March 26, 2013

Unique Activities to Keep Your Pet Fit

Filed under: cat health,cats,Dog health,dogs,pets — Tags: , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:08 pm

pet-activitiesWith the sunshine now peeking out from behind winter clouds, the birds chirping happily and baby animals coming out to play, now is the perfect time to experience the joy of spring and maybe even shed some of those winter pounds too.

And let’s face it: you’re not the only one who gained some extra hibernation weight over winter – your pet could use the exercise too!

But if you’re sick of the same old walk in the park, why not mix it up a little and try some of our unique ways to keep your pet fit this spring?

 

Star Jumps for Dogs
Who says star jumps are just for humans? Not so! Star jumps are a great cardiovascular workout for your pet. Just take one of their favorite toys and tap their nose gently with it, before lifting the toy up into the air. Your dog should follow your movement and leap into the air playfully.

Cat Cardio
The greatest investment you will ever make for your cat’s fitness is a mini torch. While you’re doing your own workout (or even making dinner, doing the chores or anything else around the house) you can entice your cat into exercise by turning on a mini flashlight and shining it against the wall and the floor. Your cat will chase after the light and unwittingly get in some great cardio.

Stair Work for Dogs and Cats
Just like a quick journey up and down stairs can leave you huffing and puffing, it can increase the cardiovascular health of your pet too. For dogs, why not run up and down some stairs at the local park? For cats, just trail their favorite toy up and down the stairs at home.

Walking the Cat
You read correctly. Dogs aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a pleasant walk outside. Plenty of pet stores have leashes and collars specifically developed for cats, so why not pick one up and try it out? Test it out in your backyard first as your cat will need to get used to the sensation of a collar and leash. If you have a kitten, try to train them to do this as young as possible and make sure you keep your cat away from parks or areas where dogs regularly frequent.

Ultimate Frisbee for Dogs
We have all seen the movies where the Golden Retriever leaps gracefully into the air and catches a Frisbee. But that’s just stuff of the movies, right? Not the case! You can teach your pooch to become an ultimate Frisbee pro in no time. Just pick up a Frisbee, walk down to the local park and start practicing!

And once you’re done trying out these unique exercises, why not create some of your own? Exercise should be as much about play as it is about health for your pet, so get creative. Your pet will thank you.

After all, according to the experts, over 35 percent of pets are overweight, which puts them at risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and breathing problems.

So this spring, make a pact with your pet to help them become the fittest pet in the neighborhood.

 

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April 19, 2012

How To Tell If Your Pet Is Suffering From Allergies

Filed under: cat health — Tags: , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:03 am

cat allergyYour cat scratches, scratches, and scratches, but you’ve yet to find a flea on her. Perhaps she’s displaying pet allergy symptoms. Many pet owners are unaware that their furry friends can get allergies just like humans do. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, allergies in dogs or cats can be caused by variables as diverse as pollen, grass, mold, mildew, fleas, fragrances, food, and chemicals. In other words, anything from a flea to the dog shampoo you lovingly bathed your puppy might be making them miserable.

Pet sensitivities are harder to diagnose than human ones, and it might take a while to figure out that they are sick. A cat or dog cannot tell you that they started feeling sick and congested after their morning walk through the flower fields, or that the new diet you put them on made them feel nauseous which is why they threw up on your favorite shoes. However, the allergy symptoms your pet may be displaying can help you diagnose the cause. The pets section of WebMd says that skin reactions are the most common pet allergy reactions but other symptoms include sneezing, difficulty breathing, watery eyes, runny noses, scratching, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases death. All symptoms can range from mild to alarming, and pet owners may not realize they are being caused by allergies. It helps to be familiar with your pet and their habits, so if anything out of the ordinary arises you will know right away.

Because pet allergy symptoms are so assorted it can take owners months or even years to realize why their pet is sick. A veterinarian can identify whether allergies are the cause of illness, but it can be expensive and time consuming. With all the possible sources pinpointing the exact reason for an allergic reaction is often difficult. Veterinarians can perform skin tests and food trials to determine the origin for sensitivities. Once the reason for the allergy is found, it may take a special diet to overcome root causes.

Is it worth it? Most pet owners love their four-legged friends and consider them to be a part of the family. Like all family members, when you see them suffer you want to do whatever it takes to aid their recovery. If your dog or cat is experiencing pet allergies and is feeling unwell, with time and devotion you relieve the symptoms and help them get better.

March 20, 2012

Top 5 Issues Affecting Pets Today

Filed under: cat health,Dog health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:39 pm

pet health issuesLife as a pet is different than that of a human. You’re small, you’re low to the ground, you’re often times left to your own devices outside, but above all else you speak a language that the humans don’t understand. Communication is tough; messages get overlooked. However, for the first time ever Critter Cures brings you reporting that comes directly from the front lines of pet nation. Your animals spoke out, and we listened to the top 5 issues affecting American pets today.

“What Happened To the Regular Checkups?”

Pet owners are taking their pets to the veterinarian way less than they used to. In 2007 dogs received a checkup around 2.7 times per year, and cats 1.7 times. These numbers dipped even low after the recession of 2008 but they ideally shouldn’t. Taking your pet to the veterinarian allows for early detection of medical issues.

“Does This Leash Make Me Look Fat?”

Word on Pet Street is that animals are starting to put on some unsightly and unhealthy weight. This is in part due to the fact that owners are not likely to recognize obesity in their pets. Bruiser, the grumpy pit bull who lives at the house in the cul-de-sac says the prominence of pet obesity because his owner is, himself, obese. Bruiser reminds pet owners that obese pets have a shorter lifespan and an increased risk of a bunch of diseases, so be sure to not to neglect the exercise level of your little friend.

“Doggy Treat or Sugar Fix?”

Likely caused by the obesity epidemic amongst pets, the incidence of diabetes is quickly on the rise as well. Banfield State of Pet Health reports a 32% increase in diabetes in dogs and 16% increase in cats, comparing 2006 to 2010. The disease is treated much the same way it is treated in humans, with insulin injections—but when Misty is out, hanging with the rest of the neighborhood cats at night she doesn’t want to be bothered with that kind of nuisance. She urges her pet owner to act preventatively and feed the animals in their care responsibly with a specific series of meows.
canine paw care

“I Have a Lump on My Paw…”

According to the Morris Animal Foundation, one in four dogs die from cancer, and cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over two years of age, but cats are similarly affected. Cancer can be tracked genetically in humans; likewise, the type of dog breed will play a huge factor in which, if any, cancers your dog is predisposed to. It’s important to find out this information as it can potentially allow for an early detection of a malignant tumor.
According to one study done in 2009, all the cats that participated had evidence of periodontal disease. According to the neighborhood Tabby cat, known for her gossip, the word on the street is that pet owners are simply reluctant when it comes to dental procedures in their pets. Even Tabby cats know that periodontal disease can cause collateral damage in other parts of a pet’s body. In dogs In dogs, periodontal disease was associated with increases in markers of systemic inflammation and indicators of failing kidney function, and was also associated with endocarditis and heart muscle problems.

Speak to your pet (as best as possible) and get into the mindset of preventative care. If your pet(s) could talk, they would thank you.

June 18, 2011

Everyday Exercises for Cats

Filed under: cat health — Tags: , , , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:26 pm

Rainy day and you need something to do? Does your cat sleep more than you do? Truthfully, your cat does need more sleep than you, on average cats tend to sleep for fourteen hours per day. Although it is advised to keep indoor cats inside the house, it is not recommended to encourage lazy lounging. When they are not snoozing it is important for cats to exercise to maintain good health as overfeeding combined with inactivity can increase risks of obesity and arthritis in cats. Exercise decreases these risks and also promotes weight loss in cats. Exercising does not have to be tough. With so many games to play, you and your cat may find yourselves enjoying exercise time.

feline arthritis Chase the Light : Cats can’t get enough of this game. You can use either a flash light or a laser pointer. Tease your cat by pointing the light close to him and moving it when he attempts to “catch” it. It can be entertaining to watch your cat bounce off objects and people in their path. Most pet stores supply inexpensive laser pointers. This game does not require much effort and is an easy method of providing exercise to your pet.

Hunting : Cats are primitive creatures; it is in their nature to hunt for their food. Hide their food in a different place each meal. Whether dinner is served at the top of a flight of stairs, in a cozy crook, or on the top of tall furniture, your cat will be more interested and active while searching for his food. Do not hesitate from placing food at higher places; cats love to be elevated.

exercises for catsCatch the Snack: There are pet toys in which you can encase snacks. The trick is to let your cat watch you package the snack up to draw him in. Let your cat chase the toy (this works best when the toy is attached to string) and reward him when he catches the toy. Lay the toy in front of the cat and move it side to side. Do not prolong the game as cats will lose interest after two to three minutes. Let your pet win and enjoy his reward to encourage him to play again in the future.

Chase Your Cat : Believe it or not, some cats like being chased. This is great exercise for you and your pet. Additionally, this is also a great exercise that kids can take part in as well. Just be careful to hazardous objects to avoid tripping and painful accidents.

Play Toys: One can never go wrong with the use to cat toys. There a variety of mouse toys that cats love to chase and play with. Some cats prefer life-like mice toys while others take delight neon colored mice. Toys are an excellent means of keeping busy for cats; you’ll know you have found the “right” toy when your pet hides the toy to play with it later.

May 21, 2010

Children and Cats

Filed under: cat health,Children and Pets,pet health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 6:33 pm

kitten care, children and kittensGetting a pet cat means that you are adding another member to your family.  Cats and children make great companions but you may be aware of special health concerns for children with pet cats.  A lot of times people feel cats are better pets for children than dogs but you need to take some time to ensure that the health and well being of your cat and children will not be compromised.  Always make every effort to understand the responsibilities that come with owning a cat and ensure you children understand as well.

Kids love kittens.  They’re small, fluffy, and cute but they become full grown cats very quickly.  Many irresponsible families get kittens every year and then become overburdened with the responsibilities that come with owning a cat.  Even as a kitten you need to spend lots of time grooming, playing with, and socializing your kitten so it’s not all just fun and games.  Nevertheless, when you take the commitment of cat ownership seriously, you will have a loving pet that is a central member of your family.

feline ear mitesChildren can sometimes be overly aggressive with small pets so you’ll need to teach them that cats are vulnerable.  Because cats can more easily escape from rambunctious children, they are often a better pet than dogs (for the pet’s sake, that is).  Still, you should spend some time demonstrating to your children how to handle cats and how to play with them.  Overly aggressive children may cause the cats to develop anxiety leading the cat to reciprocate the aggressive behavior.

Finally, when you get a cat you need to be aware of toxoplasmosis.  This bacterial infection can be contracted through contact with cat feces and when infants are infected they are at risk of brain damage and possibly even death.  By taking a few precautions you can protect your infants from toxoplasmosis.  Regularly clean the litter box and never allow children to play near it.  Sandboxes are a favorite place for cats to defecate so they should always be covered when they’re not in use.  As long as you maintain a clean environment and keep your children away from cat feces the risk of toxoplasmosis is very low.

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.

January 11, 2010

What do I do when my cat has diarrhea?

Filed under: cat diarrhea,cat health,diarrhea for cats,diarrhea in cats — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:24 am

feline diarrheaCat diarrhea can signify a more serious health issue. While many cases of cat diarrhea will be a case of an upset stomach, much as is the case with humans, chronic or prolonged diarrhea is definitely a bigger issue. Normally, cat diarrhea will resolve itself but if cat diarrhea continues it’s important to try to recognize what can be causing the diarrhea. In these cases, it’s often necessary to take your cat to the vet but this article will discuss some of the possible causes as well as treatments for cat diarrhea. However, you should always visit a vet if you suspect your cat may have a more serious underlying condition.

Frequent diarrhea can be a problem especially if it is associated with one or more of the following symptoms:

 

  • Blood or mucous in the stool
  • High fever
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Obvious abdominal pain
  • Abdominal tenderness or swelling
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

 

 

diarrhea in catsThe causes of diarrhea can be very simple, even a sudden change in diet can trigger an episode of diarrhea. One of the first measures a pet owner should take when their cat has diarrhea is with the cat’s diet. It could be that your cat is eating some food that you’re not aware of but it’s always helpful to try a different cat food to see if this resolves the cat diarrhea. Alternatively, diarrhea in cats can also be caused by some kind of traumatic or stressful incident. Even moving homes or introducing a new family member may be enough to trigger diarrhea. However, more serious issues like parasites, infections, cancer, or pancreatic disease can lead to diarrhea; as such, chronic diarrhea definitely warrants a vet visit.

Otherwise, there are some simple measures that you can take to treat the diarrhea. First of all, you should avoid giving your cat any solid food for at least 24 hours and this will also require that you keep them in the house to prevent them from hunting their own food.Be sure to give your cat plenty of fresh water as diarrhea can cause dehydration.After a day of no solid food and lots of fresh water, start slowly introducing solid foods again.If the diarrhea is gone, no problem, but if it persists make an appointment with your veterinarian.

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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.