Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pet Toys That Teach

If your furry friends have been good this year, and you plan to hang their stockings, consider asking Santa for toys that do more than simply entertain. As animal behaviorists learn more about the way our pets’ brains are wired, many of these experts are citing boredom as a reason for some of their unwanted behaviors. Most of us work throughout the day, leaving our pets to their own devices. It should come as no surprise when they amuse themselves by eating our socks, scratching our furniture, or nuisance barking.

When it comes to toys that teach, pet parents have a lot of choices. Food puzzles for both dogs and cats encourage pets to think and interact with a toy that dispenses food. If your pet is not particularly motivated by treats, consider a toy that encourages them to chase or play. A remote control mouse on a timer is irresistible to most cats, as it stimulates their natural instincts to hunt. A set of small squeak toys stuffed inside a larger toy will require a dog with a strong prey drive to “work” in order to get to the prize. And the viral video of the dachshund repeatedly loading tennis balls into an automated, pint-sized pitcher put The iFetch on every dog’s wish list. Whatever you put under the tree this year, remember -  the toys that teach are the gifts that keep on giving.

This food puzzle requires the dog to roll the ball in order to dispense the treats inside. Looks like somebody's got the hang of it. More treats please! Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Meet Josie, Our December Pet Of The Month!

Josie is a four-year-old Yorkshire Terrier who loves to snuggle! When she's not lounging in a lap, Josie enjoys frolicking at the beach, and going for long walks with her family.  When she's worn out from all the cuteness, her favorite place to recharge is in the laundry basket - with warm towels, fresh from the dryer, naturally!

Congratulations Josie, and share with all your friends - you're our Pet of the Month!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Introducing A New Cat To An Established Cat

A Tale Of Two Kitties:
Introducing A New Cat To An Established Cat

When bringing a new cat into a home where another cat resides, it’s important to make the introduction gradually. Throwing two cats together and expecting them to bond is an unreasonable expectation, and can lead to conflict down the road. For the first few days, the new cat should live in a single room of the house. Make the room as comfortable as possible, complete with toys, catnip, a bed, litter box, and scratching post. While the door will be kept closed, the two cats will still be aware of each other’s sounds and scents. This allows them to adjust to the idea of sharing their environment without unnecessary stress. Make sure you spend equal amounts of time with each cat. As you carry their scents back and forth, this too will allow them to slowly adjust to the new normal.

Throughout this process, feed both cats close to the closed door. Treats should be given in this manner as well. This exercise teaches them to associate each other’s presence with something predictable and positive - food!  After about three days, have the cats switch places. The established cat and all his possessions will move into the bedroom, while the new cat explores the rest of the house. Again, this gives each cat plenty of time to become acclimated to the other cat’s scent, and reduces the chance of either cat perceiving part of the house as his “turf.” Repeat the visiting and feeding rituals, making sure each cat gets plenty of TLC. After several days, your cats should be ready for supervised, face-to-face meetings. While the lead-up can be time-consuming, the reward of a drama-free household is well worth the extra effort.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Meet Ricky, Our November Pet Of The Month!

World, meet Ricky, our November Pet of the Month!

Ricky is a 14-year-old Maltese who's the apple of his mom's eye. Who could possible resist that sweet face and soulful gaze? Like a nice bottle of wine, Ricky just gets better as the years go by. He still loves attention and affection, and is utterly devoted to his family. So while some may use words like "mature" or "senior" to describe pets like Ricky, we think "vintage" is far more appropriate!

Congratulations, Ricky, and share with all your friends - you're our Pet of the Month!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Introducing A New Dog To An Established Dog

If you decide your dog needs a friend, remember the value of first impressions. What happens during the initial introductions can have lasting implications on their future friendship, so be sure to set them up for success from day one.

Before you bring the newbie home, make sure the existing dog has burned a lot of energy by walking, playing, and enjoying his favorite form of exercise. When meeting a new housemate, pent up energy can present a problem, so make sure the established dog is as calm as possible. Have the two dogs meet at a neutral and unfamiliar location, such as a park or parking lot. The introduction should happen while another handler holds the new dog’s leash. The first introduction should never be face to face! This can be perceived as a challenge in any meeting scenario. Allow the existing dog to sniff the newcomer’s backside (it’s what they do!) for a maximum of three seconds. Then switch roles - new nose meets old butt. Repeat the exercise several times, then go for a walk together. Once they have walked as a pack and are somewhat tired, allow them to sniff nose to nose. Again, allow only three seconds, then walk away and repeat several times. This should  allow you to get  a feel for how the relationship is progressing. Our younger needs at least six three-second nose to nose greetings before he’s ready to play. Every dog is different, so patience is the key. And speaking of patience, cat parents, next month, we’ll talk about introducing new cats. Stay tuned!

Destined to be BFFs!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Meet Boris, Our October Pet Of The Month

World, meet Boris, our October Pet Of The Month!

Boris is an eight-year-old-tabby who genuinely enjoys coming to see us. No, really! We think his signature collection of bow-ties gives him the self-confidence of a boss. They certainly make him that much more adorable.

Congratulations, Boris, and share with all your friends - not only are you one dapper dude, you're our Pet Of The Month!

Boris is one fabulous feline!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hairballs Happen

Hairballs Happen
By Dr. Ian Kupkee

Mankind has been fascinated for thousands of years by the regal and dignified nature of domestic cats. Yet in spite of their mystique, many of our feline friends are plagued by the rather inelegant problem of hairballs. Hairballs happen when cats ingest too much hair during the self-grooming process. Allergies, skin diseases, stress, and external parasites are just a few reasons why cats may shed enough hair to present a problem. If your cat is losing weight, refusing food, or vomiting hair more than once a week, it’s time to see your veterinarian for a checkup.

Most of the time, however, hairballs can be controlled by making a few simple changes at home.  Daily brushing can greatly reduce the amount of hair your cat ingests. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to their diets can mitigate shedding, but supplements must be specifically labelled for use in cats. Products intended for humans often contain artificial sweeteners that are toxic to pets. Additionally, your kitty may respond to a diet that is higher in fiber, or one containing fewer potential allergens. Ask your veterinary healthcare team to recommend a suitable diet for your individual cat. Since hairballs can occasionally lead to life-threatening blockages which require a surgical fix, it’s best to intervene sooner rather than later.  Minor adjustments at the first sign of trouble are often the key to preventing a hairball horror.