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Litter Box Training for Newbies – The Basics

Most cat owners know the ins and outs of their cat’s litter box habits. When I got my first cat, I didn’t have a clue how to teach her to use the litter box. Here are some helpful hints and suggestions to jump start your litter box training and keep them from relieving themselves in your potted plants!  Read More »

Flea and Tick Treatments – Use Caution

Spring has (finally) arrived and fleas have returned along with it. You may have heard recently in the news that there has been an increase of the number of adverse reactions to over-the-counter “spot on” flea and tick treatments. The EPA has taken notice and they are starting to take action.

What was the problem?

Flea and tick preventative maintenance is an important part of your pet’s health. Small dogs and cats were the most likely to be affected by spot-on flea treatmentsIt’s important to safe guard your pet against pests that can carry deadly diseases like Lyme disease. However, it is also important to remember that these medications are still pesticides and should be handled with care. The EPA found that some dogs, usually smaller breeds, and cats could have potentially harmful reactions to spot-on flea and tick treatments. Reactions ranged from skin irritation to more severe medical conditions like seizures, and in a few cases, even death.  Most of the reactions were caused by “overdose” or using too much of the topical product for the size of the pet. Reactions in cats were typically the result of exposure to a dog- specific formula, either accidentally or through incorrect usage of the product.  While the EPA mainly investigated “spot-on” flea and tick treatments, they recommend using caution with all flea and tick products, including shampoos, collars, and sprays/powders.

What are they going to do to solve it?

To reduce the number of reactions and eliminate misuse of the products, the EPA is now enforcing tighter restrictions on ingredients and pursuing labeling changes and guidelines. The most significant change they are suggesting is making more dose sizes available. Instead of 3 different sizes of the medication, there might be 5, introducing a narrower pet weight range per medication.  They are also pushing to make the packaging vastly different on dog and cat products to eliminate confusion, and other labeling changes to eliminate confusion. The EPA is also going to start requiring clinical trials and observations on new formulas.

What can I do to ensure my pets’ safety?

Consult your vet. Find out which brand they recommend for your pets and situation. This is extremely Look for alternative methods of flea and tick erradicationimportant if your pet is weak, elderly, sick, on medication, pregnant or nursing. You should also carefully read all instructions before applying flea and tick treatments, especially if you have not used the product before. When purchasing a flea and tick treatments be sure to know the current weight of your pets to select the correct product.

There are some precautions you can take to help control your pet’s exposure to fleas and ticks, too. Vacuuming regularly and washing both you and your pet’s bedding regularly can help to prevent populations from establishing in your house. You can alter your yard to be less tick-friendly and discourage deer from visiting.

See the EPA’s article on taking care of fleas and ticks on your pet for more information on safety and what to do if you suspect your pet is having a reaction to flea and tick medication.

A Drink to Your Pets’ Health – The Importance of Water in Your Pets’ Diet

Water is essential to your pets' health It’s no secret that your pets need fresh clean drinking water every day for optimum health. It’s also no secret that cats and some dogs are very finicky about, well, pretty much everything! With the warmer weather approaching I want to talk about your pet’s drinking habits.

Water is an essential ingredient to life. All animals need it to help flush out toxins and to keep organs hydrated. Cats especially need to take in an adequate amount of water to prevent kidney problems, most notably kidney stones and kidney failure.

The amount of water that your pet needs to drink daily depends on his or her weight, activity level, and diet. Dogs are generally pretty good about regulating their water intake. As long as fresh, clean water is provided they will usually drink the amount their body requires. Keep in mind that with the warmer temperatures around the corner, your dog should also be drinking more to stay fully hydrated.

Cats get most of their water intake from their food. In the wild this is not much of an issue since raw meat contains up to 70% water. Dry food, on the other hand, only contains about 10% moisture. Some cats will supplement their food with extra drinking water and others are a little pickier.

Zen Fountain by PetSafeIf you are having trouble getting your cat interested in water there are a few things you can try.  Change the type of pet bowl or the location of the bowl. Some cats prefer ceramic (lead-free glazed, of course) over metal bowls and vice versa. Other cats may be picky about the location of their water dish. Be sure it is far from the litter box and out of direct sunlight. You might also try a pet fountain. Clean, fresh, running water might be more interesting for your cat, while others will appreciate the water being filtered (thus tastier) and kept cooler. Finally, consider adding a wet food to your cat’s diet, or add water to your cats’ dry food. Wet cat foods usually contain around 80% water. Just be sure to adjust your portions of dry food to ensure you aren’t over feeding your cat.

Any sudden change in behavior can be cause for concern. Contact your vet if your pets’ drinking habits change suddenly; if they starting drinking an excessive amount of water, or stop drinking it altogether it could be a sign of a serious illness.

Who Says You Can’t Train a Cat? – Training Your Cat to Come on When you Call

We all know that cats usually tend to do their own thing. Most don’t have any interest in doing anything they don’t feel like doing on their own terms, while some may be enticed with catnip or a dangling string. Depending on the temperament of your cat, you may be able to train him or her. You probably won’t be able to train her to roll over, shake, or to leave your tuna alone (that takes some special training talent), but teaching a cat to come when called can be vital in emergency situations. Read More »

The Manx – Though They Lack in Tail, They Don’t Fall Short in Personality

I don’t really consider myself a “cat person”.  Though I don’t have anything against cats, and grew up with lots of them, I typically prefer the company of dogs. But despite minor allergies and my preference for canines,  I find myself developing an admiration for a specific cat breed, the short-tailed or tail-less Manx.  My mother has always had a thing for this unique breed, and for as long as I can remember there was at least one Manx in the family.  The more I watch them, the more I understand why they are easy to love. Read More »

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