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October 2019

This is why your cat has a saggy stomach

 by bora on 29 Oct 2019 |
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Most cat owners blame their pet’s saggy stomachs on snacks or spaying, but this belly flap plays a key role in feline anatomy. Many cats have saggy bellies, even if they are not overweight. While some pet parents believe a swaying stomach is caused by incisions made during spaying or neutering, this lose-fitting skin is actually an important part of your cat’s anatomy. Formally known as the primordial pouch, the feline belly flap is made of excess skin that runs the length of Kitty’s abdonmen and is most visible near his hind legs. All cats, regardless of their size or sex, have this fold, which serves several important purposes. First, the flap provides padding and protection during a fight, when cats may target each other’s vulnerable stomachs with their hind legs. Lose skin allows Kitty to break free when grabbed by an opponent or predator, making your pet’s pooch a fully functional part of his body. Kitty’s belly flap is more than a means of self-defense, however. The loose skin makes it easier for him to fully extend his body while running and aids in flexibility during other daily activities such as stretching and jumping. Researchers also believe this extra skin allows cats’ stomachs to expand when they score a big meal—an important consideration for your housecat’s wild counterparts that must hunt for their food. The size of your pet’s primordial pouch will vary according to his size, age, breed and weight. As a general rule, however, older and heavier cats have more pronounced pouches. This is a naturally occurring process as metabolism slows with age and your pet’s body begins to store excess fat. Cats that were once overweight and have shed the extra pounds also tend to have more pronounced belly flaps, as their skin stretches to accommodate excess weight. Though a saggy stomach is normal in cats, it is important to differentiate between the primordial pouch and obesity, which can harm your pet’s health. Because housecats do not need to hunt for their food, this is a common problem and one you should monitor. You can tell the difference between a primordial pouch and overweight stomach by watching your pet walk: The pouch will swing loosely and hang low, while fat stores tend to be firmer and closer to your pet’s frame. You should be able to feel your cat’s rib cage when you touch his sides, but his bones should not be visible beneath his fur. If Kitty is overweight, try adjusting his portions and engaging him in interactive play, such with a fishing pole, more regularly. The primordial pouch is an important part of your pet’s anatomy that allows him to run, jump, stretch and eat in a natural way. By keeping your cat a healthy weight and adjusting his food and activity levels accordingly, you can help ensure he lives a long and healthy life.

What’s the safest way to travel with my dog?

 by bora on 18 Oct 2019 |
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Being a pet parent doesn’t mean you have to leave Fido behind on trips. With these tips, you can carry your dog on your next adventure. Many dog parents take their canine companion everywhere, which can mean long trips in the car. Whether it is a week at the beach or jaunt to the park, however, your pet’s safety is a top concern. Here are a few tips for protecting Fido in the car: • Avoid unsafe seats: When riding with your four-legged friend, it is crucial to know which seats are unsafe for pets. Avoid the front passenger’s seat, which can cause injuries in the case of airbag deployment during a crash. Riding with small dogs in your lap is also a no-go, as this can lead to distracted driving and block your view of the road. • Consider crating: One safe option for traveling with Fido is carrying him in a crate. Place the crate the floor of the back seat or in an open storage or trunk area, but do not leave it on the back seat, which can be unstable. Crates can be strapped down to improve stability while you’re on the road. • Invest in a dog seat belt: Seat belts for pets are another option when traveling with your dog. These are essentially full-body harnesses with a loop that connects to your car’s seatbelts, helping restrain your dog in case of an accident. Not all dog seat belts are created equal, however, so be sure to look for a model with a thick, padded strap that can distribute force across your pet’s chest and back, minimizing the impact on his neck and preventing him from flying forward in case of a crash. Tethers should be short and secured to your dog’s back, rather than his neck, and allow him to sit comfortably during the ride. These work well for larger dogs, while dog car seats, which are essentially secured beds, can serve a similar purpose for small to mid-sized pets. • Pack properly: When taking longer trips with your dog, be prepared. Pack plenty of water for the journey and enough of Fido’s regular food for the entire trip. Help your companion feel comfortable by packing a few of his favorite toys, too. Take frequent bathroom breaks and, if your pet is prone to motion sickness, consider investing in a crate, which can help ease travel sickness. Having a dog doesn’t mean you have to stop taking trips. On the contrary, with the right preparation, your dog can participate in many of your road trips, improving the bond you share and enhancing his quality of life.

Why does my dog stare at me?

 by bora on 11 Oct 2019 |
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An act of devotion or a request to refill the food bowl? Staring can hold a multitude of meanings for our canine companions. In the human world, making eye contact is a way of social bonding and this is no different in our canine companions. Multiple studies have shown that eye contact between two people helps strengthen their bond and researchers have found that, in dogs, this behavior activates the same hormones that are released when they gaze into their owners’ eyes. However, as with most types of body language, staring can hold multiple meanings depending on its context.
 Eye contact is one way our pets get our attention. Whether he wants you to take him out for a bathroom break, refill his water bowl, or give him a tasty treat, staring can be an effective way for Fido to alert you that he wants something. Pay attention to the context of his behavior to help you understand what your dog is trying to say. If he stares at you with his leash in his mouth, for example, he’s almost certainly asking for a walk.

 In other instances, staring is a sign your dog is thinking and processing input from his surroundings. Often accompanied by the classic head tilt, Fido may look into your eyes while attempting to make sense a new command or pondering an unfamiliar sound you made. Our dogs wants to please us, so this type of behavior is your companion’s way of doing his best to follow your commands and avoid being scolded. There are, of course, instances when dogs stare in an aggressive way. In the animal kingdom, making eye contact is often hostile behavior and an invitation for attack. Watch your pet’s body language to understand what his eye contact is saying—it may help you avoid putting yourself in harm’s way with an aggressive animal. In most cases, staring is a normal behavior in dogs. However, prolonged periods of gazing into space or at walls can be a symptom of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, or CCD, a condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. If your dog is getting lost in familiar places, failing to respond to normal commands, trembling, or walking aimlessly, take him to your veterinarian for an exam to diagnose the condition. While there is no cure, your vet can offer advice on the best ways to help your companion if he is experiencing CCD. 

It’s important to pay attention to context when figuring out what Fido’s gaze means. While often a sign of affection, staring can hold a number of other meaning for your pet. By paying attention to contextual clues, you can better understand your pet and his needs, strengthening the bond you share.

Help! My cats has gas

 by bora on 03 Oct 2019 |
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Just like humans, cats sometimes pass gas. While this is normal in many cases, excessive gas can be a symptom something’s wrong, from diet to disease. Cats have digestive tracts that are similar to humans’, so it is no surprise that felines sometimes pass gas. In fact, it’s perfectly normal that, as food passes through your pet’s digestive tract, excess gas is created and eventually released from his body. However, if you think your cat’s flatulence exceeds what is normal, it could be an indication that something is wrong with your pet. In addition to being a healthy byproduct of certain foods, gas can result when you pet is dealing with disease or parasites in his body. By being aware of your pet’s gastrointestinal functions, then, you can become a better parent to your pet.

 If Kitty’s flatulence is causing concern, he may have a digestive problem. To get to the root of the issue, you should bring a fecal sample to your veterinarian’s office to be examined for parasites. This is a routine test your vet should perform on an annual basis, especially for outdoor pets. If results show Kitty has some sort of internal parasites, solving his gas problem could be as easy as giving him over-the-counter dewormers or a prescription medication from your vet. If the fecal sample tests negative for parasites, however, you will need to look further to diagnose the source of his tummy troubles.

 Diet plays a major role in gas production, so it’s important to examine what your pet has been eating if his stomach seems upset. Changes in his food or even the type of treats you feed him can cause upsets to your pet’s digestion, as can eating something he shouldn’t have. Try keeping a food journal to track what morsels might be upsetting your pet’s stomach and causing gas. You can also work with your vet to try special diets that eliminate certain foods known to cause gas in cats, such as high amounts of wheat, corn, soybeans, or fiber as well as dairy.

 After ruling out parasites and diet as the sources behind Kitty’s excess gas, you need to take your pet to the vet to examine him for intestinal disease. This may involve blood tests, biopsies, or fecal sampling for bacteria. One common cause of intestinal upset is dysbiosis, or an imbalance of the good bacteria in the gut, which may be cured with probiotics. Other, more serious diseases include cancer, which is often accompanied by diarrhea. Medications can help combat this disease and its symptoms, and surgery may be necessary to remove the infected cells. 

 Before panicking about your cat’s excessive gas, take measures to improve his diet. Feed him a high-quality cat food and avoid any unnecessary changes to his diet. You can also try giving your pet probiotics to promote a healthy gut. Avoid feeding Kitty milk or other foods containing lactose, and take him to the vet for regular check-ups to catch any intestinal problems in their early stages.
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