Knowing what is Normal for your Pet

Part of being able to determine when an animal is sick or injured is knowing what is normal for that pet.  Owners should monitor their pet’s behavior daily and perform brief physical examinations monthly so they can recognize when something has changed.

  • Run your hands over your pet’s body to feel for any new lumps or bumps that should be checked out by the veterinarian. Also, ruffle your pet’s fur and look at the skin for fleas and ticks, redness, scaling, etc.
  • Look at the color of your pet’s gums. Keep an eye out for dental disease or any masses in the mouth.
  • Examine ears, eyes, nose, nails, feet and the anogenital region for anything unusual that may have developed since your last exam.
  • Weigh your pet monthly and record the information so you can pick up any unexpected weight gain or loss as early as possible.

If you find anything out of the ordinary during your examination, contact your pet’s veterinarian with any questions or concerns.


Rub-a-Dub, Cats in the Tub

The best part about giving your cat a bath is that you don’t have to do it often. Most cats are not big fans of getting even small sprinkles of water on their fur, so bath time tends to involve splashing, scratching, plenty of mewing and sometimes a bit of resentment until kitty dries off.  You may not find your feline friend lounging in the tub any time soon, but you can take a few simple steps to make bath time a little more pleasant for kitty and for you.

Pull on a pair of rubber gloves because even the sweetest cat is likely to claw and scratch when bath time rolls around. Next, get some gentle pet shampoo. Cats don’t like strong scents on their fur and they don’t like getting shampoo in their eyes any more than you do. Don’t try to dunk kitty in the tub! Instead, fill the sink with about 3 inches of warm water. Gently wet your cat from his shoulders to his tail, lather him up and rinse him off. If necessary, clean his face with a washcloth. After the bath, wrap your cat in a large towel (bonus points if you warm the towel in the dryer!) and try to get as much water off of him as possible. Try using blow-dryer on a low setting if you have a long-haired cat who isn’t too frightened of the noise.

Luckily, most of the time cats are self-cleaning creatures. From time to time, your cat may soil himself in a litter box accident or need a flea-bath, but thankfully these incidents are few and far between. Kitty’s best friend will probably never be rubber ducky, but at least now you know you can make bath time a little less difficult. Do you have any tips to make bath time easier for you and your cat? Please feel free to share in the comments!

Free Vet Clinics for Those in Need

Veterinarians across the nation have started hosting free clinics to those who are in need financially.  “As veterinarians it is our job to protect the public from zoonotic diseases and prevent needless suffering where possible” said David Dawson, DVM, owner and medical director of San Roque Animal Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA.  Veterinarians and their staff members volunteer to provide basic care and distribute pet food.  These clinics are intended for people who could not provide health care to their pets otherwise, due to financial instability.

Some veterinarians and business managers like Terry Stoothoff of South Ocala Animal Hospital in Ocala, FL have started having pet owners register.  They must provide a proof of need in order to avoid abuse of this free service; volunteers want to make sure they can reach their intended audience.  Suzanna Brown, DVM, of Best Friends Animal Hospital in Mays Landing, NJ, recently held her fourth free clinic in two years and has attracted more than 200 people in a day.  Due to high volume she has had to turn people away because of a lack of supplies and time.  There is a huge need for these clinics.  “Some people are just scraping by and their pet might be the only thing that keeps them going” said Suzanna Brown, DVM.

Protect Your Pets From Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes

Ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and all other pests are out in full force and this can put your pet at an increased health risk.  The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) says pet owners should take special care to protect their pets from ticks, fleas and mosquitoes this season. You can find products to protect your pets at vetdepot.  Dogs, cats and other pets are especially susceptible to health risks posed by such pests.

Some health risks include the transmission of heartworms to pets via Mosquitoes which can result in heart disease, ticks can cause diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever by spreading bacteria to pets.  In addition, the saliva from fleas can cause anemia, dermatitis and the transfer of tapeworms to pets.  Fleas often jump onto pets when outdoors and enter into homes where they can multiply and quickly infest bedding, furniture and clothing.

It is important to always inspect pet coats thoroughly after spending time outdoors.  Here are a few recommended tips from the NPMA to keep your pet safe from pests:

  • Watch for excessive scratching or licking on your pet
  • Avoid walking pets in tall grass, pests love to gather here
  • Wash pet bedding, plush toys and vacuum frequently
  • Talk to your veterinarian about treatment options to protect your pet, and seek medical advice if ticks or fleas are found on your pet

Check Your Pet for Ticks

Ticks love moisture and the warmer temperatures that come with springtime.  Ticks are found throughout the United States  in wooded and shaded areas and are drawn to humans and animals by carbon dioxide, scent, motion and body heat.   Ticks feed on blood and can be hard to detect by the host because their saliva contains an anesthetic.  Even if you are using some type of tick preventative such as Frontline Plus, any visible ticks should be removed.  Pets that are active outdoors should be checked at least once a day; ticks like to attach around the head, neck, ears and between the toes.  In some areas, your veterinarian may suggest using a tick collar such as Preventic which contains amitraz, a chemical that is proven to be effective against ticks. Tick prevention is an important part of caring for your pet because they can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Canine Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis and Canine Tick Paralysis. You can get your tick prevention products at .