What type of food do you recommend?
I wish that I could give you one simple, great answer to this question. There are a lot of variables that need to be considered. First dogs vs. cats are very different. Cats are carnivores and dogs are more omnivorous. Guinea pigs and rabbits require different nutrition even, so don’t be overwhelmed. Just like with our own diets, you need to keep it simple. Stick with high quality ingredients- things you can recognize on the label. Don’t give foods with colors, dyes, star-shaped pieces, etc. They are more processed and less in their natural form. Remember to feed to your dog’s needs; they aren’t wolves anymore. A Yorkie will have different requirements than a German Shepherd. Cats also should be meal-fed a high-quality diet. Cats also are not one food fits all. For example, after being spayed or neutered, your kitten may not need kitten food because it gives them loose stool or they are gaining too much weight. Let us help you find the right food for your unique pet.
What vaccinations do you recommend?
I have one answer I am always going to recommend- keep your Rabies vaccine up-to-date on all dogs and cats. It is a great vaccine, may be required to license your dog, necessary to travel and protects your indoor pets from an exposure (say a bat) in your house if that should ever happen! I could give more reasons too but save something for the exam in the office, right? Here in Ohio we recommend the canine core vaccines which are Distemper, Parvo, Leptosporosis, Corona, and Adenovirus (sometimes called a 5 way) yearly. You may run blood titers to get out of the yearly cycle but we still want to see them for yearly exams to detect health problems early. Some dogs that hunt, spend a lot of time outdoors or travel should also consider a Lyme vaccine. Most small dogs that board or groom will also be required to receive a Kennel Cough vaccine. There are others like Flu vaccines too. Cats really should have their core vaccines Feline distemper (containing Rhinotracheitis, Panleukopenia, and Calici viruses) and Leukemia, along with their Rabies vaccines. Discuss the risks of vaccinating vs. not vaccinating before just discontinuing yearly vet visits.
Why does my dog eat poop?
Some feel like it is because a diet is deficient in nutrients but there is not a specific study that tells us what is lacking. It could be an attention seeking behavior;for example, dogs that steal snacks from the table are the ones most likely to eat their stools. It is called coprophagia. (Fun word to say or know for trivia!) There could be other reasons such as female dogs would clean up after puppies as instinct. Early dogs were scavengers who kept their dens clean by keeping their stools “picked up”. Overall, it is not the most becoming of habits, but likely nothing a medical exam can’t decipher to make sure there is no health concerns associated with this behavior.
Why does my dog or cat eat grass?
Eating grass is not because of a nutrient deficiency usually. In fact, grass is very high in a fiber that pets cannot break down in digestion to get any nutrient from it. Chewing on grass is likely to induce the regurgitation reflex. It doesn’t mean they are unwell and only a small percentage of pets vomit when they eat grass. They are just adding a balance to their diet, like the taste of it, or are exploring the environment.
Why is my cat not using the litter box?
A cat that was previously using a litter box then stops completely or has a major change in patterns is a cat that needs to see the vet. There are reasons, medical and behavioral, that lead to litter box avoidance. It can be an emergency such as a urinary obstruction that needs to be sorted out right away. That isn’t to say every cat that is having litter box issues is an emergency. There are stress changes such as a new cat in the household, new litter that the cat does not like, a dirty or noisy litter box or not enough litter boxes for the number of cats in the household. Let us help you get to the bottom of the problem.
Is chocolate, grapes, dandelions, etc. bad for my pet?
There are a lot of foods and medications you should avoid in pets such as alcohol, chocolate (baking especially), grapes, onions, garlic, ibuprofens and over-the-counter human meds. You may not know what amount of a substance or food could cause problems. Just because you can take Benadryl does not mean that your cat should. Always be honest with your vet on anything you gave your pet both on accident and to help. It could help us treat to the best of our abilities. Dogs get into things and so do cats- the more specific you can be the better chance we will get it treated.
What are all these lumps and bumps?
There are a lot of different masses pets get. We may suggest doing a biopsy or a fine needle aspirate of lumps and bumps to know what to classify them as. These tests let us know the difference between a benign mass and a cancerous mass. This will change how we proceed with treatment.
Do I need to brush my pets’ teeth?
If possible dental care is best started at a young age and continued life-long. Just like us, tartar builds on your pet’s teeth. Brushing, dental chews and water-additives have all been used to prevent or maintain. Ultimately, a dental prophylactic cleaning may be what is needed. Dental health is very important to your pet’s overall heath. Infections of the teeth can lead to infections in the liver, blood and ultimately heart. We want to keep your pet overall healthy and dental care is just one part of it.
What is the deal with heartworm, flea and tick medications?
There are a LOT of choices on the market. From over-the-counter to prescription medications. Your dog’s lifestyle may affect what product works the best. Prevention is the key! Don’t get behind especially with fleas or it is a rough road playing catch up. The prescriptions that are carried in your vet’s office are guaranteed by the manufacturers and worth the price, in my opinion. They are also less likely to have toxicity to your pet especially in cats. We want you to be able to keep your pet one step ahead of those pesky parasites. Heartworm should be given year-round and yearly blood tests are recommended to make sure the products are working.
Why does my dog scoot his bottom?
Short answer, anal glands or parasites are the most common reasons. Anal glands are a problem in quite a few breeds. Originally, they were used for scent marking but no one wants that on their carpets. If your pet doesn’t express the gland during a bowel movement they may scoot to release the material. In some cases, it can’t be removed and the anal glands may need to be manually expressed. Another gross reason for scooting is gastrointestinal parasites. For example, tapeworm segments quite literally crawl out of the animals’ rear to reproduce. Also, hairy dogs may get stools tangled in all that fur if not kept trimmed or clean. We can help you get to the bottom of this problem too.