Category Archives: Cats

Slow eating for a healthier lifestyle

It’s November and Thanksgiving is almost here. While we tend to frequently over-eat, and then feel bad about it, remember that dogs and cats over-eat almost every meal. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (there really is such an organization) estimates that more than half of dogs and cats are overweight. You have the willpower to pace yourself at the festive meal – your firmed friends usually do not and constantly demand more. Pacing eating can help with weight control, decrease unwanted vomiting, improve digestion, and increase overall quality of life.

Cats are famous for eating quickly, then regurgitating the food onto your rug. The food fills the esophagus but does not enter the stomach, thus they feel the need to expel this excess food, and it winds up some place unpleasant. Slower eating allows for the lower esophageal sphincter to open and permit food into the stomach. This is not unique to cats, as dogs can have the same problem, but it is less frequent.

Another advantage of slowing down eating, involves satiety – or the feeling of being full. This is better achieved with smaller, more frequent meals, instead of one or two large portions. Many cats are grazers by nature, but allowing free access to food often leads to obesity. And restricting meals to once or twice a day may lead tp their stomach being empty, resulting in hunger or vomiting yellow bile. This condition, called bilious vomiting, is also seen in dogs.In short, there’s too much acid in the stomach and no food to neutralize it, so the pet puts it somewhere – on your floor. By having frequent meals read across dawn until right before bed, this usually can be abated.

Even if you feed frequently, some pets will gorge themselves. For many, this is not a problem, but for others, let’s discuss ways to prevent this behavior. Using a standard bowl only allows for the rapid combustion of food. Feeding dishes with ridges or knobs make your pet work to get out the food, slowing eating. There are mats specifically designed with bumps and raised areas, providing much more space to spread out the food. And even more effective are toys where the pet must push around a ball-shaped object with a hole in it – as the toy is moved, food falls out bit by bit. It can take a dog or cat up to an hour to get all of the food out. This provides great transit time in the esophaguses and is great enrichment. Out in the great wild, food is not in a bowl, the animal has to work for it!

Puzzle games are fantastic, too. Generally these should not be used for main meals unless your pet has learned how to beat the game. Start off with using puzzles as a treat with only a small amount of food. Once proficient, consider changing the game up a bit.

We use a simple low-tech method at home: we spread the food around our apartment. When we remove it from the bag we shake off all loose crumbs and then throw kibbles around each room in our dwelling. It takes Brian T. Dog about 10 minutes to get each piece. Afterwards, he is a bit tired. For cats, try using a Ripple Rug or like product. The food can be hidden between the layers of the rug.

Remember that all bowls and toys need to be cleaned regularly. Running them through the dishwasher, so long as they are safe to do so, is a great idea. Most food bowls are amenable to such cleaning.

So as you are at your Thanksgiving table, stuffing yourself, remember that slow eating is a good thing for your pets.

Dan Teich, DVM

How to prevent fleas

Warmth! Rain! Spring! Fleas! It is that time again, my friends, that time where fleas emerge from dormancy and become a nuisance. While fleas are active all year here in the District Metropolitan Area, they can become a menace when the temperatures are consistently above fifty degrees. Let’s understand the flea life cycle and how… Continue Reading

Identify your pet! Use a chip and a tag

Buster is lost in the woods. Felix ran out an open door. Blossom was spooked by fireworks. All are missing and their people are in panic mode. How do they get back home? Countless pets go missing each year, ten million dogs annually, as estimated by the ASPCA. Fifteen percent of households in a large… Continue Reading

Hairballs – More than just fur

Hairballs Every so often, your otherwise fastidious cat will do an alarming and somewhat disgusting thing. She’ll awake from a peaceful nap, rise up on her paws, retch convulsively for a moment or two, and spit up what may appear at first glance to be a damp clump. What the animal has disgorged — in… Continue Reading

Why we ask for poop!

“And please remember to bring a fecal sample.” Whenever a client schedules a wellness or sick pet visit, our front staff requests they bring a fresh stool sample. We are not fascinated by your pets’ poop, per se, but are concerned about your pets’ well-being and the potential for transmission of parasites to people. That… Continue Reading

Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Our feline friends are living longer than ever, and as they age, we see the emergence of certain conditions, including an over active thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism stems from the thyroid gland over-producing thyroid hormone, leading to a host of problems, ranging from weight loss, heart disease, kidney disease and other issues. The good news is… Continue Reading

Diabetes Affects Dogs and Cats

Diabetes Mellitus Diabetes ranks high amongst chronic diseases in humans and pets. While most people know that diabetes concerns the amount of sugar within the blood, they are unaware of why it occurs and how it is treated. The disease in pets closely parallels that of humans and is treated in much the same manner.… Continue Reading

Common Cat Myths

Common Cat Myths

Common Cat Myths Cats always land on their feet. Not quite true. When cats fall or jump, they try to right themselves and land feet first, but sometimes the fall is from too low a height, limiting the time that a cat can right itself. Many cats that fall break bones in their legs and… Continue Reading

Pet Insurance – There Are Benefits

As time has progressed, I have become a fan of pet health insurance. More clients are asking about the benefits and limitations of policies and we have seen a number of clients’ pets receive care that the client would otherwise have not have been to provide without an insurance plan. It is not a panacea… Continue Reading

2016 Cat and Dog Resolutions (For you to do)

Canine and Feline New Year’s Resolutions Get more exercise We could all use more exercise, unless of course, you run your dog several miles per day. Dogs that have more exercise tend to be healthier, have joints that last longer and behave better when left alone. The side benefit is an increase to your own… Continue Reading