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Scratching Solutions

Does your couch look like Edward Scissorhands has been over for a visit? If so, you probably have a cat or two.

Why do cats scratch?

Cats scratch for several reasons. Scratching helps them remove the dead outer layer of their claws and allows them to get in a good stretch. It’s also a way for them to leave their mark and their scent which makes them feel safe in their environment. And sometimes cats scratch out of boredom.

Bad news is that your cat is always going to scratch. Good news is that there are several things you can do to ensure that their scratching isn’t destructive. Check out the tips below! 

Provide scratching alternatives….Place a few scratching posts/trees or scratching pads around the house to encourage an appropriate place to lounge and scratch. 

Deter scratching…To deter your feline friend from wreaking havoc on your new Ethan Allen sofa, spray the fabric with scents that are overwhelming to cats such as citrus, mint, or lavender. You can also use products like Sticky Paws to discourage clawing. 

Keep your kitty busy…If your cat is scratching out of boredom, try leaving out empty boxes around the house for them to crawl through or hide treats to tap into their natural hunting instincts.

Visit our blog for more ideas on how to keep your cat entertained. 

Winter and the cold weather is hard on all pets and senior dogs need some extra attention during the harsh winter months. The cold weather tends to aggravate existing medical conditions in senior dogs, particularly arthritis. Bitter cold, numbing wetness or biting winds can cause discomfort for our pups. Paying special attention to your senior dogs’ wellbeing during the winter season will help you both enjoy the winter.

Bring your senior dog to The Corner Vet for a check up

Because your senior dog may be in more pain during the winter than other months, it’s a good idea to take them to The Corner Vet (TCV) doctor for a check-up. It might even be the first time your dog has acted like he is arthritic. Make sure your pup is taking the proper dosages of their medications and talk to your vet about how to keep your dog healthy during winter.

Senior pets can get joint pain particularly in the winter months

One of the main concerns with senior pets during winter months is joint pain. Talk to your TCV vet about adding some Glucosamine, and Chondroitin to his diet, which helps to lubricate their joints, which can stiffen in a younger, healthy dog in the winter time and become painful.

Keep up the exercise during winter to avoid stiffening joints

It’s important to keep exercising your senior dog during the colder months to avoid stiffening of the joints. Try to watch for slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft rest area to recuperate after activity. If you can take your dog out during the warmest part of the day, that helps too. You might even need to put boots on your dog’s feet to prevent slipping outside.

Clear the pathway and watch for slickness when taking your dog out.

Ramps and/or steps may be helpful. Make sure to clear a pathway when snow is on the ground so that your pet does not have to navigate the drifts. Be careful when it is icy or snowy out. Older pets may not move as quickly or be as flexible as their younger counterparts and injure themselves when it is slick outside.

Watch the scale and make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet!

Make sure to watch the scale! It is natural for pets who are less active to gain a few pounds during the winter months, but extra weight can be a huge burden for already arthritic joints. And, as always, make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet which will help keep him warmer and healthier during the winter months.

Sweaters can help older dogs with slower circulation keep warm

If your dog will tolerate wearing clothes, sweaters and boots can be a great way to help older animals with slower circulation stay warm this winter. Depending on the breed of your dog, you may also want to consider a dog jacket, or coat to protect them, especially in areas where the temperature can go below freezing, or areas where it gets very damp and cold.

Provide a warm, plush dog bed

A plush dog bed will keep your dog off the cold floor and it will reflect some of his own body heat back to your dog. An elevated dog bed can also keep your dog off the cold floor and it provides some extra support for his bones and joints. If your dog suffers from arthritis, you may even consider a memory foam dog bed for maximum bone and joint support.

Be sure ask us about our Fear Free approach when getting ready to bring your pet into one of our clinics for their next visit!

Every cat owner knows how much cats tend to sleep during the day. While we are out or at work, it’s important for our cats to remain stimulated and not sleep the day away. Otherwise, they will be up all night! There are many ways to keep your cat occupied during the day while you are away.

Below are six ways to keep your cats active during the day (or try to!):

1. Leave your cat’s favorite toys around your home

Leave toys out that your cat gravitates towards and can use to play independently. There are many interactive toys such as wands, or a mouse-activated play toys that keeps your kitties stimulated. If your kitties are climbers, make sure to have a kitty condo or tree that they could jump on during the day. Put some catnip at the top to entice them to jump to the top.

2. Hide food or treats in places for your cats to find

Put a few healthy treats into a plastic container and leave it on the floor with the lid off for a great beginner puzzle. Any plastic container with a secure lid can become a puzzle. Just cut two or three slots around the bottom outer edge of the container and place a few treats in the center. Or hide treats where your cats can find them but have to work to get them.

3. Adopt another cat!

If you have only one cat, think about adopting a second cat (or even dog!). Not only would it bring another kitty into your home and out of a shelter, but it could keep your cat much more active during the day. The new cat or dog will hopefully become best friends and play throughout the day while you are away. Be sure to talk to us about our Fear Free approach to acclimating your home when getting ready to introduce a new pet into your family!

4. Leave items with an enticing smell on them for your cats to find

You can use t-shirts or clothes as washable scent baits. Mark the items with some vanilla extract or even peanut butter, or place a pinch of any aromatic spice inside, then rub it over a slice of lunch meat to pick up the scent. Scatter the shirts or socks throughout the house and your cat will be on the prowl for hours enamored by all the scents.

5. Have a window perch where your kitties can sit and watch

If you are able to add a window perch to your window, it’s a great way for your kitties to be on bird watch. If you are handy, you can even attach a suction-cup bird feeder outside your cat’s favorite window (if you do this, keep the windows closed to prevent attacks!). This will certainly keep your cats stimulated and active. 

6. Leave boxes and bags out around the house

Use cardboard boxes as beds, dens, tunnels and mazes. You can leave them out for your cats to jump in, run through or scratch. Most kitties love boxes and bags and will certainly play with and on them. Follow us on Pinterest for easy DIY options!

There are many ways to build on the above ideas to keep your cats active during the day. The more occupied your cats are during the day, the calmer they will be at night and more likely to sleep when you do!

Winter is here! As we, pet parents, try to stay healthy during the cold winter months, it’s important to also be mindful of our dogs. Most dogs aren’t attuned to how cold it is outside so we need to judge how our dogs endure the cold (cats should be kept indoors during the extreme cold). Some dogs love the cold while others have very little tolerance for it.

Below are some tips from The Corner Vet to keep your dogs’ healthy and protected during the winter months!

Dogs should only be let outside for a short time in the cold. 

Don’t let your dogs’ outside for any extended period when the temperature drops, especially short haired or older dogs. When you do take your dogs’ out, make sure to keep them moving to keep them warm. Some dogs like wearing a sweater or jacket to help warm them up. Remember that a wind chill can threaten a dog’s life. Dogs are sensitive to severe cold and can get either frostbite and/or hypothermia when they are outdoors during extreme cold temperatures. Further, their exposed skin or noses, ears, and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.

Wipe your dogs’ paws after they have been outside.

Make sure to wipe your dogs’ paws after they have been outside. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your dog’s feet. Wipe your dogs’ paws with a damp towel before he or she licks them and it irritates his/her mouth. Plus, you don’t want mud all over your floor!

Don’t leave your dog inside the car during the cold weather (just like extreme heat).

Never leave your dog alone in a car during cold weather. A car becomes extremely cold and is not only uncomfortable for your dog, but can cause your pup to freeze to death. There is so much attention to dogs being left in hot cars during the summer, but a cold car during winter can be just as dangerous. Keep your dogs at home and inside!

If your dog has to be outdoors for an extended period, make sure your dog has shelter.

If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or should have a protected, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow him to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The house or enclosure should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. But, is it always preferable to keep your dog(s) indoors.

Keep your dogs hydrated during the cold winter months.

Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food and water in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Check your dog’s water bowl to make sure the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your dog’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal (remember “The Christmas Story”?).

Anti-freeze is very dangerous for your dogs.

Antifreeze is a deadly poison but it has a taste that seems to attract dogs. Wipe up all spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach from your dogs (and any pets). There are some types of antifreeze that are less toxic, but still try to keep them away from your cats and dogs.

Your dogs might feel a little cooped up during the cold winter months, but remember it’s for their own good!

Be sure ask us about our Fear Free approach when getting ready to bring your pet into one of our clinics for their next visit!

Dangerous Holiday Plants

It’s that time of year and many of us are unpacking boxes of decor from the attic and unraveling tangled coils of lights to get our homes decked out for the holidays. While most Christmas decor is safe for pets, there are several festive plants that are not. Here are a few to be aware of.

Holiday Bouquets – As lilies are one of the most popular flowers utilized by florists, all flower arrangements brought into the home should be inspected thoroughly. Even in small amounts, lilies can cause kidney failure in cats and possibly, death. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, halitosis, seizures, diarrhea, and inappropriate urination or thirst.

Mistletoe – When ingested in small amounts, mistletoe can result in gastrointestinal irritation (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain). If eaten in larger quantities, the plant can cause an abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures, breathing problems, collapse, and possibly death.

Pine Needles – Christmas trees are one of the biggest culprits to a pet’s health during the holidays. When eaten, their needles can cause stomach irritations, obstruction and puncture. Tree water can also be problematic as it can contain fertilizers, molds and bacteria. Just a few drinks can make your dog or cat extremely ill.

To keep your pets safe, be sure to vacuum up the needles regularly and keep your pet away from the water by placing a bag over the tree stand or investing in a pet-proof stand. If your pet is especially enthralled by the ornaments and glowing lights, a baby gate may be the way to go. 

Holly Amaryllis – This beautiful plant is highly toxic to pets and, when ingested, causes severe gastrointestinal problems (vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and stomach pain) as well as tremors.

Poinsettia – While these vibrant crimson blooms have had a bad rap, their threat to your pet is fairly minimal. If consumed, pets can experience vomiting, drooling, and (rarely) diarrhea. If your pet’s skin is exposed to the plant’s milky white sap, they can develop a rash.

For more interesting pet health reads, visit our blog!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

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