A number of products that we humans regularly eat or drink are toxic to our pets. Our morning cup of coffee or tea is just one of the items on the danger list for pets. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause increased heart rate in pets, hyperactivity, seizures and tremors.
In fact, most pet owners don’t know that a variety of other foods – including chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, raisins and grapes, alcoholic beverages and bread dough — can be fatal if ingested by a dog. Typically, trouble occurs when a pet gets into the trash can and eats leftovers of forbidden foods that make it into the garbage.
The medicine cabinet is another area of danger. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages.
And, of course, houseplants are an area of special danger to cats. Their habit of nibbling on greenery can be deadly if the plant they choose happens to be a lily, oleander or any of a number of other common plants.
If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a poison, it is important not to panic. Take a minute or two to collect the material involved – the product container, if available and a plastic bag containing any material your pet may have vomited or chewed. If you suspect that your pet has ingested coffee grounds – or any other potentially dangerous substance — seek emergency help right away.
Don’t wait for your pet to display signs of illness to visit your veterinarian. Like us, our pets need regular monitoring by a medical professional to keep them healthy.
A once-a-year trip to the veterinarian is the best way to identify – and prevent – potential health problems. An annual physical gives you a chance to talk with your vet about any changes in your pet’s behaviours and habits. Routine check-ups at regular interviews allow your pet’s doctor to develop a record of what is “normal” for your pet, making it easier to identify when something is wrong. And, importantly, finding diseases in their earliest stages improve the pet’s chance for successful treatment.
What to Expect?
An annual check-up should include a physical examination in which your vet checks your pet from nose to tail — examining eyes, ears, nose and mouth; feeling your pet’s body for lumps and bumps; and assessing heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Be prepared to tell your veterinarian about any changes you may have noticed in your pet’s behaviour, appetite, playfulness, and so on that might be clues to a health problem.
The exam should also include a check for parasites. Heartworm, a potentially-fatal disease transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes, can be diagnosed with a blood test. Intestinal worms in both cats and dogs can be diagnosed by checking a fecal sample. Your vet should also discuss with you medicines to prevent parasite infections.
The annual check-up is also a good time to update vaccinations. Pet owners from outside Malaysia are required by law of their country to have their dogs – and cats, in many countries – vaccinated against rabies. Rabies vaccination is required every one to three years, depending upon the vaccine your vet uses.
Cats also need protection against upper respiratory tract viruses and feline distemper. Cats that spend unsupervised time outside should also get a feline leukaemia vaccination.
After the initial puppy shots, adult dogs should have an annual DHLPP injection to boost their protection again distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus. If your dog spends time with other dogs – whether in a dog park or at a boarding kennel – you should also have your pet protected against bordetella.
A: Many older pets do not drink enough water every day; as a result they suffer from mild dehydration which can cause very low energy levels. It is recommended to include canned food in each meal and encourage water intake (ice cubes, new bowls/fountains, broths, etc.) to help improve hydration and get that energy back. A vitamin-mineral supplement is also recommended to help supply antioxidants and B vitamins that can help support the immune system and energy levels. Sometimes poor energy is a sign of a medical condition and we advise a health check-up with your veterinarian.
Your pet will adjust quickly to our boarding facility, our staff and routines. Feeding, cleansing, exercise, and kennel staff monitoring are all scheduled events that bring order and structure to the boarding environment.
You can do a lot to help prepare your pet for this environment in the days before your pet is to be boarded. First, establish (or reinforce) a routine schedule of meal times and limit feedings to twice per day. We feed in the morning, and again in the evening, as required.
Also, we routinely quiet the kennel down after closing hours (after 7 PM) to give pets adequate rest and comfort. It’s best if your evening schedule, in the week before boarding, is stable and consistent. Getting your pets to “wind down” their day by 8 PM to 9 PM will enable them to adjust quickly to the kennel, once boarded.
Petcare Enterprise Sdn Bhd grooms all breeds of dogs and cats. We have trained groomers who specialize in breed-specific cuts. Please call the center directly for rates and to schedule an appointment.
Between annual exams, be on the lookout for any signs your pet is having health problems. Significant changes in weight, elimination problems, coughing, vomiting and changes in behaviour could all be signs that your pet needs an extra visit to the vet.
A serious accident or injury will also demand a special visit to the vet, as should your pet’s ingestion of a poisonous substance. If you are unsure about whether or not your pet’s condition requires a special visit, call and ask.
It’s important to remember that dogs age at much faster rate than humans – the rule of thumb is that one human year equal approximately seven “dog” years – which means an annual physical exam is actually a once-every-seven-years exam. Veterinary experts recommend that once dogs pass middle age – about age six in people years — twice yearly visits are a good idea to ensure early detection and treatment of problems.
Scratching is a completely normal and natural behaviour in cats. Scratching is an important means of communication between cats. It is necessary in the maintenance of healthy nails and strong upper body muscles. Even declawed cats will engage in this behaviour. Scratching is fun and makes cats happy.
Most cat lovers don’t object to scratching. They know that it is part of a cat’s essential nature. What they do find objectionable is where they scratch. The good news is that nearly all cats can be taught our preferred locations. The key is to provide a surface that is more attractive than the stereo speakers or the couch.
Scratching posts can be vertical, horizontal or any angle in between. Vertical posts need to be very stable so your cat can really sink hers claws into it without the worry of it tipping over. Look for high quality carpet or Sisal coverings. Here again, it’s all about what your cat prefers. Rub catnip into the covering to draw her attention. Many horizontal scratchers are made of inexpensive corrugated cardboard and come packaged with catnip to sprinkle into the cervices.
Location is everything. The post needs to be located in an area that your cat will enjoy. Remember, scratching is a form of feline communication so hiding the post in the basement or behind the washing machine does not meet their needs. Place the post where the family gathers or near a favourite napping spot. Many cats like to have their posts near the front door or a window so they feel their message is getting out. Introduce her to the post at a quiet relaxed moment. Praise her for showing interest and give a special treat. Place her paws on the scratcher and praise her again. Play with a favourite toy next to the post. Dangle a fishing pole toy over and around the post to encourage her to touch it then give more treats. She will soon learn that great things happen when she goes to the post.
All pets should wear collar tags imprinted with their name and the phone number of their pet parent, but only a microchip provides permanent ID that cannot fall off, be removed, or become impossible to read.
Will it hurt my pet when he gets the microchip implanted?
It won’t hurt any more than a routine vaccination – having a microchip implanted doesn’t even require anaesthetic. The procedure is performed at your veterinarian’s office and is simple and similar to administering a vaccine or a routine shot.
The microchip comes preloaded in a sterile applicator and is injected under the loose skin between the shoulder blades. The process takes only a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination.
Will a microchip tell me my pet’s location?
Pet microchips are not tracking devices and do not work like global positioning devices (GPS). They are radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants that provide permanent ID for your pet.
Because they use RFID technology, microchips do not require a power source like a GPS. When a microchip scanner is passed over the pet, the microchip gets enough power from the scanner to transmit the microchip’s ID number. Since there’s no battery and no moving parts, there’s nothing to keep charged, wear out, or replace. The microchip will last your pet’s lifetime.
When a dog won’t eat, it is referred to as anorexia. This is different from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder found in humans. Instead anorexia describes a complete loss of appetite in dogs.