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Categories

Caring for Cats

Pet Behavior

Caring for Dogs

Preventative Care

Pet Nutrition

Medical Conditions & Treatments

Can't find the answers you need?  Ask Dr. Velvet

Caring for Cats

   What kind of cat litter should I use?

   How many litter boxes should I have?

   Should I declaw my cat and if so, at what age?

   What are some of the treatments available today for tick control/prevention for cats?

   Can I shave my cat?

Caring for Dogs

   What are some of the treatments available today for flea control/prevention for dogs?

Pet Nutrition

   What kind/type of food should I feed my dog?

   What kind/type of food should I feed my cat?

   What treats are nutritional and beneficial for my pet?

   How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

   How do I support my pet in losing weight?

   Can I supplement my pet’s food with some “people” food?

Pet Behavior

   Is crate training a safe and effective method for my dog? 

Preventative Care

   What vaccinations are recommended for my puppy?

   What vaccinations are recommended for my kitten?

   When should I neuter my male dog?

   When should I spay my female dog?

   When should I neuter my male cat?

   When should I spay my female cat?

   Is pet insurance a good idea?

Medical Conditions & Treatments

   What do you recommend for at home treatment of diarrhea or vomiting until I
   can get into my veterinarian?

   What are heartworms, and how are they prevented?

   What is the treatment for dogs with heartworms?

   Do cats get heartworms?  What is the treatment?

   What do I do for my older pet with arthritis?

 

Caring for Cats

What kind of cat litter should I use?
Studies have shown that cats prefer clumping, non-scented cat litter.  There are many to choose from.  Personally I feel the crystal litters are aggravating to the paws.


How many litter boxes should I have?
A great rule of thumb is one box per cat

 

Should I declaw my cat and if so, at what age?
I feel declawing is a personal decision for each owner.  Declawing can be done at any age, but I prefer kittens due to smaller blood supply.  Very effective pain medications and localized blocks minimize pain post-operatively.

 

What are some of the treatments available today for tick control/prevention for cats?
Cats are highly sensitive to many of the products used in the dog so always read the label to be certain the product is labeled for use in cats.

 

Can I shave my cat?
Yes you can!  And I do!  I shave both my long and shorthaired cats to ease the cat hair dust bunny population in my home, and because they are happier without all that fur in the Arizona summer heat.

 

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Caring for Dogs

What are some of the treatments available today for flea control/prevention for dogs?
There are too many to mention, and my favorites are the spot-on topical products.  Some of the less expensive products can cause more adverse reactions – so do your research before you buy.  Most veterinarians carry the safest products.

 

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Pet Nutrition

What kind/type of food should I feed my dog?
A food high in protein and low in carbohydrates.  See my article on how to calculate protein/carbohydrate ratios.  You cannot tell this by reading the bag.  Stay away from low-grade cheap foods, and be wary of the pet store customer representative who claims to know all about pet nutrition.  Stay away from any food that has any ingredients coming from China.
 

What kind/type of food should I feed my cat?
Cats are obligate carnivores meaning they should eat only protein.  There are very few dry diets on the market that supply enough protein for your cat.  All canned foods are higher in protein than dry formulas.  If you can, feed your cat canned food only.


What treats are nutritional and beneficial for my pet?
Buffalo knucklebones, Beef bones, Bone Marrow bones – be careful with the really big beef femur bones – they are very dense and can fracture teeth.

 

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?
All dogs should have ribs that are felt easily, a waistline that is visible from above and an abdominal tuck when viewed from the side.  Cats are a bit different, but you should be able to feel the ribs and see a bit of a waistline from above.
 

How do I support my pet in losing weight?
As in people – it is all about quantity fed and not necessarily what is being fed.  A good rule of thumb is 1 measured 8oz cup per 20# of optimal body weight.  That means base your food on what your pet should weigh versus what they currently weigh.  Cats should get no more than ½ cup dry food per day.  Most adult cats eating canned food would get about 5.5 oz to 7oz per day.

 

Can I supplement my pet’s food with some “people” food?
I enjoy feeding my pets healthy people food – just be careful to adjust the total daily intake to account for the added people food.

 

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Pet Behavior

Is crate training a safe and effective method for my dog?
Yes it most certainly is!  Wouldn’t you like to come home to no messes, nothing chewed up, nothing destroyed and be happy to see your pet – versus walking in the door and dreading what you will find?  And no pet looks forward to their owner’s return if they know they will get a stern talking to instead of a happy hello.

 

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Preventative Care

What vaccinations are recommended for my puppy?
Distemper-Hepatitis-ParaInfluenza-Parvovirus.  Depending on your area Leptospirosis may be recommended.  Rabies is also included in the puppy series.


What vaccinations are recommended for my kitten?
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis-Calcivirus-Panleukopenia, possible Feline Leukemia Virus.  Rabies may be required by law in your area.

 

When should I neuter my male dog?
Small to medium breeds – 4-6 months, large breeds – 9-12 months


When should I spay my female dog?
Due to the increased risk of mammary gland cancer with each heat cycle I recommend females be spayed at 5-6 months.

 

When should I neuter my male cat?
As soon as he reaches 2# in body weight, which is about 8 weeks.  I do not recommend waiting to neuter a male cat due to urine spraying and aggression that occurs at a young age in cats.

 

When should I spay my female cat?
As soon as she reaches 2# in body weight, which is about 8 weeks.  Cats will come into heat late winter/early spring – even if just 3-4 months old.  Don’t wait!

 

Is pet insurance a good idea?
Pet insurance is a great idea for the pet owner who is willing to pursue some of the more costly procedures available such as chemotherapy, joint replacements, knee surgeries, stem cell therapy, eye/lens treatments, and visits to the dermatologist.  There are many choices, so be sure you find a plan you are comfortable with, and one that is accepted by the veterinarians you visit.  Remember, most companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, so sign up before you have the pet examined by a veterinarian.

 

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Medical Conditions & Treatments

What do you recommend for at home treatment of diarrhea or vomiting until I can get into my veterinarian?
First – take away all food and water (yes, the water too!) for 24 hours.  Think about it – would you keep eating and drinking if you were vomiting and/or had diarrhea?  Introduce a very bland diet of scrambled eggs, or chicken with rice or baby food meats after the fast.   Small frequent meals are preferred.  By this time you should have been able to contact your veterinarian for further instructions.

 

What are heartworms, and how are they prevented?
Heartworms are parasites that live in the heart.  Heartworms are spread by the bite of a mosquito carrying the larval form.  The larva goes through several stages in the body before maturing and living in the heart.  Heartworms are prevented using a monthly preventative medication.  There are several products on the market, and they are all very similar.

 

What is the treatment for dogs with heartworms?

The treatment consists of several injections of a synthetic arsenic compound done under a strict protocol.  Often an antibiotic called Doxycyline is started prior to the heartworm treatment protocol.


Do cats get heartworms?  What is the treatment?
Cats do get  heartworms, although it is rare.  Many cats have a self –limiting infection and the worms die a natural death.  There are no products available in the US to treat heartworms in cats.

 

What do I do for my older pet with arthritis?
The therapies I recommend for dogs:  Stem cell therapy, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), Glucosamine/Chondroitin, Adequan injections, Fish Oils, mild narcotic medications.  I always urge optimal body weight and moderate exercise.  I do the same for cats, except no NSAIDs, which can be toxic to the kidneys of many cats.

 

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