Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why Does My Pet Do That?

We often get questions from clients about their pets behaviors that can be quite interesting at times.  I thought I would answer some of the most commonly asked questions today and see if you get an answer to something interesting your pet has been doing at home.  If you have other interesting questions don’t hesitate to send them our way we love to hear about things your pets are doing at home and try to make sense of what sometimes seems to be senseless.



Why is my cat not using his litterbox?
This is a common complaint for cat owners and it can be due to a medical problem, a problem the cat has with it’s litterbox (litter type, location, cleanliness etc), or a problem a cat has with a housemate or a neighborhood cat.  If your cat has started doing this it is best to have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible because the sooner we start working on it the better chance we have of fixing the problem.

Why does my dog lick, chew or eat strange things?
Puppies tend to do this because they are learning and investigating the world around them.  However if this continues into adulthood there was a recent study that indicates dogs that lick / chew / eat strange things could have an underlying medical issue with their stomach or intestines.  If your dog likes to eat strange things they should be seen and have their gastrointestinal tract fully evaluated.

Why does my cat prefer to drink from the sink?  Dog from the toilet?
Animals have an instinctual nature to be drawn towards running water because stagnant water in the wild is often a place where high levels of bacteria pool that can make an animal sick.  Other reasons are cool water from a running faucet or porcelain bowl doesn’t tend to be tainted with the taste of plastic or stainless steel and just tastes fresher.

Why do dogs circle / scratch / paw before lying down?
Dogs haven’t always lived indoors.  This is an instinctual behavior to make a nest and if the nest is made well it will help them to retain their body heat better.  Many wild animals also display very similar behaviors. 

Why does my cat rub their face on everything?
Cats that are rubbing their faces on things are displaying friendly cat behavior and leaving their scent behind to let other cats know that this amazing thing is theirs and they love it very much.  Don’t you feel special that your cat rubs his face on you now!

Why does my dog pull me on the leash?
This is a very common question and the answer is simple he wants you to walk faster than you are going.  Dogs are very excited to get outside and go for a walk and most dogs naturally walk at a faster pace than their people.  The best response for a pulling dog is to stop dead in your tracks and refuse to move one step forward until there is slack in the leash.  Do this on every walk and your dog should be much better behaved in no time.

Do you know how to smile at your cat?
Cats are always communicating with us and often times you can calm down your stressed cat or let them know you love them with a simple cat smile.  The way to do this is to make your eyes soft (eyelids half open) and close them very slowly and open them very slowly.  That’s it – pretty simple way to smile at your cat (avoid the normal primate toothy grin though because that can be very scary and aggressive to your pet).  Watch our doctors and staff next time you are in and see – are they smiling at your cat and more importantly is your cat smiling back!

Why does my dog always jump up on everyone?
Dogs are very social creatures and most of them really love people.  In the dog world the normal sequence of things is to start by sniffing each others hind ends and then work up to the face.  We humans put our face in a very inconvenient place since we walk around on two legs and the dog just wants to say hi.  If you say nothing and always ignore the jumping then bring your face down to your dogs level once they are sitting and calm this behavior will eventually go away as well.  *Never put your face near an unfamiliar dog though as this could result in a bite*

Do dogs like hugs?
Unfortunately the answer to this is no, unless they are trained to.  A hug or tap on the head to a dog is incredibly unpleasant.  In the dog another dog that comes along and puts a paw over the dogs back is asking for a fight.  If you want to test this theory hug your dog and have someone take a picture I bet you will see a dog with very wide nervous eyes with a happy smiling humans arms wrapped around them.  If you love to hug your dog (and believe me I do) give them a treat when doing this will help them to trust you more and they will eventually grow to enjoy (or at least tolerate) this silly primate behavior.

article written by:
Lorene Rockwell, DVM
previously of Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital, Kenosha, WI

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

There are so many dental treats on the market…..which ones work the best?


Home dental care plays an important role reducing the need for a professional dental cleaning for your pet by your veterinarian.  Professional dental cleanings performed by your veterinarian are proven to be important to your pet’s overall health, but it’s the treatment owners do at home between cleanings that can have a bigger effect!

Daily teeth brushing has long been the best way to prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar.  Many pet owners, however, find it difficult to make this a priority in their pets.  For this reason, dental treats have gained in popularity as they are seen as a more convenient alternative to brushing.

Dental treats typically break up plaque as it forms on the teeth.  There are two main ways this is accomplished.  The first is associated with the mechanical action of chewing.  Many treats are strategically shaped to help “brush” the teeth as they are chewed.  Dental treats will typically take a bit longer for your pet to eat than a treat not meant to have this function.  Many dental treats also contain enzymes which interact with developing plaque on the teeth.  Together, the mechanical chewing action and enzymatic cleaning help slow the accumulation of tartar formation and periodontal disease development.

Which dental treats are the best?  In general, look for an item which is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).  These products typically have a seal of approval on them which states they are VOHC accepted.  The VOHC is a group of veterinary dentists and dental scientists and their approval indicates regular use of that product will reduce the severity of periodontal disease in pets.

Professional dental cleanings will always be necessary to maintain oral health.  Teeth brushing and treats can help slow the progression of plaque, tartar, and periodontal disease helping make your pet’s dental more routine.  Look for the VOHC seal of approval the next time you are looking for a dental treat!


article written by:
Derek Williamson, DVM
Companion Animal Hospital Vernon Hills and Crawford Animal Hospital