Cat Health and Wellness: The Cornerstone of a Happy Life

Cat health is an important part of cat veterinary careCats are amazing creatures. They are also, however, masters at hiding signs of pain or discomfort. This means we may not know something is wrong until it’s too late, which is why we want to take a moment to focus on cat health and wellness.

Survival Instincts

In the wild, cats who show weakness or disease are targets for predators, so it’s no surprise that they’ve developed a survival instinct to hide their pain. This means the best way to ensure your kitty is healthy (even if they seem ok) is with regularly scheduled veterinary exams.  

The Importance of Wellness Visits

The purpose of wellness exams (or preventive care exams) is to make sure your cat is in good health and to prevent problems from developing later on. Cats age much faster than humans, so it’s important that they be seen at least once a year. Young pets, senior pets, and those with chronic conditions should be seen more frequently. Continue…

5 Whys of Pet Wellness Visits

  • Animals mask illness.

    • Domesticated, well maybe but first and foremost your dog, cat, rabbit, bird etc… is still an animal and the number one rule in the animal kingdom is that the critter that shows weakness gets eaten first. Even if fluffy lives on the couch that fact is hardwired into his/her brain.

    • Wellness visits are our chance to circumvent to the “no talk rule.” They give us the information we need to catch brewing illnesses before they become major problems.

  • Preventative care costs much less than sick care.

    • Don’t like the cost of vaccines? Paying for the cost of treating Parvo, pneumonia or heartworm disease, far outweigh the cost of prevention.

    • Simple economics. Prevention is always less costly than treatment plus your pet doesn’t suffer damage to the organs that many diseases cause.

  • Your pet will live longer.

    • Good preventative care that catches problems early extends lifespan.

    • Good dental care adds even more.

  • Some of the things we prevent can make you sick too.

    • Most of us let our pets sleep with us so it’s a good idea to make sure they are healthy and parasite free.

  • It’s just the right thing to do.

    • Come on! Pets give us so much unconditional love, protection and service. Let’s do what we can to give them a long and healthy life in return.

Fit as a Fiddle: Why Pet Wellness Matters

Woman veterinarian listens dachshundThere are various obstacles that prevent owners from bringing their pets in for regular wellness visits. Some have financial concerns; others only schedule an appointment when their pets are sick or injured. And let’s not forget how resistant some felines can be to any travel at all.

However, there are just as many compelling reasons (if not more) to commit to routine pet wellness. Tending to your pet’s health goes far beyond saving money on costly emergency visits; you could actually end up extending the life of  your furry pal. Continue…

Overweight Pet? The Sneaky Reasons Your Pet Isn’t Losing Weight

For pets and people alike, it’s easier to keep the weight off than to lose it. An overweight pet with even a few extra pounds can experience disastrous consequences to their long term health and wellness. However, weight-loss diets can be very difficult to maintain – especially once behavioral patterns are established to overeat, sneak treats, and munch on snacks throughout the day.  

The Heart of the Matter

The perils of pet obesity are becoming more commonly understood. Despite warnings of developing associated diseases (such as osetoarthritis, diabetes, cancer) and early mortality, a shockingly high number of pets are considered overweight or obese, especially seniors.

The Breakdown

Weight gain occurs when an individual consumes too many calories with insufficient opportunities to burn them off. Many pets live fairly sedentary lives and eat energy-dense food. Lots of naps combined with even a normal amount of food plus regular treats can be so much more damaging than you think.

An overweight pet simply needs less food and more exercise, right? It’s not always as easy as that.

The Measuring Cup

Overfeeding is the most obvious reason for added weight, but certain medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism can affect a pet’s metabolism. Before you make changes to  your pet’s diet, we recommend ruling out what could be going on beneath the surface. 

Additionally, a wellness exam is helpful in discerning whether your pet is up for rigorous exercise from now on.

Trying to Lose Weight

There could be many other explanations behind why an overweight pet isn’t losing weight, or isn’t losing it fast enough. 

The ideal place to start is with an understanding of the Body Condition Score (BCS). Taking into account your pet’s species, breed, age and lifestyle we can determine their weight and exercise plan, all in order for them to achieve the optimal score on the BCS. 

A Greater Challenge

Once you know how much your pet should ideally weigh, you can determine their daily intake of food, snacks, treats, supplements, and people food. Take a long look at the ingredients lists on food labels, and call us with any questions

An overweight pet might benefit from shaving about 25-40% of their previous calorie count, but because they depend on critical vitamins and nutrients, cutting calories from their meals isn’t necessarily a healthy alternative. Instead, reduce the amount of extra calories they receive from snacks and treats. 

The Rx Solution

Prescription diets can help to ensure an overweight pet gets all the nutrition they need, without extra calories. We are happy to discuss viable options for your pet’s weight and lifestyle. 

While dieting, we recommend weighing your pet every 2-4 weeks and noting any changes on the BCS. It’s reasonable to aim for losing 1-2% of body weight every week. That being said, it can take over a month for pet owners to see any changes. Please let us know if no changes to weight have occurred after 4-6 weeks. 

Still Struggling

While restricting unnecessary calories is the foundation for weight loss, the process can be supported by increased exercise. Preserving muscle mass and increasing metabolism are just two benefits of exercising to lose weight.

Other options may involve:

  • Food puzzles
  • Slow feeders
  • Fresh veggies and fruits (to help your pet feel full during meals)
  • Ensuring that all family or household members are adhering to the dietary restrictions (and always use the same exact measuring cup!)
  • Camp Canine can keep your pup distracted from a rumbling tummy and will engage them in calorie-burning activities 

Dedication to an Overweight Pet

A few extra pounds put on over the course of many months can really sneak up on pet owners. Surely, preventing extra weight gain is the best option, but with daily discipline and dedication, an overweight pet can definitely achieve their optimal weight.

As always, if we can assist you with questions, please let us know at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center.

Should You Cuddle with Your Pet? The Answer May Surprise You

Whether they’re logical, reasonable, or purely indulgent, the reasons people choose to sleep with their pets vary considerably. Approximately 60% of American households own a pet, and roughly half of them are allowed to sleep alongside their people. In fact, many owners insist on co-sleeping. Pets and people naturally enjoy – and benefit from – close contact. But are there reasons why you shouldn’t cuddle with your pet?

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Animal Family Veterinary Care Center’s Top Pet Care Blogs of 2018

pet health

The new year is the perfect time to take stock of our blessings and reflect on our accomplishments. At this time of year, we can’t help but feel grateful for all our patients and clients, and think back with fondness to all the Davenport pets that we’ve helped.

We’re also thinking about how to make an even better year to come for ourselves, our families, and our pets. With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at our monthly pet care blogs to learn which posts you found most entertaining and educational, and we’ve compiled them for you here. Enjoy!

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Make Veterinary Visits Less Stressful for Your Cat

Feline veterinary visits are important for cat health

Did you know that cats actually out number dogs as pets in the U.S.? Yet, in spite of their greater numbers, we see far fewer felines at the clinic than we do dogs.

Traditionally, cats don’t like coming to the vet. They don’t like the carrier, the car ride, or the office visit. The great news is, there is something we can do to make things better. Cats can learn to tolerate, dare we say even enjoy, veterinary visits if we just take the time make things a little more cat friendly.

Planning for Feline Veterinary Visits Ahead of Time

As an owner, you can help decrease your cat’s stress by taking the time to get them used to the experiences associated with veterinary visits ahead of time. We have included a list below of some cat-friendly recommendations based on information provided by the International Society of Feline Medicine and American Association of Feline Practitioners.

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Definitely, Yes, Absolutely, 100%: The Importance of a Pet Disaster Plan

A pet disaster plan will help if you need to evacuate your pet in an emergencyOur geographical location is arguably one of the safest with regard to natural disasters, but that doesn’t mean catastrophe can’t strike at home. People have to leave their homes for all sorts of reasons, such as house fires, tornadoes and high winds, floods, water line damage, insect infestation, and more. These events can happen to anyone, which is why it’s vital to have a pet disaster plan. Are you ready?

Plug In. Recharge.

Before we go into detail about what your pet disaster plan should involve, we’d like to remind owners of pets to test their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout the house. Change batteries and/or replace the entire device if needed (usually after 10 years or so).

Some pet owners practice setting off the alarms as a training exercise. That way, their pets know how to act when alarms go off, such as exit through a pet door to your fenced-in yard. If that option isn’t available to you, you could train your pet to go to the safest spot in the house or their crate. Continue…

Happy Tails: Pet Friendly Vacation Ideas

A pet friendly vacation is a great way to spend time with the family pet outdoors.Taking a trip is an essential part of summer for many families, but having to leave the family pet behind can put a damper on an otherwise fun and exciting adventure.

If you’re considering a pet friendly vacation, look no further! The team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center has already done the research, and we’ve discovered some pretty paw-some ideas for vacationing with your pet. Continue…

Exciting Endeavors: Caring for Your New Puppy

new puppyThere is nothing more exciting than bringing home a new puppy, and experiencing all the love and joy they will add to your family. Owning a puppy isn’t all fun and games, however. By putting a little time, energy, and planning into puppy care, you can ensure that you’ll have a best friend for life.

Animal Family Veterinary Care Center shares our best tips and ideas for caring for your new puppy. We’re excited to be a part of your pet care family, and looking forward to setting you and your puppy on the road to lifelong health and happiness together.

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