Archive for June, 2009

Fat Cat
June 27, 2009

DEAR LIZ,

MY PET HAS BEEN PACKING ON A FEW EXTRA LB’S.  WHAT IS CONSIDERED OVERWEIGHT FOR PETS?  ANY THOUGHTS ON A DIET PLAN?

SIGNED,

TUBBY TABBY

Dear Tubby:  Well, it’s very easy for dogs and cats to become overweight!  I have a cat now, who is still considered a kitten, but is overweight per our veterinarian!

So the secret to knowing if your pet is overweight is in the ribs.  Standing over your pet, run your hands over his or her ribs, along his or her side.  If you can easily feel ribs (without being able to SEE them) your pet is ok.  If you can NOT feel ribs your pet is most likely overweight.

With cats, even looking under them can help.  Does your cat have a hanging belly?  Well, that’s not just fur down there!  It’s FAT!  And it’s swaying in the wind!

So what do you do?  Well, the same thing you’d do for people applies to pets.  Diet and exercise.

Obviously I want you to first consult with your veterinarian to make sure there is no underlying issue.

Second, if your veterinarian says all’s ok, start with the diet.  No one said cats need to be able to eat all the time.  If you ate like most cats, you’d be obese, too!  Twice a day feeding is just fine.  What Kitty doesn’t finish in a few minutes, take away.  Most likely Kitty will pester you for a while until his or her stomach gets used to the difference in feeding.

Same goes for Fido – Smaller amounts are better (your veterinarian can tell you how much).  Don’t go by what the bag of dog food says – believe me, that’s for VERY active dogs.  And dry food is actually better and has less fat than wet food.

Fido bugging you between feedings?  Try carrots, etc., for “snacks” They’re great to chomp on and have almost nothing in calories.  Remember that dog biscuits are VERY high in calories!!

There is low fat cat and dog food available.  Remember, though, that your pet is considered a senior at about 5 years old so even switching to a senior food might help.

Now for exercise – MOVE IT!!!  Cats love to chase things.  Put a ball of aluminum foil on the end of a string and toss it around!  Got a fishing pole?  Put the ball on the end of the line and cast away!

Dogs love movement, too – so WALK IT!  My dog loves my treadmill, by the way, but I always have to supervise him on it!!

Bottom line is that we over feed our pets all the time.  So keeping them trim and fit is vital to their health and well being.  Fat animals live shorter lives with higher medical bills.  Check with your vet to see if YOUR pet is overweight and then follow what the vet says to make sure you both live happily ever after.

Smelly Pooches
June 15, 2009

Dear Liz, My pooch loves a good swim in the local pond and enjoys rolling in fragrant items when out for walks. Will frequent baths damage his coat?

Signed, Eau De Wet Dog

Dear Wet Dog:

Well, frequent bathing can be a problem if you use the wrong shampoo or don’t rinse well. It will be more of an issue for Pooch’s skin vs his coat.

Shampoos with harsh chemicals or shampoo that’s not completely rinsed off will leave a residue on Pooch’s skin that can cause itching and flaking, much like dandruff in people.

Before resorting to a shampoo, try brushing Pooch’s coat. Most of the dirt (from rolling in things) stays on the surface or can be brushed out with a stiff bristle brush. Don’t use the wire ones as you might scratch Pooch’s skin and introduce bacteria into his system.

Best to either buy shampoo from a professional groomer or cut what ever shampoo you use with 50% water. That way the shampoo can be rinsed better. And don’t forget the conditioner! It works much the same way as it does on your hair and will leave Pooch’s coat much softer. Make sure, though, that you do a complete rinse.

A few notes about your e-mail, though. First, watch closely for ear infections. Swimming in pond water or even frequent bathing can introduce lots of bacteria into the ear canal, causing bacterial infections, etc., which will result in nasty smelling and itchy ears. When you do come back from the pond, make sure you rinse Pooch’s ears with an ear cleansing solution (available at your vet’s) and make sure they dry well, especially if your dog’s ears hang vs stand up.

Also, when Pooch rolls in “that stuff”, he’s also rolling in stuff that you don’t want to have introduced into your home! Again, you don’t know what that “stuff” is made of (bacteria, intestinal parasite eggs, salmonella laden, rotting what-evers), so keep Pooch OUTTA there! If you know where the location is of the enticing pile, keep Pooch on a tighter leash until that temptation has been passed by.

So hope that helps. I know it’s a problem that many encounter in the warmer weather!

Licensing Fido
June 6, 2009

Dear Liz,

I’m not a scofflaw, but I’ve never registered my dog with the town I live in.

Why should I?

Signed,

Animal Delinquent

Dear Delinquent:

Well, the beginning, middle and end to your answer is that it’s the law.  However, to explain more as to why it helps, I’ll get into it further.

When you license your dog, it gives the dog an identifying number.  Should your dog wander away and someone finds it, that number will be the identifier that will get Fido back to you asap. This will save you impound fees and the possibility that your dog doesn’t get returned.  That number is your dogs and your dog’s only for the year starting July 1st and ending June 30th the next year.

Dog licenses are not the same as Rabies tags.  The dog licenses come from the Town Clerk’s office and the Rabies tag from your veterinarian.

Fees for dog licenses are different for those that are spayed or neutered and for those that are not.  It’s more expensive (by about $10.00) to license unaltered dogs.  Not sure why, but it is.

All dogs over the age of 6 months must be licensed in the town in which they reside. Cats are not required to be licensed.  FYI, though, both dogs and cats are required, by law, to be vaccinated against Rabies.

The fees collected do help your town’s budget, too.  Part of the fees collected from dog licenses goes back into the town’s pocket, helping their expenses.

So hopefully that helps explain why it’s important to license Fido.  One more thing, though, to consider is that the fine for having an unlicensed dog is about $60.00 last time I checked.

Hope that helps!