My cat, Sammy, was sneezing and I thought he might be sick. He never sneezes! I am not the neurotic mothering type who brings my beloved feline to the veterinarian every time he sneezes, but I was a little concerned. Luckily, it dissipated after a day, so it was a short-lived reaction. However, if your cat sneezes and/or has a runny nose and discharge, he or she might have an upper respiratory infection which definitely needs veterinary care.
Symptoms of Upper respiratory Infections
Symptoms differ depending on the cause and location of the infection, but some of the most common signs of upper respiratory problems in cats include:
Sneezing, congestion, discharge from the nose, a fever, quick breathing, squinting or rubbing eyes, heavy breathing and sometimes even depression.
If you think your kitty might have and upper respiratory infection, take him or her to your vet immediately. A brief exam by a veterinarian will help to determine if your cat requires medication, has a fever or is dehydrated. It is important to see a vet as your cat may be infectious and require isolation, antibiotics or additional veterinary care.
What Causes Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats?
These viruses can be transmitted from cat to cat through sneezing, coughing, or while grooming or sharing food and water bowls. Once infected, cats can become carriers for life, and though they may not show clinical signs, they can still transmit the viruses to others. Cats often develop bacterial infections secondary to these common viral infections. This is why it is really important to see a vet if you even think your kitty has this type of infection.
Tips to Prevent Your Cat from getting Infections
Keep your cat indoors to minimize the risk of exposure to infected animals. Sammy is an indoor cat for precisely this reason. It is so easy for cats to get ticks and/or viruses if they are an outdoor cat.
If you have multiple pets and one develops an infection, make sure to isolate your infected cat to protect your other pets at home.
Keep your cat up to date on vaccines as recommended by your vet. Vaccines for upper respiratory disease in cats may not actually prevent infection, but they help lessen the severity of the disease in some cases.
Regular veterinary exams and preventive care can help catch and treat problems early. A cat’s best defense against upper respiratory infection is a healthy immune system.
Certain cats can be more prone to Upper Respiratory Infections
Age, vaccination status and physical condition all play a role in a cat’s susceptibility to upper respiratory infections, but cats that live in multi-cat households or shelters are most susceptible. Stress can also play a role as well and cats in any shelter or boarding facility are generally experiencing high levels of stress. Cats who have recovered from the infection can become carriers and may have a recurring infection when he or she is stressed.
Now that you are armed with some more information on upper respiratory infections, I hope that if your cat has one, you can treat it quickly! Good luck.
Orange Tabby Cats...Have More Fun!
Many dog owners know that most of our dogs love to eat anything and everything. But, sometimes they eat things that they shouldn’t such as your front lawn! There are many reasons why your dog might be eating grass (or even dirt). While it is an annoying habit, it really isn’t bad for them in small doses.
Below are some reasons as to why your dog is eating grass.
Your dog is bored
If your dog spends a lot of time alone or is not played with and exercised regularly, he or she can get bored. If they are outside a lot on their own, they might feel like there is nothing better to do than to eat the grass.
It is important for dog owners to make sure to walk their dogs regularly or give them activities to do to keep them active. An active dog becomes tired and won’t be as prone to eating grass or dirt as an activity.
Your dog’s diet is not sufficient
Some dogs eat grass because their bodies tell them to. This can be because of a mineral deficiency that is somehow improved by consuming the grass off the ground. Unless the grass is contaminated by something harmful, this practice of eating grass can be good for your dog.
However, if you think your dog is eating grass for this reason, you should consider switching to a higher quality of dog food which would help them feel satisfied and not looking for other options. There are many healthy brands on the market that will help your dog get the minerals or vitamins he or she needs.
Most dogs will eat just about anything you put in front of them. So if your dog is eating grass on occasion, it might simply be because the grass is there and it is edible.
Your dog could be sick
Dogs sometimes eat grass because they want to vomit, or conversely, they may vomit because they ate some grass. If dogs gulp down grass without chewing properly and in large amounts, it will often make them vomit. This may not mean your dog is simply being a glutton. It could be that your dog has eaten something that doesn't agree with him and he or she wants to get rid of it.
Your dog likes the taste of grass
Some dogs enjoy a little variety in their diet and sometimes grass is not an exception. Depending on the type of grass, it can be sweet smelling and tasting and have an interesting texture for a dog. In other words, they may simply be eating grass because it tastes good to them. Therefore, if you want your dogs to stop eating the grass, try a non-chemical deterrent that can be sprayed on the grass but not hurt your dog. This could cause a taste aversion to the grass so your dog won’t continue this behavior.
I hope these tips help! If your dog continues to eat grass regularly, make an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure that there isn’t an underlying medical condition.
Tips For Your Dogs At The Dog Park
As kittens, it is a necessity as it is softer and easier for kittens to digest. As their teeth are coming in and they are used to liquids such as their mother’s milk, kittens can ingest wet food much more readily. However, as a kitty matures into a cat, is wet food a necessity?
The benefits of wet food
Both canned and dry foods are (or can be depending on what you buy) nutritionally complete. The biggest difference between the two is moisture content with canned food having a much higher moisture content. Many cats do seem to find it more palatable and this can be especially important if you have a cat with a finicky appetite.
Due to its higher water content, wet or canned food can be of particular benefit for cats with kidney problems (it helps keep them better hydrated) or lower urinary tract disease (it helps produce more dilute urine that can alleviate or reduce the frequency of symptoms).
Sammy loves his wet food – and it’s healthy too!
Finally, the higher water content may make it easier to put your kitty on a diet (if necessary) because most cans of cat food contain roughly the same number of calories as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry food, but in a larger volume of food, so the cat may feel fuller at meal time.
Dry food is good for your cat too
Many people find dry kibble to be more convenient and many vets feel that dry food is better for a cat's teeth. However, dry food is not a substitute for dental care and most cats, regardless of whether they have eaten canned food or dry food, will need professional dental care at some point in their lives.
Dry food is also helpful for cat owners who leave their cats at home alone every day and want them to be able to graze during the day. Some cats that are finicky will nibble at it until they are full. However, if your cat is overweight or tends to eat a lot, only leave out a certain amount of dry food during the day so that he doesn’t gorge when you aren’t around!
Your cat will let you know
The real decision should come down to your lifestyle and your cat. If your cat is happy with both, feed him or her dry and wet food. If your cat only likes dry, then just make sure to have plenty of water for your cat due to the lack of water in the dry food.
As always, your vet will be able to give you the best advice as far as the optimal diet for your cat based on his/her age, weight, lifestyle, and overall health. The most important aspect in dry or wet food is to get a healthy type of food with fewer additives. There are so many choices on the market today, that finding a healthy type of dry or wet food is effortless.
My sister, Lynn, has a kitten named Gracie who is constantly jumping on her kitchen counter. While she finds this annoying and an unappealing habit, she is also worried that Gracie could hurt herself when she isn’t home. This behavior is not uncommon (I’ll be honest, Sammy still does this from time-to-time) and it is best to try to stop this behavior when your cat is still young.
Below are some tips to help stop the jumping.
Clear your counters of items appealing to a cat
Clear your counters of anything that might appeal to the cat. Keep the butter dish in the refrigerator. Use the oven for cooling cookies. Put your food in containers and in your pantry. Thaw meat in the refrigerator. Remove all crumbs from the counter after you have eaten. Always keep the counters clean and free of food when you are not preparing a meal.
Give your cat places to climb and things to do!
Purchase a cat tree or window perch to enable your cat to jump on the tree and not your counter. You can also buy a window perch so your cat looks outside and is content there. Play with you cat, throw a mouse around or use a fishing rod so your kitty is not bored and remains active.
Further, make sure that you give your cat plenty of food and water (on the kitchen floor) so your kitty is satiated and not jumping on the counter because he or she is hungry.
Clean the counter with a citrus cleaner
Cats don’t like the smell of a citrus and will actually turn away form it. If you clean the counter with a citrus cleaner or even lemon, there is a good chance your feline friend will not want to be on the counter.
Spray your kitty with water
Spray your kitty with water as soon as he or she jumps onto the counter. If possible, try not to let your kitten see that YOU are doing the spraying so that he or she doesn’t associate you and spraying. The goal is for your kitty to think that jumping on the counter results in an unpleasant spray of water.
Make the counter an unpleasant place to jump
Make the counter an undesirable place to jump by covering it with aluminum foil or plastic wrap or covering it with tape placed sticky side up. Or simply line up the counter with kitchen utensils so they fall off and create a noisy sound as soon as your kitten jumps on the counter.
Train your kitty not to jump
You can train your kitty to jump off the counter. Try a simple ‘no’ and take your cat off the counter and place him on the floor. Or when your cat is on the counter, show him or her a piece of food that your kitty loves. Then drop the piece of food on the kitchen floor so your cat associates food with the kitchen floor. Make sure to praise your cat for good behavior with a kiss and a loving rub down every time he follows your command.
With time and effort, you can get your kitty to stop jumping off the kitchen counter. I hope these tips help!
My friend, Denise, has a dog named George who is a bit “hyperactive” or as I like to call him, overly active. George has trouble sleeping and seems to be more active than the normal pup. Denise has had many dogs so she knows that George is not behaving as he should. Below are some tips to help reign in an overly active dog.
Check with your veterinarian
As always, the first place to start when you have an issue with your dog is your vet. Make sure that your pup has received all of his or her vaccinations. There is a distemper vaccine which tends to calm an overly active dog. Your vet can tell you if this is the correct vaccine for your dog.
Exercise is key!
A dog that has boundless energy needs a way to release this energy. If your dog is overly active, he or she needs to be walked and/or run more than the normal dog. Take your dog on long walks or hikes; turn him loose in a fenced yard or other area where he can run and expend his excess energy.
Consider working out with your dog. For example, if you jog, you could take your dog running with you. An overly active dogs needs to be exercised a little more often and strenuously than your normal dog. Try to take your dog out at least two times a day.
If you don’t have a lot of time to exercise with your dog, try to set up a play date for him or her. Having another dog to run and play with can give your dog an outlet for his boundless energy. By giving him a friend, you also give him someone to keep him company.
Create a calm home environment for your pup
Try to create a calm home environment. Pets often react to their environment. They can also react to the emotions of their human family members. If your household is loud, boisterous and energetic, your dog may be behaving appropriately to his surroundings.
Soothe your high-energy dog with soft music and/or nature sounds. Although this might not work with every sound, it does seem to have a beneficial effect on some dogs. Try classical melodies or sometimes even the television can help calm your pup.
Distract your dog with toys
Distraction is a great way to divert your overly active dog. When your dog acts up, try to refocus your dog’s attention by offering him a toy to distract your pup. His favorite toy or treat should do the trick to keep him calm and busy for hours. Try a kong or a nice big dog bone!
Hire a dog trainer
A dog trainer can help you and your pup learn the basic dog training commands and teach your dog to slow down or stop when prompted. A professional dog trainer will give you tips that you probably never thought of trying to calm your pup down. It is certainly worth the investment and time.
With a little time and effort, you can calm down an overly active dog. Good luck!
Tips For Your Dogs At The Dog Park
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