Pet Advice

Feeding your new kitten

There are many available formulations of kitten food to purchase for your new feline friend. The best type of food to feed is a small kibble that your kitten chews in his or her back teeth. The harder kibble help to keep your cat’s oral health at its best and avoids the excessive calories found in canned food. Kittens should be fed a kitten formulation until they have been spayed or neutered. At this point, their metabolism goes through a transition and they require the fewer calories that are provided in adult formulations.

Kittens need to be fed three times a day until they reach 12 weeks of age. Then, the midday feeding can be stopped and they can be fed once or twice daily. I prefer that cats are meal fed rather than fed free choice because of obesity problems in the general feline population. Meal feeding allows you to measure how much your cat is eating. It also can be helpful should you have multiple cats in one household and one pet requires a prescription diet.

Many pet owners associate meal time as a display of affection to their cats. I would encourage you to promote active play with toys or a laser light or cuddle time as a replacement to meal time affection. This can help you avoid being awakened earlier and earlier every morning and also maintain your feline companion at a healthy weight to assure a long and full-filling life.


Crate training your dog

I am a big advocate for crate training, because for me it makes for a better relationship with my three dogs. Crate training not only helps with potty training, but the crate also has a likeness to a cozy cave that your dog’s ancestors once stayed in.

Crate training should begin as soon as possible. Choose a crate that has the ability to grow with your pet. My favorite type to use in the home is the open metal grid type with a divider that can be moved to allow more space once your pet is potty trained. In the beginning, only allow enough space for your dog to stand up and turn around by putting the divider closer to the door. This is important because most dogs dislike having to sit in their own waste and they quickly learn to hold their bladder and bowels until given the opportunity to go outside.

As your pet matures, the divider can eventually be removed and then your dog will have a safe place to rest or sleep. Crates are especially helpful in preventing damage to your home by high-energy dogs. You can provide entertainment with chew toys such as the Kong filled with peanut butter or a radio on in the background. You will find that some pets migrate to their crate even when you are home because they feel safe and comfortable in it. I wish you the best of luck in crate training your canine companion! Be patient and repetitious and you will achieve success.


Worms and your puppy

Intestinal parasites (worms) are a common concern for puppy owners. First and foremost, don’t panic. It is a normal occurrence for immature puppies to have some intestinal parasites. They usually contract the parasites from their mother’s milk and just don’t have a mature immune system to combat the clinical symptom of diarrhea.

Your puppy will have been given a dewormer by their breeder and deworming is usually repeated another one or two times by your veterinarian. These dewormings are very effective and a fecal analysis will identify if your puppy is free of intestinal parasites.

Safe handling of your puppy’s bowel movements is still advised to prevent any transfer of intestinal parasites to you or your family members. Always dispose of the feces immediately or designate a specific spot in the yard for your puppy to potty where your family does not play or walk through regularly. Thorough hand washing habits should still be followed after playing with your puppy and before meals.

Finally, administering a monthly heartworm and intestinal parasite preventative will help to control your pet’s risk of contracting intestinal parasites again in the future. There are numerous products available, but I encourage you to purchase ones from your veterinarian that have undergone research and testing and are supported with guarantees and knowledgeable staff.


Microchipping Your Cat

Do you know how microchips work in pets? Most pet owners first learn about microchipping their pets when they bring their cat to be spayed or neutered. This of course, is an easy time for your veterinarian to implant a microchip because your pet would not be moving while anesthetized. But did you know a microchip can be implanted at any appointment visit with little to no pain to your pet?

The benefit to microchipping is that is provides unique and permanent proof that identifies that your cat belongs to you. Cats that live outside tend to know their whereabouts well, but if they are injured and found by a Good Samaritan, how would that person know who it belonged to? Some owners think that their indoor cat could not or would not escape. However, what would happen if a house fire or tornado impacted their home and in the disaster, their beloved companion got loose? These scenarios are reasons that we at Trusty Vet support microchipping you cat. We know that they are your furry friends and the success stories about cat’s being reunited with their owners when they’ve been microchipped are all the proof we need.

The simple process of microchip implantation involves pinching the skin between the shoulder blades and quickly inserting the rice sized microchip underneath the skin with a sharp needle similar to but larger than ones used to administer vaccines. The microchip is then registered in an online database with the owner’s contact information. When a stray pet is brought to a veterinarian or animal shelter, the facility will scan the shoulder region looking for a microchip in hopes of reuniting owner and cat.


When Should You Start Obedience Training

Most puppies are introduced into their new homes between 6-8 weeks of age, shortly after they are weaned. Up to this point, their mother and siblings have been influential in developing good puppy manners. If puppy is too rough with its siblings, their littermate lets out a yip and scurries away. Momma dog will roll the puppy over and place a paw on his or her tummy and pressure on its neck with her mouth to teach it to behave. Your responsibility as the new pet owner is to continue developing the puppy into an obedient pet.

Organized obedience school usually begins for a puppy around 12 weeks of age. In the gap of time between weaning and obedience school, you can still teach your puppy not to bite, jump, or have accidents in the house. Close monitoring of the puppy will allow you to run interference quickly if your puppy is beginning to show inappropriate behavior. Redirection is beneficial in managing play biting by offering your puppy a chew toy to play with rather than your hand, pant leg, or coffee table leg. You can try to squeeze your puppy’s toes, bump your knee into their chest, or turn in circles to deter jumping.

Whatever training you are working on needs to be consistent and practiced by all members of the household so that your puppy will not become confused and can be raised into a pleasant companion. Additional puppy training tips can be found at www.veterinarypartner.com.


Vaccinating Your Puppy

Your new puppy needs to see the veterinarian multiple times in its young life not only to be examined for any developmental or genetic issues, but also to be given protective vaccines. When a puppy is born, it acquires antibodies from its mother’s milk against many diseases. Overtime, these antibodies fade and without vaccines, your puppy would be left defenseless from diseases such as parvovirus and rabies.

Vaccines are usually started around your puppy’s 7th or 8th week of life. Any given before then are useless as there is surely interference with maternal antibodies. Booster vaccines are administered every 3-4 weeks after the initial round until the 15th or 16th week of life. The reason multiple rounds of vaccines are needed is due to the fact that there is no specified time after the first two months when maternal antibodies fade away and when the puppy’s own immune systems forms its new antibodies. All older puppies older than 16 weeks of age need at least two vaccines for parvovirus and distemper virus given 3-4 weeks apart.I always recommend vaccines be administered by a trained professional. Veterinarians are confident in the manufacturers they purchase from and know how to properly store vaccines. Most also follow the risk based protocol for vaccinations, meaning that your pet’s lifestyle is analyzed and vaccines are recommended based on exposure risk to diseases