The following are some of the most frequently asked questions that pet parents have concerning their pet’s behavior. If you have a question that is not answered below or you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at your convenience.
Click on a question below to see its corresponding answer.
Does your practice offer evening and weekend hours?
Yes, we are open multiple evenings during the week, and Saturdays from 8am until 12 noon. Our evening hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday until 8pm. Fridays we are open until 7pm.
Does your practice recommend pet insurance or offer payment plans?
Yes we highly recommend that you purchase pet insurance when your pets are young. This gives you the lowest premium and offers you the ability to afford the best care for your animals. One severe illness will pay for a lifetime of pet insurance. Please contact us if you would like to discuss the best options.
We do not offer payment plans, but we do accept all credit cards as well as Care Credit. The Care Credit program offers you 6 months interest free to pay off the bill. It can be applied for online at carecredit.com.
Why is my cat suddenly refusing to use its litter box?
There are many reasons why your cats may stop using their litter box:
- A medical issue. Urinary tract infections can cause discomfort urinating, which the cat will associate with the litter box and therefore start urinating elsewhere. Constipation can cause discomfort as well, with the same result.
- A dirty litter box. Scoop daily and clean fully once a week. Some cats will not use a box that is soiled.
- Not enough litter boxes for the number of cats. Population pressure or friction between cats can often cause inappropriate urination. Urination is how cats communicate and mark territory. As the number of cats in a household increases, so will the probability that someone will start urinating outside the litter.
It is always best to have your cat examined by a veterinarian to find out if this is a medical problem and have it sorted out as soon as possible. The longer inappropriate urination goes on, the harder it is to resolve.
Should I be concerned about red-brown staining below the eye?
Some pet breeds are more susceptible to excessive eye discharge and/or pigmented tears. For pets with lighter fur, this discharge may stain the area around the eyes, causing a pet to look unclean. This is a genetic condition and is not harmful to your pet. Cleaning these ocular secretions daily is the best solution, so it does not build up under the eye and irritate the skin. You can use a clean, damp cloth or tissue to gently clean these secretions away. Keeping fur below the eye trimmed short is also very helpful. There are numerous products available at pet stores that clean eye secretions, but AVOID any products that contain antibiotics.
Do I need to cut my cat’s claws?
Trimming the tips off cat claws can prevent damage to furniture, as well as yourself! Cats in general do not need their nails clipped for good health, but many people prefer their cats with shorter nails. There are some exceptions, as older cats can develop very long thick nails that stick to everything, or nails that curl around and can grow right into the skin. For cats that don't cooperate at home, we can always clip them for you. Please use caution clipping claws for outdoor cats.
Does my cat need grooming?
Cats typically do not need grooming. They are inclined to clean themselves and have a tongue meant for cleaning fur. Occasionally, your cat may trample through mud and require a bath, but these instances are rare. However, if you have an allergy sufferer in your home, bathing your cat may improve their condition. Cats do benefit from periodic brushing, especially cats with longer hair that mat easily. A pet owner might consider having their longer haired cat shaved during hot summer months, but this is entirely elective.
Can I shave my dog or cat?
Shaving your long haired dog or cat during summer months can help them keep cooler and happier. However, there are some things to keep in mind. The thicker coated breeds have an internal thermostat that allows their body to adjust to warmer weather and self-regulate their internal temperature, so most pet owners will not shave unless they are frequently acting overheated. Shaving a dog or cat very closely allows them to be exposed to harmful UV rays, especially if they are outside. You should provide these pets with adequate shade and a pool of water to cool off in, and don't leave them outside in strong sun for long. Also, shaving some breeds can cause permanent damage to their coat. You might want to consult with an experienced pet groomer about the consequences of shaving your pet prior to cutting their hair.
How long do dogs teeth, and when are adult teeth fully in?
The age at which pets lose teeth varies. Most dogs lose their baby teeth between the ages of five to seven months, while cats lose theirs between the ages of three to six months. Unlike humans, pets will lose teeth as their adult teeth grow in and push the baby teeth teeth out. You do not need to pull on teeth to help remove them. Most dogs and cats have adult teeth fully erupted by 7 months old.
Dogs may have an increase in chewing behavior while they are teething, and this behavior can come and go until well after 2 yrs of age. Please ask us about appropriate chew toys as very hard bones and toys can break teeth.
Is my female pet menstruating?
Female pets that are not spayed will enter a heat cycle and menstruate. Similar to women, if a pet is not impregnated during her heat cycle, she will shed her uterine lining and bleed. Purchasing pet-specific diapers will help absorb any bodily fluid that your pet may excrete. If a pet refuses to wear the diapers, confine them to a room with an easy-to-clean floor. If you do not want your menstruating dog to become impregnated, prevent them from situations where a male pet may have contact with them. Male pets can smell a female’s heat cycle and will try everything possible to get to your female pet.
The heat period in dogs generally last for 14 to 21 days, approximately every 6 to 9 months. Cats’ cycles last 4 to 10 days but can occur more frequently than dogs, about once every 6 months.
Cats can be very dramatic when they are in heat, often exhibiting elaborate rolling, stretching and vocalizing. They may posture with their front end crouched and their tails high in the air. Many clients think their cat is in pain when actually they are in heat!
If you do not plan on breeding your pet, have them spayed. Spaying female pets prevents numerous health issues including some life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer and pyometra (a severe infection of the uterus).
Why does my dog eat its feces (or another animal's feces)?
There are numerous reasons why dogs eat their feces. The medical term for the act is called coprophagy. This is not an abnormal behavior in the wild, where many wild animals will eat feces either to clean up after young offspring, or as a food source if food is scarce. Other reasons can include:
- Your dog or anther dog is not getting full nutritional value from their food, and the feces contains undigested food that the dog finds appetizing.
The dog is underfed, on a diet, or always hungry and regards it as a food source.
Many dogs like cat feces, rabbit feces, deer feces etc and consider it a special treat!
How to get your pet to stop:
Ask a veterinarian if your dog needs a mutivitamin or enzyme supplements added to their diet to aid digestion.
Feed a more nutritious dog food to promote digestion and prevent feces from containing 'appetizing' undigested portions. A better digested food can also decrease the volume of feces.
Add pumpkin, spinach, or pineapple to the dog’s diet. These foods are believed to taste horrible the second time around.
Clean up after your dog on a daily basis, limiting their access to pet waste.
Cover the fecal matter with a repulsive substance such as Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper. We have other products available that may help deter coprophagy as well.
Why does my dog walk in a circle before lying down?
Circling their sleeping place is one of the many “wild” habits that canines never evolved away from. In the wild, dogs would circle a grassy area to trample down grass and make a comfortable surface to lie on. Circling is also how dogs mark their territory, so it is possible they are also staking claim to the surface upon which they are going to lie down. Some dogs will dig at the surface they are going to lie on. Again, this is a method of making the area more comfortable.
Why do pets eat grass?
Veterinarians have varying opinions regarding why pets snack on plants, including grass. Some feel that dogs instinctively chew grass because it was once a primary source of food for wild dogs. Some veterinarians feel that pets know it eliminates stomach pain or can induce vomiting, allowing a pet to rid themselves of something that is bothering their gastrointestinal tract. Other pet experts feel that pets with stomach upset are driven by discomfort to eat unusual food items.
Regardless of why your pet gnaws on grass, veterinarians are in agreement that grass is generally not detrimental to your pet’s health.The main concerns would be ingesting parasite eggs or being exposed to secretions from sick animals that may be on the grass.
Why does my cat knead objects?
There are several theories about why cats knead. Young kittens instinctively knead at their mother's breast in order to stimulate milk flow, and this behavior becomes both a comforting behavior and a way to exhibit pleasure and contentment. It may be an attempt to soften bedding or make a more comfortable place to lie down. And it also leaves the scent from their footpads in order to mark their territory.