Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

5 Simple Ways to Support Your Pet as He or She Ages

Have you noticed your dog, cat, or rabbit getting a few more white hairs mixed in their coat? As our pets slow down a bit, their needs change and transform to promote healthy, happy aging. While your dog may no longer be a puppy, they will never lose those puppy eyes you fell in love with. And while your kitten has become a cat, they still get bursts of energy and playfulness.

To offer sustained health to keep your pet active, psychologically sharp, and healthy, we have some suggestions that are simple and straightforward. 

Repay that puppy love or those kitty cuddles by assisting your senior pet in graceful aging. 

5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Aging for Your Pet

1. Support a Healthy Diet and Weight

Your pet’s weight is a reliable predictor in how they’ll feel during their senior years. Healthy body shape and weight will keep your pet more active for years to come. Reducing extra pounds increases mobility and lessens joint strain and pain. 

Pet obesity can increase the risk of some serious health issues. 

Maintaining your pet’s healthy weight reduces the risk for

  • Skin irritation
  • Joint pain and cartilage deterioration
  • Decreased mobility
  • Cancer and tumors
  • Heart and lung problems

As memes of chubby pets become more and more popular, it’s important to keep your pet’s wellbeing in mind. As your pet gets older, you don’t want to witness them struggling to get around. Pets want to enjoy getting out, running, playing, and experiencing the world around them.

Do you have questions about your pet’s weight? We can help. From safe exercise to a change in diet, we can help your pet shed a few pounds so they can enjoy their senior years.

2. Don’t Let Parasites Take a Bite Out of Your Pet’s Health

Parasites aren’t just gross. They can trim years off your pet’s life expectancy. Parasites can live in your pet’s circulatory system, digestive system, in her ears, or on their coat.

Parasites like fleas, mites, and ticks can cause your pet mental distress. From random bites that wake pets from sleep to relentlessly itchy ears, parasites can take a toll. Pets with external parasites often wind up with scrapes, scratches, and cuts that can become infected and feel extremely sore.

Internal parasites like worms and heartworms can also rob your senior pet of health and longevity.

3. Increase Vet Visits to Twice Per Year

While we love your pet, that’s not the only reason we want to see them more often as they get older. Our senior pets become more vulnerable as they age. Increasing frequency of checkups helps with early diagnosis and treatment. With a few simple blood tests, we can also check your pet’s metabolic function to make sure they are feeling their best.

Does your dog have some lumps and bumps? Does your senior kitty seem withdrawn or lethargic? Bring your pet by. We can offer you peace of mind with a simple exam. 

4. Prevent Slips and Falls

Assisting your pet in getting around the house will help them maintain their  independence. It will also prevent the risk of emergency vet visits.

To reduce the risk of slips and help your pet get a grip you can:

  • Purchase pet stairs or ramps to help your pet leap into the car or more easily hop on the bed.
  • Put down rugs on slippery surfaces.
  • Avoid ice when walking your dog.
  • Invest in a support harness for your dog to reduce sudden jerks or neck strain.

Many dog parents stop walking their dogs. And cat owners don’t play as often with their senior pets. Don’t fall into this habit. Senior pets need exercise too. Physical activity lubricates the joints and supports cardiovascular health. Strong muscles also stabilize joints.

5. Your Pet’s Mental Health Also Requires Maintenance

Pets experience many of the same issues of psychological senility as people do in their aging years. From anxiety to dementia and depression, senior pets also need cognitive workouts.

Some techniques you can use to prevent mental deterioration: 

  • While you can find puzzles for dogs and cats for sale, you can also create tasks for rabbits and other pets for mental stimulation. 
  • Continuing to encourage play with your pet also helps keep the mind active. 
  • Training for dogs assists older dogs to feel young and motivated.
  • Be sure your cat can access their favorite window ledge to watch birds, squirrels, and the outside world.

Provide Your Pet with the Quality of Life They Deserves as They Age

Just because your pet is aging, doesn’t mean life needs to slow down or that they need to lose their quality of life. Aging gracefully can be as simple as bringing your pet by to learn more about their individual needs during their golden years.

Don’t let the memories dwindle. Keep your pet active, healthy year after year. Make the most of those golden moments with your senior pet and support healthy aging with a few simple changes.

 

 

Image credit: Alru4 | Pixabay

5 of Our Favorite Tips to Reduce Your Pet’s Holiday Stress

A fat man in a red suit coming down the chimney, loud laughter, the doorbell ringing, and of course new toys that make strange noise: the holidays are filled with reasons for pets to fret and worry. And before the holidays get any closer, you may want to plan some ways to help your pet cope before Aunt Mildred arrives.

Why Do Pets Get Stressed Out During the Holidays?

For one, the holidays disrupt your pet’s daily routine. You have more errands leading up to Hanukkah and Christmas, and planning for the holiday can leave many pet parents preoccupied. 

Of course, there is also the revolving door of strangers, loud noises, strange scents, and flashing lights.

How Can You Tell If Your Pet Feels Stressed?

If your pet is naturally anxious, she’s likely going to feel spread thin during the holidays. If your pet is usually cool, calm, and collected, she may feel the stress at the height of the celebrations.

For those pet parents who are unsure whether or not their pet is suffering from stress, here are some telltale signs that can help:

For Cats

  • Hiding
  • Non-stop and over-the-top grooming
  • Excess claw sharpening
  • Eliminating outside her box
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite

For Dogs

  • Shivering or shaking
  • Pacing and circling
  • Drooling or panting
  • Excessive yawning
  • Whining
  • Hiding

5 Ways to Help Your Pet Cope with Holiday Stress

1. Help Your Pet Burn Off Some Nervous Energy

Cats and dogs both benefit greatly from exercise. Some cardio doesn’t just keep your pet’s heart healthy, it also provides mental stimulation, and provides deeper, more restorative sleep. Pets also get more anxious and restless when stuck inside, bored.

Playing with your cat or a trip to the dog park can help your pet release some pent up stress and enjoy a distraction from the frenzy of getting ready for the holidays.

If you’re busy shopping, wrapping gifts, or cooking, try using pet puzzles and pick up some new toys from Santa.

When your pet is tired, they can rest more easily when guests arrive.

2. Spend Some Quality Time with Your Pet

Pets are more than just our best friends, they’re our family, too. With all the excitement going on around, take some time to just rest, relax, and spend time with your pet. You can relax while watching a movie, enjoy some training sessions, or just hang out by the fire.

3. Make a Schedule and Try to Maintain Your Routine

It may seem impossible to keep your normal schedule, but maintaining your routine can calm a stressed pet. Remember our dogs and cats thrive on predictability. If you’re going to run errands on your day off, try to do it when you’d normally be at work. If your dog normally gets an evening walk at 6, grab the leash, take a quick break from the party (assign someone to watch anything on the stove), and give your pup a quick walk.

4. Divide and Conquer

If you can’t keep up with all the love and attention your pet needs over the holidays, it’s ok. You’ll still wind up on Santa’s Nice List. 

Consider boarding your pet, hiring a pet sitter, or finding a dog walker. If you have a caring neighbor or family member that has the time to help, don’t hesitate to ask them. Even if you’re home, pet sitters will come over and play with your dog or cat.

5. Create a Calm and Chaos-Free Pet Paradise in Your Home

If your guests are coming to your home for the holidays, it may be best to keep your dog or cat in a room far away from the noise and guests. 

About an hour or so before guests arrive, start prepping your pet’s calm room with comfy bedding, calming music, catnip or a frozen peanut butter toy. Keep the lights dim and put a note on the door asking guests to not knock or enter. For an added level of calm, use Feliway plugins and Adaptil to release calming pheromones that inspire relaxation and contentment.

It’s the Holidays: Be Merry and Reduce Your Pet’s Stress

The holidays create stress for all of us: people and pets. Be prepared to help your pet shake their stress and cope with the change in routine. If you think your pet struggles more than they should with anxiety or stress, please make an appointment. We can help with advice or a prescription tailored to your pet and situation. 

Remember that New Year’s fireworks are right around the corner. If it’s time for a refill for your pet’s anxiety medication or you have questions about finding an anxiety medication to help manage their fear of the blasts, we’re here for you!

 

Image credit: Maximiliano Ignacio Pinilla Alvarado | Pexels

How Do Pets Get Diabetes?

When you think of diabetes, you might not think that your dog or cat is at risk, but our pets can suffer from diabetes just like people. But how well do you understand this disease and the risk factors your pet has of developing it?

What is Diabetes?

 Diabetes in cats and dogs results from their bodies not producing enough insulin or not being able to properly respond to the insulin their bodies do make. The lack of insulin and/or the inability to effectively use insulin leads to a spike in glucose (or sugar) in the blood.

In other words, the sugar would normally be turned into energy, but the lack of insulin makes the sugar unusable, which leaves a surplus of sugar in the body.

Diabetes in Cats Vs. Dogs

Dogs and Diabetes

Dogs are more likely to suffer from Type I diabetes. This occurs when their pancreas cannot produce insulin. This means the body cannot properly digest or use energy from food that the dog eats. Once pets develop Type I diabetes, they will always be diabetic.

Cats and Diabetes

Our feline friends suffer from Type II diabetes more often than dogs. This form of diabetes the pancreas functions properly and produces insulin, but the cells do not react to it as they should. This form of diabetes can be reversed if your cat or dog improves her body condition and sheds some extra pounds.

What Causes Diabetes in Pets?

Diabetes is a complicated disease, and there isn’t only one cause of diabetes in pets. Some breeds of dogs and cats are genetically predisposed to becoming diabetic while others are not. 

If the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas fail or get damaged or destroyed, the result is Type I diabetes. The destruction of the cells is permanent, which is why there is no cure for Type I diabetes.

What causes pancreas cells to die? Pancreatitis and genetics.

Type II diabetes develops from being overweight or obese. The extra weight turns normal cells into insulin-resistant cells. 

What Pets Have a Higher Risk for Developing Diabetes?

Dogs develop diabetes more frequently than cats. About 1% of dogs will become diabetic and the older they get, the more likely they are to develop this disease. About 1 in 500 cats is diagnosed as diabetic.

While there are some pet groups that are more likely to get diabetes, pets of all ages, genders, and sizes can develop it.

Higher-Risk Pets

  • Older cats and dogs
  • Male cats
  • Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely to get diabetes
  • Inactive pets
  • Pets that experience pancreatitis
  • Pets with hyperthyroidism

Common Dog Breeds with a Genetic Predisposition to Develop Diabetes

  • Dachshunds
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Pomeranians
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Toy Poodles
  • Terriers
  • German Shepherd Dogs

What Can You Do to Prevent Diabetes?

Keeping your dog or cat active and at a reasonable weight is the first step to providing them with the guidance they need to avoid developing diabetes. This means feeding your pet the right portions of a proper diet and keeping them physically engaged with exercise and play.

Make sure your cat has a high protein diet, low in carbs. Dogs do best with quality proteins, complex carbs, and fiber.

If you have any questions about how you should feed your cat, dog, or other pet, what kind of food and how much, or any other concerns, please make an appointment. When it comes to diabetes, don’t put your pet at risk.  Like most illnesses, avoidance is best, but early detection lessens the severity of symptoms, the toll on the body, and improves both the length and quality of your pet’s life. If you suspect your pet may be diabetic, bring her in and we’ll happily diagnose her and set her on the path to improved health.

 

 

Image credit: Rodrigo Souza | Pexels

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-3255

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800