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Cold Weather and Your Pet’s Skin

The weather is getting cooler and we all know that chilly temperatures can take a toll on skin health. It’s important to remember that dogs and cats are at risk for skin issues during the colder months too. The combination of cold air and low atmospheric humidity is drying, and indoor heating systems only make the problem worse.

If you’ve ever suffered from dry skin, you know how itchy and irritating it can be. For pets that can’t repeatedly apply moisturizer on themselves, the problem can be maddening. Irritation, flaking, and itching often leads to excessive scratching, which can cause injury and infection. During the winter months, take steps to prevent and treat your pet’s dry skin.

Here are a few tips for managing your pet’s dry skin and coat when the cold sets in:

1. Bathe your dog as infrequently as possible and don’t bathe your cat at all unless absolutely necessary. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, washing can worsen dry skin.

2. If you do have to bathe your pet, opt for a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Also, use lukewarm water.

3. Follow up any necessary bath with a species-appropriate moisturizing rinse. Remember, human products aren’t safe for use on animals, so don’t be tempted to use your favorite moisturizer on your cat or dog.

4. Brush your pet’s coat at least once or twice daily to remove skin flakes, loose hair, and dander. Dander buildup tends to be considerably more significant during the winter.

5. Skin and coat health begins with proper nourishment. Feed your cat or dog a high-quality, nutritionally balanced pet food.

6. Ask your veterinarian about providing your pet with an essential fatty acids supplement. These supplements benefit skin and coat health, along with cardiovascular and joint health.

7. Ask your veterinarian whether he or she recommends any other nutritional supplements, such as a multivitamin.

8. Run humidifiers around the house. These can add some much-needed moisture into the atmosphere. Just make sure they’re out of reach of your pet and can’t fall or pose any other dangers.

Just a note of caution: more serious conditions can resemble dry skin. Allergies, parasites, nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances, infections, organ dysfunction, and other problems can affect the health and appearance of the skin and coat. If you can’t successfully manage your cat or dog’s dry skin during the winter, see your veterinarian for advice. Also, if you notice other troubling symptoms accompanying dry skin, a veterinary visit is in order. Some signs that dry winter skin is not your pet’s only problem include a rash, red bumps, open sores, patches or widespread areas of hair loss, dull hair that can easily be pulled out, repeated foot licking or face rubbing, and other abnormalities.

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Tips for Feeding a Picky Pet

Being responsible for the care of a pet that is a picky eater can be stressful. Owners wonder whether or not their pet is getting the right nutrition and if they’re maintaining a healthy weight.

 

The first step in addressing the problem of picky eating is to rule out any medical causes for the behavior. Make an appointment with a veterinarian if any of the following apply:

  • A dog or cat used to be a good eater, but their appetite has waned.
  • A pet is losing weight or has any other concerning symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, etc.)
  • A dog or cat seems to want to eat but has difficulty doing so.
  • A pet is lethargic.

Once you are convinced that a pet’s picky eating is not the result of disease, the next step is to determine if the behavior really is a problem. Studies have shown that dogs and cats that are a little on the thin side are actually healthier and live longer lives in comparison to pets that are “normal” or overweight. If a pet is a little thin but otherwise healthy, this is probably the ideal body type for that individual.

But, when a dog or cat is too thin or a veterinarian has said that he or she is concerned the pet’s intake of nutrients is insufficient to support good health, it is time to step in:

  • Begin by trying one or two different pet food formulations. Perhaps a pet who has only ever been offered dry food would eat more of a canned diet, or vice versa. Try different flavors and different brands, but give the dog or cat a week or so to get used to each before trying another. Frequent rotation of foods can actually promote finicky eating behavior.
  • Foods that are designed for extremely active pets are generally calorie and nutrient dense. If a dog or cat eats the same volume of one of these foods, he or she will actually be getting more nutrition out of every bite in comparison to “regular” pet foods.
  • Cut back or eliminate table scraps and treats. Filling up on these “extras” can cause dogs and cats to eat less of nutritionally complete and balanced foods.
  • Consider a home-prepared diet. Some pets will eat more home cooked food than they will commercially prepared options. Make sure any recipes you use are designed by a veterinary nutritionist, however.
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Halloween Precautions for Pets

Halloween can be a fun holiday for people, but not for most pets! The chaos of strangers knocking on the door, the scary costumes, and the candy all add up to potential problems for pets. Plan ahead to keep your four-legged family members safe and sound.

The first step is to find a safe place for pets to be during trick-or-treating hours. Ideally, this is a quiet room at the back of the house. A room downstairs in a finished basement is another good choice. Set your pet up with a comfortable bed, some water and a toy or something to chew on.

If your pet is inclined to be an escape artist, consider using a crate in a quiet room. It might be a good idea to have a radio playing for some background noise, this will minimize the disturbance of the doorbell ringing and knocking. Pheromone products, like D.A.P for dogs or Feliway for cats, can be helpful in stressful situations like Halloween night.

Some cats will mellow out with catnip. If this applies to your cat, add some dried catnip or a fresh sprig to the room or carrier where your cat is confined. However, do not try this with a cat that gets wound up from catnip!

Plan your candy and treat storage carefully. You will need a pet proof container for pre-trick-or-treating and to store any leftovers. Chocolate, raisins, and xylitol (found in many sugar-free gums and candies) are all dangerous for pets.

Be sure to check out our Halloween Safety for Pets Infographic for more helpful tips and information.

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Does Your Dog Suffer From Separation Anxiety?

Does your dog become nervous when he sees you getting ready to leave the house? Do your neighbors complain that he barks or howls while you are away? Do you return home to find that your dog has urinated or defecated inside the house, or has chewed on the furniture? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety.

The first thing an owner should do when faced with a dog suffering from separation anxiety is to take a deep breath and calm down. You must remember that he behaved in this way because he was truly scared of being left alone. If you punish him in any way he will become even more scared, making the situation worse rather than better.

This does not mean, however, that there is nothing that can be done to help dogs become better able to tolerate separation from their owners. Behavioral modification is possible. The goal is to teach dogs to relax, reward them for doing so and to promote a healthy rather than overly dependent relationship between dog and owner. Try the following techniques:

  • Pretend to leave (e.g., pick up your keys, put on your coat, etc.) but then stay or walk out the door but immediately come back in. As your dog begins to learn that you always return after you leave, gradually extend the amount of time you are gone.
  • When you return home, ignore your dog until he is calm.
  • Do not allow your dog to sleep in your bed.
  • Ask someone else to do things with your dog that he enjoys (e.g., taking him on a walk or feeding him) and even consider hiring another person to take him out for a walk if you have to be gone for a long period of time.
  • Give your dog special toys when you leave and put them away when you are home.
  • Keep a television or radio on while you are gone.

In some cases, dogs need help relaxing in order to be more receptive to behavioral modification. Dog appeasing pheromone, a substance that nursing females emit to calm their pups, is available in sprays, diffusers, collars and wipes. Over-the-counter anxiety-relieving nutraceutical, herbal or homeopathic formulations are also worth a try.

If your dog’s anxiety is severe or worsens despite your attempts to treat it at home, make an appointment with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist. They can thoroughly assess the situation, design a behavioral modification plan best suited to your dog’s particular needs, and even prescribe powerful anti-anxiety medications like Clomicalm® or amitripyline .

With appropriate treatment, most dogs can learn to tolerate some time by themselves.

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Celebrating Halloween Safely

Halloween is just under a week away! With all the excitement in the air, now is a great time to reflect on how to make this Halloween the safest for you and your pets. We hope you find the following suggestions helpful in enjoying Halloween with the whole family!

  • If your pet is going to walk with you and the kids while trick or treating, ensure they are wearing their ID tag and are on a leash. Even the most obedient pets can get spooked by all the ghostly decorations outside causing them to run off. Keeping your pet on a leash near you is the best way to avoid this. This is very important for your pet’s safety. With all the lively trick or treaters comes more traffic which could be a potentially dangerous situation if your pet were to run off. Even if you plan on staying at home and passing out candy, keeping your pet properly restrained will be the safest preventative measure for them. The noisy trick or treaters and consistent knocks and door bell rings may cause your pet to panic and run. In the event your pet does run off, having their ID tag on will greatly aide in their homecoming.

 

  • Keep candy and treats up and out of the way of reach. Sweet treats can be just as tempting for our pets as they are for us humans. Keeping treats up and out of eye sight will deter even the most determined pet from getting into treats that may make them sick and may possibly be deadly for them. In addition to candy and treats, props from costumes and decorations should be kept out of reach as they may create a choking hazard.

 

  • Candles in jack-o’- lanterns look beautiful but can injure a curious pet. Our four legged pals don’t understand that the beautiful flicker from candles hurts badly. The safest measure to take to avoid a possible catastrophe is to use a battery powered candle rather than the real thing.

Taking a few extra precautionary measures will ensure you and your pet have a wonderful and safe Halloween.

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Halloween Costume Ideas for Your Pet

Halloween is right around the corner! If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking of what costume you will want to wear. Don’t forget your pet either! They will love being included in the dressing up and spirit of Halloween. If you don’t see any costumes you like at your local store, don’t forget that pet costumes make great DIY projects. Think outside the box and check your closets for clothing or other materials that will add the perfect touch to a DIY costume.

Not sure what to dress your pal as? Check out the following costume ideas for some Halloween costume motivation:

  • Wings are the perfect costume for your cat or dog! Your pet could either be a bat or an angel.

  • Have an extra shirt and tie to spare? Dress your dog up as a mini you, ready for a day at the office.

  • Consider a themed costume if you have more than one pet. To really get in the spirit, dress yourself up to match!

  • Don’t exclude your pet if they are recovering from an injury or surgery, simple additions to their E-Collar will keep them included in the fun.

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Preventing Obesity

Obesity in pets is becoming more common, making it a necessity to spread awareness. Obesity can affect both dogs and cats and as pet owners it’s our responsibility to manage our pet’s health, including weight management. When pets are overly nourished and lack exercise, obesity is sure to have a negative impact on their lives. Obesity may lead to arthritis, diseases such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, as well as a decrease in life expectancy. Our pets are family and we would do anything to keep them safe. Obesity leads to numerous health problems including disease so it’s important to prevent obesity. Even the smallest adjustments to your pet’s lifestyle make a world of difference. The following suggestions are beneficial in preventing obesity in your pet:

  • Avoid overfeeding your pet. While Fido may stare at you adoringly with those big beautiful eyes that make it difficult to resist telling him no, fight the urge to give your pet extra food. This creates a negative habit and your pet may begin to expect extra food daily. This behavior makes it easy to pack on the pounds. Even a few extra pounds on your pet make a huge difference in their daily life. In addition, avoid feeding your pet junk food. We’ve all been there, sitting on the couch watching our favorite show with our favorite potato chips to snack on, when suddenly you notice your fur baby looking adorable wanting a taste. His or her cuteness pulls at your heartstrings and you give in and share your chips. Fight the urge to do this, no matter how cute they make look.

 

  • If your pet is overweight, and is having health problems discuss a low fat diet rich in fiber and protein with their veterinarian. Protein gives a boost of energy as well as gives the feeling of fullness so that your pet will not feel hungry again so soon after eating. Ensure you stick with this diet and work closely with your pet’s veterinarian to monitor and maintain your pets diet. You may be surprised at how your pet’s health improves by solely adjusting their diet.

 

  • Get out and play! Taking your dog for a 10 minute walk around the block every day is not only great for both of your health, but your dog will enjoy getting out of the house. Throw the ball around and play fetch. Your cat will love chasing feathers and simply dangling any appealing toy above them will intrigue them and get them moving. Becoming more active with your pet will be a great bonding experience for the both of you. Not only will you both look forward to this everyday, but your pet’s health will improve and you will help to prevent and maintain their weight in order to prevent obesity.
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Cat Breed Spotlight: Persian Cat

The Persian Cat is a longhaired feline whose origin is traced from Mesopotamia (later known as Persia) which is now commonly known as Iran. The Persian cat is remarkably beautiful with its round head, short face, cute chubby cheeks, big eyes, rounded ears and sturdy body. They are a medium size cat weighing between 7 to 12 pounds. Their coats can be various colors that include white, black, cream, chocolate, silver, smokey, and calico. Their eye color is related to their coat color. Some examples of eye colors include deep blue, silver, green or copper.

Persian cats are known for their quiet nature and sweet temperament. They are wonderful pets for any size family. They enjoy affection and spend most of their time in their owner’s lap being petted. Their warm hearted nature makes them great cats for a home with children, as well as a home with other pets.

Persian cats are easy to please and care for. They love eating, playing, and affectionate love from their owners. Persian cats especially love to play with feather teasers and cat nip. A fun scratching post like this one is perfect for a Persian cat. 

A few things to keep in mind about the Persian cat is that they prefer an environment free from loud noises. They do not do well in warm climates, as they are sensitive to heat. If they are outside on a warm day, it is important to monitor the length of time they are out to reduce any chance of complications due to heat sensitivity. Therefore, it is recommended to keep them indoors as they prefer less noise and they are not scrapers that can easily protect themselves from other animals. They also require daily grooming for their long beautiful coat. It’s important to brush it daily to keep it clean and tangle free.

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5 Amazing Cat Facts

Cats are undoubtedly amazing creatures. If you’re a cat lover, or have spent time around your friend’s or family’s cats, you know how unique each cat’s personality is. At VetDepot we love our feline friends and have picked 5 of our favorite amazing cat facts to share with you! We hope you enjoy our top 5 Amazing Cat Facts:

1) Cats Have an Amazing Sense of Smell

Ever notice your cat is quite the sniffer? Their nose is highly sensitive to scents. There are an estimated 200 million nerve cells inside their nostrils that detect odor. To put this into perspective, humans only have 5 million.

Cats also have scent glands on their head and paws that release chemicals known as pheromones. These pheromones are unique to each cat. Anytime a cat rubs against any object, their pheromones are left behind for other kitty cats as a means of marking their territory.

Have you ever come home after petting the neighbor’s cat to discover your own cat almost immediately begins to sniff you? Panic sets in as you begin to think, “Oh no! My sweet kitty knows I pet another kitty!” You begin to feel guilty and apologize profusely to your kitty, begging for forgiveness, promising him or her it will never happen again! Don’t worry, your kitty will forgive you, but he or she definitely knows you were around another cat because of the scent/pheromones the neighbor’s cat left on you.

Ever seen a cat’s reaction to catnip? They go bonkers! Catnip is a perennial herb, which is closely related to mint. The chemical compound within the plant that attracts and makes cats act excited is called nepetalactone. When nepetalactone is sniffed by a cat it’s believed to produce a euphoric feeling, lasting approximately 10 minutes. Nepetalactone is thought to mimic feline pheromones, which is the reason your kitty becomes so excited. Most cats will sniff the catnip excitedly or roll in it. Some cats may begin to scratch which may present a problem. You can prevent any potential catnip excitement scratching damage by purchasing a scratching post similar to this one

In addition to their impressive sniffing abilities, a cat’s nose is comparable to a human fingerprint. If you look closely at your cat’s nose you will see ridges and tiny bumps. These little details on a kitty’s nose are exclusive each cat. No two cats will have identical details, just like human fingerprints.

2) Groups of Cats Have Specific Names

While kittens are typically referred to as a litter, the word kindle is used to describe a group of kittens as well. Pretty cute!

Once out of the kitten stage, a group of cats is known as a clowder. Not to be confused with delicious chowder soup, a clowder is a group of 2 or more cats. Think of it like having your own posse of cat friends. Only instead of calling them your cat group, you refer to them as your clowder. 

3) A Single Litter of Kittens May Have Multiple Father Cats

Weird? Yes, a bit so. Is this why a litter of kittens may have different color fur or eyes from one another? Yes and no. That’s partly due to genetics, but it can also be due to each kitten having the same mama cat but a different papa cat.

This is known as superfecundation. Superfecundation is the fertilization of two or more ova from the same cycle by sperm from more than one act of sexual intercourse. Huh?! In simpler terms, a female is in heat 1-4 days and during those days she will potentially mate several times with different males. Females release several eggs per ovulation and are “induced ovulators”, meaning the act of mating causes them to ovulate.  Therefore, each time a female mates, she ovulates and releases another egg, which can be fertilized by a different male. Does this make your brain hurt too?

4) Hissing is Reaction Due to Fear, Not Anger

If you ever heard a cat’s hiss or been hissed at, the noise may jolt you a bit. It can be a scary noise. Typically it’s believed cats hiss because they’re angry and may attack. However, this is the opposite. Hissing is a defensive expression that arises due to uncomfortably, stress or fear. In cat language hissing serves as a warning to stay away. Have you ever seen two cats fighting? If you notice only one is hissing, it’s because the hissing cat is more vulnerable.

5) Cats Roll Over to Show Their Belly as an Indication of Trust

Initially you may think your cat is asking for a belly rub, and in all fairness some cats do want belly rubs when displaying this behavior. Although, laying down and rolling to expose their belly is a sign that they are are relaxed and trusting. This means your kitty is trusting of you and comfortable with you. If you were a cat instead of a human, your kitty would probably invite you to be part of its clowder!

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Pumpkin Treat Recipes

If you’re looking for a special way to incorporate pumpkin into your dog’s diet, look no further! Don’t feel like making it yourself? These pumpkin treats will be sure to brighten up your dog’s day just as much! However, if you are up for some fun bonding time with your fur baby in the kitchen, consider trying one of the following 3 easy and quick recipes. They are pooch tested and approved!

– PUMPKIN-CINNAMON TREATS –

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
  • 1 cup 100% canned pure pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2.  Combine pumpkin, cinnamon, and egg in medium bowl.
  3.  Add flour 1/2 cup at a time into the bowl until stiff dough forms.
  4. Roll dough to about 1/2 inch thick.
  5.  Line dog treats on cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until treat is golden brown.
  7.  Store treats at rom temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 

– PUMPKIN POPSICLES –

Ingredients:

  • 1 can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 ripe banana

Instructions:

  1. Combine banana and pumpkin in blender or with electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  2. Combine yogurt with banana/pumpkin mixture.
  3. Add honey and stir well until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Scoop the mixture into silicone candy molds or ice cube trays and freeze.

– PUMPKIN MUFFINS –

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup 100% pure canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease or spray mini muffin tin.
  3. Combine oats in food processor or blender until oats are about half powder.
  4. Combine oats and oat powder with all remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir until combined.
  5. Fill muffin tin 2/3 full with batter.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Once cooled, store in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 3 months.
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