May 18, 2010

Can Cats Groom Too Much?

Filed under: Anxiety and Over-grooming,cat hair,cat stress — Dr. Amber Reed @ 6:20 pm

feline healthy coat The simple answer to this question is yes.  Over-grooming is an anxiety disorder in cats that can be compared to obsessive compulsive behavior in humans.  Many cats find grooming themselves to be quite relaxing and in stressful situations will turn to grooming to calm down.  Over-grooming, however, is a sign that your cat may be suffering from a more serious anxiety problem and that they have difficulty relieving stress.  In many instances, over-grooming in cats begins when there is some kind of environmental change; for example, a move, the introduction of a new pet or family member, or even illness may lead to over-grooming.

Recognizing that your cat is over-grooming may be difficult.  Still, excessive licking or pulling at fur are two of the earliest signs of over-grooming.  Eventually, cats that groom too much may develop bald patches especially around the inside of the thighs, near the abdomen and groin, or on the forelegs.  Because over-grooming in cats may be caused by a medical condition, it is always best to visit your veterinarian if you notice these symptoms.  Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, allergies, bacterial infection, and viral infection are all examples of medical conditions that may cause cats to over-groom.

In most cases, over-grooming is treated by dealing with the underlying medical condition.  However, if your cat over-grooms because of an anxiety disorder, the treatment is aimed at removing the stressful situation or helping your cat to cope with stress.  Anxious over-grooming in cats is usually caused by some environmental stressors.  Find and eliminate the stress causing factors and your cat may recover.  In addition, try to maintain a regular routine that includes a healthy diet, exercise, and play with your cat.  Finally, ensure that your cat has a stimulating environment so that she can entertain herself when you are away.  In very extreme cases, vets may recommend anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications.

April 27, 2010

My Pet is Shedding Everywhere!

Filed under: animal shedding,cat hair,control cat shedding,dog hair — Tags: — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:03 am

canine healthy coats Dogs and cats shed, this is a fact of life. As the summer weather draws nearer, your pet will shed even more than usual so they can get rid of their heavy winter coat. While shedding can be a major pain in the you know what, it is important for pets so they don’t overheat in the summer. Nevertheless, there are some preventative steps a pet owner can take to reduce the inconvenience associated with shedding.

First of all, there are some commercial shedding products that reduce the amount your dog or cat sheds. Shedding supplements keep your pet comfortable while also preventing hair from building up around your house. Moreover, these commercial shedding supplements improve the quality and condition of your pet’s skin and coat without interrupting natural seasonal shedding.

Hairy DogIn addition to shedding supplements, grooming is an important aspect of controlling shedding. Especially for cats and dogs with long hair, you need to brush them at least once a week. During the late spring you may even want to brush more to remove hair as it sheds rather than letting the hair disperse over your carpets, furniture, and upholstery. Certain shedding tools were designed specifically to collect your pet’s hair when you brush but there are also shedding tools that are designed to remove hair from furniture and carpets.

Finally, regular maintenance around the house can help you to keep shedding under control. Vacuum and sweep more regularly during shedding season so the problem doesn’t get out of control. Also, upholstery covers can protect your furniture and they make it easier to clean up after a pet that is shedding.

Remember, shedding is a natural part of your pet’s life. When the weather becomes colder they actually grow a fuller coat to protect them from harsh winters but as summer comes around this coat is no longer needed and shedding results!

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.