Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dogs and Your Emotional Wellbeing

After a long and stressful day, there is nothing better than coming home to your pets. The bond we share as humans with our pets is not something that can be compared to much else. The simple reality is, we have a relationship with our cats or dogs that causes us to have emotions that we associate with our pets. After a hard day we come home, relax on the sofa and find relief from having our cat curl up on our lap or sloppy dog kisses on our face.

In fact, according to research, when we interact with dogs for example, oxytocin levels increase in us and in dogs. Furthermore, the study shows that when mutual gazing exists between humans and their dogs, our oxytocin levels increase. Doctors have found that when our oxytocin level is at an increased rate, our stress and anxiety levels decrease significantly.

Today it is becoming more common to see dogs in hospitals, therapy sessions and exam study halls in universities across the country. Dogs and pets in general have many additional benefits besides being a reliable companion. One study illustrated that adults who regularly take their dogs on longer walks are more physically active and less likely to become obese than dog owners who did not regularly take their pets for a walk. Another looked at senior dog walkers ages 71 to 82 and found that if they regularly walked their dogs they were found to have greater mobility within their homes.

Having a dog can greatly improve your health and overall happiness. Don’t forget to be sure that your dog’s health is in tip top shape by regularly attending veterinary appointments. If you think you’re due for an appointment soon, give us a call today!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pet Obesity Awareness Month

October is National Pet Obesity Awareness Month! It is essential that we keep our furry friends on a balanced and nutritional diet so as not to cause excessive weight gain. If your animal is overweight, this can lead to a multitude of health problems, similar to what humans experience when they are overweight!

Obesity in Cats
Excess weight in cats can cause many problems including a shorter lifespan for your animal. When cats are overweight they are not as active which is the impetus to heart health issues. Cats that have been neutered or who are domesticated tend to be at the highest risk for becoming obese because their metabolism and ability to be active are altered.

In order to treat obesity in cats, you must focus on weight loss and maintaining the decreased body weight as a long-term goal. We are here to help you assess which foods are perfect for your cat and which are aiding in their weight gain. Free feeding – the practice of leaving out food for your cat so they can eat whenever they choose, can cause consistent weight gain. Transitioning your cat to a diet that includes canned food can help as it is comprised primarily of water and can help your cat with their liquid intake as well. Furthermore, insuring that your cat gets enough physical activity, even if you have an indoor cat is key. Using toys such as laser lights will inspire your cat to jump, run and climb which can aid in weight loss.

Obesity in Dogs
Just as in cats, when dogs do not get enough exercise or there is overnourishment, they risk becoming obese. Excess body fat can have a negative effect on your dog’s bones and joints, in addition to their heart and lung health. Similar to cats, dogs that have been neutered and who do not spend much time outside are at the highest risk for obesity.

Reducing your dog’s caloric intake and increasing their time spent in the outdoors running around will help to decrease their weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle therefore prolonging their lifespan as a whole. By changing your dog’s diet to one that is high in fiber and protein but low in fat you are beginning the process for weight loss. Your dog will begin to feel more full while their metabolism quickens and their energy level increases. Finally, getting out with your dog and playing fetch or going for longer walks can help to aid in this process.

Bottom Line
You want to pay close attention to your four legged friends weight as this can cause a variety of problems that are not always easy to reverse. If you believe your cat or dog is overweight, it’s best to give us a call so we can talk you through what should be done to start the weight loss process. If you are thinking of changing your pet’s food, please consult with us first as changes in a dog or cats diet can stress out your animal and hurt more than help.

Give us a call today if you have any questions!

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

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.


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.


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!


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.


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.

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