Changing Behavior and Training Your Feline
Unlike dogs, cats don’t have a built-in mechanism for working with a family. Dogs take naturally to the idea of a family, because their ancestors lived and hunted in cooperative teams with a highly developed social structure, called packs. Except for lions, cats are solitary hunters and they’re used to taking care of themselves. You can’t make them do what they don’t want to. In order to change any behavior, you must offer an alternative you both can accept. Your cat loves you and enjoys your company, but if you want to convince him to do things your way, you must answer the quintessential cat question: What’s in it for me?
The good news is that cats are creatures of habit. After yours learns where scratching, chewing, or relieving himself is okay, you can put away all the gadgets you’ve used to convince him.
Reward your cat for good behavior with praise, treats, petting, and games. If your cat uses the scratching post instead of the couch, make sure that he knows you approved by playing with him. You cat isn’t born knowing the rules of living among humans and, if you make following the rules pleasant, you have much better luck getting him to follow them.
Never hit your cat and never let him think that any discipline is coming from you. Physical
discipline is worse than meaningless to cats, and it can make a situation even worse by making your cat stressed out and afraid of you.
What works for cats, is to make them believe that whatever they’re doing wrong triggers an automatic response they don’t like - and as far as they can tell, you have nothing to do with it! The couch they used to enjoy clawing is now covered in something they don’t like to touch. Every time they get on the counter a stream of water comes their way.
Biting and Aggression
You need to do a little detective work and figure out what’s causing your cat to bite or claw. Aggression takes many forms and the solution depends on the cause, some of which may be as follows:
FEAR OR PAIN. If your cat is striking out because he’s afraid or hurting, your best bet is to leave him alone and work on the underlying problem. A cat in pain or fear has his ears flat back against his head and body rolled into a defensive posture low against the ground with claws up and ready. This cat is saying, “Don’t come near me!” You need to let your cat calm down-hide if needed- before you ask your Veterinarian to check her out. Often, under these circumstances, that carrier your cat seems to hate seems like haven. Place the carrier with the door wide open in the room with your cat. Your cat may choose to go in there and this may save you the “fight” of trying to force your cat to enter the carrier for the trip to the vet. Remember: Don’t fight with your cat. You will lose.
OVERSTIMULATION. You’re petting your cat and suddenly he grabs you with his claws and teeth. Not a full-powered attack, but you’ve still got those sharp tips around your hand. What to do? In the short run, freeze. Don’t fight your cat or you may trigger a real bite. Sometimes smacking your other hand against a hard surface- a tabletop, for example, may startle your cat into breaking off the attack. If you stay still, however, he usually calms down and releases you. That’s the solution if you’ve gotten into the attack stage. The better option is to be familiar with his body language and stop petting before he becomes over stimulated. Cat lovers often think such attacks come without warning, but the fact is that they missed the warning signs of a cat that simply had enough. The tail is the key. If your cat starts twitching his tail in a jerky fashion, time to call off the petting has arrived. If you watch your cat’s body language, you can slowly build up your petting time. Three pats, then four, then five. Push up to, but never over, your cat’s level of tolerance and build slowly on your successes. Often these “I’ve had enough” attacks come if you have been petting your cat’s belly. This is a sensitive area for cats, and even if yours offers it to you, you’re better off petting somewhere else.
PLAY AGGRESION. Sure, it hurts all the same, but the cat who pounces on your feet the careens off the wall isn’t trying to hurt you-he’s playing. You need to increase your play sessions with your cat with an appropriate toy, such as a cat fishing pole or toy on a string- not one of your own body parts- to help your cat burn off his excess energy before you try for a quiet pet session. Use the spray bottle to let him/her know that attacks on you are not permitted.
REDIRECTED AGGRESION Your cat sees another cat, an intruder, outside your living window. He becomes enraged. You walk by, and he nails you. What gives? You were just the victim of redirected aggression. This one’s tough to fix. Try to discourage strange cats in your yard: Thump a window or make a loud sound.
One thing is for sure, only you can make the difference between owning a well-behaved, loving adult cat or an aggressive, frightened, shy, and/or destructive cat. One must consider the fact that different cats have different personalities. Some like cuddling and being held while others prefer to be petted and not picked up and/or held. Our job is to make the most of what we have in our very own, special kitty! Kittens and cats are not toys, nor can they be “mean” or “vindictive”. They simply act on instinct prompted by the situation and or, perhaps your reaction.
Just like people, dogs and cats can have sensitivities to foods or environmental factors, which may impact their health. Learn how to protect your pet and be able to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Does your pet constantly scratch, shake their head or rub their body on the floor or furniture? Does your pet bite or lick its paws or tail furiously? Does your pet’s skin or hair coat show changes in appearance or bad odor? These signs may indicate your pet has allergies. Several factors can drive allergic responses in pets.
Your pet can react to mold, pollen and other common environmental factors. Some environmental allergens are seasonal while other can cause issues year round. These types of reactions cause varying degrees of itch. Excessive itching can lead to secondary infections of the skin and/or ears.
Itching and other allergy symptoms can also be caused by external parasites. Fleas are the most common parasite to cause itching. Fleas will cause any pet to itch, but pets that are flea allergic can show significant allergy symptoms even after only one flea bite. Comprehensive parasite control year round is imperative, especially in the Gulf Coast Region.
Your dog or cat's immune system can react to certain kinds of foods. These kind of allergies and intolerances typically have similar symptoms to environmental allergies which are primarily skin-related, causing itching and skin/ear infections. Food allergies may also manifest with GI symptoms such as diarrhea, decreased appetite and/or vomiting. Some of the most common allergens include chicken, beef and fish proteins contrary to popular belief that corn and other grains are a major source of food allergies in pets.
Treating Your Pet's Allergies
We can recommend an effective multi-step program to manage your pet's allergies. The first step is an exam and consultation with one of our trusted veterinarians to determine the cause of your pet’s allergies. Our staff will then develop a treatment plan to manage allergy symptoms and causes.
If you think your pet has allergies, contact us right away.
What Is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease in both cats and dogs. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of the affected pets. Heartworms can cause severe lung disease, heart failure, damage to other organs in the body, and even death. It affects both dogs and cats, but also other mammals which can be carriers as well.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos and studies have shown that "indoor" pets are just as susceptible to infection as those who spend more time outdoors. This is especially true in climates such as ours. Once a pet is bitten by an infected mosquito, it will take 6 months for heartworm larvae to mature into adults that are detectable by current testing methods.
Dogs are considered to be a natural host for heartworms. Heartworms will progress to adults and can live up to 7 years in the heart and lungs, causing damage to these organs the entire time. Cats are considered to be an atypical host, so heartworms do not usually develop to maturity. Instead, the larvae can induce a severe immune response that can leave the lungs of infected cats just as damaged as those of an infected dog.
What are symptoms of heartworm disease?
Signs of heartworm disease may include:
Signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include:
If I give my pet their monthly heartworm preventative, is it still necessary to get them tested yearly for heartworms?
Although heartworm preventative is incredibly effective, no medication is 100% effective in preventing heartworms or parasites from developing. Getting your pet tested yearly can help catch unwanted parasites early on. Puppies should start their monthly preventative medicine right away and should be tested yearly during their annual examination appointment.
Prevention is CRITICAL for cats because, sadly, there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats. Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs because cats are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms.
Follow the American Heartworm Association recommendation: Give your pet's their preventative medicine 12 months out of the year and get them tested for heartworms every 12 months!
To schedule your pet's annual heartworm test at one of our animal clinics in The Woodlands, click here.
To order your pet's monthly heartworm preventative medication, click here.
“Neutering” refers to the sexual altering of both a female or male cat or dog. Not only does neutering have health benefits, it also helps to decreased pet overpopulation.
Sadly, millions of unwanted pets are euthanized in shelters every year.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, five out of 10 dogs and seven out of 10 cats in shelters go un-adopted and are eventually destroyed. In most cases, these dogs are not born on the street. Actually, one in four of these dogs are purebred and many are the offspring of cherished family pets.
Neutering Can Prevent Hormone-Driven Diseases
How Spays & Neuters Can Help With Behavioral Issues
Recommended times for neutering your pet vary depending on the breed, size, activity level and certain health conditions. Please discuss this with one of our knowledgeable veterinarians. They can also explain the ways in which we strive to minimize pain and discomfort associated with surgical procedures.
Ready to book an appointment to get your pet spayed or neutered or have questions regarding pricing? Give us a call!
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by the age of three.
Plaque, tartar and bacteria in the mouth lead to periodontal disease which can be painful and dangerous for pets. Bacteria from the mouth enters the body through the bloodstream which can cause damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. This may shorten your pet's life.
Since gum disease increases the risk for other, more serious health conditions, daily home care in conjunction with annual veterinary dental exams and cleanings are essential. In fact, studies indicate that daily home brushing and regular dental care may add as much as five years to your pet's life!
Your pet's overall wellness depends on good oral health.
The following factors can contribute to dental disease in your dog or cat:
Dental disease becomes more common and worsens rapidly as your pet gets older. Without proper care, periodontal disease can progress, become painful, cause tooth/bone loss and contribute to more serious health conditions. While home dental care is ideally started at a young age, it's never too late to start!
Some breeds have a predisposition to periodontal disease. Brachycephalic breeds like Pugs, Shih-Tzus and French Bulldogs often have overcrowding of teeth which leads to more extensive plaque/tartar buildup and tooth issues. Many purebred cats such as Siamese, Persians and Himalayans are also predisposed to severe gingivitis and early onset periodontal disease. Home care is recommended at least 4-5 times weekly for all pets, but especially those with known predisposition.
Feeding a well balanced diet for your pet's life stage, breed and specific medical needs is pertinent to your pet's overall health which includes their oral health. There are specific diets devoted to oral health, but they may not be the right fit for all pets. Consult your veterinarian for questions regarding the best diet for your pet. It's important to remember that the right diet is only one part of maintaining good dental health.
How do I know if my pet has dental disease?
If you are wondering if your dog or cat has periodontal disease, watch out for tartar, bad breath, red/inflamed gums, painful chewing, or other oral concerns. Consult your veterinarian immediately, and after a proper oral exam, your veterinarian can make a treatment plan to ensure your pet remains healthy and happy!
Are you in The Woodlands? We offer state of the art dental cleanings that include full mouth dental radiographs, hand AND ultrasonic scaling of the teeth and under the gum line, polishing of all tooth surfaces, extractions or other necessary dental treatments and comprehensive dental charting. Call us at 281-292-4700 or schedule your pet's dental cleaning online.
January is National Walk Your Dog Month! There are numerous benefits to walking your dog. Make walking part of your daily routine this year. Here are just a few good reasons why you should start today.
Dogs need to release energy.
If a dog doesn’t expend extra energy, behavioral issues such as chewing, digging, desire to escape and other negative behaviors can develop. Walking is an excellent way to provide mental and physical stimulation, which can reduce undesirable behaviors.
An exercised dog is also more focused and easier to train than a dog full of energy. During walks, training such as sit, stay, heel and others can be reinforced. If your pet is a puller, the use of certain harnesses can aid in a more pleasurable walking experience.
Dogs are social animals.
Socialization builds your dog's confidence. Walking with your dog gives you the chance to reinforce appropriate interactions with other people and dogs. While on your walk, you can monitor their behavior from the safety of a leash while your dog enjoys all the excitement and stimulation of meeting friends (both human and canine)! Always ensure the acceptance and willingness of other dog owners and their dogs prior to allowing interaction.
Walking is good for your dog's health!
Walking for 30 minutes or more each day can reduce your dog's risk of heart disease and other illnesses as well as improve the digestive health of your pet.
Over half of all dogs suffer with complications from excessive weight. Obesity complicates many diseases like osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart disease and others. Exercise helps prevent and manage chronic diseases by keeping your pet at a healthy weight.
Bonding with your dog.
Setting aside time for you and your furry friend builds trust and respect. Just like us, dogs need love and attention. Going on routine walks with your dog can help strengthen your bond and lead to a long, loving friendship!
SAFETY TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN WALKING YOUR DOG
Animal Clinics of The Woodlands works with pet parents to make sure that their pet is happy and healthy. If you need to get your pet's vaccines updated or you have concerns about your pet's weight or overall health, make an appointment with one of our caring and highly trained veterinarians!
Dogs and cats are known to chew on and eat plants, some of which pose toxicity dangers to pets. Sago palms are one of these plants. All parts of the sago palm can cause severe damage to the liver and potentially death when they are ingested by dogs or cats.
Symptoms and types
The symptoms and effects of sago palm ingestion can be severe. Please look out for the following symptoms:
When a dog or cat ingests a sago palm, a toxin called cycasin begins to damage the liver. Liver disease can lead to abnormal bleeding and clots in the bloodstream in addition to neurological abnormalities.
Diagnosis And Treatment of sago palm poisoning
A series of blood and urine tests are performed, and test results may show signs of liver disease. Diagnosis is also based on history of presence and ingestion of the plant.
If ingestion has just occurred and symptoms are not present, your veterinarian may induce vomiting.
If evidence of liver disease is present via clinical signs or abnormalities in blood and/or urine tests, additional treatment will be necessary. Fluid therapy and blood/plasma transfusions will be required. Controlling vomiting with anti-emetic medications is recommended. Antibiotics, gastrointestinal protectants and vitamin K may also be administered by your veterinarian. S-Adenosylmethionine, Ursodeoxycholic acid, or vitamin E may be of benefit as well.
preventing sago palm poisoning
You can help avoid ingestion by making sure the sago palm is out of reach of your pets. Ideally, this plant should be removed from your yard to ensure your pet's safety. If you remove a sago palm from your environment, it's important to ensure no debris remains that your pet may be tempted to ingest. Many sago palm toxicities occur when squirrels or other animals transport portions of sago palms into other yards that may not contain the plant itself, so always be cautious of any plant debris your pet can ingest.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of a sago palm, please call one of our 3 locations immediately or click on the button below in order to seek help from the best veterinarians in The Woodlands.
Dental Care For Dogs And Cats
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by their 3rd birthday.
Plaque, tartar and bacteria in the mouth may lead to periodontal disease which can spread through the bloodstream to the heart, liver and kidneys and shorten your pet's life.
Periodontal disease increases the risk for other, more serious health conditions. Because of this, daily home care in conjunction with annual veterinary dental exams and dental cleanings as needed are essential. In fact, studies indicate that daily home brushing and regular dental care may add as much as five years to your pet's life!
Your pet's overall wellness depends on good oral health. The following factors can contribute to dental disease in your dog or cat:
Dental disease becomes more common as your pet gets older. Without proper care, dental disease can pose a problem. If nothing is done to care for your pet's mouth, periodontal disease can progress and your pet may even lose teeth. Dental disease can be painful, causing your pet to avoid or have difficulty eating meals. This may result in weight loss and an unkempt hair coat.
Some breeds have a predisposition to periodontal disease. This can occur for several reasons. Dog's with short faces like the Pug, Shih-tzu, Lhasa Apso, French Bulldog, and their mixes have teeth that are overcrowded making it more difficult to keep teeth and gums clean. Toy breed dogs have a tendency to develop periodontal disease at an earlier age. Many purebred cats are also predisposed to worse dental disease, especially Siamese, Abyssinians and Persians.
Poor nutrition can contribute to the development and progression of periodontal disease. Feeding a premium, well balanced diet for your pet's life stage is paramount to maintaining your pet's overall health.
Routine dental home care can significantly slow the progression of periodontal disease. Dental home care is recommended at least 4-5 times weekly. While brushing is best, enzymatic oral rinses and chews can all be part of a proper dental home care routine.
Uh-oh - There's tartar on my pet's teeth!
If you notice your pet has bad breath, tartar build up or other oral concerns, call the office to schedule an appointment for one of our veterinarians to examine your pet. They can determine if a dental cleaning is in your pet's best interest. During a dental cleaning, your pet will be placed under general anesthesia to allow for airway protection, complete oral examination, full mouth dental radiographs to evaluate the health of the teeth under the gum line and hand/ultrasonic scaling of the tooth surfaces and beneath the gum line. After a thorough dental cleaning, routine dental home care is recommended at least 4-5 times weekly.
If your dog or cat is due for a dental cleaning, make an appointment with one of our caring veterinarians and vet tech staff by calling us at 281-292-4700, or by clicking on the button below.
Heatstroke is a common danger for dogs and cats because they cannot cool down by sweating the way humans do. Dogs will continue to overexert themselves when playing and exercising. As responsible pet owners, it's our obligation to help keep them cool.
In heat and high humidity, play time can quickly turn to heatstroke. Heatstroke can occur in all pets but is seen most often in out of shape pets, pets that are unaccustomed to the heat and short-faced breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, or Pekingese.
Be mindful of hot surfaces such as patios, decks, sidewalks, etc, and potential for paw damage. When temperatures are high, avoid walking dogs on these hot surfaces. As a general rule, if you cannot tolerate the back of your hand on the surface for 5-10 seconds, then it's too hot for your pet to walk on.
Follow these tips to help prevent overexertion and heatstroke in pets:
Leaving or confining your dog or cat in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger their health or well-being could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal. Don't take that chance!
Even though you are taking every precaution to keep your pet(s) cool, there are certain breeds that are simply more susceptible to overexertion and heatstroke.
So keep your eyes peeled for the following signs of overheating:
If you notice these signs, or suspect heatstroke in your pet, seek veterinary attention immediately! A dog or cat can suffer permanent damage or death in a very short time when left in a parked vehicle. NEVER leave animals in cars unattended, not just when conditions are hot. Even in cool conditions, car temperatures can be higher than expected. The heat-related death of a beloved pet is a tragic, completely preventable situation. There are no statistics on how many dogs die every year from heat exposure, because the majority of cases go unreported.
Give us a call to make an appointment for your pet and let our front desk staff know if it is an emergency situation.
When it comes to taking care of your pet's health, it's important to take them to their vet for their regular check ups, vaccines, parasite prevention and dental care; but don't forget to protect them at home as well. Although some substances that are poisonous to humans are also poisonous to pets, there are many items that we ingest or are surrounded by that can seriously harm your dog or cat. The best thing to be is an educated and aware pet parent! Learn to identify pet toxins in the home and protect your beloved four-legged family member from harm.
Top 10 Poisons For Dogs
Top 10 Poisons For Cats
Poisonous Plants Warning
Many beautiful flowers and plants in our homes, yards and gardens are very dangerous for our pets.
If ingested, azaleas, oleander, sago palms and yew plants can be fatal to dogs and cats. Many types of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats.
Cocoa mulch in the garden contains theobromine, the same chemical in chocolate that is toxic to dogs and can be deadly when ingested even in small quantities.
Poinsettias, apple seeds, buttercups, English ivy and about 700 other plants are identified as having varying degrees of toxicity for pets. Fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides and other pest control poisons can also cause severe illness.
If your suspect that your pet has ingested any of these materials or other suspicious substances, and exhibits abnormal behavior or symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also click here for a more comprehensive list of pet toxins courtesy of the ASPCA.
We have 3 locations in The Woodlands to serve you and take emergency visits.