Questions and answers.
Pet ownership isn’t always easy — but we’re here to help. Noticed a behavior change in your animal recently? Not sure if you need to bring them in for a visit, or just wait it out? Read on and see if we've answered your question for you. If you don't see your question answered her, ask us one of your own.
Should I worry if my cat is not using the litterbox regularly?
Regular evaluation of your cat’s litterbox can provide a window to the health of your cat. There is an array of issues, both physical and behavioral, that can be gleaned from routine monitoring of litterbox habits. This is best performed by becoming familiar with what is normal for your particular pet, thus aiding in the discovery of a pattern change.
Abnormalities include: producing more or less urine or stool, urinating/defecating more frequently, urinating/defecating outside the box, producing soft or very hard stools, vocalizing or perhaps vomiting while in the litterbox, or not using the box at all. These are all of concern and could be indicative of a serious problem.
Once a pattern change has been identified, it is then imperative that a sample (or 2) be evaluated and paired with a thorough history and physical exam to determine if the underlying cause is physical or behavioral. Only then can appropriate recommendations be made to begin to manage the problem.
The list of potential problems includes, but is not limited to:
- litterbox aversion
- crystals or stones
- kidney failure
- immune mediated disease
- cancerous causes
If any of this sounds familiar, schedule an exam with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How do I brush my cat’s teeth?
Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is the most common disease in our feline companions. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable disease. We can reduce or even prevent dental disease by feeding a crunchy diet and daily tooth brushing. The following are steps to guide you on how to brush your cat’s teeth:
- If you’ve never brushed your cat’s teeth, make an appointment for a professional dental checkup and cleaning first. Start with a fresh, clean mouth.
- Use a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste. Don’t use human toothpaste. Animal toothpaste is flavored specifically for your pet. Anything other than a bristled tooth brush will not get below the gum line (the most important area to brush).
- There are several important facts about our pets’ mouths that tell us when, where, and how to brush. Periodontal disease usually affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into “tartar” (calculus) that cannot be removed with a brush. Because of this progression, brushing should be done daily, with a brush to remove the plaque from under the gum line.
- Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet’s and your daily routine. Brushing before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time.
- Take a few days to let both of you get use to the process. Follow with praise and a treat each time.
How often should I clean my dogs teeth? And how do I do it?
Just like humans, you should brush your dog’s teeth every day, or at least every other day.
Teeth Cleaning For Dogs
You need to start with a clean mouth, so if you’ve never visited us for a dental cleaning for your pup, now’s the time to make an appointment. Maintenance and home care is important after we scrape the years of buildup off those pearly whites.
How To Clean Dog Teeth
- First, have your dog get used to the taste of the toothpaste. Pet toothpastes have a poultry, malt, or other flavor so your dog will like the taste. Get your dog used to the flavor and consistency of the toothpaste. Let your dog lick some off your finger. Praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a reward (really tasty treat). If your dog does not like the taste of the toothpaste, you may need to try a different kind. Continue this step for a few days or until your dog looks forward to licking the paste.
- The next step is to have your dog become comfortable with having something placed against his teeth and gums. Apply a small amount of paste to your finger and gently rub it on one of the large canine teeth in the front of the mouth. These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice. Be sure to praise your dog and give a tasty treat or other special reward (e.g., playing ball).
- After your dog is used to the toothpaste, and having something applied to his teeth, get him used to the toothbrush or dental sponge you will be using routinely. We need to get your dog used to the consistency of these items, especially the bristles on a brush. So, let your dog lick the toothpaste off of the brush so he gets used to the texture. Again, praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a really great treat or other reward . Continue this step for about a week, making sure your dog readily licks the paste off of the brush.
- Now your dog is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste and having something in his mouth. So the next step is to start brushing. Talk to your dog in a happy voice during the process and praise your dog at the end. Lift the upper lip gently and place the brush at a 45º angle to the gumline. Gently move the brush back and forth. At first, you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth. You do not need to brush the inside surface of the teeth (the side towards the tongue). The movement of the tongue over the inside surfaces keeps them relatively free of plaque. Be sure to praise your dog, end on a good note and give a tasty treat or other great reward.
- When your dog accepts having several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it.
My kids want a puppy for Christmas. Is that a good idea?
A puppy or kitten (and also, older dogs and cats who need a loving home) can make a wonderful gift when everything goes right. But if you don’t plan ahead, it can be a disaster for everyone, including the animal.
Some shelters restrict adoptions immediately prior to the holidays because so many people decide that a pet makes an ideal last-minute gift. When people give pets as a gift without adequate preparation, it becomes a sure recipe for disaster.
However, many shelters recognize that with adequate preparation and planning, a pet can make a joyous addition to Christmas morning.
Keep in mind
- Never, EVER give a pet as a “surprise” gift. Be sure the recipient is ready and excited for a new family member. Dogs can make wonderful gifts, but unlike sweaters or socks, you can’t return them if they don’t fit.Is the recipient ready and able to make a commitment for the animal’s entire lifetime? Can they afford veterinary care, vaccine and dog food costs? Would the animal potentially damage valuable furniture or antiques? If someone lives in a high-rise, is he or she allowed pets? How easy will it be to toilet train the puppy if there are long delays waiting for an elevator? The relationship between human and dog must be approached with care and respect – only then will you have a gift truly worth giving!
- Be sure the pet matches the owner’s lifestyle and abilities. For example, a puppy that requires a lot of attention might be a mistake for a single working person, who must be out of the house for eight or more hours every day. Equally, giving a kitten unannounced on Christmas morning to someone who has no litter and litter box, no cat food, and no suitable toys can be worse than an evil neighbor giving your kids a drum set and trumpets.It is also important to match the energy level of a pet to its future owner. Giving a St Bernard or a Great Dane might not be a good idea for an older person with arthritis, although a small Poodle or Bichon might be great.
- Take some time to make the decision. The dogs and cats at the humane shelter, unlike those at pet stores, do not have a “best before date.” They are not a commodity that has to be sold in a hurry, no matter what. Pet stores that sell dogs and cats (often at an outrageous price, and sometimes from puppy mills) have no interest in either the animal’s welfare or your welfare. All they want is your money, before the dog or cat becomes too old to sell.The SPCA, however, offers a counseling service, and will make sure that the dog or cat really is a welcome gift, and that both the pet and its family will be happy for the rest of the animal’s life.
How do I know how short to cut my pets nails?
Unfortunately, not all nails are created equal, one method doesn’t necessarily work for all. If you dog has clear or light colored nails, all you have to do is look for the nice pink area on the nail called the quick (the blood supply to the snail), then trim leaving a small amount of nail in front of the quick.
If your dog has dark or black nails the simplest way to trim their nails is to trim off a small amount of nail with each cut, playing close attention to the center cut portion of the nail. What you’re looking for is a soft dark target to appear in the center, this is the beginning of the quick and trimming any further will cause the nail to bleed. Some dogs have longer quicks than others, so how far you are able to trim back may be limited.
Remember, we offer grooming and nail trimming services – so bring your pet in if you’re not sure just what to do!
What’s the best flea and tick prevention medicine to use?
The short answer is that flea and tick medication is to be tailored to each individual pet’s needs. Based on the pet’s age, breed, lifestyle and travel habits, there are many choices. Dogs and cats should be on a heartworm prevention every month of their lives, and here in Florida, we recommend year round flea control too! For cats Revolution is the ‘no-brainer’ product of choice. It protects cats against heartworms, fleas and intestinal parasites. For dogs Sentinel can be used for heartworm, flea and intestinal parasite protection. As for a ‘flea only’ medication Comfortis is a great pick, and for tick control a Preventic Collar or Advantix can be used.
A physical examination is needed every 12 months (according to Nevada law) in order for a veterinarian to prescribe any of these products. During the examination the doctor will be able to design a specific plan to protect your pet against all of the parasites that may be a potential hazard to your four legged friend! Call to speak with a doctor at any time.
We are moving to the area and would like to micro chip our pets. What kind is generally used and how much do you charge?
Microchips have helped reunite thousands of pets with their families. We offer the most widely used microchip product, Home Again Microchip, to increase the chances of a safe recovery. The procedure is safe and quick only only costs $58. We recommend that all pets, even those that do not venture outside, are microchipped. Microchips are popular, reliable, and effective ways to permanently identify our pets. The chip is small, about the size and shape of a grain of rice, and is easily inserted under your pet’s skin. Once the microchip is in place, the owner must register the microchip with the national database. When a pet is scanned with a microchip scanner an identification number will appear. This number is linked to a national database that has all of the owner’s contact information.
We recommend to annually update your information with the database, and have your pet’s microchip checked at each annual visit. You can stop by at anytime and a technician will help you.
Don't see your question answered here? Ask us one of your own.