Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
Click here for our web site!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sharing the Feast

Sharing the Feast

Every Thanksgiving season, many pet parents beg my permission to share the Thanksgiving goodies with their four legged family members.  “But a little bit of turkey is okay, right?” they ask.
“I mean there’s turkey and chicken in his food.  And you even said sweet potato is good for them!”

While foods such as turkey and sweet potatoes are not “bad” for pets in and of themselves, bear in mind that any diet change can be upsetting to a dog or cat’s sensitive digestive tract.  Our foods are often basted, seasoned, garnished, and marinated in foods that are completely foreign to our pets. Sweet potato is good for your pet.  But the butter, brown sugar and marshmallows that make up Bubbe’s “special recipe” are not.  Butter and cooking oils are high in fats  - and even “good fats” can cause gastrointestinal upset.  Worse yet, fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis, a condition that can cost well over $1000 to treat, and can cost your pet his life if left untreated.  Many recipes also include onions.  Onions are the cause of Heinz body anemia, a blood disorder that is often fatal and again, costs thousands of dollars to treat.

While “people food” may be off-limits, bear in mind that this is a very hectic time of the year - and pets know it!  Many will help themselves to whatever they can find in garbage cans, recycling bins and things that have been dropped on the floor.  Strings, tin foil, roasting bags, and grease-soaked paper towels are just a few of the Black Friday emergencies I have treated throughout my career. Never set garbage bags on the floor.  They are fair game to a hungry hound.  A client learned this the hard way when her dachshund tore through the bag and ate the entire turkey carcass. I surgically removed it the next day.

My front desk is often asked why they have to work the day after Thanksgiving.  The answer usually starts with “Well, there was this dachshund one year that tore open the trash bag….”

For those of you who may be wondering, no it was not one of my dachshunds!  At least not that time...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cat Nail Trims

Can I Really Cut My Cat’s Nails?

Nail trims for cats are not nearly as scary as they sound.  While the best time to teach a cat to tolerate nail trims is kittenhood, older cats can learn as well.  Start by getting Kitty to tolerate having her paws and toes played with while you are holding her. Make sure she gets used to having the pads of her paws pressed so that the nails are exposed. Choose a time when she is naturally relaxed, such as right after mealtimes or after naps.  If she enjoys being cuddled in a blanket, do this as well. Choose a quiet place away from the distractions of children, other pets, or outdoor activity. Next show her the clippers.  Let her smell them, pet her with them, and give her a treat as a reward.

Once she learns that neither clippers nor toe handling is scary, get her used to the sound of the clippers.  While you are holding her, use the clippers to “trim” a piece of uncooked spaghetti.  Each time she hears the click, give her a food reward.  Once she accepts the sound without reacting, press the pads of her paws, and clip the spaghetti at the same time, and reward her with a treat. This teaches her that the sound and pressure combined are neither scary, nor painful, and ends in a tasty reward.  Do this many times until she is very at ease with the process.

Now you are ready to trim the nail.  Relax - your cat will sense any underlying anxiety.  Clip only the white part of the nail, and give her a treat.  End trimming sessions on a positive note.  If she’s happy and lets you keep going, progress to the other nails.  Give a treat reward each time you clip.  If you feel her becoming tense or stressed, end the exercise before things escalate.  Never force the issue.  Do not struggle, raise your voice, or use force. Remember to only clip the white part of the nail - the pink part, or quick, contains nerves and blood vessels.  If you accidentally cut the quick, you will see some bleeding.  Have some styptic powder handy just in case. This can be bought  at any pet store, and apply to stop the bleeding.  If this happens, end the exercise. And don’t beat yourself up! Trimming nails is much harder than it looks.  Try again when everyone is calm. Your veterinarian’s office should be more than happy to teach you how to do this on your own.

The more often nail trims are done, the easier they will be for everyone.  Set a goal for every two weeks to keep growth down and quicks pulled back as much as possible.  Always end nail trims on a positive note, and reward with treats and praise!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Pet of the Month

This November our Pet of the Month is Lucky!

Lucky is a 4 month old tabby whose mom rescued him from the beak of an attacking Blue Jay. Poor Lucky’s first visit to Sabal Chase was for a nasty eye injury.  With lots of TLC from his new mom, Lucky’s eye healed beautifully. 

Now he’s all grown up, sweet as can be, and living happily ever after with his mom and two canine siblings. Congratulations, Lucky, and tell all your friends - you’re our Pet of the Month!