We all love our pets so we want this e-letter to deliver the information you need to care for your animals and celebrate their unique attributes. Please email us with the topics you would like to see delivered to your in-box, or feel free to send us content that you would like to contribute!
Anxiety is simply a fact of life these days – for us, and our dogs and cats. We’ve all suffered from severe stress at one time or another, so we understand that feeling stressed and anxious can be extremely unpleasant, both physically and psychologically. Stress can take its toll on our minds and bodies in many ways causing depression, emotional outbursts, disruption of sleeping or eating patterns, compromised immune systems, ulcers and panic attacks. The same is true for our dogs and cats. Many pets suffer from stress or anxiety. Often our pets’ stress is a response to the stress their humans are feeling. It could also be a response to a stressful situation – a new baby, a new pet, house guests, moving, kenneling, divorce, a death in the family – even something as simple as a change in daily routine can cause anxiety for your pet.
Fireworks are one of the biggest stressors for dogs and cats. In fact, statistics show a 30% increase in pet runaways related to fireworks.
At this time of year, the noise and commotion of July 4th fireworks celebrations can make pets whine, quiver, bark, meow, bite, hide, run away, vomit, self-mutilate, urinate, pant This is a common fear seen in even the “toughest” of breeds. And these same symptoms can be brought on by thunderstorms. If your pet suffers from anxiety or “situational” stressors like thunder, fireworks or lifestyle changes, there are things you can do to help. If noise or stressful home conditions are a problem, make a “quiet” room for your pet with soft relaxing music and a comfy spot to rest with a blanket or piece of clothing that has your scent. Keep this in mind throughout the summer thunderstorm season.
CATS AND MICE
Has your cat ever brought you a “gift”? This refers to those poor little mice, bugs, and birds (or more) that your cat has managed to catch and bring home for you. It’s a common occurrence with outdoor cats, but even indoor cats have been known to bring gifts now and again. The cats obviously know they don’t have to hunt to get food…why would they keepbringing back dead things? The answer is that you just can’t take the hunting instinct out of a cat. There are lots of theories as to why exactly your cat might bring you these “gifts”:
- they are attempting to train you to hunt as well,
- they are trying to impress you, or
- they are showing their affection.
Whatever the exact reason, just know that your cat’s behavior is completely normal—and believe it or not, it should be encouraged as a way to foster good mental health. Some people let their cats hunt outdoors because they want them to be happy, but this can easily put your cat in danger.
Instead, bring the fun inside – and let your cat go wild! People with indoor cats are always looking for ways to enhance their environment to make them happy as outdoor kitties. Adding toys which replicate the hunting experience is a great way to help your cat exercise this hunting instinct in a safe way. Some toys are typically very good for this, including catnip mice and toys with feathers. But the very best toys are ones that “play back” and let your cat experience more interactive fun. Check your favorite pet store or online for good, interactive cat toys.
MONTHLY: Pet Loss Support Group
WHAT: FREE support group, designed for adult clients of Paws, Whiskers & Wags, led by professional social worker, Christy R. Simpson, L.C.S.W., who specializes in Pet Bereavement & Grief Recovery. Christy has been providing mental health services for over 16 years and truly understands that times of loss can provide opportunities for growth. Come and share your story or just listen and receive support. You are not alone.
WHEN: The first Tuesday of every month from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Next Sessions: JULY 2 & AUGUST 6
WHERE: PWW Decatur office
At some point, almost every dog owner sees their dog limping. In fact, limping (sometimes called lameness) is one of the most common reasons that dogs visit the emergency room. Part of the reason that lameness is so distressing is because it can happen so suddenly. Your dog is running, playing, and jumping just like normal when out of nowhere they begin favoring a paw or leg. Even worse, lameness puts some dogs in pain—so it’s only a matter of seconds between a happy playful dog and a crying injured one.
Lameness is a very common problem and can be caused by a variety of issues. They can include but are not limited to:
- Torn nails,
- Soft tissue injuries,
- Fractures or broken bones,
- Torn ligaments, or
- Bone tumors or cancers.
These are just a few of the things that can cause lameness in a dog. These factors can vary in degree, as well, from serious to very minor. Ligaments help stabilize joints and keep them from sliding around, something that’s very important when it comes to a dog’s knees and ankles. Ligament tears and injuries can require surgery. Surgery can be expensive. For example, the average cost of surgery to repair an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), the one frequently injured by football players, can be anywhere from $1,200 to $5,000. Paying for this kind of surgery can require some really difficult choices by the owners. Most people want to help their dogs, but let’s be honest – that’s a huge expense. This is a time when many pet owners are thrilled to have pet insurance.
When your dog has an unexpected illness or accident, he depends on your to take care of him. But expensive vet bills can sometimes stand in the way of your ability to provide your beloved companion with the medical care he needs. There’s no shame in admitting this—sometimes medical bills can be astronomical (and unexpected), and most people are not prepared for those kinds of costs. That’s why it’s such a good idea to look into pet insurance while your dog is healthy. A good comprehensive policy can start as less than a dollar a day, and it can make all the difference in the world when you’re facing an unexpected vet bill that can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Pet insurance will help cover your dog’s care for illness, accidents, chronic conditions and more. Many plans even pay for well-care exams and vaccinations. It’s worth wile to look into pet insurance now and see if it is right for you.