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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

How to Pet Proof Your Living Room for a New Puppy or Kitten

It’s fun to bring home a new puppy or kitten. You can cuddle them, introduce them to family members, post pictures on Facebook and spoil them silly!

What’s not fun is when they chew something they shouldn’t—remote controls, shoes and  window blinds come to mind. Puppies and kittens are naturally curious. They’ll explore the nooks and crannies that even your vacuum may not have seen lately, and they’ll learn about new things by putting them in their mouths.

So, how do you pet proof your home? Each room will require a slightly different strategy and in this post we’ll focus on your living room. It’s a good idea to take some time before your new furry family member arrives and give your home a critical eye.

5 Steps to Pet Proofing Your Living Room

1) Pick up shoes and stow them in a closet or bin. Puppies are notorious chewers, but kittens may find shoelaces irresistible too. Plus, without house training, they may find shoes to be excellent places to “mark” their territory. Yuck!

2) Remove breakables. It only takes a swish of a tail or a bat of a paw to knock your porcelain or other fragile knick-knacks off tables or mantles. Not only will you be left with shards of glass to clean up, but Mimi could step on them and get cut.

3) Pick up children’s toys. To prevent pets from potentially choking on smaller pieces, store action figures and building toys in a box with a lid when playtime is over.

4) Identify and research your houseplants. Many common plants and flowers are poisonous to pups and kittens so they could get sick from gnawing on the petals or leaves. You may want to swap any questionable plants for safe ones, or store certain plants in a room with a closed door.

5) Give your new furry friend a soft cushion or pet bed in your living room. Your pets want to be with you and they’ll appreciate a cozy place nearby to call their own.

What pet proofing tips have you’ve gained from experience? Do you have a photo of your pet lounging in his or new digs? Share them on our Facebook page!

5 Must Have Travel Accessories for Dogs and Cats

If you plan a summer or fall road trip with your pets, you know you need to do more to ready your pet than simply toss Max or Fluffy into the backseat. It takes a little preparation.

First, you’ll want to establish that your destination is pet-friendlythere’s nothing like showing up at your hotel 7 hours later with Max in tow to be told there are no more pet friendly rooms.

Cat car travel

Of course, you’ll also need a few other items as well. Here’s a list of travel necessities:

1—Restraint – Just as you use your seat belt when in the car, your pets should be secured. This prevents them from becoming projectiles if you are in an accident.

There are many options available today from harnesses that work similar to seat belts to traditional pet carriers. Which is best for your pet?  It’ll depend on factors like your pet’s temperament and comfort level with riding in the car—and, how much space you have. If your car will be full of kids and luggage, putting Fluffy in a carrier may be your best option.

2—Food/Water/Dishes – Be sure to pack enough food for the trip and bring a water supply for your pet. You’ll need dishes too. If you make a pit stop and realize you don’t have a water bowl, it can make for a little unnecessary complexity. Collapsible travel bowls pack well.

3—Comforting Items – Even if your pets are good travelers, they will feel more content with familiar items such as their favorite toy, or an old towel or shirt that smells like home.

dog-travel-car


4—Cleaning Supplies/Alternate Carrier
– Some pets are nervous travelers and may have an accident in their carrier. If this happens, you can minimize your pet’s discomfort by pulling over and cleaning out the carrier or swapping it for an alternate one.


5—Favorite Treats
–Your pets already appreciate their favorite treats. They’ll be very happy that you remembered to bring them!

Enjoy your travels!

Click It or Ticket Extends to Pets

CA and NJ are now requiring pets “buckle up” when riding in the car and other states are likely to follow in the near future.   The reason is unrestrained animals pose hazards.  Whether they want to climb in the driver’s lap because they’re nervous or they’re roaming all over the car pets can create a serious distraction for the driver.

Even if your dog loves to ride and always sits nicely in the back seat, your pet can be seriously hurt in an accident if they’re not restrained.    Imagine getting rear-ended and your pet being hurled into the windshield.

If you don’t want to use a crate to transport your dog, you can stay safe on the road with doggie seat belts.

Here are 3 Types of Dog Seat Belts:

Harness:

Many of the restraints are harnesses.  You slip your dog’s front legs into the opening and it attaches at the back like a walking harness.  They have clips that clip into the seat existing seat belt buckle to secure them similar to the way a person is strapped in.

Zipline:

These restraints have a harness with a strap that goes across your car ceiling to create a zip line.  If your dog is nervous in the car, this gives him the ability to roam from window to window but he’s relegated to the back seat or back cab of an SUV.

Car Seat Lookout:

Small dogs will enjoy a car seat lookout.  This seat is raised so small pets can look out the window as you cruise down the road.  Some are a plush lined box for your pet while others can double as a soft-sided crate with a lid you can zip up if you need to carry your dog into the vet or onto a plane.

Have you used any of these with your pet?  We’d love to hear about your experience on our Facebook Page.

Garden Dangers and Your Pets

It’s a gardener’s favorite time of year. The ground is thawing, the nurseries are coming to life and soon you’ll be digging holes for your bedding plants.

Of course, your favorite pets might like to join you in the hole digging too, or, they may simply find other means of entertainment that could be harmful.

Pesticides, cocoa mulch, even certain plants can be toxic to dogs and cats.   You already know your dog will likely eat anything— or at least to try it and see if it’s tasty…. and this can be a problem.

Beware of Toxic Plants

Plant bulbs such as Daffodils are toxic if your pet digs them up and eats them. So are Azaleas and Tiger, Day, Asiatic and Easter lilies- but with these plants, your pet only has to eat a few leaves or taste the flowers to be sick. Symptoms typically include vomiting or diarrhea and can sometimes even be fatal.

Pesticides and Your Pet

If you use pesticides on your grass or garden areas, you pet can ingest those chemicals. Even if your pet doesn’t eat the grass or plants but just noses around, dog’s noses are a mucous membrane that allows many substances to flow in.  Plus, pets lick their paws and if they’ve walked on treated grounds, that’s another way for them to ingest harmful chemicals.

Always read the label on a lawn treatment to learn what the possible dangers are to pets. If you have a lawn and garden company treat your lawn, be sure to learn what they’re using and their recommendations. They’ll usually tell you if it’s not safe for children and pets. There are organic pesticides that you can use instead.

Be cautious if you put traps in the yard or garden to attract slugs and other pests; often, dogs find them and eat them. They also may eat a dead rodent that was killed by poison.

Chocolate Mulch

It almost sounds like something straight out of Willy Wonka; “Tuck chocolate around your plants to keep them healthy.” Cocoa or chocolate mulch smells chocolaty and delicious yet it could be fatal to your pets. True to its name, chocolate mulch has theobromine in it, which is the ingredient in chocolate that is dangerous to dogs and cats.  If your pets eat it, it could cause diarrhea, vomiting, and even seizures.

Make sure your garden is pet safe and keep an eye on them if they’re spending a lot of time in the yard. If they show signs of sickness, get them to the vet to ensure their safety.

Does Your Pet Have a Microchip?

Spring is here and the warmer weather is coming! This means that your pets may get Spring Fever and want to take themselves on a stroll around the neighborhood. Sometimes dogs and cats slip out of the door or the fence and before you know it, they’re gone.

No matter how your pet gets loose, you have only one wish… to bring them home safely.

A microchip in your pet can help you to be reunited with your lost dog or cat. Without a microchip, only 17% of lost pets are reunited with their families. A study at the University of Columbus found cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to return to their families and dogs were 2 and half times more likely to be reunited.

The way it works is simple: A small microchip—no bigger than a grain of rice– is inserted between your dog or cat’s shoulder blades.  It’s quick, easy and no more painful that getting a vaccination.  The microchip acts like a bar code.

Afterwards, if your pet gets loose, veterinarians and pet shelters can scan your pet to check for ID. If one is found, they’ll check the pet microchip databases to get your pet back home to you.

Though there isn’t a single central lost pet database, however the scanners can read microchips from a variety of brands.

The cost is typically $25-$50, plus a registration fee.  In addition to a microchip, ensure your pet’s tags are up to date too.  A clear name and phone number on a tag can make it easy to return a lost pet.