Category Archives: veterinary care

How to Make Vet Visits Less Stressful

By Julia Williams

As responsible pet owners, we know how important veterinary exams are for keeping our dogs and cats healthy. However, just because we know it’s for their own good doesn’t mean our pets will enjoy the vet visit. In fact, most pets don’t like going to the vet, which makes sense when you consider how stressful it must be for them. Aside from the fear of being in an unfamiliar environment, they encounter peculiar smells and sounds, other animals, and strangers in white coats touching, prodding and poking them. What’s to like about that? Nevertheless, there are things you can do to help your pet tolerate vet visits and keep their stress level down, which will help you stay calm too.

Car Rides

If the only time your pet rides in a car is on the way to the vet, it’s only natural they’ll become agitated. For dog owners, the solution is to bring them along when you run short errands (just don’t leave them in the car in the summer!), take them to a dog park often or to places that allow dogs such as pet stores. This can help curb their anxiety on trips to the vet. I’m not sure the same holds true for cats, aka notorious haters of cars in motion. I haven’t tried “practice rides” with my cats, mostly because subjecting myself to more of the heart-wrenching wails they make in the car doesn’t seem wise. 

Keep Your Emotions in Check

As you’ve probably noticed, our pets are very much in tune with our emotions. If you are stressed and anxious about going to the vet, your pet will pick up on that – so try to stay as calm as you can before you set off, during the car ride and while you’re waiting to see the vet. Speaking words of encouragement in a soothing voice can help your pet to relax in the strange environment. 

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Justice for Bow a Huge Success on Facebook!

By Suzanne Alicie

Everyone who uses social networks like Facebook and Twitter is aware of the possibilities of increasing awareness and receiving donations for worthy causes from the caring communities. Fellow RPO blog contributor Linda Cole has written about this phenomenon in her post “How Facebook Helps Pets in Need.” Today I’ll tell you how Facebook has been a huge success story for a special kitty.

A few months ago I saw that a friend of mine had “liked” a page called Justice for Bow; the notification had a picture of a cat so I went to check it out. I was horrified when I saw the pictures of Bow and read the story of what had happened to him.

Poor Kitty

Neighbors near Burton and US131 in Grand Rapids, Michigan often saw and fed a stray cat living in the area. When a few days went by without seeing the kitty, the concerned citizens began to worry. On May 10, 2011 the cat, which has now been named Bow, was found with an arrow through his face. Someone had shot the defenseless cat and left him to suffer or die all alone. The arrow had entered Bow’s left cheek, pierced his esophagus and exited near his right shoulder.

Saving Grace

The wonderful woman who found Bow took him to Michigan Veterinary Specialists, but she only had $200 to put towards his care. The caring staff at MVS removed the arrow and donated the antibiotics and IV fluids to keep Bow alive. Amy Smith Velthouse, a veterinary technician at MVS, also volunteered at Carol’s Ferals, which was the first place she turned for assistance for Bow. Carol Manos of Carol’s Ferals arranged for Bow to be transferred to the Animal Hospital of Lowell where Dr. Bruce Langlois took over his medical care.

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Questions to Ask Your Vet

By Suzanne Alicie

As a responsible pet owner, you know that you should take your dog or cat to the vet for regular checkups or if they show signs of being sick, but there’s more to it than just taking the animal in. You should also ask your vet questions and pay close attention to the answers, because it could save your pet’s life. It could also save you a lot of sorrow and expense.

Question #1

No matter what kind of dog or cat you have, you should always ask your vet if there are any breed specific conditions or illnesses to watch out for and attempt to prevent. This may include hip dysplasia, skin conditions and other dangerous or even fatal problems that you should keep in mind as you raise your pet.

Question #2

How much exercise should my pet get? This may seem like an easy question if you have a dog – you know your dog needs to play and go for regular walks, but how can you make sure your cat is getting enough exercise? Some people do walk their cats (see How to Leash Train Your Cat for pointers); others just make an effort to play with them daily. Your vet can also give you tips to help ensure that your pet is not only getting the right amount of exercise, but also the right type of exercise.

Question #3

What types of plants should I avoid in my yard and home to make sure my pet is safe? There are many plants that are toxic to animals, and there are some that are beneficial to pets. Catnip is a plant that many cat owners keep a small patch of to entertain their felines, and daisies are known to keep fleas away so having them in your yard is a good thing.

Question #4

What is a healthy diet for my pet? What type of food should I be feeding my pet? How much should I feed my pet? What are the signs of a food allergy? All of these questions should be presented to your vet in order to make sure your pet is getting the right nutrition and to avoid allergies and stomach or digestive problems. CANIDAE offers ten different formulas for dogs including four grain free options and a new Single Grain Protein Plus formula; FELIDAE has five different formulas for cats, including two grain free varieties.

Question #5

What vaccinations should I consider for my pet? Does my pet need vitamins or supplements? Both of these questions are important. Some vaccines aren’t mandatory and most supplements aren’t mandatory but may help prevent illnesses and conditions such as heartworm, corona virus and Lyme disease.

Because you love your pet and want them to be happy and healthy, you will want to discuss their health with your veterinarian each time you take them in. Conditions and illnesses can arise quickly, and your vet is the most reliable and trustworthy source of information on your pet’s health.

All of us at the Responsible Pet Ownership blog love our pets and can offer some advice and tips for pet care, but any decision you make concerning your pet’s health should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Photo by Ubon

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Find Reliable Pet Information Online

By Suzanne Alicie

In this day of instant satisfaction and technology, a responsible pet owner can find the answer to just about any question online. But how will they know if the information is reliable? After all, you don’t need to have a degree to post something online about animals. All sorts of people offer their experiences and answers to pet questions on message boards, social networks, websites and blogs. There are a few ways to make sure that you are finding legitimate and reliable pet information online. When it comes to questions about our pets’ health and wellbeing, it’s important to use common sense and seek out reliable sources.

Ask Your Vet

Your veterinarian can direct you to reliable online sites for pet information. While this isn’t necessarily proof of a certain site being a good source, it is a good endorsement. Of course, information gleaned online should never take the place of your veterinarian.


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Nonprofit Organizations That Help Pay Vet Costs

By Linda Cole

We never know when a sudden illness or accident will send a pet to the emergency room. Sometimes the finances just aren’t there to cover medical expenses. When that happens, there are some nonprofit organizations that may be able to help with vet care. The following organizations are ready to lend a helping hand to pet owners.

Angels4Animals is a small nonprofit made up of pet lovers who believe all pets should have equal access to vet care, even if their owner is financially challenged. Decisions on pet care should be made based on what the pet needs and not what the owner can afford. Angels4Animals has two programs: Program Guardian Angel works with the vet clinic to provide money for medical care needed for a sick or injured pet. The Lost & Found Program provides money to low income pet owners so a microchip can be inserted in the pet. This helps cut down on pets in shelters by identifying and reuniting a lost pet with their owner.

Brown Dog Foundation, Inc. provides financial assistance to people who have a sick pet with a treatable condition. Founder Carol Smock understands what it’s like to be unemployed with no funds to pay for vet care. The foundation’s mission is to provide needed help for pets with life threatening conditions or illness to help give both pet and owner a better quality of life. They understand the love of a pet goes across all income levels and no pet should be put down for a treatable condition or illness just because their owner is unable to pay the vet bill.



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Getting to Know Your Pet Could Save Its Life


By Julia Williams

In my last article, I talked about the different ways you can help the veterinarian treat your pet. When a vet is trying to determine what ails a sick pet, I really don’t think there is such a thing as having “too much information.” And since our pets can’t tell us – or the vet – how they feel, it’s up to us to be their voice and to ensure that they get the treatment they need to be healthy and happy. A big part of that is keeping detailed records of their health and past treatments along with their dietary issues and environment history. But there is another very important component to helping your vet treat your four-legged friend: you need to know your pet well. Better perhaps, than you even know yourself.

When you know your pet well, you will be more apt to notice right away when something is amiss. And the sooner you can get them in to see their vet, the better. While not every health problem a pet can face is serious, a delay in treatment for some conditions could be life threatening. Getting to know your pet well is not that hard, but it does take time and a conscious effort. It involves spending enough time with your pet that you have a good idea of what is “normal” for them, and what isn’t. It means being observant about everything. When you know your pet well, you know what their typical appetite is; you know how their skin and coat look, how their eyes, nose and mouth look, and whether they have any digestive issues or problems with their bones and joints.

Responsible pet owners know how important regular vet checkups are. However, it’s also a good idea to perform your own brief physical exam on your pet at home on a regular basis. Look at the eyes to see if they’re bright, clear and free of any discharge. Examine their mouth to make sure the gums are a healthy pale pink and teeth aren’t yellowed or covered with tartar, and that there’s no foul odor. The ears should be free of wax buildup, and the nose should feel damp and velvety with no crusting on the surface.

You should pet and massage your dog or cat regularly too, not just because it feels good to them and helps you bond, but because you will notice any lumps or bumps that might be present. Feeling along the abdomen for any masses or swellings associated with the mammary glands can help detect tumors. Taking your pet’s temperature at home, although not particularly pleasant for either of you, can provide valuable health information. The stress of being in a veterinary exam room can sometimes cause a borderline elevated temperature that’s difficult for the vet to interpret. If your pet has a fever in the comfort of their own home, this tells the vet that it’s not likely due to nervousness.

Knowing your pet well also means being able to tell when there are behavioral changes. This is often not as easy as noticing physical differences in your pet, because the changes may be subtle and difficult to interpret. Behavioral changes might not necessarily indicate that your pet is ill; they may just be acting differently for reasons known only to them. For example, if a pet suddenly stops sleeping in a favorite spot that he’s loved for years, it’s possible they just want a change of scenery. In the summer, my cats sometimes sleep under the bed rather than on it. I wondered why they were “hiding” under there, until I realized it was cooler, and probably more comfortable. Some behavioral changes are more serious, however, and may indicate an underlying medical problem. These include lethargy, aggression, growling, restlessness, refusing to eat, and going potty in inappropriate places.

If you know your pet well, you will notice right away when something changes. Being aware of any differences in behavior or appearance is an important part of responsible pet ownership, and may even save their life. When in doubt about any changes in your pet, behavioral or otherwise, it’s always wise to consult your vet.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.