Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Can You Actually Train Your Cat?




Many people think that only dogs can be trained to do certain tasks and tricks, but in fact, you can train your kitten to do many things just like dogs! One main difference between training cats versus dogs, is that dogs have been trained for centuries to assist humans with tasks throughout time, whereas cats exist as independent creatures and have not assisted their counterparts. When training your cat, it does not have to be for a long period of time. It is recommended that you do it twice a day for 5 minutes at a time.
         To train a cat to come on command, rely on vocal cues. Before you open a can or bag of their food, make a distinct noise such as calling your cat or clicking your tongue. Over time, your cat will learn to associate this sound with the idea that it’s time to eat. As your cat learns this cue, you can begin to use it outside of feeding times and reinforce and reward the cat by giving them a treat when they complete the command.
         Another fun trick is getting your cat to shake hands. Believe it or not, it is easier than you might think! Get on the cat's level (have a treat ready), and then tap your cat's paw while saying the word “shake.” Reward the cat with a treat when they listen to the sound and move their paw. This takes some time, but eventually as you continue to train them, the cat will shake your hand without having to tap their paw!
         These tips and tricks can be a fun added bonus. It is best to attempt to mold these behaviors into your cat's mind when they are a kitten. Reinforcement with treats also helps significantly, but be sure not to feed your cat too many treats!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Recognizing Pain and Distress in Your Pets



September is Pain Awareness Month for our furry friends! Because they cannot advocate for themselves and tell us when they are in pain, it is important that we keep a close eye on various factors such as the weather, when assessing whether or not our pets could be in pain. Below are a few tips to keep in mind so you can be sure that your four-legged friend is pain free!
  • A decreased appetite in a cat or dog is a sure sign that something isn’t right. Whether it’s because they have a stomach ache or something more serious, you should definitely check with your vet should this persist.
  • Consistent grooming or licking one specific area by your cat or dog could mean that they are irritated in that spot, and are trying to get your attention.
  • A general decrease in activity should serve as a red flag. If the activity level of your animal is below the norm, it could be because they are irritated or not feeling well.
  • If your animals are reluctant to jump up onto surfaces they are otherwise comfortable with going on, this is another sign they are experiencing some pain. This tip is especially true for cats. They might have injured themselves jumping off of a surface they are regularly on.
  • If your dog or cat has stopped using the stairs to go to other levels in your home, this could be a sign of osteoarthritis and should be checked out by your vet. Another sign of osteoarthritis is shown primarily through animals who have a hard time standing up after lying down. If your dog or cat has significantly slowed down, you should contact your vet.
Understanding your pet’s health and wellness is equally as important to understanding how to spot their pain. If your pet exhibits unusual behavior and you think something might be wrong, give us a call, we’re always here to help!

Monday, August 29, 2016

5 Apartment Friendly Pets - That Are Not Cats or Dogs

THE BREGMAN VETERINARY GROUP
www.BregmanVetGroup.com
Apartment Living can be tough if your building management is strict on the pets they allow. But sometimes you just want some company! Here are our recommendations for small critters that will do well in your small space.

Fish

Studies have actually shown that fish are good for mental health! Results of these studies have shown a decrease in blood pressure and stress with fish owners. A small fish tank doesn’t take up much space and only requires minimal upkeep in changing the water and daily feeding. The downside to a fish though is it’s not going to be very cuddly or playful.

Reptiles

Snakes, lizards, geckos, turtles – there are tons of different types of reptiles that will do well in an apartment setting. Most of them tend to do well on their own for extended periods of time and they make for a quiet pet. Reptiles also tend to have longer lifespans than other pets. Just be aware that some snakes need to be fed live food!

Birds

Feathered friends are great for apartments and they have an inexpensive upkeep. However, be ready for some noise as these pets don’t like to keep quiet. Some types of birds also require constant interaction, so if you’re out of the apartment for extended periods of time maybe consider a different type of pet.


Rodents

There is a wide variety of rodents – hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, and more! They are small and inexpensive pets to have, with minimal upkeep (cleaning their cage). They require playtime and interaction so be prepared for supervised time outside of their enclosure. Another thing to note is that some rodents cause allergy issues, so make sure you interact with your pet in the store before you bring it home to make sure you won’t have an issue later on.

Ferrets and Rabbits

If you’re looking for a higher energy small pet, these are the ones for you. They too require supervised playtime so set aside time for that every day. With ferrets just be wary that they’re illegal in some municipalities, so check the legislation in your local area before committing to one as a pet.

The Cat Hospital
877-228-4131

5th Avenue Cat Clinic
718-398-1187

Paws and Claws Veterinary Hospital
718-782-8387

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

THE BREGMAN VETERINARY GROUP
www.BregmanVetGroup.com

Hypoallergenic dogs are breeds that tend to be okay for people with dog allergies. These are dogs that do not shed and therefore produce less dander. The following are our picks for the top hypoallergenic pups! 

Portuguese Water Dog
“Porties” are usually of medium size and tend to have a high energy level, so expect to give lots of daily exercise to this pooch! They tend to be “A” dogs – adventurous, athletic, and affectionate. They are ranked by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the 53rd most popular dog breed in the United States. Did you know the Obama’s have two Porties? Bo and Sunny!

Bichon Frise

The name “Bichon Frise” is French for “curly lap dog.” But don’t be fooled, bichons are small playful and peppy pups. They have a medium energy level so they require some daily exercise. Though they tend to be generally healthy dogs, be sure to pay careful attention to their dental care as this is where most issues arise from. AKC ranks these dogs as the 45th most popular dog breed.


Maltese

These white little dogs are AKC’s 32nd top dog breed. They tend to be charming, gentle, and playful. Expect a medium energy level with occasional daily exercise. Did you know their white fur is due to special breeding by Roman emperors? Romans believed the color white was sacred, and they wanted their pets to have a sense of divinity.

Poodle

Poodles can be anywhere from small to medium in size and have a wide range of different fur coloring. They are the 8th most popular dog breed as ranked by AKC. They also have a medium energy level and are described as active and smart dogs. Fun fact about poodles, they have been featured on both ancient Greek and Roman coins!

Yorkshire Terrier

More commonly known as the “Yorkie,” they are right ahead of the Poodle ranked as the 7th most popular dog breed by AKC. They are a small dog with a medium energy level, with a moderate amount of daily exercise required. They are described as affectionate, sprightly, and tomboyish. One unique fact about Yorkies is that they tend to have what is known as a “silk coat.” This means they have only one layer of hair with no undercoat, similar to human hair.


Sources

The Cat Hospital
877-228-4131

5th Avenue Cat Clinic
718-398-1187

Paws and Claws Veterinary Hospital
718-782-8387