Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

Table of Contents:

1. My dog was in an accident, what is the safest method to check vital signs?
2. I have developed an allergy to my pet. What can I do?
3. How often should I bathe my pet?
4. My puppy chews all the time. What can I do?
5. Should I give my pet bones?
6. What things should I do to prepare my pet for breeding?
7. In selecting a dog, would certain breeds be better suited for city versus country life?
8. What is catnip, and why do cats like it?
9. My dog chases cars and joggers. Can I do anything to get him to stop?
10. How can I keep my puppy from chewing on things?
11. What causes my pet to shiver?
12. What kind of collar is best for my pet?
13. What is a good way to help my pet become accustomed to riding in the car?
14. What are dew claws?
15. What is the cause of my pet’s chronic diarrhea?
16. What is the best way to discipline my young pet?
17. My puppy’s eyes are blue. Will they remain blue or change color?
18. How do I recognize an ear infection?
19. Will my pet eat as much as I give him or will he stop when he’s eaten enough?
20. When something seems to be in my pet’s eye, how do I get it out?
21. Are cats color blind?
22. Are blue-eyed cats deaf?
23. Can a cat really see in the dark?
24. Are vegetables good for my pet?
25. How often should I feed my pet?
26. My pet is refusing to eat a commercial diet. Should I go back to feeding him the old diet or simply wait until he is so hungry that he’ll have to eat the commercial food?
27. Should I feed my pets table scraps?
28. Does my cat need a variety of food, or can I feed him dry cat food all of thetime?
29. Does my cat need milk?
30. Does it make a difference what kind of bowl I use to feed my pet?
31. Will the ash content in pet food affect my animal’s health?
32. Which dogs run fastest?
33. Will garlic help prevent parasites and help keep fleas off of my pet?
34. My pet is begging off at the table and refusing to eat his own food. What should I do?
35. Does my kitten need special food?
36. Can I feed my pet raw meat?
37. What can I do to protect my pet from injuring his feet on ice during the winter?
38. How will our new dog get along with our cat?
39. How do I remove a fishhook from my pet?
40. What can be done about my pet’s flatulence (gas)?
41. What is a good way to remove sticky substances from my pet’s coat?
42. Is it true that animals eat grass when they are sick?
43. Does paw size have anything to do with how big my pet will be?
44. Why does my cat “knead” his paws on the blanket (rug, etc)?
45. My cat taps me with her paw. Is she trying to communicate?
46. Why do cats purr, and how do they do it?
47. Why does my cat rub against my legs?
48. Will my pet’s color change color as he gets older?
49. My cat is vomiting hair. Is this normal?
50. What is the best way to hold my new puppy or kitten?
51. What makes my pet able to hear so well?
52. What are heartworms?
53. How does a mosquito pick up the heartworm larvae?
54. What is involved in checking my pet for heartworms?
55. Is it important to have my puppy checked for heartworms?
56. Can humans get heartworms?
57. How do I know when my cat is in heat?
58. What is the benefit in giving chlorophyll tablets from my veterinarian to my pet while she is in heat?
59. Can my pet breed with more than one male during her heat?
60. Is it alright to breed my pet during her first heat?
61. How do I tell if my female dog is coming into heat?
62. How often does a female dog go into heat?
63. How should I go about housebreaking my pet?
64. If my pet has been hit by a car, should I move it?
65. While jogging, what is a good way to keep my pet from bothering other people?
66. How can I discourage my male dog from trying to mount our legs?
67. My pet jumps on me when I come home. What can I do to train him not to do this?
68. What is the best way to carry a kitten?
69. At what age should a kitten be ready to be taken away from her mother?
70. How many kittens are usually born in each litter?
71. My pet tries to lick his wounds. Is licking helpful to healing?
72. What can I do to reduce the odor of the litter pan?
73. How can I give my cat a pill, liquid medication, or eye drops?
74. Will a new mother eat her offspring’s feces?
75. How can I tell if my pet has mange?
76. At what age do pets sexually mature?
77. Can I do anything to prevent my cat’s car sickness?
78. Is it true that an animal’s mouth is naturally cleaner than a humans?
79. Are all cats “independent?”
80. Why do cats always land on their feet when they fall?
81. Does my pet’s health depend upon his nails being trimmed?
82. How much of my pet’s nails should I trim off?
83. How soon should I begin trimming my pet’s nails?
84. What can I do if when trimming my pets nails I trim too much and the nail begins to bleed?
85. Is it true that a cold, wet nose means my pet is healthy and that a warm nose means that he has a fever?
86. Is obesity a serious problem for an animal?
87. How long can I expect my dog to be pregnant before she gives birth?
88. How long will my cat be pregnant before she gives birth?
89. Is it possible for my pet to experience a false pregnancy?
90. What are dog and cat pulse rates, on average?
91. How can I help my cats to get used to my new puppy?
92. How will I know my new pet is healthy when I pick him out?
93. What things should I consider in choosing a long or short-haired pet?
94. What things should I consider in choosing a male or female pet?
95. How can I tell if my new pet will have a good personality?
96. Where do dogs and cats perspire?
97. How can I keep my cat out of plants?
98. Should I stop my cat from drinking plant water?
99. I’ve heard that house plants can be poisonous to cats and dogs—is that true?
100. My pet returned home with porcupine quills in his face and paws…how can I remove them?
101. My pet is scooting his/her bottom on the ground. What does this mean?
102. I want to get a second cat or kitten, Will my adult cats accept another pet?
103. My animals shed all year round. What can I do?
104. My pet has a bad odor, flaky skin and scabs on its body. What is wrong?
105. How do I get rid of skunk odor?
106. My new puppy or kitten sleeps all the time is this normal?
107. My pet has blood in its stool, what does this mean?
108. How can I prevent my cat from spraying?
109. When do I spay or neuter my pet?
110. My pets stool is a funny color, what do I do?
111. My pet is terrified during storms, what do I do?
112. My pet seems to urinate often but strains and does not produce a lot of urine. What is wrong?
113. My pet drinks a lot of water and then urinates a lot, why?
114. Does my pet need vitamins?
115. What vaccines do my animals need?
116. My animal is pregnant, how will I know when she will give birth?
117. How do I tell if my pet has worms?
118. How do animals get tapeworms?

Answers

1. My dog was in an accident, what is the safest method to check vital signs?

Check to see if your pet is blinking. Observe the pupils-small pupils are a positive sign. Fixed, dilated pupils are a poor sign. Feel the chest with your hands, check for breathing and heart beat. Look at the gum color. Pale gum color is a sign of shock.

It is important for any dog or cat that has been hit by a car to visit the veterinarian. A majority of these cases become unstable and will even go into shock. This is an emergency situation even if the pet “walks away” from the scene. The pet should ALWAYS be evaluated for shock by a veterinarian, as these situations may be life-threatening.

2. I have developed an allergy to my pet. What can I do?

Speak with your physician. Allergies may be due to several reasons. Pet dander, saliva, and hair are often the offenders, therefore bathing and brushing may help. Pets that shed less frequently (Poodles, Maltese, Schnauzers, ShihTzus) may decrease the human allergic response.

3. How often should I bathe my pet?

This question is best addressed on an individual basis. Some dog breeds have more oily coats than others. These dogs may need to be bathed every two weeks. Other pets have dry skin and require a moisturizing shampoo. Bathing also is a personal preference for you as well. Many pet owners are sensitive to a “doggy” smell in the house. If this is the case weekly baths may be best.

4. My puppy chews all the time. What can I do?

Crate training is the safest method to ensure that your pet is free of danger while you are away. Crate training also saves your valuables from those growing teeth.

Chew toys are meant to entertain and deter your pet from chewing on you or your furniture. Offer safe toys (Kong Toy) to your pet often. Ask your veterinarian for their preferred list of toys. Avoid tug-or-war games with your pet. When a pet bites you, use submissive techniques shown to you by your veterinarian. No puppy should be allowed to bite in any situation.

It is important to be consistent with your training. All family members must participate at all times to ensure a well behaved puppy.

5. Should I give my pet bones?

No…a hard rubber ball or leather-like chew toy will be much better for your pet than risking injury from bones that may splinter. The splintering can cause local irritation to the bowel that may lead to vomiting or diarrhea or bloody stools. In the worst case scenario, bones can puncture the intestines and cause an infection in the abdomen. Even rawhides can be damaging to your pet’s intestinal tract if they chew off and swallow large chunks. Rawhides are appropriate treats for your pet if they gnaw and chew but do not consume large pieces of it. You should only allow your pet to chew rawhides under supervision.

6. What things should I do to prepare my pet for breeding?

Check for any signs of worms (bring a stool sample to the veterinarian) and have your pet dewormed. Make sure that all of your pet’s immunizations are current. For dogs, both the male and female should be checked for Brucellosis, a contagious disease that can cause abortions. Some breeds may require certifying your animal to be free of hip dysplasia. This requires that radiographs (x-rays) be taken under anesthesia and examined by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Ask one of our veterinarians for details.

7. In selecting a dog, would certain breeds be better suited for city versus country life?

Available space should influence your choice of pets. Smaller breeds are recommended if you live in a city apartment. If your home has a fenced yard, a larger breed of dog can be considered. In the country, space isn’t such a problem. Because your choice is much broader, you should consider the time you have available for a pet and, of course, personal preference. Learn about several breeds and their temperaments so you make the right choice. Remember that a cute puppy grows up soon!

8. What is catnip, and why do cats like it?

Catnip is a form of mint which acts on some cats’ sense of smell. It is a stimulant for those animals who are sensitive to it.

9. My dog chases cars and joggers. Can I do anything to get him to stop?

This is simply your pet’s natural instinct. The best way to eliminate chasing is to build a fence around your yard or to pen up your dog. Also try a 50 foot rope leash. As our dog chases toward a passing car, pull him up short.

10. How can I keep my puppy from chewing on things?

Try giving your pet something it will enjoy chewing like flavored nylon bones or hard rubber balls. You can put some Listerine mouthwash or products like Bitter Apple (available at pet stores) on those things you want your pet to avoid chewing. Do this for four days, and only repeat it if your pet backslides. On the first day, put some Listerine or Bitter Apple across the animal’s nostrils. Always scold your pet when you catch him chewing on the wrong things. If your pet only chews on things when you are away from the home, we recommend crating your pet while you are away.

11. What causes my pet to shiver?

If your pet is normally calm, shivering may indicate fever or pain. It may also indicate that they are cold or chilled. If shivering continues, it is wise to bring it in for an examination, especially if you do not feel it is related to the temperature in the room.

12. What kind of collar is best for my pet?

At first, a nylon training leash and collar is good. When your pet is a little older, a more permanent leather collar will be fine. An identification tag should be attached to the collar as soon as possible. Cat collars should contain elastic so cat’s don’t get caught as they jump to and from high places and hang themselves. Break-away brand collar is an example of a flea collar that is designed in this manner.

13. What is a good way to help my pet become accustomed to riding in the car?

Try taking short trips at first. Be sure not to take them out right after meals. A child’s dose of Dramamine will help if car sickness is a real problem, but be sure to ask your veterinarian before giving this medication to your pet. If these remedies do not help, a doctor may be able to prescribe a more potent drug.

14. What are dew claws?

Your pet has four toes on each foot and one that was at one time a “thumb.” This thumb hasn’t been used, so it has changed form and become the small growth on the inside of the leg. Your pet may have dew claws only on his two front feet, or he may have them on all four. Great Pyrenees and Briards require double dew claws on both back legs to be shown in a dog show circuit.

15. What is the cause of my pet’s chronic diarrhea?

The causes of diarrhea can be multiple. It is best to bring your pet in for an examination. For diagnosis, bring along a fresh stool sample for testing. About a tablespoon of fresh (less than 8 hours old) stool is usually enough for the diagnostic tests needed.

16. What is the best way to discipline my young pet?

If your pet does something you don’t want him to, grab him by the scruff of the neck and shake him gently. Putting him in a “submissive” or “belly up” position may be helpful, as well. Be sure to praise him when his behavior is good. A lot of training is based on positive and negative reinforcement.

17. My puppy’s eyes are blue. Will they remain blue or change color?

The blue color may change shortly. Brown is the most common color for dogs’ eyes, so don’t be surprised if the color alters. Most purebred Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies have blue eyes, even as adults.

18. How do I recognize an ear infection?

Shaking head, pawing at ears, malodorous discharge or dark colored ear wax are all signs of a possible ear infection. If you suspect this is the case, bring your pet in for the proper medical care. Your veterinarian will take a sample of the discharge and examine it under the microscope to find the exact cause of infection (yeast, bacteria, or mites) and prescribe the proper medication.

19. Will my pet eat as much as I give him or will he stop when he’s eaten enough?

Some pets will eat more than is necessary. This will cause lethargy and tend towards your pet being overweight, just as in humans. It is very important not to let your pet get “fat.” This can put undue stress on all of his body systems.

20. When something seems to be in my pet’s eye, how do I get it out?

Flush the eye with water or with saline cleansing solution for contact lenses. If something is stuck in his eye, don’t try to remove it. Bring the pet in to see the doctor right away and try to keep him from pawing or rubbing at the eye.

21. Are cats color blind?

They see in dim light better than humans, but cats see color differences less distinctly than we do. No one really knows definitively if cats see in full color.

22. Are blue-eyed cats deaf?

Not all of them. White, blue-eyed cats are more often deaf than other white cats that have green eyes, yellow eyes, or eyes of different colors.

23. Can a cat really see in the dark?

Animals cannot see in complete lack of light, but cats see much better in dim light than humans do.

24. Are vegetables good for my pet?

Cooked beans, carrots, potatoes, rice, and cauliflower are acceptable foods to supplement a balanced commercial pet food. Avoid vegetables with a high acidic content such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, and raw greens.

25. How often should I feed my pet?

6 to 12 week old animals should be fed two to three times daily. 12 week to 6 month old animals should be fed one to two times daily. Adult animals may be fed one to two times daily. Often a “self-feeding” program (where the bowl is kept full at all times) may tend towards your pet being overweight. Meal-feeding is a more appropriate way for your pet to consume his food. If housetraining has been a problem, regular meals can be an aid in the regulation of bowel habits.

26. My pet is refusing to eat a commercial diet. Should I go back to feeding him the old diet or simply wait until he is so hungry that he’ll have to eat the commercial food?

FOR DOGS: don’t give in right away. If after 3 or 4 days, he still isn’t eating, go ahead and feed him the old diet. Remember to reduce the portion size. The stomach has shrunk and he’ll need time to adjust.

FOR CATS: if cats don’t eat food for several days FOR ANY REASON, they can begin to have disease in their liver. It is better not to hold up food from a finicky cat for several days to try to alter them from one diet to another.

27. Should I feed my pets table scraps?

NO!!! Your pet should eat a nutritionally balance commercial pet food. Table food and human food is often too rich for pets and can cause problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, tendencies towards being overweight, and FINICKINESS!

28. Does my cat need a variety of food, or can I feed him dry cat food all of the time?

Only dry foods marked “nutritionally complete” contain the animal proteins necessary for good health. Canned foods marked “all meat” are good supplements to dry food, but are not necessary for your cat if their dry cat is “complete.” Canned foods do not have the mechanical motion against the teeth that dry foods do, and often may add to gum disease and tartar buildup. Dog food is NOT sufficient for a cat’s regular diet, as cats require an amino acid called taurine for survival that dogs do not.

29. Does my cat need milk?

It isn’t necessary for his diet. Too much milk can cause diarrhea. It is preferable to keep water available at all times. If you want to offer a little milk now and then as a treat, it’s OK as long as no diarrhea is noted. Milk will not keep for more than a few hours if it is left sitting out and may be more likely to cause diarrhea.

30. Does it make a difference what kind of bowl I use to feed my pet?

Some pets are allergic to plastic, so a stainless steel or ceramic bowl is preferable. Animal that are “allergic” to their plastic bowls may have acne-type lesions on their chin, nose, and muzzle.

31. Will the ash content in pet food affect my animal’s health?

High amounts of ash in dry foods have been suspected to cause urinary problems in cat. There is no evidence that ash content has an effect on dogs.

32. Which dogs run fastest?

Salukis, Greyhounds, and Whippets can run as fast as 45 miles per hour.

33. Will garlic help prevent parasites and help keep fleas off of my pet?

Some say that this is true, but it is NOT scientifically proven. Its effectiveness is questionable. If you have a present problem with fleas in your home, we recommend a topical product called TopSpot for your pets. It is an adulticide (kills adult fleas on contact) for 30 days in the cat and for 3 months in the dog. It also kills ticks. If you do not suffer presently with fleas in your home, we recommend a preventive product called Program, which infertilizes fleas and prevents infestation. It, in dogs, can be combined with heartworm preventive in one pill in a product called Trifexis™. Both of these products, Program and Trifexis™, are given monthly in an oral form.

34. My pet is begging off at the table and refusing to eat his own food. What should I do?

Feed you pet before you eat. Leave his food out for about one hour so he has a chance to eat all he wants. If he does not eat his own food, confine him to a room away from the kitchen and dining room while you eat with your family so he cannot beg at the table. Feeding pets from your food at the table isn’t healthy for them.

35. Does my kitten need special food?

Commercial pet food lines offer special foods which are intended for kittens less than one year of age. Milk is not necessary for supplementation if the kitten is over 6 weeks of age. And remember, milk may cause diarrhea in your pet!

36. Can I feed my pet raw meat?

Trichinosis (although rare) can result from eating raw meat. If you must feed meat to your pet, all meat should be cooked or boiled. Remember it is recommended that your pet eat a commercial pet food rather than meat. Your veterinarian may recommend a diet of boiled or cooked hamburger and rice if your pet has suffered from indigestion (vomiting or diarrhea) as this food is easily digestible; however, this is NOT intended to be a replacement diet for your pet’s commercial hard food.

37. What can I do to protect my pet from injuring his feet on ice during the winter?

Put petroleum jelly on the foot pads before walks outside and wash the ice and salt off of your pet’s feet afterwards. The salt on icy streets is more dangerous to your pet’s feet than the ice itself. Pet boots are available if you face ice and now on a regular basis.

38. How will our new dog get along with our cat?

An adult cat that hasn’t been around other animals much may not like a new addition to the family. It is hard to predict how the pets will get along. Puppies and kittens usually get along very well.

39. How do I remove a fishhook from my pet?

It is safest and easiest to bring your pet to the hospital so the hook can be removed while under an anesthetic. If it is necessary to remove the hook yourself, remember that pliers alone won’t do the job. The hook has sharp barbs designed to snag in tissue. Cut the hook with wire cutters and remove each part. Afterwards, you should bring the pet in for an examination. Your veterinarian will likely put the pet on antibiotics to prevent an infection.

40. What can be done about my pet’s flatulence (gas)?

First, have a stool sample checked for worms by your veterinarian. You could try changing his diet. Some dry foods may contribute to gas. Many times, passed gas is simply air that has been ingested while your pet is “wolfing down” his food. If you spread out the meal on a newspaper or cookie tray, he may eat more slowly and have less flatulence.

41. What is a good way to remove sticky substances from my pet’s coat?

Sometimes peanut butter or cooking oil works well. Tar will eventually come out if you apply petroleum jelly to the spot. If all else fails, clip the substance from the coat with clippers. Scissors are not recommended to cutting substances out of hair, as it is easy to cut the pet’s skin, as well. You may touch ice to the spot before the substance is clipped out, so that it hardens. It may be much easier to remove.

42. Is it true that animals eat grass when they are sick?

No one really knows for sure, although they do seem to eat more grass if their stomach is upset. Some pets eat grass on a regular basis with no apparent ill effects.

42. Does paw size have anything to do with how big my pet will be?

Yes. Big paws usually mean your pet will be large as an adult, although there is no way to predict HOW big, unless you know the approximate size of your puppies parents.

43. Why does my cat “knead” his paws on the blanket (rug, etc)?

He kneaded his mother during nursing as a kitten, and now he does it to show contentment. It does not necessarily mean that he was weaned from his mother too soon.

44. My cat taps me with her paw. Is she trying to communicate?

Some cats do this to get your attention. When they are unhappy, they may do it as a form of “batting” at you. Watch out; some animals will do this just before biting.

45. Why do cats purr, and how do they do it?

Cats show affection, contentment, and appreciation by purring. The source of purring is believed by some to be the animal’s circulatory system rather than her “voice.” Other people believe that air moving over a relaxed soft palate makes the vibrating noise. No one really knows.

46. Why does my cat rub against my legs?

This is a form of identification. She is leaving her scent on you as a way of showing possession. It is also an affectionate sign.

47. Will my pet’s color change color as he gets older?

Perhaps. Around 6 months, the fuzziness of the haircoat should disappear. This may cause a change in color. Certain breeds, such as the Wheaton Terrier, have a natural change in the coat color which is predictable. Often, animals’ coat colors will change naturally when they get towards a geriatric age, especially around the eyes and muzzle.

48. My cat is vomiting hair. Is this normal?

Yes, especially if your cat sheds a lot. Long-haired cats aren’t the only ones who vomit hairballs—short-haired cats do, too! Laxative products may help your cat with this problem. If it continues or is associated with depression, your pet should be checked by a veterinarian.

49. What is the best way to hold my new puppy or kitten?

Use one hand to cradle the hind end with the other hand under the chest. Hold them close to your body, as this may make them feel more secure.

50. What makes my pet able to hear so well?

Dogs and cats have a fine sense of vibrations as well as an acute sense of hearing. They can distinguish footsteps, motions, etc.

51. What are heartworms?

They are round parasites which grow to be about 12 inches long and live in the right side of a dog’s or cat’s (yes, CAT) heart. The larvae of the parasite are transmitted to dogs and cats through mosquitoes. The growth of the heartworms can block the flow of blood to your pet’s heart and eventually cause death. It is important to have your dog tested YEARLY for this disease and keep all pets (CATS AND DOGS) on heartworm preventive year-round. The cat heartworm preventive is chewable and tasty, much like Pounce-type cat treats.

52. How does a mosquito pick up the heartworm larvae?

When a mosquito draws blood from an infected dog or cat, it will pick up the immature heartworm (microfilaria) at the same time. When a mosquito bites another dog or cat, it passes the microfilaria along.

53. What is involved in checking my pet for heartworms?

When dogs are screened for heartworm disease and have NOT been on heartworm preventive or have been off of heartworm preventive for more than 6 months, a direct heartworm test is done under the microscope to visualize the baby heartworms (microfilaria). If your pet is presently on heartworm preventive, an occult heartworm test is done. This is a test done on blood at a commercial veterinary laboratory that tests for the pet’s immune response to the presence of adult heartworms in his body.

54. Is it important to have my puppy checked for heartworms?

If your puppy is less than 6 months old, you don’t have to have him blood tested, as it may take up to 6 months for them to develop the disease. Usually, your veterinarian starts you puppy on monthly heartworm preventive as a puppy. These monthly heartworm preventives also aid in the prevention of intestinal parasites like the hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm.

55. Can humans get heartworms?

Yes, although it is extremely rare. Humans normally are immune to this parasite.

56. How do I know when my cat is in heat?

Increased vocalization, unusual behavior such as rolling around on the floor, or an increased demand for affection may be noted. We recommend that cats are spayed before they have their first heat cycle.

57. What is the benefit in giving chlorophyll tablets from my veterinarian to my pet while she is in heat?

They reduce the male-attracting scent she gives off during her heat cycle, although mating and pregnancy may not be prevented by chlorophyll. These medications should only be given under the supervision of a veterinarian.

58. Can my pet breed with more than one male during her heat?

Yes. If this is undesirable, be sure to keep her away from males other than the chosen mate.

59. Is it alright to breed my pet during her first heat?

It is not a good idea unless her first heat occurs after she is a year old. If she becomes pregnant, her growing body may be stressed by the pregnancy. It is wiser to wait until her 2nd or 3rd heat after she has completed her growth process.

60. How do I tell if my female dog is coming into heat?

Early signs include a swollen vulva and a light red or bloody discharge. Often, a dog’s first heat may be “silent” and accompanied by no or minimal discharge. Male dogs are usually attracted to her, as well.

61. How often does a female dog go into heat?

About twice a year. They may skip a heat cycle occasionally, but will seldom have an extra one.

62. How should I go about housebreaking my pet?

Keep your new puppy in a small confined area (we recommend a crate) until trained. Dogs tend to not urinate and defecate in areas where they sleep. Immediately following your pet’s meal, take it out to its toilet area. Then stand still and let it sniff around for a preferred spot. When the “duty” has been performed, crouch down and point at the urine or fecal matter and say, “Good _____.” This should be done after each meal, waking up, extreme excitement, when arriving home, drinking water, prolonged chewing on a toy, or if it starts to sniff as if looking for a spot to eliminate. Positive and negative reinforcement are an aid to helping your pet understand housebreaking.

63. If my pet has been hit by a car, should I move it?

Yes, move the animal to a safe place as soon as possible. If you can, tie something around his muzzle so he won’t bite, as he may be in pain. Get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if an animal “walks away” after being hit by a car, he may be suffering from shock and should be examined.

64. While jogging, what is a good way to keep my pet from bothering other people?

Keep him on a leash.

65. How can I discourage my male dog from trying to mount our legs?

Let him know that you disapprove. Every time he attempts to mount your leg, push him down and say, “No.” Castration may help because it decreases testosterone, the hormone that may induce such mounting behaviors.

66. My pet jumps on me when I come home. What can I do to train him not to do this?

Pet him only after you have encouraged him to take a sitting position. Then, get down on his level and pet him. If you use a leash, try stepping on the leash as it hits the floor to try to keep your pet down. If your pet jumps on guests when the arrive in your home, keep him on lead to help discourage and control his jumping up on guests.

67. What is the best way to carry a kitten?

Cradle the kitten in you hand, against your body – they like feeling secure. Don’t carry her by the nape of the neck for a long distance. This “scruffing” hold in a kitten, however, can be used for a short time to still the kitten or to bathe a kitten.

68. At what age should a kitten be ready to be taken away from her mother?

Between 6 and 8 weeks, the kittens should be weaned and ready to go to new homes. They should have their vaccinations and first de-worming at this time.

69. How many kittens are usually born in each litter?

The average is about 4 kittens. However, litter sizes may vary between 1 and 6.

70. My pet tries to lick his wounds. Is licking helpful to healing?

No. Licking of wounds can caused increased inflammation, add bacteria from the mouth, and mobilize bacteria from the surrounding skin and wound edges. We suggest picking up an Elizabethan Collar (lampshade-shaped collar) from Kirkwood Animal Hospital to prevent licking. Often bandaging is not an acceptable alternative, as some wounds need to be exposed to air to aid in healing.

71. What can I do to reduce the odor of the litter-pan?

Litters with deodorants can help, although some cats may have an aversion to scented litter. Baking soda in the bottom of the pan will help. Use a small amount of litter and change it frequently. Scoop all fecal matter out of the pan twice daily. Lining the litter pan with commercial litter-pan liners help decrease the soaking of urine odor into the plastic pan.

72. How can I give my cat a pill, liquid medication, or eye drops?

To administer a pill to a cat, back the cat into the crook of your to help restrain him. Then tilt the cat’s nose to the ceiling. Automatically, the bottom jaw will drop open slightly. Open the mouth from the side or front and drop the pill between the back of his tongue and the roof of his mouth. Poke it down with one finger. It may help to blow in the kitty’s face or rub the throat to distract the cat and induce swallowing. Eye droppers are often used to administer liquid medication. Slip the eye dropper behind the canine teeth when the nose is pointed to the ceiling. To administer eye medication, back the cat into your chest or in the crook of your elbow, hold the head up, hold back the upper eyelid, and administer drops or ointment across the top of the eye. If you ever have trouble administering medication to a cat, wrap the cat in a towel so only his head is sticking out—a “kitty burrito.” Also, “cat pillers” can be bought at pet stores to aid in the administration of pills to fractious kitties.

73. Will a new mother eat her offspring’s feces?

Yes, but this is natural! It is harmless to the mother, so don’t worry. She will usually eat the kittens’ feces while they are nursing. When they begin to eat commercial food, she usually discontinues consuming their feces.

74. How can I tell if my pet has mange?

Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian. A microscopic examination of a skin scrape specimen is required to definitively diagnose mange. Mange usually causes a “moth-eaten” appearance to the hair-coat. Not all types of mange causes itching in animals. Some mange mites are contagious to other pets and to people. This is why diagnosis by your veterinarian is important.

75. At what age do pets sexually mature?

Males mature between 7 and 9 months old. Small breed female dogs have their first heat at around 6 months of age. Medium sized female dogs have their first heat between 6 and 8 months of age. Some large breed female dogs do not have their first heat until between 9 months and 1 year of age. Others may not have their first estrus cycle until 15 or 16 months of age.

76. Can I do anything to prevent my cat’s car sickness?

Mild tranquilizers may be necessary if short trips don’t condition your cat to travel. Ask your doctor about medication. Don’t allow the kitty to eat before traveling. This may make them less likely to vomit.

77. Is it true that an animal’s mouth is naturally cleaner than a humans?

No. The same bacteria live in the mouths of humans and animals. Animals, however, are not able to clean their teeth as well as humans; therefore, they harbor a larger quantity of bacteria in the mouth.

78. Are all cats “independent?”

Cats are harder to train than dogs, so they do often seem quite independent. Your cat needs affection and individual care in order to feel like part of the family.

79. Why do cats always land on their feet when they fall?

They don’t. But in most cases, the sense of balance (in the inner ear), his agility, and his tail are used to quickly twist his body so he will land upright. Falling from extreme heights is dangerous. Children should be watched so they don’t test the “land on their feet” myth on the family cat!

80. Does my pet’s health depend upon his nails being trimmed?

Sometimes—dewclaws tend to grow back into the flesh if they aren’t trimmed. Dogs may have trouble walking with long claws because their toes tend to spread apart. Long nails can also snag and pull muscles and tendons or become torn. Torn nails often become infected due to the large quantity of bacteria in the nail-bed. Cats that are geriatrics often do not shed the outside cuticle of the nail. This nail part continues to grow, and the nail may grow into the pad and cause considerable pain.

81. How much of my pet’s nails should I trim off?

Trim in front of the place where you see the blood circulating (this is call the “quick”). On black toenails, trim in front of the groove on the underside of the nail.

82. How soon should I begin trimming my pet’s nails?

Start this habit when they are young so they will learn to sit still for it as adults.

83. What can I do if when trimming my pets nails I trim too much and the nail begins to bleed?

Have a cold, wet compress available. Hold the cloth against the cut nail for a minute with moderate pressure to stop the bleeding. Always have a commercial product like “QuickStop” available (powdered styptic material) to control hemorrhage.

84. Is it true that a cold, wet nose means my pet is healthy and that a warm nose means that he has a fever?

No. That idea may be misleading. Animals sweat on their noses and footpads. Your pet’s nose may be wet from perspiration. Wet noses may be normal. If noses are wet and have green or yellow discharge present, your pet may have a respiratory infection. The only way to definitively know an animal’s temperature is to take it with a rectal thermometer.

85. Is obesity a serious problem for an animal?

Yes. Overweight pets have many problems such as liver disease, pancreatitis, back and heart problems. Your overweight pet may become overheated more easily, so heat stroke may be more of a problem for him. Difficulties in breathing are also fairly common in overweight animals.

86. How long can I expect my dog to be pregnant before she gives birth?

Average gestation period in dogs and cats is about 63 days.

87. How long will my cat be pregnant before she gives birth?

Average gestation periods for cats is 63 to 69 days. Siamese may carry kittens for as many as 71 days.

88. Is it possible for my pet to experience a false pregnancy?

Yes. This may occur after she goes through a heat cycle. Signs of false pregnancy include: swollen mammary glands, nesting behavior, and the “adoption” of a small object, such as a blanket or a stuffed animal. If false pregnancies reoccur, you may want to consider having your pet spayed.

89. What are dog and cat pulse rates, on average?

Pulse rates vary from about 120 to about 200 beats per minute, depending on how excited they are. Some pulses vary with disease states, as well.

90. How can I help my cats to get used to my new puppy?

Generally in a household with more than one cat, the introduction of a new puppy will not pose a problem. In one-cat households, you may need to observe the animals until they get used to each other. Be sure to give the cat lots of attention so it won’t experience jealousy.

91. How will I know my new pet is healthy when I pick him out?

Eyes and nose should be free of any discharge; ears should be clean and free of odor. Check for dehydration by pinching a small piece of skin behind the shoulder blades and releasing it. If the skin is healthy, it should return to its original condition. Your new pet should not have dry, flaky skin or a pot belly (this may indicate that the pet has worms). He should be alert and active. Any new pet should be examined by a veterinarian within 24 hours of obtaining it, even if vaccinations are not due for several weeks. Always bring a stool sample with you to the veterinarian (even in adult new pets) to screen for internal parasites.

92. What things should I consider in choosing a long or short-haired pet?

Think about the climate in your area. If the weather includes extreme heat, a long haired animal may suffer through the summertime. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend grooming you pet, or if fleas and ticks are a problem in your area, a short-haired pet may be a wiser choice.

93. What things should I consider in choosing a male or female pet?

If you treat your pet properly, it really doesn’t matter which sex you choose. Children will have just as much fun with males as with females. Males may be more assertive while females may be easier to train. Any breed or size of dog can tend to be hyperactive if they are not trained properly. We recommend enrolling your pet in puppy school at approximately 3 months of age.

94. How can I tell if my new pet will have a good personality?

He should come to you freely, without snarling or hesitating. When picked up, he should be fairly easy to hold and not cry excessively. He should be alert, active, and curious.

95. Where do dogs and cats perspire?

The only places dogs and cats perspire is on their nose and foot pads. Even cats may pant, as dogs do, to rid the body of excess heat.

96. How can I keep my cat out of plants?

Put tin foil around the plants to keep the cats away. Alternatively there are some types of commercial products by the BitterApple company that are safe for houseplants and discourage cats from chewing on plants.

97. Should I stop my cat from drinking plant water?

Yes! Dissolved fertilizer in the water can be toxic to cats. You may need to keep plants up out of the cat’s reach.

98. I’ve heard that house plants can be poisonous to cats and dogs—is that true?

Yes! Many common plants are toxic if a cat chews or ingests them. If you need a list of plants that are known to be toxic to your pets, ask the veterinarians at Kirkwood Animal Hospital to copy a list for you.

99. My pet returned home with porcupine quills in his face and paws…how can I remove them?

It is best to bring him in so that the doctor can remove the quills while your pet is under anesthetic. It is normally a very painful experience. In emergencies, the quills can be removed with pliers by gripping all the way down to the edge flesh. It is important, however, to bring your pet in for an examination so that you can be sure that no small quill pieces remain that may cause infection. Antibiotics are also a necessity in cases such as these.

100. My pet is scooting his/her bottom on the ground. What does this mean?

Most likely the problem is an anal gland problem. There are scent glands on both sides of the anus that are expressed when an animal defecates. If these glands become plugged or impacted they sometimes need to be manually expressed. It is important that this be done correctly, so please bring your pet to have their anal glands checked if you think there is a problem.

101. I want to get a second cat or kitten, Will my adult cats accept another pet?

Not all cats will accept another. Eventually most will adjust to each other even if they are not the best of friends. Be sure to give the original pet a lot of attention. Sometimes it is less threatening to get a cat of the opposite sex. Generally when getting a new pet, two females will get along fine. Two males will not always get along. If getting opposite sex, both should be neutered in order to prevent breeding. One can never predict if new additions will get along with your original pet(s). Usually when you give it time, everything works out OK!

102. My animals shed all year round. What can I do?

Animals lose hair according to light exposure. If your pet is inside in artificial light, they may shed more. They also “blow their coat” in the fall and spring to prepare for the upcoming season. Baths and brushing are a good way to help with shedding. Kirkwood Animal Hospital can give your pet a bath with our HydroSurge System to help remove the dead hair of the undercoat.

103. My pet has a bad odor, flaky skin and scabs on its body. What is wrong?

Your pet could have any number of problems that are fairly complicated. Animals get may different skin problems ranging from overpopulation of yeast and bacteria to dry skin. All of these problems need to be addressed by your veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis and ensure proper treatment.

104. How do I get rid of skunk odor?

Try bathing in a tub of tomato juice. Let the juice sit on your pet for a few minutes and then rinse with water. It may take several washings but the smell should gradually fade.

105. My new puppy or kitten sleeps all the, time is this normal?

YES! Kittens and puppies play hard and sleep hard, especially after eating. This is normal but should decrease as your pet ages.

106. My pet has blood in its stool, what does this mean?

Frank red blood could mean an irritation to the large bowel. Tarry black stool could indicate digested blood from higher up in the GI tract (the small intestine). Any time you see blood it is a good idea to have your pet checked over by your vet. Bring a sample of the stool to your veterinarian for examination for internal parasites. Not all parasites are visible to the naked eye—most often the eggs (ova) are found under the microscope.

107. How can I prevent my cat from spraying?

First, you must determine the cause of the spraying. A lot of times animals who are not neutered will spray. Pets should be neutered before they learn this behavior. Other animals spray to establish territory. Neutering may also help this. A bladder infection may also cause cats to urinate in odd places. See your vet to determine if this is a problem in your cat.

108. When do I spay or neuter my pet?

We recommend that you spay or neuter your pet between 5-6 months of age. This age is before sexual maturity, so the reproductive tract is still immature.

109. My pets stool is a funny color, what do I do?

First off it is a good idea to have a stool sample checked bi-annually by your veterinarian to make sure your animal doesn’t have any parasites. If the stool is a chalky light color this could mean that there is a pancreatic insufficiency. If it is black and tarry, there could be blood or internal parasites.

110. My pet is terrified during storms, what do I do?

You may consider desensitizing your pet by playing recordings of thunderstorms and comforting your pet while slowly increasing the volume and intensity of the recording. If your pet is destructive to itself or your home, tranquilizers can be kept on hand in case you need them.

111. My pet seems to urinate often but strains and does not produce a lot of urine. What is wrong?

This could be a sign of a bladder infection, causing a sense of urgency to urinate. In order to determine if there is an infection we must test the urine. You can take a fresh urine sample with you when you take your pet to the vet or the vet can obtain urine while you wait. If no infection is detected then further diagnostics may be needed.

112. My pet drinks a lot of water and then urinates a lot, why?

There could be many reasons for this such as diabetes or kidney problems. It can be hard to determine the exact problem without diagnostic tests. It is best to have your pet examined by your vet. It can then be determined how to best look into diagnostics for this problem. Often, your veterinarian will recommend a urinalysis, blood-work, and possibly x-rays of your pet’s abdomen.

113. Does my pet need vitamins?

It is a good idea to ask your vet prior to starting vitamins because it is possible to create health problems without the proper balance of vitamins and nutrition. Vitamin C can build immunity in your pet while vitamins A, D, & E promote a healthy coat and skin.

114. What vaccines do my animals need?

Dogs need distemper, hepatitis, parvo, para influenza, corona virus, (DHPPC), Bordatella(kennel cough), and rabies. As puppies the DHPPC needs to be boostered every 3 weeks until at least 16 weeks of age.

Cats need feline distemper (which includes feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia), feline leukemia, and rabies. These also need to be boostered until at least 16 weeks of age.

115. Can my pet get venereal diseases?

Yes, Transmissible Venereal Tumor is a virus that is spread through sexual contact. Brucellosis is caused by bacteria and can be spread to humans. A venereal disease can affect vaginal discharge, blood, urine, semen, or milk. If breeding your pet make sure all mates are free of venereal disease.

116. My animal is pregnant, how will I know when she will give birth?

She may become restless and start looking for a place to nest. She may lose her appetite and her body temperature may drop to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours between births. Your pet should seek medical intervention if it takes longer than 4 hours between births. Cats can take longer to have kittens. Medical intervention is needed after 12 hours between births. It is best to have the mother and babies checked within the first week or so after whelping. The mother will begin to wean young around 4 weeks of age. Offer young softened puppy or kitten food or formula instead. Once teeth start to come in they should be able to eat dry food.

117. How do I tell if my pet has worms?

You may see worms pass in the stool but not always. Parasites can cause diarrhea, and or vomiting in some cases. The best way to know if your animal has parasites is to bring a stool sample into your veterinarian. They can check to see what type of parasite your animal has and treat accordingly.

118. How do animals get tapeworms?

Tapeworms are transmitted by fleas. An animal has to ingest an infected flea either from licking themselves or eating rodents that have been infected with tapeworms. Sometimes you will see little segments of the worm in the stool or on the rectum. They usually look like small grains of white rice. Please see your veterinarian in order to have your pet properly de-wormed.

Watch for more answers to be added on a regular basis.

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