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How to Keep Your Pet Safe on Halloween

Every Halloween, the streets are lined with frightening strangers – decaying mummies, wicked clowns and hungry zombies – arriving at your door every few minutes demanding a gift of food for their bags.  This is what Halloween is like for your pet, and it can be terrifying! Add on to that a few holiday safety hazards and the stage has been set nicely for disaster.  Keep your pet safe this October 31st with these tips:

Trick or Treat

Treats
Halloween candy is the bane of dentists everywhere, but also a regular presence on Halloween night in emergency veterinary clinics. Something that tastes so wonderful to us can be incredibly dangerous for our four-legged roommates.

  • Chocolate – Halloween provides easy access to this deadly treat, especially when you have a fully-stocked bowl of those amazing chocolate-and-peanut-butter pumpkins. Chocolate is dangerous to both dogs and cats, and can be lethal, and the symptoms include diarrhea, quick breathing, high heart rate, vomiting and even seizures.
  • All Other Candy - A good rule of thumb when it comes to all candy for your pet is this: don’t do it. Even non-chocolate candy is dangerous, as it may contain, xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and seizures.

Tricks
All Hallow’s Eve is also called the “Mischief Night,” and while many practice harmless pranking, sadly many beloved pets fall victim to those with less honorable intentions. Many animal shelters will not allow any black cat adoptions during the month of October, to deter any would-be cruelty inflictors. No matter how deplorable, it can be avoidable, so keep your pets inside on the days surrounding Halloween.

Monsters

People in Costumes
If you live in a kid-friendly neighborhood, you better stock up and leave the porch light on, because they are coming for you. While it’s fun for us to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over the creative costumes America’s youth is donning this year, it’s 100% terrifying for your pets. “Who are these strangers at the door? Why do they keep knocking on the door? Why do you open the door, and then why do they yell? I’m pretty sure I just saw a zombie.” While we can’t really explain this October holiday with our pets, we can take certain steps to make sure they’re as comfortable with the situation as they can be.

  • Pick a room far away from the front door and designate it the pet room for the evening. Turn on low music or a television in the room so sudden knocking or doorbell-ringing isn’t quite so jarring. Buy yourself some time with a few jerky treats and chew toys.
  • If pets can’t be confined to one part of the house, at least make sure they have no access to the front door. With so many constant openings and closings of the door, all to reveal strangers in costume, it’s easy for Fluffy to slip out into the night for tricks of her own.

Your Pets in Costumes
Be sensitive to your buddy. While many pet costumes are hilarious and adorable, it’s important to make sure that your dog or cat is okay with wearing whatever you have chosen. I’m not saying that he’s going to choose whether he wants to be Lady Gaga or a hotdog, but he can let you know quickly if the costume doesn’t fit.  You wouldn’t want to wear an uncomfortable costume all night, so don’t put your pet in something tight, restrictive, irritating, itchy or painful.

The one costume your pet should not go without this Halloween is an identifying tag, engraved with your phone number. Many pets go missing on Halloween, so make it easier for rescuers to reach you when they find your dog.

Pumpkins

Pumpkin is a delicious fruit can be a nice addition to your pet’s diet. However, Halloween presents its own set of dangers when it comes to the cheerful orange decoration.

  • Too Much of a Good Thing – Pumpkin in small quantities can act as a natural regularity booster, but too much can quickly up that power to laxative and even intestinal blockage. Make sure any decorative pumpkins are not within easy access to dogs and cats, who may just decide they’re going to eat the whole  pumpkin before you even realize it’s happening. Similarly, another fall decoration, corn, can also cause gastrointestinal problems, so keep it out of reach as well.
  • Jack-O-Lantern – You certainly want the neighborhood to enjoy all the hard work you put into your jack-o-lantern, but don’t forget that the unusual glow from the candle can attract more than trick-or-treaters. Keep pets away from any items that have a flame, including pumpkins and decorative candles.

Halloween can be scary for your pet, or it can be like any other day with careful planning and consideration for your pet.  Remember your first concern is your pet’s health and safety, and if that can be accomplished while dressing your dog as the Toto to your Dorothy, your Halloween will be one to remember.

How to Choose a Vet (in 10 Steps)

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.
License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, and although a membership with the American Animal Hospital Association is not mandatory, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.
Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.
Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.
Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!
Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.
Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.
Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.
Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.
Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.
The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet  and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.
Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.

License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, and although a membership with the American Animal Hospital Association is not mandatory, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.

Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.

Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.

Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!

Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.

Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.

Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.

Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.

Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.

The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet  and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.

Dr. Tonia Shatzel at 30-A Vet in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

How to Love Your Dog: Tips, Tricks and Must-Knows

There’s really nothing better than a dog. A true friend and companion, a trickster, a playmate, and often the life of the party, what would our lives be without our four-legged friends? The famous humorist Will Rogers once said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Dogs live to love us, so here’s a few ways to return that love and show your best friend how much they mean to you.
Hanging Out with Your Buddy – Every day you have your routine, and it undoubtedly includes time spent away from home – at work, running errands or just living your life. But don’t forget that you have a buddy at home whose whole life revolves around you. Of course you can’t be with your dog all day, but it’s important to make time to hang out with your dog every day.
Walks and Runs: Every dog breed needs daily exercise, but do a little research on your pooch and make sure he is getting enough physical fitness every day. You’re not only assuring your dog’s health, but you’re showing him that he’s important enough to show off. And remember that it’s his time to enjoy the outdoors, so be patient when he stops to smell the flowers.
Dog-friendly Outings : Pet-friendly activities are popping up all over, so take a little time to research dog-friendly spots in your neighborhood and town. Many outdoor restaurants and more shops than ever are not only allowing you, but inviting you to bring your dog along for the fun. Call ahead to make sure, or check out Bring Fido, a great online search tool that highlights the best in dog-friendly spots, complete with user reviews and pictures.
At Home: Long day at work or just feeling like keeping it local? Don’t forget that even if you’ve had a busy day, your dog has been busy waiting for you to come home, so don’t forget to give him some attention. Throw a favorite toy (back and forth a few thousand times), play a game of hide and seek, or set up a doggy treat hunt in your home.
Taking Care – You watch what you eat, have good hygiene and have regular checkups with your doctor, so why wouldn’t you want the same for your dog? One of the best ways to love your dog? Making responsible choices when it comes to their everyday health.
Food : Your dog’s diet can determine not only the longevity of his life, but also the quality. Dog’s don’t judge their food in calories or health benefits, so it’s up to you  to make good choices with what to put in his bowl. Read the bag, check the ingredients, do your homework, because don’t you want to have your best friend around as long as you can? You want a food that has real meat, fruits and vegetables, not fillers, and the artificial flavors or colors have to go. Choose a diet suitable for your dog’s breed and stage of life; Wellness Pet Food makes it easy to make the right choice for your dog.
Grooming : Can you imagine what your hair would look like if you didn’t brush it for months and you only got a haircut every couple of years? Or what if you never trimmed your fingernails or brushed your teeth? If you wouldn’t neglect your own hygiene, why would you neglect your dogs? Not only does poor grooming cause your pet discomfort, but some factors, like not regular teeth-brushing, can pose serious risks to his health.
Vet Care – Regular veterinary care for your dog is part of being a responsible owner, and this includes two exams a year at the minimum. Stay up to date on vaccinations (most importantly for distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies) and visit the vet if your buddy is injured or shows lingering signs of sickness.
The Special Treatment – Hopefully you have lots of opportunities to show your dog a special reward; he didn’t chase the mailman at lunch, or you left your brand new shoes out all night and not a chew mark to be seen, or maybe it’s your dog’s birthday. Whatever the reason for celebration, here are some ways to give your buddy the special treatment.
Dog Massage – Sure, that can sound a little strange at first, but dogs, especially dogs with more than a few years under their collars, can reap the benefits of a good massage. Massage can be calming in times of anxiety, relieve joint stiffness in arthritic dogs, or even provide a warm-up for athletic dogs before play. This article in Modern Dog Magazine has some great tips on how to give the right kind of massage for your dog’s health.
Treats – Treats are often the go-to choice for rewarding your dog, but if you truly love your pooch, you will only give treats with the right ingredients and offer these kind of tasty rewards in moderation. Choose the right dog treats, tailored to your buddy’s diet and health needs, and save treats for times of excellent behavior, not to be given as a ‘guilt treat’ for when you have to leave the house.

There’s really nothing better than a dog. A true friend and companion, a trickster, a playmate, and often the life of the party, what would our lives be without our four-legged friends? The famous humorist Will Rogers once said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Dogs live to love us, so here’s a few ways to return that love and show your best friend how much they mean to you.

Hanging Out with Your Buddy – Every day you have your routine, and it undoubtedly includes time spent away from home – at work, running errands or just living your life. But don’t forget that you have a buddy at home whose whole life revolves around you. Of course you can’t be with your dog all day, but it’s important to make time to hang out with your dog every day.

  • Walks and Runs: Every dog breed needs daily exercise, but do a little research on your pooch and make sure he is getting enough physical fitness every day. You’re not only assuring your dog’s health, but you’re showing him that he’s important enough to show off. And remember that it’s his time to enjoy the outdoors, so be patient when he stops to smell the flowers.
  • Dog-friendly Outings: Pet-friendly activities are popping up all over, so take a little time to research dog-friendly spots in your neighborhood and town. Many outdoor restaurants and more shops than ever are not only allowing you, but inviting you to bring your dog along for the fun. Call ahead to make sure, or check out Bring Fido, a great online search tool that highlights the best in dog-friendly spots, complete with user reviews and pictures.
  • At Home: Long day at work or just feeling like keeping it local? Don’t forget that even if you’ve had a busy day, your dog has been busy waiting for you to come home, so don’t forget to give him some attention. Throw a favorite toy, play a game of hide and seek, or set up a doggy treat hunt in your home.

Taking Care – You watch what you eat, have good hygiene and have regular checkups with your doctor, so why wouldn’t you want the same for your dog? One of the best ways to love your dog? Making responsible choices when it comes to their everyday health.

  • Food: Your dog’s diet can determine not only the longevity of his life, but also the quality. Dogs don’t judge their food in calories or health benefits, so it’s up to you  to make good choices with what to put in his bowl. Read the bag, check the ingredients, do your homework, because don’t you want to have your best friend around as long as you can? You want a food that has real meat, fruits and vegetables; not fillers, and the artificial flavors or colors have to go. Choose a diet suitable for your dog’s breed and stage of life; Wellness Pet Food makes it easy to make the right choice for your dog.
  • Grooming: Can you imagine what your hair would look like if you didn’t brush it for months and you only got a haircut every couple of years? Or what if you never trimmed your fingernails or brushed your teeth? If you wouldn’t neglect your own hygiene, why would you neglect your dogs? Not only does poor grooming cause your pet discomfort, but some factors, like not regular teeth-brushing, can pose serious risks to his health.
  • Vet Care: Regular veterinary care for your dog is part of being a responsible owner, and this includes two exams a year at the minimum. Stay up to date on vaccinations (most importantly for distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies) and visit the vet if your buddy is injured or shows lingering signs of sickness.

The Special Treatment - Hopefully you have lots of opportunities to show your dog a special reward; he didn’t chase the mailman at lunch, or you left your brand new shoes out all night and not a chew mark to be seen, or maybe it’s your dog’s birthday. Whatever the reason for celebration, here are some ways to give your buddy the special treatment.

  • Dog Massage: Sure, that can sound a little strange at first, but dogs, especially dogs with more than a few years under their collars, can reap the benefits of a good massage. Massage can be calming in times of anxiety, relieve joint stiffness in arthritic dogs, or even provide a warm-up for athletic dogs before play. This article in Modern Dog Magazine has some great tips on how to give the right kind of massage for your dog’s health.
  • Treats: Treats are often the go-to choice for rewarding your dog, but if you truly love your pooch, you will only give treats with the right ingredients and offer these kind of tasty rewards in moderation. Choose the right dog treats, tailored to your buddy’s diet and health needs, and save treats for times of excellent behavior, not to be given as a ‘guilt treat’ for when you have to leave the house.

There’s a saying that goes, “Dogs may not be our whole lives, but they do make our lives whole.” Dogs spend their waking moments vying for our attention and hoping to show us how much we are loved. Take time for your dog today and show him just how lucky you feel to have him in your life. Make your pet be happy, healthy and well.

How to Prepare for Take Your Dog to Work Day- June 20th

Some workplaces are doggie-friendly year round while others wait for the annual event to make pooches welcome in the office. Here at Wellness, we’re lucky enough to get to bring our dogs to the office once a month. But one of our favorite office holidays is National Take Your Dog to Work Day which takes place this year on Friday, June 20. On this day, we offer special services for spoiled pooches such as doggie massage and grooming. Plus, if the weather is nice we spend plenty of time outside with our pups, letting them meet and greet with each other, play fetch, and explore the lovely office grounds.

If you’d like your pooch to participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 20st, these are some things to consider:

1)      Make sure your workplace is participating. Talk with your supervisor and co-workers to make sure everyone’s onboard before you show up with Max. Some offices will want to see proof of vaccinations or may have other paperwork for you to fill out ahead of time.

2)      The temperament of your pet. Some dogs (and workplaces) are better-suited than others. For example, if your dog is aggressive toward strangers, or gets intimidated and overwhelmed by other dogs, you may want to leave him at home. On the other hand, if your dog likes meeting new people and dogs it should be a good match. What about your dog’s energy level? Depending on what type of workload you have, it may not be best to bring your pup into the office if he’ll be pacing all day and yearning to get outside.

Once you have the OK:

3)      Doggie-proof your workspace. Your dog might want to chew on hanging cords or mistake that stack of files for a bathroom location. Spend a few minutes relocating plants and cleaning up books, papers, stray markers and anything else that may look tempting. It’s also a great idea to bring a baby or pet gate along with you to keep at the entrance of your office/cube while your pup is there.

4)      Give your dog a bath or have him groomed a day or two beforehand. A clean dog is always appreciated, and will look extra charming in those office photos!

5)      Bring bowls, food and treats. Your dog will get hungry, just like you. Plus, treats can be a good motivator to reclaim your pet’s attention if he’s excited.

6)      Bring a towel or your pet’s favorite dog bed. This will cue her to settle in and relax.

Allow a few extra minutes at the start of the work day to allow your dog to smell the surroundings and get comfortable with the environment. Put out a bowl of fresh water, arrange your dog bed and let your co-workers greet your pet. Once the initial excitement is over and everyone settles down, your dog should too.

Studies show dog-friendly workplaces can reduce stress, enhance employee interactions and boost morale.

Here are some fond memories of past Take Your Dog to Work Days at WellPet—enjoy!:

Pet Cancer Awareness Month: How Do You Detect Cancer Early in Your Pets?

Cancer is the most common cause of death for our pets. While a good diet and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent all types of illness, it’s best to closely monitor your pet’s health in order to pick up on early warning signs of disease.

Diagnosing pet cancer requires a thorough veterinarian and medical testing, however, the following symptoms indicate that your pet may not be feeling well, and may indicate something more serious.

Here are 5 Signs of Illness in Your Pet (Sometimes Cancer-Related):

1—Lumps – As pets age, they will sometimes develop non-cancerous skin growths and other lumps and bumps. While many times these growths end up being benign, they can sometimes be a sign of lymphoma or a skin cancer. A trip to the vet will ease your concern, as your vet will run a needle biopsy or another test if she suspects an illness.

2—Unexplained weight loss – If your pet is losing weight, but his or her diet and exercise patterns haven’t changed, you may want to take your pet in for a check-up. Your vet may want to rule out cancer and will help you get to the bottom of the unexplained change in weight.

3—Unusual odors – If your pet has unpleasant odors coming from his or her mouth, ears or anal glands, this could be a sign of cancer in those areas. While these symptoms could also indicate an infection, your veterinarian will examine the areas in question and make recommendations for next steps.

4—Change in bathroom habits—Difficulty going to the bathroom, an increase in bathroom frequency or “forgetting” the approved bathroom locations can be signs that your pet is ill. Keep in mind that a move or other stressful life change can also affect bathroom habits, however it’s best to discuss the issue with your vet.

5—Lethargy – If your pet is no longer excited to go for walks or rides in the car, or is sleeping more often than usual,  it’s time for a trip to the vet. Any illness is likely to leave your pet feeling less than stellar, so while it may not be cancer-related, you won’t know until you go in for a visit.

Remember, just like with humans, diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle play a role in disease prevention. You have the best chance of catching an illness early and resolving it if you pay attention to changes in your pet’s behavior and take him or her to the veterinarian regularly. Early detection can make all the difference.

Caring For Your Senior Cat

Caring For Your Senior Cat
Today, cats are living longer lives thanks to improved veterinary care, better nutrition, and a heightened awareness of pet health and safety. As your cat approaches his or her senior years, it’s a good idea to learn what to expect so you can detect potentially serious health issues, as well as make adjustments to the way you care for your cat to ensure his or her comfort throughout the aging process.
Is Your Cat Considered a Senior?
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, you should begin senior care considerations when your cat reaches the age of seven. It’s recommended that healthy senior cats visit the veterinarian every six months. Regular veterinary visits are best way to catch diseases early and find a way to resolve them.
Physical and Behavioral Changes in Senior Cats
Aging cats experience many changes, so their mental and physical behavior may reflect those changes. Oftentimes, the normal signs of aging closely mimic symptoms of potentially serious conditions, so it’s always a good idea to report any significant changes to your veterinarian.
Here are several common changes in senior cats:
-Playing for shorter amounts of time, or sleeping for more hours in the day
-Not jumping as far, or hesitating when jumping
-Thinning or graying of the coat
-Changing appearance of the eyes including a slight haziness of the lens
-Changes in personality including increased or decreased vocalization, increased dependency on humans and avoidance of social interactions. Some of these changes may be attributed to the aging of the brain/memory loss
-Hearing loss
-Bad breath or dental issues
-Changes in litter box habits
Remember, many of the changes you may see in your aging cat could be related to an underlying medical condition so it’s best to ask your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have. The sooner you catch a health ailment, the better chance you have of curing it or managing it safely.
How to keep your aging cat healthy and happy:
You can help your aging cat to stay happy and healthy by following these tips.
-Give your cat regular exercise: Pay attention to your cat’s changing energy levels. Even though your cat is getting older, regular exercise will help keep your cat at a healthy weight, and it will also increase circulation and assist in maintaining lean muscle mass. To make sure you don’t overwork your cat, limit your play sessions to ten minutes, a couple of times a day and adjust to less or more as needed. If your cat seems to tire easily or experiences any breathing issues, consult your veterinarian.
-Brush your cat regularly: As cats get older, they may not be able to digest foods and hair (from grooming) as easily as they used to; this could mean an increase in hairballs. Help to prevent hairballs by brushing your cat once a day. Brushing also helps keep skin healthy. With your brush, you can help your cat groom those hard-to-reach areas that they may be missing.
-Maintain a Healthy Diet: Many cats, like people, will experience a slowing metabolism as they age, while others find it difficult to keep weight on. Start your cat on a natural recipe specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of senior cats. Wellness Complete Health Senior Health is a good option. It has tailored levels of fat and fiber to support an aging cat’s digestive system, and it includes the WellFlex® Hip & Joint Support Sytem that helps keep cats’ joints supple and limber. Wellness Senior Health is also packed with phytonutrients which may aid in disease prevention, slow the aging process and help boost your cat’s overall immunity.
Limit Stress and Keep Them Cool: Senior cats are not able to regulate their body temperatures as effectively as younger cats. Make sure to keep your cat cool in the summer to avoid heat stroke, and offer a warm blanket or heated cat bed in the winter for comfort. Senior cats may not adapt to change as easily as they once did, so it’s helpful to minimize their stress whenever possible. If you’re introducing a new pet to the family, be sure to take extra precaution to give your senior cat his or her own space, and alleviate stressors such as moving to a new house with extra affection during those trying times.
Although being a pet parent to a senior cat may be challenging in some ways, there are many things to be appreciative for as well. Each year spent with your cat only strengthens the bond you two have with each other. And rather than bouncing off the walls, older cats often display a unique wisdom and mellow, patient personality that really shines as they reach their golden years!

Today, cats are living longer lives thanks to improved veterinary care, better nutrition, and a heightened awareness of pet health and safety. As your cat approaches his or her senior years, it’s a good idea to learn what to expect so you can detect potentially serious health issues, as well as make adjustments to the way you care for your cat to ensure his or her comfort throughout the aging process.

Is Your Cat Considered a Senior?

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, you should begin senior care considerations when your cat reaches the age of seven. It’s recommended that healthy senior cats visit the veterinarian every six months. Regular veterinary visits are best way to catch diseases early and find a way to resolve them.

Physical and Behavioral Changes in Senior Cats


Aging cats experience many changes, so their mental and physical behavior may reflect those changes. Oftentimes, the normal signs of aging closely mimic symptoms of potentially serious conditions, so it’s always a good idea to report any significant changes to your veterinarian.

Here are several common changes in senior cats:

-Playing for shorter amounts of time, or sleeping for more hours in the day

-Not jumping as far, or hesitating when jumping

-Thinning or graying of the coat

-Changing appearance of the eyes including a slight haziness of the lens

-Changes in personality including increased or decreased vocalization, increased dependency on humans and avoidance of social interactions. Some of these changes may be attributed to the aging of the brain/memory loss

-Hearing loss

-Bad breath or dental issues

-Changes in litter box habits

Remember, many of the changes you may see in your aging cat could be related to an underlying medical condition so it’s best to ask your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have. The sooner you catch a health ailment, the better chance you have of curing it or managing it safely.

How to keep your aging cat healthy and happy:


You can help your aging cat to stay happy and healthy by following these tips.

-Give your cat regular exercise: Pay attention to your cat’s changing energy levels. Even though your cat is getting older, regular exercise will help keep your cat at a healthy weight, and it will also increase circulation and assist in maintaining lean muscle mass. To make sure you don’t overwork your cat, limit your play sessions to ten minutes, a couple of times a day and adjust to less or more as needed. If your cat seems to tire easily or experiences any breathing issues, consult your veterinarian.

-Brush your cat regularly: As cats get older, they may not be able to digest foods and hair (from grooming) as easily as they used to; this could mean an increase in hairballs. Help to prevent hairballs by brushing your cat once a day. Brushing also helps keep skin healthy. With your brush, you can help your cat groom those hard-to-reach areas that they may be missing.

-Maintain a Healthy Diet:

Many cats, like people, will experience a slowing metabolism as they age, while others find it difficult to keep weight on. Start your cat on a natural recipe specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of senior cats. Wellness Complete Health Senior Health is a good option. It has tailored levels of fat and fiber to support an aging cat’s digestive system, and it includes the WellFlex® Hip & Joint Support Sytem that helps keep cats’ joints supple and limber. Wellness Senior Health is also packed with phytonutrients which may aid in disease prevention, slow the aging process and help boost your cat’s overall immunity.

Limit Stress and Keep Them Cool: Senior cats are not able to regulate their body temperatures as effectively as younger cats. Make sure to keep your cat cool in the summer to avoid heat stroke, and offer a warm blanket or heated cat bed in the winter for comfort. Senior cats may not adapt to change as easily as they once did, so it’s helpful to minimize their stress whenever possible. If you’re introducing a new pet to the family, be sure to take extra precaution to give your senior cat his or her own space, and alleviate stressors such as moving to a new house with extra affection during those trying times.

Although being a pet parent to a senior cat may be challenging in some ways, there are many things to be appreciative for as well. Each year spent with your cat only strengthens the bond you two have with each other. And rather than bouncing off the walls, older cats often display a unique wisdom and mellow, patient personality that really shines as they reach their golden years!

March Is Poison Prevention Month: 10 Tips on How to Protect Your Pets

March is Poison Prevention Month – Are These Common Items Lurking within Your Pet’s Reach?

From food to plants, there are dozens of common household objects that can be poisonous to your pets. Pet proof your home with these precautions.

1—Household Cleaners — Keep household cleaning products out of reach. From a curious kitty opening and chewing up dozens of wipes or a puppy opening a cabinet and getting into the floor cleaners, there are many “interesting” things we don’t want our pets ingesting.  Keep the cleaning products up high or behind a locked cabinet.

2—Plants – Lilies, Azaleas, Daffodils, and English Ivy are a few plants your pets shouldn’t chew on. Keep bulbs out of their reach too. You can see a full list at the Humane Society.

3—Potpourri and Candles– They may smell good but, but they could irritate your pet’s nose, cause a burn, or make them sick if ingested. Keep scented products firmly out of reach of curious paws and noses.

4—Medicines— “Child proof” containers don’t necessarily mean “pet proof”. A bored pet could chew right through a pill bottle, never mind those sheets of pills with only a thin layer of plastic and foil.  Keep all medications well out of Fido’s reach.

5—Certain Foods—Chocolate, macadamia nuts and onions can all wreak havoc on your pup’s digestive system. Don’t forget that chewing gums or mints sweetened with xylitol can be lethal to pets.

6—Citronella Candles – No candles are good chew toys but citronella can give our furry friends a tummy ache.

7—Ice Melters – Some of these these are labeled “pet friendly” which means it has less of the harmful chemicals in them than others but none are something you want your pet eating. Be sure to wash your dog’s paws after a winter walk.

8–Cocoa Mulch – True to its name, this mulch has cocoa—elements of chocolate–in it. If you have pets who spend time in the yard and you plan to mulch, you’ll want to avoid this one.

9—Fabric softener sheets – Think of the fun your pet can have in pulling one after another out of the box, then chewing them up. This is not good. Fabric softener is full of chemicals your pets are better off not ingesting.

10—Traps– Rat poison, ant traps, roach motels…if within reach of a curious pet, all of these pose hazards to your pet’s health. Be careful with them.

It’s a good idea to periodically give your house the once over and make sure the obvious things are out of pet reach. If you’re preparing for a new pet, you’ll want to be especially stringent.

If you know your pet has ingested something questionable or is acting woozy, call the ASPCA

Animal Poison Control Center for guidance.

Tips on How to Foster a Pet

Considering Pet Fostering? Here’s What You Need to Know

Dog with Foster Mom

Fostering a dog or cat can be a very rewarding experience. Many times, animal shelters rely on foster pet parents in emergency rescue situations. For example, a foster pet parent can prevent an animal from being euthanized by temporarily housing the pet until a safe option becomes available. They can help an animal recover from a sickness by providing special, individualized care or they can help keep a close eye on a litter of kittens until they are old enough to be adopted.

There are many reasons to consider fostering pets and just like adopting, it’s a good idea to think things through and ask a few questions before you bring home that wriggling, furry bundle of happiness.

1—What are the characteristics of the foster animal? Are you able to accommodate the animal’s size and medical/behavioral issues?

2—Will the pet get along with other people/pets in your household?

3—How long will you be fostering the pet? It’s best to compare expectations with the animal shelter before you agree to foster to make sure you’re on the same page.

4—Will the pet need training during the time you are fostering him/her? Many shelters rely on foster parents to assist with training or working with problem behaviors in order to help the pet become more adoptable.

5—Will the animal shelter be providing/financing veterinary care while you’re fostering?

6—Will the shelter/rescue group provide you with pet food while you’re fostering?

7—How will the dog or cat meet potential adopters? Will you attend adoption events or interact with the potential adopters in any way? The shelter may request that you take photos of the pet and/or provide a written description of the pet and its behavior so the shelter can post to Petfinder.com or to a social media page.

8—Will you have a say in who adopts the foster pet? Many animal shelters allow pet foster parents to be part of the decision on which adoptive family to pair the pet with.

10—If you fall in love, will you be able to adopt the pet?

When you foster animals, you free up space for the shelter or rescue to save another life. Plus, you’re providing important socialization for the pet to live a long and happy life. Fostering can be rewarding, yet, you’ll want to ensure you and the shelter have matching expectations of what fostering means.

Foster Dog with Foster Parent

Have you ever fostered a dog or cat? What’s been your experience? We’d love to hear your stories on our Facebook page.

5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween offers lots of opportunity for fun with your pet. Evening strolls, decorations and costumes can all add to the fun. However, all pets aren’t the same and what’s fun for one is terrifying for another. Here are a few guidelines for Halloween fun and safety.Halloween Dogs

1-Pets in Costume – Who doesn’t love a dog (or cat) in costume? Sometimes, it’s the dog or cat. Try the angel costume on your Yorkie but if she seems stressed by it, don’t force the issue. Even if your pet seems happy to entertain you by wearing this year’s ensemble, don’t leave him or her unattended. Pets could hurt themselves trying to tear off headgear, cloaks, etc.

2-Trick or Treating with Your Dog – Does your dog love socializing with other dogs and people of all sizes? If so, you may have a prime candidate for canine trick-or-treating. Dress your pooch as a pumpkin and stroll the neighborhood looking for a bone-a-fied good time. Just make sure to keep your pet leashed and visible with a lighted harness or glow stick. Halloween can be full of surprises.

3-Keep Track of Your Pets – Halloween offers the opportunity for lots of fun and scary times. Most cats and some dogs may be happiest spending the evening behind closed doors safely removed from human trick-or-treaters. Consider your pet’s temperament.

4–Keep Pets Away From Treats – Chocolate can be deadly to dogs. So can xylitol (an ingredient in many sugar free candies and gums). As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep sugar away from your pets. Wellness brand treats like Yogurt, Apples, Bananas yogurt bars are pet-friendly and delicious!

5Decorations—Candles, cords and paper or plastic decorations can all be harmful to your pets. Curious kittens and puppies can chew on things they shouldn’t or knock things over. If the flickering of a jack o’lantern or plastic decorations seem interesting to your pet, be especially vigilant.

Does your pet enjoy Halloween? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page. Pictures are welcome!

Does Your Family Disaster Preparedness Plan Include Your Pets?

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month and it pays to be prepared. Planning for unforeseen circumstances can give you peace of mind—not to mention, keep your family safe.

When considering disaster preparedness for your family, it’s important to include plans for your pets. Here are some suggestions:

  • ID your pet. Tags get scratched or lost, and it’s easy to overlook replacing them as needed. Take a moment and review your pet’s tags. Do they need new ones? Dog with identification tag Have you moved and not replaced them with your current address? Is the information still legible? Refresh those tags either online or at the pet store. Proper ID makes it easier to be reunited if your pet gets loose. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet. A microchip implant is about the size of a grain of rice and is placed under your pet’s skin. According to the American Humane Association, “Microchipping serves as a permanent identification system that will always be with your pet. Nearly all animal shelters across the country routinely scan every animal upon intake for the presence of a microchip. Most veterinary clinics also have microchip scanners.”
  • Prepare food and dishes. Putting an extra set of dishes and some food and bottled water aside in case you have to evacuate quickly will help you in frenzied moments. If you pack kibble, make sure to rotate it out every few months so it doesn’t get stale and lose its nutritional value. If you pack canned food, make sure to include a manual can opener.
  • Speaking of evacuation, take your pet with you if you do leave. They are more likely to stay safe if they’re with you.
  • Think through where you could evacuate. Would you go stay with family? At a hotel? A shelter? Consider your options and make sure they’re pet friendly. Many shelters don’t take pets and though more motels and hotels do these days, it’s always a good idea to check it out ahead of time.
  • Make copies of your pet’s medical records. Put them in a waterproof bag or container along with a recent photo in case you’re separated.
  • Stash leashes, harnesses and carriers. These can all come in handy if you need to get your pet out of the house in a hurry. If you somehow get out of your house without them, having extras tucked away in your kit can be lifesaver. If you have cats, you may want to purchase cat harnesses to use in the case of an emergency where you cannot use your carrier.Cat on harness

The Humane Society recommends keeping a basic disaster preparedness kit in your car if you live in a hurricane or flood prone area and in your basement if tornadoes are prevalent where you live.

What about emergencies that prevent you from getting home to your pets? For example, there’s a bad ice storm and you can’t get there at your regular time? It’s a good idea to have a trusted friend, neighbor or family member you can contact during this type of situation. They’ll need a copy of your key and need to know where you keep the pet food, etc.

If you use a pet sitting service, ask them what their policies are for emergencies.

Spending a little time now on your family’s disaster preparedness plan can give you tons of relief later if you should ever need it.

What other suggestions do you have? We’d love to hear about them on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wellnesspetfood