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How can I make vet visits easier on my pet?

How can I make vet visits easier on my pet?

Avoiding vet visits makes stress more likely for anxious pets.

According to a recent Journal of Veterinary Behavior study, one in three dogs experienced accelerated heart rates, a natural fear response, while at rest during a mock physical examination. A Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery study showed it’s not uncommon for cat owners to avoid vet visits altogether due to the stress experienced by their pets. Unfortunately, avoiding regular preventive veterinary visits can lead to more traumatic experiences for dogs and cats when they require serious medical care. A fear response during pet visits can also lead to injuries to pets and people and less accurate test results.

Studies show that there’s some natural variability among pet responses to vet visits. Breed, gender, and age can all contribute to a pet’s fear response; however, it is possible to reduce stress and fear for most pets with a little planning and effort.

Vet Visit

Practice makes perfect: make vet visits the norm.

Routine preventive health care, also known as wellness visits, reduce risks to your pet’s health, and they tend to be much less invasive and stressful than emergency visits. (According to a study conducted by Nationwide, they also reduce veterinary costs.) Waiting until a pet is sick or behaving out of character to visit the vet means that the sick or injured pet associates vet visits with discomfort, pain, and stress. Some pet parents bring their pets in for quick visits between appointments just to say hello. This gives veterinary staff an opportunity to get to know the pet outside of the exam room.

Vet Visit

Play doctor: practice pet handling at home.

Early socialization helps animals adapt to human handling, and the more comfortable a pet is with social interactions, the more successful vet visits will be. One way to help them adapt to being examined by vets is to spend time mimicking some vet practices at home. For example, making gentle touching of ears, paws, and tummies normal at home can reduce stress in the vet’s examination room.

Vet Visit

Don’t worry, be happy: pets pick up emotional cues from you.

Your own expectations of the visit will also impact your pet’s stress level. Animals are highly intuitive, and when they pick up on your anxiety, they mirror it. Yes, going to the vet, just like going to the doctor, isn’t necessarily on anyone’s bucket list, but for the sake of your pet’s feelings, pretend it is. If you seem excited and happy to be visiting the vet, your pet is more likely to follow suit. In fact, research confirms that dogs mirror their owners’ anxiety and negativity, so practice positivity for a more laid back vet visit.

Vet Visit

Choose a vet that’s sensitive to your pet’s emotional needs.

Each cat or dog has its own unique temperament, and the best vets treat each pet according to its distinct personality and needs. For example, research shows that veterinary hospitals that follow feline-friendly handling guidelines make cats more comfortable during pet visits. This reduces stress for cats, their owners, and vets, which makes visits more pleasant all around. Likewise, pay attention to how your vet and veterinary practice staff interact with dogs, cats, and other small domestic animals. When veterinary staff seem excited to see your pet and actively work to get to know them, you’ve found the right practice.

Schedule your pet’s next vet appointment today.

At Glove Cities Veterinary Hospital/Dove Creek Animal Hospital, we provide personalized care to cats, dogs, and other small pets. Our  full service small animal hospital is a cat-friendly practice, and we are always excited to see your fur babies in our office. Don’t wait until you need us, to pay a visit. Come by anytime to say hello so that your pets can see how much we care. Call Gloves City Veterinary Hospital today at 518-725-8117.

Glove Cities Veterinary HospitalDove Creek Animal Hospital

2 Convenient Vet Locations Near You

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Is a grain-free diet healthy or harmful for pets?

Is a grain-free diet healthy or harmful for pets?

Grains have been used in pet food for more than a century.

Commercially-prepared pet food has contained a mix of grains, vegetables, and proteins since businessman James Spratt first introduced his self-stable dog biscuits in 1860. The most common grains used in manufactured cat and dog food include:

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Soy

What is grain-free pet food?

Grain-free pet food gained popularity after a series of 2007 recalls of products from China contaminated with melamine. By 2011, grain-free dog food made up 15% of sales in U.S. pet stores, and by the end of 2017, grain-free dog foods accounted for nearly half of all dog food sales.

Grain Free

The rise of grain-free pet foods didn’t just ease concerns about contaminated products. Ingredients like peas, red lentils, and sweet potatoes paired with exotic meats like bison and wild boar sound more appetizing and healthier to people who consider pets family more than animals. In other words, grain-free pet foods are marketed to people, not pets. However, just because grain-free products seem more enticing to humans, it doesn’t follow that they’re actually healthier for every dog or cat.

Grain Free

Are there health issues related to a grain-free diet for pets?

In 2018, the FDA began investigating cases of harmful effects potentially linked to grain-free diets. In a public press release, the FDA stated, “We are concerned about reports of canine heart disease, known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), in dogs that ate certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients. These reports are highly unusual as they are occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease.”

Are there health issues related to a grain-free diet for pets?

In 2018, the FDA began investigating cases of harmful effects potentially linked to grain-free diets. In a public press release, the FDA stated, “We are concerned about reports of canine heart disease, known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), in dogs that ate certain pet foods containing peas, lentils, other legumes or potatoes as their main ingredients. These reports are highly unusual as they are occurring in breeds not typically genetically prone to the disease.”

DCM is a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart. Symptoms include fatigue, respiratory problems, coughing, and fainting. For some dogs, DCM can induce fatal heart failure. During the investigation, the FDA found that some cats on a grain-free diet were also being affected by DCM. These announcements had an immediate effect on the sale of grain-free diets, and now, pet food manufacturers are marketing “grain-inclusive,” “legume-free,” and “potato-free” products to address fears associated with grain-free cat and dog foods.

When is a grain-free diet healthy for a pet?

Contrary to what pet food marketing might have you believe, the ancestors of dogs and cats did consume quantities of grain found in the stomachs of their prey. More importantly, over the hundreds of years they’ve lived among humans, cats and dogs have evolved to digest a more varied, starch-rich diet. In fact, veterinary nutritionist and Tufts University researcher Lisa Freeman told the New York Times that grains provide an important source of proteins and other nutrients in meat-based pet foods.

A handful of dogs and cats are gluten intolerant, and a wheat-free diet can improve their health. However, grain allergens are not the most common offenders in the pet population. One study found that the most commonly reported food allergens among dogs are beef, dairy products, chicken, and wheat. A very small number of dogs are allergic to soy, corn, and rice. The same study found beef, fish, and chicken to be the most common offending allergens among cats.

Grain Free
Grain Free

So is a grain-free diet healthy or harmful for pets?

Most pet owners simply want to know what pet food is healthiest for their fur babies. Unfortunately, what qualifies as “healthy” depends on whose health you’re talking about. Different pets have different needs, and because they can’t tell us what those needs are, it’s important they we pay attention to symptoms that suggest a food allergen. How do you know if your pet’s current diet is good for them?

  • Are they active and thriving?
  • Is their coat shiny?
  • Are they lean and muscular?
  • Do they have solid stools?

If you answered yes to those questions and your pet seems healthy and happy, their diet is probably a good one for them.

Talk to your vet if you’re concerned about your pet’s diet.

If you answered no, it may be time to find a new pet food for your cat or dog. Give us a call at 518-725-8117 or (518) 627-9762 to discuss pet food options that give your dog or cat all the health benefits and tail-wagging deliciousness they deserve.

Glove Cities Veterinary HospitalDove Creek Animal Hospital

2 Convenient Vet Locations Near You

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Melon

Melon stopped by for her annual visit with Dr. Lavin today! 🐱
 
She was able to watch the birds outside the window WHILE Dr. Lavin examined her… talk about relaxing. 😄💜
 
In this 📸: Dr. Lavin, Krystin, and Melon. 🐾
 
#cat #catsofinsta #feline #veterinarian #dovecreekanimal #veterinarymedicine #LVT #cutecat #adorablecat

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Jazmin & Fam

It’s a family affair!! 🐶🐾🐶
Jazmin came in for a visit with Dr. Sharpe today. She had the support of her little sister, Nova (the adorable Pomsky in Dr. Sharpe’s arms), and dad, Marcus.
 
Also in this 📸: Dr. Sharpe and Eddie 🐾
 
#dogs #adorabledogs #dogsofig #veterinarymedicine #veterinarian #dovecreekanimal
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