One of the more controversial topics in the pet owner world is declawing cats. Some owners are staunch supporters of this procedure, while others are fierce advocates. What is the big deal about declawing, anyway? Here are a few facts about declawing.
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats–it is how they keep their nails short and is a way for them to mark their territory. With good training, frequent nail trims, and alternative surfaces, most cats will learn to avoid scratching furniture and walls. Some cats, however, are more resistant to this idea or are fixated on a particular spot. These owners may elect to have their cat declawed.
Declawing, or onchyectomy, removes not only the claw but the entire first bone of each toe; imagine a human hand without all of its fingertips. This is a major surgical procedure, and is very painful for the cat. Generally, cats heal better and have less behavioral issues if the surgery is performed at a younger age–many times the procedure is performed along with a spay or neuter at around 6 months of age.
At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we will perform a declawing surgery as a last resort–only after all other measures have failed to curb the behavior. The biggest benefit to performing the surgery here is that we are able to use our surgical laser! The CO2 laser allows the veterinarian to simultaneously cauterize and cut, which makes the declawing less painful for the cat and negates the need for the bandages used after a traditional declaw. Another advantage is that KAH is very invested in pain control for our patients. Our Kingsbrook veterinarians will use multiple types of pain control both before and after the procedure to help keep the cat comfortable. All of our veterinarians and staff are happy to answer any questions about this procedure.
Continuing on Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s theme of New Years’ resolutions, many people vow to eat healthier or go on a diet starting in January. Healthy eating can extend to our pets, too! There’s a lot of information available on animal nutrition, so it can be challenging to know fact from fiction. Here, KAH will provide our Top 5 Tips on Healthy Pet Nutrition.
Most scientists agree that dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores. This means that “wild” dogs will eat plants, grains, and meat, while cats will eat almost exclusively (greater than 95%) meat. Be sure pets are getting appropriate levels of protein—too much can be as harmful as too little!
Be sure to use a measuring cup or scoop to accurately measure how much each pet is eating. Make sure each cup is level (like the small scoop) not rounded at the top (like the bigger cup)!
The type of protein is just as important as the amount. Unlike people, our pets don’t really need “variety” in their diets. To avoid food allergies and picky eaters, feed just one protein (such as chicken or lamb) and stick with it!
Choose a reputable brand of pet food made by a company that staffs certified nutritionists
KAH technician Julie’s kitty Calvin poses with his food. Science Diet is one of the brands KAH recommends for good pet nutrition!
and has solid quality control procedures in place. It’s even better if they have a good customer support department that can answer any questions owners may have. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, and Purina ProPlan as excellent choices for any pet’s diet.
Pet food bags usually overestimate the amount an animal should be eating. For example, most cats don’t need more than ½ a cup of dry food in a day. For exact recommendations for a specific pet, consult a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.
Meal feeding is always a better idea than free feeding. It’s much easier to monitor how much and how well a pet is eating if measured amounts are put down 2-3 times a day. Also, just like for humans, several small meals tend to keep metabolism higher than just one big meal every day.
January is well under way, and at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD there are a lot of New Year’s resolutions in progress! A popular resolution is to get in shape. Unfortunately, about 53% of dogs and 58% of cats in the United States are overweight too. Obesity in pets, just like in people, predisposes our furry friends to diabetes, joint pain, and other health problems that don’t go away easily.
Getting out to enjoy the sunshine is a great way to strut your stuff…and burn some calories!
Since they can’t do it all on their own, here are Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Tips for getting pets bikini-ready:
Take a walk! The extra cardio will help you both get in shape. If visiting a dog park, be present when introducing new dogs and make sure all four-footed parties are fully vaccinated. Cats can go for walks, too! Pick up a cat harness from the pet store and introduce it slowly. Let Fluffy take the first steps outside all on her own. Click this link for more tips on walking cats.
Adorable KAH patient Cooper shows off his new stuffy. Toys make everything more fun!
Make time for play! Most cats love laser pointers, but every kitty has a favorite toy. Try a variety of low-cost options such as a crumpled piece of paper or a ping-pong ball. Try rope toys or a new Kong for a playful dog. For dogs who don’t play much, food puzzle toys can provide enrichment with a tasty reward.
Add a salad! Try cutting back a little on the kibbles and mixing in some green beans or canned pumpkin. The fiber fills up pets for longer without adding calories. To get the exact amounts for a specific pet, please consult a veterinarian. Our KAH doctors are happy to help!
Eat and run! Pets who constantly beg for food can make weight loss challenging. Measure out a portion for Fluffy or Rover, then throw each kibble to make the pet chase. Start with chasing a small amount and offering the rest in the pet’s normal bowl, and slowly work up to the whole meal. Another great idea is playing “hide and seek” by stashing small amounts of food here and
Hills Metabolic prescription food helps where other weight loss methods have failed.
there so the pet has to “forage” for dinner.
When all else fails, ask a veterinarian about Hill’s Metabolic Diet. This prescription food, when fed as directed, is guaranteed to shed those stubborn pounds.