are a great natural way to filter the air in your home. If that’s not enough, try simmering a pot of your favorite herbs such as ginger, chamomile, or cinnamon. The best part? There are some herbs that not only smell wonderful, but can be used for herbal remedies for dogs, too!

Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags

We all dread dog poop. Smelling it. Handling it. Disposing of it. Oh you didn’t know you were supposed to dispose of your dog’s feces? That’s right, you are actually supposed to send down your dog’s feces down the septic system in much the same way we handle our “dirty business”—and yet few of us do. Even worse, many of us use regular plastic bags that do not biodegrade and pile up in landfills. Be “green” and buy water-soluble or biodegradable bags that are safe to flush down the toilet. You can also choose to compost it. However, make sure you do the composting away from storm drains and plants.

Sleep Soundly and Naturally

If you hadn’t guessed yet, baking soda can be a great natural cleaning product to keep in the cupboard. Take the favorite pillow your dog sleeps with or even the dog bed. To get rid of the dog smell that accumulates after a while, sprinkle the bedding or pillow with baking soda, let it stand 15 minutes and then vacuum thoroughly. No more dog smell!

Bathe Au Naturel

Did you know baking soda, which is nontoxic, is a great option for dry bathing your dog? Just sprinkle some on the coat and rub it thoroughly with your hands. Next, use a brush (gently please!) to spread the baking soda throughout the coat until it’s gone.

Nontoxic Cleanup for Potty Accidents

Your dog has just had a major accident on the carpet but you don’t want to use any cleaning supplies that may potentially harm the Earth – or even worse, your dog. What now? Scrub the area with club soda quickly and let it dry. Sprinkle the area with baking soda and let it sit for about an hour, then vacuum the rug. Voilà! Just don’t forget to deodorize the area with a vinegar and water solution so that your dog won’t do his or her business in that spot again.

Pet Profile: Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small terrier originally bred in Germany in the 19th century. Its appearance is distinguished by its “small beard.” Known for being less aggressive than the typical terrier, Miniature Schnauzers are lovable members of many families today.

Physical Characteristics

The Miniature Schnauzer has a double coat comprising of a close undercoat and a wiry, hard outer coat, which is longer around the eyebrows, legs, and muzzle. The abundant facial “furnishings” compliment its keen expression. The Miniature Schnauzer, with an almost square proportioned and robust body, has a sturdy build. As it was developed to catch rats, it is tough and quick, with a far-reaching stride.

Care

The Miniature Schnauzer’s wire coat requires combing every week, plus shaping and scissoring. Stripping is good for show dogs, while clipping (or styling) is sufficient enough for pets, as it softens the texture of the coat. The exercise requirements of the energetic Miniature Schnauzer can be met with a moderate on leash walk or a playful game in the garden. And although the dog is capable of living outdoors in temperate or warm climates, its emotionally needs are best met with a cozy “dog area” indoors with its family.

Health

The Miniature Schnauzer, with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, sometimes suffers from health problems like mycobacterium avium infection, cataract and retinal dysplasia. Other major health issues that may affect it are urolithiasis and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), while some minor health problems include von Willebrand’s disease, myotonia congenita, Schnauzer comedo syndrome, and allergies. A veterinarian may run DNA or eye exams to identify some of these issues.