All posts by James

If Your Cat Had Thumbs

There’s a pretty fun and whimsical pet holiday coming up: March 3rd is It Pets Had Thumbs Day! Our feline friends are very curious and mischievous. They can also be, well, a bit bratty at times. What do you think your kitty would do if she suddenly grew opposable thumbs? A Georgetown, IN vet lists a few ‘pawsible’ options below.

Put The Dog Out

Cats and dogs sometimes become the best of friends. However, at other times they can become jealous and competitive of each other. Fluffy may very well open the door for your Fido … and then lock it behind him.

Ransack … Everything

Cats are very nosy little furballs. Fluffy would probably be more than happy to go through your drawers, cupboards, and closets. She likely wouldn’t be too worried about covering her tracks, either. You may come home to find all of your belongings in piles, and your kitty sleeping peacefully atop a small mountain of soft clothes.

Fridge Raid

Kitties aren’t as finicky as dogs are, but they do still enjoy special treats. Your feline pal may want to sample everything you have in your fridge. Of course, she’d probably discard half of it, because that’s just something cats would do.

Appointment Cancellations

Fluffy will both look and feel better with proper care, but it’s probably safe to say that she would rather take another nap than come visit us. We may suddenly find our schedules cleared of kitty appointments!

Outdoor Sports

Fluffy is a predator by nature, and she’s instinctively driven to go after smaller critters. If your furball suddenly grew thumbs, she may try to amp up her hunting skills by using some equipment. Any nets or fishing poles you have lying around quickly go missing!

Online Ordering

If Fluffy could use thumbs, she may also try her paw at buying things online. Some things we suspect may end up in her cart? Kitty furniture, live fish, scratching posts, treats, smoked salmon, catnip, comfy beds, cat enclosures, lots of live plants, and basically anything that comes in a box. Your furry buddy may also get a few random things that make you scratch your head, such as nail polish sets or Funko pops.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if ever we could be of assistance. As your Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, we are here to help!

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Does your dog get upset if you leave him alone for too long? If so, Fido may be suffering from separation anxiety. This is actually a pretty common issue among our canine pals. A local Georgetown, IN vet offers some more information on it below.

Causes

Separation anxiety is actually rooted in the fact that dogs are pack animals by nature. Your pooch is hardwired to thrive in group settings. Fido tends to think of his humans as his pack. This is good, as it’s one of the reasons that our canine buddies bond to us so closely. However, it also does mean that they can get distressed and lonely when they are separated from us.

Signs

The signs of separation anxiety actually vary widely from pup to pup. Some dogs will bark, whine, or pace. Others may express their distress in more destructive ways, such as by digging or chewing. Your pooch may also have tummy troubles, or soil inappropriately. There are also some more dangerous warning signs. Fido may get into the trash, eat something he shouldn’t, or even try to escape. 

Treatment

There’s no specific treatment for separation anxiety. However, there are some tactics you can use to help your four-legged buddy cope with your absence. Before leaving home, always take Fido for a vigorous walk. It will also help if you are able to play with him. This should wear him out a bit, which will naturally calm him. The point is to tire him out enough so that he spends a chunk of his alone time napping. You can also leave a TV or radio on when you’re gone, for background noise. Finally, don’t make a big deal about telling your pup hello or goodbye. In fact, it’s best to ignore him as you are leaving or returning.

Tips

It can be frustrating to come home and find that Fido ate your sofa cushions or left a mess on the floor. However, you shouldn’t punish him for these mishaps. Dogs don’t understand punishment, so you could just frighten or confuse your pet. Focus on rewarding good behavior instead. If you know or suspect that your dog’s separation anxiety is severe, consult your vet or a professional dog behaviorist.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!

Easy Ways to Keep Your Cat Healthy

February is National Cat Health Month! Kitties are known for being easy keepers. However, Fluffy is quite small and fragile, and she is susceptible to illness and injury. A Georgetown, IN veterinarian offers some tips on keeping your feline buddy healthy and purring in this article.

Good Food

It’s probably no surprise to find proper nutrition at the top of the list. Making sure that Fluffy is getting high-quality food will go a long way towards keeping her healthy. Ask your vet for specific advice, including tips on portion sizes, feeding schedules, and reading labels.

Veterinary Care

Kitties are quite independent, but they still need regular veterinary care. We advise getting Fluffy microchipped and spayed or neutered, and keeping up to date with her exams, vaccines, and parasite control. Also, if you notice anything that could be a sign of illness, don’t wait to see if it resolves on its own. Call your vet immediately.

Clean Litterbox

Dirty litterboxes look and smell bad. They’re also germ magnets! Ideally, you’ll want to scoop Fluffy’s bathroom out daily, and change the litter every week or so. If you have more than one cat, avoid overcrowding by giving each furball her own box.

Keep Kitty In

Although Fluffy may love to run and play outdoors, she’s much safer inside. As soon as your kitty sets her paws outside, she’s exposed to some pretty serious risks, such as traffic, wild animals, and weather.

Catproofing

Our feline pals are very playful, which is one of the best things about them. However, that mischievous streak can get them into serious trouble! Cats don’t know (or care) what is and isn’t safe for them to play with. Keep anything that could be dangerous out of paws’ reach. This includes items with strings or threads, chemicals, medicine, and small or sharp objects.

Climate Control

Did you know that cats can overheat very quickly in summer? Fluffy can also get very sick if she gets too cold. Make sure she always has a comfy shelter. If you leave her home alone, keep the climate control on.

Love

Fluffy’s mental health is also important! Keep your kitty happy and purring by providing things like scratching posts, comfy beds, toys, treats, boxes, and lap space.

Do you need to make an appointment for your feline friend? Contact us, your Georgetown, IN veterinary clinic, today!

Keeping Your Cat Warm and Purring

Are you ready for spring? It’s getting closer, but for many places, this is the coldest part of the year. Your feline buddy may have a fur coat on, but she isn’t immune to the cold. Here, a vet offers some tips on keeping Fluffy comfy and purring.

Warm Beds

Kitties absolutely love warm napping spots. Make sure Fluffy has a few good beds. Store-bought beds are fine, but your sleepy pet will also happily snuggle up on a soft blanket placed on an ottoman or in a box. Your furry friend may also appreciate a thermal blanket. These should be in a spot that is free of drafts. (You get extra purrs if some of your cat’s beds are in sunny areas.)

Lap Space

Cats just happen to be the purrfect size to curl up in our laps, a fact that they take full advantage of. Some kitties are quite the little cuddle bugs, and love to snuggle up with their humans. If Fluffy likes snoozing in your lap, by all means let her. (Tip: if your furball likes to ‘make biscuits’ on your lap, put a towel or blanket over your legs before you settle in.)

Brushing

Did you know that brushing your feline pal regularly will also help her stay warm? Dead fur and dander interfere with the natural insulating qualities of Fluffy’s pretty coat. (Bonus: this is also a great way to bond with your kitty, and make her feel loved.)

Kitty Condos

Cats love small spaces, such as kitty condos. You can buy Fluffy one, but you can also make your own. For instance, you can make a cute pet tent out of an old T-shirt and a few wire hangers. You’ll find more ideas and instructions online.

Clothes

This one is definitely not an across-the-board recommendation. In fact, the vast majority of our feline friends get very frightened and uneasy in clothes. However, if you have a hairless kitty, your pet will need a jacket or sweater when it gets chilly.

Keep Kitty In

First and foremost, keep Fluffy inside. The outdoors is a dangerous place for cats, no matter what time of year it is. However, it’s particularly hazardous in winter, when snow, ice, and cold add to those dangers.

Please contact us if ever we can be of assistance. We’re dedicated to offering excellent veterinary care.

Adjusting Your Pet’s Diet During Winter

Wintertime brings with it plenty of cold, damp, dreary weather. You’ll probably help your pet feel more comfortable by keeping the house warm, offering a fuzzy blanket, and maybe even dressing your companion up in a comfy sweater or jacket, especially when heading outdoors. But there’s one other change you might consider making this winter: adjusting your pet’s portion size. Read on to find out whether or not you should adjust your pet’s diet as the temperatures drop.

Exercise Level

When it’s cold outside, humans and pets alike are less keen on heading out for a walk around the block or a fun jaunt through the park. So, pets who normally get exercise outdoors tend to receive less physical activity during the winter months. If they continue eating the same amount of food that they do the rest of the year, they can end up taking in a lot more calories than are necessary for their activity level, resulting in a weight gain. That’s the reason that many pets tend to pudge up a bit during the winter season. 

Consult your vet to find out if it might be a good idea to feed your pet a little less during the winter months, especially if you think your pet’s activity level has dropped. It’s not necessary for every pet, but it might help some depending on the particular circumstance. 

Daylight Changes

As the days get shorter in winter, our pets’ metabolisms are triggered into slowing down. The biological reason for this is to conserve energy and start storing fat in preparation for the upcoming cold months. This is another reason why pets might gain a few pounds during cold weather.

Indoor Cats

Do you have an indoor cat? If so, there’s probably no need to adjust anything at all when it comes to the diet or portion size. Your pet maintains the same level of activity all year round, whether or not it’s cold outside. There’s no sense in fixing what isn’t broken. 

The Bottom Line: Check With Your Vet

At the end of the day, it’s important to check with your veterinarian before making any adjustments to your pet’s diet, portion size, or feeding schedule. It all depends on your pet’s particular circumstance, including activity levels, lifestyle, and even breed. Play it safe and consult your vet! 

Call your local vet’s office for help with your pet’s dietary needs.

DIY Things Your Kids Can Make for Fido

As the holidays approach, many people are busy picking out gifts for their loved ones. Of course, many people also have their young ones at home this year. Our canine patients are thrilled about this. Why not have the kids make something for Fido? A local vet offers some suggestions in this article.

Treats

If there’s one thing that is appropriate for dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors, it’s snacks. Have the kids do a bit of holiday baking! This doesn’t have to be very complicated. You can make your pooch some simple dog biscuits by combining a half cup of oats, 2 cups of pureed pumpkin or sweet potato, an egg, a half cup of natural PB, and three cups of whole wheat flour. Roll the dough out, and use a cute bone-shaped cookie cutter. About 20 minutes at 350F should do it, but add more time for crunchier treats. We suspect Fido will approve.

Toys

Toys are very fun for dogs, but they are also good for our canine pals, both physically and mentally. Here’s an easy option: cut an old towel or tee shirt into thin strips. You can use a few different-colored ones if you like. Braid the strips together, and then braid those braids together. When you have a decent-sized rope toy, tie the end off in a big knot. You can also make variations of this, by incorporating things like tennis balls or different shapes. 

Bedding

It’s very important for your canine buddy to sleep comfortably. You can go easy with this one, and have the kids sew and stuff a blanket. Or, if you want something a bit more involved, have them upcycle a piece of furniture. You can turn a coffee table upside down, repurpose a hard-shell suitcase, or even make a pallet bed. Paint and stain will make it look nice .Just make sure there are no sharp edges. 

Treat Jar

Another option is to have the kids decorate a treat jar for Fido. You can start with any simple ceramic jar or vase. A plain cookie jar is fine. They can use paint, stencils, or other mediums to decorate it and make it look nice.  

Happy Holidays! Please reach out to us, your local vet clinic, if there is ever anything we can do for you. We are here to help! 

Is Your Cat Licking Herself Too Much?

If you own a cat, you’ll notice that she licks herself frequently. Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves by licking, so this behavior in and of itself isn’t abnormal. But it’s possible for a cat to lick herself too much—this is known in the veterinary world as overgrooming. Read on to find out more from your local veterinarian. 

What Counts as Overgrooming?

Since cats spend somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of their day grooming themselves, it’s often hard to tell what might be considered overgrooming. That’s why it’s important to look for additional signs of a problem aside from the licking itself.

You might notice Fluffy licking and chewing intently at a particular area, or you may spot significant hair loss or even bald patches around the body. If you’ve noticed these signs plus more hairballs and loose fur lying around your home recently, you could have a case of overgrooming on your hands. It’s time to check in with your vet. 

What’s the Cause?

There are many possible causes of overgrooming in cats. Cases are generally categorized into one of two camps: medical or behavioral. Medical cases are caused by some kind of underlying medical problem—allergies, parasitic infestation, skin infection, physical injury, or even neurological conditions could be to blame.

A behavioral-based case of overgrooming is caused by something like stress and anxiety. That’s right, your feline friend could be stressed at home and taking her anxieties out on her own fur. It’s hard to believe considering your cat’s pampered life, we know, but it’s not uncommon! 

How is Overgrooming Treated?

If a medical issue is found to be the cause of your cat’s excessive licking, it must be dealt with before the overgrooming behavior will stop. In the case of a skin infection, for example, antibiotics can be prescribed. Work closely with your veterinarian to get your cat back to full health so the overgrooming ceases. 

When a cat is overgrooming because of a behavioral problem like anxiety, it’s helpful to determine the cause. Fluffy might be stressed because of a recent move, a change in the household like a new pet, or even a dirty litter box. The help of a professional feline behaviorist might be needed, and pheromones and anxiety medications can be prescribed if necessary.  

Learn more about overgrooming in cats by contacting your vet’s office. We’re here for you!

Introducing Wolfenoot

There’s a new holiday on the calendar that has the puparazzi jumping for joy. Joining the ranks of such adorable celebrations as Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day and If Pets Had Thumbs Day, we have Wolfenoot, a celebration of wolves, dogs, and anyone who has been kind to them. A local vet offers an introduction to this new doggy holiday in this article.

History

Wolfenoot hasn’t been around very long, but it’s already made quite an impression on the internet. It was started in 2018 by a seven-year old boy from New Zealand. The youngster had what may be one of the best ideas ever: celebrating the ‘Spirit of the Wolf’ and anyone who has dogs or has been kind to them. His mom got on board with the idea, and helped him promote it. The rest is history … or will be.

A Pawspicious Occasion

Wolfenoot is coming up November 23rd. Why the 23rd? This is the anniversary of the death of the ‘Great Wolf,’ as described in the Wolfenoot Story book. The book, which was written by the child who had the idea, can be purchased online through the Patchwork Raven here.

Celebrating

What do you do to celebrate Wolfenoot? The ‘Spirit of the Wolf’ will hide small gifts for anyone who loves or has been kind to animals. If you want to get Fido involved, you can also hide some things for your canine buddy to sniff out. After the gifts have been found, then participants—who may or may not be called Wolfenati—should enjoy some red meat. Why? Because that’s what wolves eat! (Of course, if you’re a vegetarian, you can have a veggie burger instead.) Then, top it off with a cake decorated like a full moon. As for your four-legged friend, give him something yummy as well. It’s not a bad idea to wind down with a wolf or dog movie or documentary. If you make a social media post, use the hashtag #wolfenoot and the even more adorable #nohateonlysnootboops.

Helping Dogs

Of course, another thing you can do to celebrate is to help dogs in need. There are many wonderful charities and animal rescues that could use donations or social media support. You can also help support a conservation society that works with wolves.

As your local vet clinic, we’re dedicated to offering great care. Please feel free to call us anytime!

Why Do Cats Like to Sleep So Much?

Cats come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and personalities, but they share one thing in common: they love sleeping. In fact, cats sleep on average around 15 hours per day, and can even sleep up to 20 hours in a single 24-hour period. That’s a lot of slumber for your feline friend! You might wonder why your cat rests so much—read on to find out more about your cat’s sleeping habits.

Why Cats Sleep So Much

Your cat’s physiology has evolved from the great feline predators of the wild, like lions and panthers. This means that stalking and hunting instincts are hardwired into your domesticated feline, and it’s these instincts that are the root cause of your cat’s excessive sleep needs.

The act of hunting takes a tremendous amount of energy for your cat, and she sleeps so much in order to conserve energy for the hunt. That’s why domesticated house cats and giant cats in the wild both tend to sleep a lot, especially during the day—they’re saving up their energy for the coming hunt, whether they’re chasing antelope or just stalking a cat toy under the dining room table. 

Fluffy’s Sleeping Cycle

It turns out that cats go back and forth between a dozing state and a deep sleep while they’re sleeping. The dozing period lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour, and your cat remains semi-alert during this time and tends to position herself so that she can easily hop up and move quickly if necessary. The deep sleep portion of the cycle, on the other hand, lasts only about five minutes or so before your cat re-enters the dozing period. This back-and-forth continues the entire time your cat is resting. 

Your Cat’s Schedule

Cats are classified as crepuscular, which is a term in zoology referring to animals (or insects) that are most active between dusk and dawn. This explains why Fluffy tends to get more active in the evening hours and in the early morning hours. Yes, it’s annoying to have your cat’s antics wake you up at five in the morning, but it’s simply built into your pet’s biology! Throughout the middle part of the day, of course, you’ll usually find your cat napping peacefully.

Do you want to learn more about your cat’s sleeping habits? Do you think Fluffy’s sleep schedule seems off? Contact us to learn more.

Tips for Getting Your Dog a Squeaky Toy

Oct. 28th is Plush Animal Lovers’ Day! Does your canine buddy absolutely love his plush toys? Fido is pretty adorable when he’s running after his favorite plaything! However, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to giving your dog squeaky toys. A local veterinarian offers some tips on choosing your pup’s toys below.

Discarding Old Toys

Generally speaking, squeaky toys are not the most long-lasting dog toys. In fact, some pooches make pretty short work of them! Pay close attention to the condition of your canine companion’s toys, and repair or toss old ones. You’ll want to distract your playful pet by giving him a new toy while you do this.

Rotate

As the saying says, variety is the spice of life. Be sure to rotate your furry pal’s toys out regularly. You may want to do this when Fido is napping or outdoors.

Cleaning

Squeaky toys tend to get crusty and gross pretty quickly. Wash your furry pal’s things regularly. Toys that are in good condition can usually be machine-washed. However, you’ll want to check the label instructions to be sure.

Prey Drive

There are some concerns about squeaking toys and prey drive. Some dogs are just hardwired to go after small critters. That squeak, to Fido, sounds like something he or his ancestors would hunt in the wild. If you know or suspect that your canine buddy has a strong prey drive, ask your vet for tips on suitable toys and play strategies.

Material

Material is also something to consider. Get into the habit of looking at labels. Opt for products that use non-toxic materials.

Squeakers

One of the big things about squeaker toys is the fact that some dogs eat the squeakers. This can actually be very dangerous! Squeakers can cause severe, and potentially fatal, intestinal blockages. If your canine pal does this, you may be better off getting him a different type of toy. If you aren’t sure how your pooch will react, supervise all play sessions carefully. 

Benefits

Squeaky toys can be useful at times. For instance, they come in very handy if you’re trying to get Fido’s attention for a photograph! Many of them can also be great for older dogs, because they’re soft on the mouth. 

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your vet clinic!