Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

How Pets Affect Our Psychological Well Being

Have you ever heard that “A tail-wag a day keeps the doctor away”? Well…this may not be a common saying, but it’s true. Dogs, cats, and other pets play a huge role in keeping their owners happy and healthy. In the past few decades, there are more and more studies that show just how greatly pets can improve our mental wellbeing. So, in honor of the International Day of Happiness, we wanted to shine some light on how pets affect our psychological health.

Pets Reduce Depression and Increase Joy

When you pet your dog or cat, your body releases serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals flood the brain and make you feel happy. Both serotonin and dopamine can alleviate depression and give you a bump in self-esteem.

Dogs and Cats Relieve Our Stress and Anxiety

Along with dopamine and serotonin, spending time snuggling your pet can reduce how much cortisol your body produces. Cortisol is the hormone that causes stress and anxiety. Not only does this help you feel more relaxed, calmer, and more secure, but high levels of cortisol can lead to heart disease.

Pets Prevent Loneliness

Feeling alone can take a major toll on a person’s psychological health. Pets fill our space, lives, and homes with love and companionship. There’s nothing better than arriving home to a pet that’s thrilled to see you, even if you just stepped outside for a moment.

Our Pets Give Us Purpose

It’s easy to see how waking up to a wagging tail or a purring kitty can give you an immediate feeling of love and purpose. Our pets rely on us for their care and all of their needs. From feeding your pet to playing with them, pets allow us to feel accomplished and needed. They give our lives additional value.

Kids Gain Self Confidence When They Have Pets

The responsibility of caring for a pet can give your kids a huge boost in their self-confidence. Being able to take part in providing for another creature’s life is invaluable. It teaches kids that they can have an impact on the world around them, and that they are strong, independent, and trustworthy. Pets help children feel more confident in their ability to succeed, step up, and become leaders.

Pets Teach Kids Compassion

When little ones have the opportunity to care for and bond with pets, they’re able to exercise their compassion. Studies show that this ability to empathize with a pet extends to how children relate to their peers. They become more aware of their friends’, siblings’, and others’ emotions and needs. This has an immeasurable benefit for children that stays with them as they grow.

Dogs Increase Our Socialization Opportunities

Our dogs insist on getting us outdoors, which comes with the added benefit of spending time in nature. But going out and about has a cumulative effect of increasing our socialization. Simply saying “Hi!” to the neighbors and waving at another dog owner provides you with chances to talk to others. This gives our lives more extrinsic value.

Repay Your Pet’s Kindness By Caring for their Health Needs

Pets make every day a special day of happiness. Keeping your pet healthy is the best way to show them how much you appreciate the value they bring to your life. Take a moment and schedule your pet’s wellness check-up now.

Photo Credit: Monoliza21 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

5 Simple Ways You Can Extend Your Cat’s Nine Lives

Did you know that nearly 58% of cats don’t see their vets on an annual basis? This is problematic because cats are very good at hiding discomfort and pain, making it difficult for cat parents to know their kitties need veterinary care.  Luckily, giving your cat’s health a bit of attention isn’t hard. All it takes is learning more about your cat’s needs and staying consistent. How can you lengthen your cat’s nine lives?

1. Schedule an Annual Check-Up for Your Cat

Cats are some of our favorite patients. When a cat comes in, we love the excitement of learning more about their personality and being able to help them feel their best. Cats need veterinary check-ups just as often as dogs.

When you bring your cat in to see us, we will recommend and administer vaccinations to protect your cat’s health. We will also check your cat for any signs or symptoms of concern. During your cat’s exam, feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

We offer cats the best diagnostic care, treatment, and preventative care.

2. Notice When Your Cat Displays Signs of Pain or Discomfort

Cats tend to hide pain well. This is an instinctive trait that protects them in the wild. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for cat owners to know when their cat isn’t feeling well.

Because of this, you will have to pay close attention to your cat’s behavior and pick up on subtle clues of discomfort. By bringing your cat in when they’re not feeling well, you can prevent your cat from needlessly suffering, and you may even save their life.

What signs indicate that your cat needs an appointment?

  • Hiding
  • Vomiting 
  • Staring
  • Using the bathroom outside of the litter box
  • Vocalizing
  • Little to no appetite
  • Limping
  • Favoring a limb
  • Excessive nasal discharge
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Change in disposition

3. Keep Your Cat Engaged with Enrichment and Exercise

Cats need mental and physical activity to stay healthy and feel their best. Daily enrichment wards off depression and anxiety. It also helps reduce the effects of dementia for senior kitties. (Not to mention daily exercise keeps your cat in better physical shape).

To keep your cat active, use toys. Catnip can give cats a little extra encouragement.

For extra mental stimulation, clear off your windowsill. Cats love to sit and watch the birds and squirrels (especially at this time of year), and you can bet that they will enjoy it more than streaming the Cat Channel.

4. Groom Your Cat

Not only does your cat like being brushed, but the soothing feel of the brush removes excess fur and dirt. While regular brushing will make your cat’s coat shine, it will also strengthen the bond between you and give you a chance to see if your pet has any bumps, scrapes, cuts, or lumps that will need to be brought to our attention.

You need to check your cat’s nails as well and trim them when necessary.  Need an extra set of hands? We can help you clip your cat’s nails at their next appointment.

5. Feed Your Cat the Best Diet

Cats can be picky--we all know that--but finding the right food for your cat’s individual needs can extend their life, give them energy, and, of course, make them happy. With all of the choices on the market, it can be tough deciding which is best for your feline friend. Would they benefit more from a urinary tract formula or a senior mix? We can sort out your cat’s nutritional needs next time we see you.

We Can Make Those Nine Lives Longer

Schedule an appointment for your cat right now. While there’s nothing better than hearing that your cat is in good health, it is just as important to know that you have brought your cat in early enough so that their health issues were diagnosed and received the specialized care that will return them to the happy and healthy feline that you have known and loved.

Give us a call at 651-770-3250.

Photo Credit: Savusia Konstantin / iStock/ Getty Images Plus

What to Consider When Considering Adopting a Rescue Bird

If any pet needs a little extra love, it’s birds. Even though these feathered friends make excellent pets, many wind up in animal shelters and rescues during the winter months. If you’ve considered expanding your pet family or you have wondered if a bird would make a good pet for you, we have what you need to know. We hope to provide you with the insight you need to keep your bird happy and healthy all year-round.

Why Consider Adopting a Bird?

Birds make excellent pets. With hundreds of species, you can choose between an easy-going songbird or a highly intelligent parrot. No matter the species, most bird owners will agree that birds are smart, social, relatively easy to care for, and strikingly beautiful.

Furthermore, rescue birds are an often overlooked option for those wanting to add one to their household. These birds wind up sitting for far too long in shelters, which leads to stress, loneliness, and trauma. These issues can cause birds to pull out their feathers, become withdrawn, and fall off track on their ability to interact well with people.

Will A Shelter Bird Be As ‘Good’ of a Pet as a Store-Bought Bird?

For the most part, yes. Birds will readjust to being in a household over the course of a few weeks. They frequently will need some peace, quiet, and TLC, though.

You can also minimize the re-adjustment period by adopting from a reputable shelter that provides their birds with plenty of mental stimulation and socialization. You will also want to choose a shelter that provides adequate veterinary care and hygienic conditions for their birds.

How Can You Prepare for Bird Adoption?

If you’ve decided to adopt a shelter-bird, we thank you! But what can you do to ensure you are prepared for their homecoming and that your avian friend has what they need for a long, healthy, joyful life?

1. Decide On The Type of Bird You Want to Adopt

When choosing a bird, you want to consider how long it will live and what kind of care it will need. Parrots can live for decades while smaller birds often have lifespans of about eight to fifteen years.

Some birds thrive with a partner and the upkeep for a second bird does not add a lot of additional work. Bird partners can keep each other content and mentally enriched. Parakeets, lovebirds, and finches are two of the most popular pet birds that do well with companions.

Decide on how much room your bird will need. If you have limited space, consider a finch.

Understand the expense of your bird’s veterinary care. Birds, like other pets, need regular checkups and medical care. Most birds are fine with annual exams, but others need their claws and beaks shaved more regularly.

2. Purchase the Equipment Your Bird Needs

Research the species you’re going to adopt, then make a list of what you will need. Most birds require:

  • A large cage: Birds should be able to spread their wings and rest on their perch without their tails touching the cage floor. The bigger, the better when it comes to your bird’s habitat.
  • Food: You will want a mix of pet bird feed and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • A perch: Birds need a place to rest that is far from their water bowls.
  • Cage liners: Newspaper or paper towels will work. 
  • Food and water bowls
  • A hiding nook: Many birds like to get away for a bit of peace, quiet, and privacy. A hidey-hole is a great way to provide your bird their own private retreat.
  • Toys & Mental Enrichment: Chews, rawhide, and ropes make excellent additions to your bird’s cage. Just be sure to look into your specific species to ensure the toys you add to the cage are safe and appropriate.
  • Nail clippers

3. Call Us to Establish Care

If you’re bringing home a new feathered friend, give us a call and we will happily add your bird to our family of pets we care for. You will want to schedule an initial appointment, so we have a baseline for your bird’s health. We are also happy to discuss tips to help you better care for your new bird.

4. Meet and Greet Potential Adoptees

When adopting a companion bird, you will want to meet them in person and spend some time getting to know them. Be sure to ask the shelter staff questions about the bird you may adopt, including if the bird needs special medical care.

Birds of a Feather Flock to Cedar Pet Clinic Together.

We believe all pets deserve the best veterinary care. We provide birds with thorough medical care and are happy to be your go-to choice for beak maintenance, talon and feather trims, and nutritional counselling.

Want to show your bird some extra love this month? Make an appointment to see us soon.

Photo Credit: Luan Oosthuizen / 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