Why Indoor Is Best for your Kitty

cats by windowA domestic cat’s ancestors are fierce predators, stalking the forests, plains, and jungles for the hunt. Their majestic figures moving silently through the brush, keeping low to the ground and staying hidden from their quarry. Great paws pad silently, and then they stop, and with a great leap, they give chase.
We see similar behaviors in our domestic cats – the stalking, the bum wiggle, and the pounce! But these cats are not the great wild cats – they are domesticated, and as such it is best to keep them indoors. Many of the cats that are rescued are taken in off the streets, and though it may seem cruel to keep a former stray indoors, it is always safer. Not only is it safer for your pet it prevents your cat from hunting and killing the birds that reside in your yard and neighborhood.

There are too many threats that they would face in the open, especially in a city. Between rats, fleas/ticks, cars, the elements, and the general lack of nutrition, the odds are quite stacked against them. Many feel guilty for keeping their cats indoors. Please don’t. Keep in mind that with proper enrichment, these cats can become quite happy at home. What is enrichment? Enrichment is more of an all-encompassing term for keeping a cat mentally stimulated. Cats can get bored just like people, and so it is important to engage them in activities that allow them to use their instincts, and to provide an environment for them that allows them to climb, jump, even hide.

One of the most important things for cats is to make sure that they have a place to hide that is high up – like a tall cat tree or a shelf they can reach. Living in New York City, this can be especially challenging as many people do not necessarily have the space for a cat tree. Thankfully, there are now wall-mounted cat habitats that require little-to-no assembly. You can buy “cat shelves” that can be staggered along a wall so that the cat may perch high above the ground. It is also important to provide scratching posts or emery boards to allow them to scratch, lest your furniture suffer the consequences!

It is also important to devote time to playing with your cat, just like dogs. Do not simply give the cat a treat, make them hunt for it, or toss it into a room and let them search for it. Cats thrive off of the hunt, and you can still provide that for them from the safety of indoors. They also make treat puzzles for cats that require the cat to move pieces to retrieve treats.

In closing, an indoor cat is a safe cat. And with the right enrichment and environment, he/she can be a happy and healthy cat too!

Microchip Your Pet

Sad puppy

Enough is enough.  We have had at least four lost/missing pets this past week alone.  This is four too many.  For the most part, assuming no foul play you can be reunited with your pet.  Signs can be put up both in your neighborhood, calls made to all the local area veterinarians. The animal care and control (http://nycacc.org/LostFound.htm) even has a website that allows you to both look for and post information about your lost pet.  However, the best way to get your pet back is by making sure your pet has a microchip.  A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice that is inserted behind the neck area of your pet via an injection.  The microchip has a number on it that is just for your pet.  The number needs to be registered with your contact information.  The microchip contact information must be kept up to date in order to be reunited with your pet.  If not, it will be very difficult if not impossible to reunite you with your pet.

All dogs should have a microchip.  Dog’s can get off their leash, be left in the yard or run out of an open door in a matter of seconds.  However, a microchip is not only for dogs.     But…my cat is an indoor cat, it can’t get out.  Really?  For the most part that may be true, however what about the rare instance when the door is left open and your kitty wanders out, and down the hall etc.  Sounds far-fetched, but it does happen.  Or are you one of these people that think that your cat needs to go outside?  Bad idea, you may be asking for trouble.  They can get into fights, contract fleas and become lost.  Please keep your cat indoors and safe.

If you have adopted your pet from a shelter or rescue group, they usually have a microchip inserted.  Did you register the chip in your name?  Not sure?  No worries.  If you have the chip number you can check online at www.petmicrochiplookup.org   If you do not know the number of the microchip we can scan your pet.  The scanner is able to ascertain if a chip has been inserted and indicates the number of the chip.

New Puppies and what to feed them the first year

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large breed puppies

large breed puppies

Spring time is here and it seems everyone is getting a new puppy!  There are always a lot of questions regarding a new puppy but one of the most important is what to feed your puppy during the first year of its life.  If you have a large breed dog i.e. Great Dane or German Shepherd , or a small breed  Dachshund they each have  different nutritional needs, not just more food.  Too many calories for a large breed dog can put on excess weight and cause skeletal problems in overfed puppies.  If puppies are under four months of age they can eat whatever they want.  But as they age they require fewer calories per pound.  At that junction it is appropriate to limit the food intake.

Puppies that grow slower will still reach the same size as there over fed counterparts, just a bit later, and healthier.

 Too much calcium in the food is just as bad as too much.  Too much calcium can cause the bones to reshape as excess calcium is deposited on bone tissue, causing abnormalities.

Protein is important for your dog as well.  However  the needs for a large breed dog vary from the needs of a small dog.  For example, for a large breed dog  the food should contain about 26% protein. Because of these variations  It is best that you purchase food that is either breed or  size specific.

Following these guidelines are  very important, by doing this you do NOT have to provide any supplements to your puppy, but rather the food itself will provide all that is needed – Again, this will  vary depending  on the size of your pup.

Good nutrition is important  for proper development of the bones and joints.  After your dog reaches one year of age, unfortunately it is not a puppy anymore.  At this time the food will again need to be changed and transitioned to age/breed and size specific food.

What to think about before you bring a new pet into your home

Have you been itching for a new addition to your family but not sure where to begin?  We have put together a few things you may want to consider before either adopting or purchasing a pet.  If you can adopt a pet it goes without saying that you making a difference in that animal’s life.  Keeping a pet from a shelter and unknown fate feels terrific.

However before you take home your new cute furry friend from the shelter please make sure that you are right for each other.  Is the pet that is up for adoption there because it has a behavior issues or because the previous owner is under financial distress?  If it is a behavior issue, it may require you to put in more time to “straighten things out”.  If this is something that you are unable to take the time to do, perhaps this particular pet might not be the right one for you.  The last thing we want is to take home a pet and then have to “return” him/her because it did not meet up to our expectations.  In addition if you are adopting a pet that is a bit older you may be in for some additional expenses that you were not expecting.  For example perhaps they have very bad periodontal disease that needs to be taken care of.  Easily rectifiable, but needs to be in your budget.

If you have a specific breed in mind (remember to double check breed specific genetic dispositions) then perhaps you need to think about going to a reputable breeder.  But before you do please take into consideration a few things.  Does the temperament of the pet fit in with your lifestyle.  If you have small children perhaps you may not want to get a “high strung” dog like some of the terrier breeds.  Or for instance a Border Collie was bred to herd cattle and sheep.  A Border Collie needs a huge amount of exercise/space.  Would you be able to meet their needs?  If not, then that is not the dog for you.

Do you live in a four story walkup?  Then you may want to think about what would happen if you have a larger size dog that can’t go up and down the stairs anymore?  Are you able to carry the dog up and down to do his business?

Last but not least, please do not take home a pet if you are allergy prone.  Perhaps you can spend the day with a friends’ pet prior to adopting to ascertain if you will have a reaction.  Children who are asthmatic may have a tendency to be more allergic.  Please discuss with your pediatrician prior to bringing a new pet into your home.

These are just a few of the things you need to consider beforehand.  If you have any questions please give us a call.