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256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Cats 101

The Pros and Cons of Wet Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food

The decision to choose dry food or wet food is an eternal debate for pet owners. In order to choose wisely, it is important to know the benefits and downsides of each type of food. Something that works well for one dog, may not for another.  

 

Wet Dog Food Pros:

Wet food has a high concentration of moisture that is perfect if your dog doesn’t drink enough water. This makes it practical for older dogs that need more water, as well as for living in a warmer climate. It also contains high amounts of protein and fats that are very healthy for your dog, while the carbohydrate count is much lower. Because it is sealed, it also has no need for synthetic preservatives making it a more natural option.

Wet food has a richer scent and taste to it that is more appealing to a sick or senior dog with affected olfactory senses. It has been seen to help dogs that have dietary problems because of the high moisture content. It’s also a good option for dogs with small mouths or any type of jaw or tooth problem. It will be easier on their mouths and less effort to chew.

 

Wet Dog Food Cons:

To start, wet dog food is more expensive. It does not last as long because wet dog food is not stored or maintained as easily as dry food. Once it has been opened, it must be covered and refrigerated. It also cannot be left in the bowl for longer than a few hours because it is prone to contamination. Because it is more meaty and wet, dogs are much more likely to make a mess near the bowl.

Another downside to wet food is that your dog will require more dental care. You’ll want to pay more attention to their teeth as wet dog food does not clean them the way dry dog food does. Also, due to the high moisture, protein, and fat content, some dogs are more likely to come away with upset stomachs, especially when transitioning off of kibble.

 

Dry Dog Food Pros:

Dry food is cheaper. It can be bought in large containers that will last you a long time. It is much easier to store, with no worries about refrigeration and can be left in the bowl for days without spoiling. Dry food is the most convenient food option. It is easy to measure out and travel with and you can fill the bowl with enough for a day and not have to worry about feeding your dog.

Dry food can also be used to train your dogs. They are good supplements if you don’t want your dog to have too many treats and work just as effectively. Dry food is also a good dental health supplement. They massage your dog’s gums and remove plaque from their teeth. There is even kibble made specially to clean your dog’s teeth, not to mention there is such a wide variety of dry food as well as prescription foods, you are bound to find something perfect for your dog.

 

Dry Dog Food Cons:

Dry food does not provide the moisture that wet food does. Many dogs don’t drink as much water as they should. Since this can be difficult to track, wet food ensures that your dog gets the moisture they need. Wet food is also a good choice for dogs that are older or living in a warmer climate because both require more water. For dogs with dental problems, chewing on the dry food can be painful and make toothaches worse

Dry food also has lower levels of animal-based protein and fat, but are higher in carbohydrates. All dogs need protein and the more active your dog, the more fat they need. Dry food may not provide enough, so mixing a diet of dry food and wet food is often the best plan for those dogs.

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

 

Cat Shredding Furniture? Here’s How to Stop It!

People don’t buy their furniture to have it ripped to shreds by persistent cat claws. Unfortunately, cat’s don’t give people much choice in the matter. So why do they do it? More importantly, how can it be prevented?

 

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Cat’s, like dogs, are territorial creatures. That’s true for outdoor cats as well as indoor cats. They know what’s theirs and they want everyone else to know it too. As such, it is a cat’s natural instinct to claw at the visible portions of a home, such as the furniture, to mark it as theirs. The visible claw marks on the fabric show that it belongs to them.

In addition, cat’s paws contain scent glands that release their smell onto the furniture when scratched. This lets other animals know what is the cat’s territory and that they should stay out.

Aside from obeying natural instincts, cats scratch things as a form of exercise. A house cat can stretch out their body and work their muscles as their claws drag down the pretty plush couch. And, of course, it’s enjoyable for them. It’s what they do, it’s how they have fun. While people can’t stop their cats from scratching in general, there are still ways to protect furniture without inhibiting a cat’s nature.

 

Sprays

What’s the best way to make anyone stay away from something? Make them not want to be there. Herbal sprays are a great harmless way to prevent the destruction of furniture. The scent of a “no scratch” spray will not only block out a cat’s territorial smell, but it will also be so unpleasant that they don’t want to be there anyway. The scent is undetectable to people, but the spray certainly make an impression on the cat.

 

Tapes

Putting a clear sticky tape over a cat’s most frequently target chair corner is another subtle but effective way to stop a cat from scratching. Cat’s sensitive paws absolutely hate any sticky surface and they will notice with even a slight touch. After a few times of lightly sticking to that corner, a cat won’t want to go back.

 

Cat Furniture

Some people try to relocate their scratching to a place that can be shredded without ruining the appearance of the household? A cedar post or a sisal carpet cat tree in the home will do the trick.
The object needs to be long enough for the cat to stretch out their whole body and sturdy enough that it won’t fall over. Pet owners should avoid buying what looks to be the most durable because cats don’t want this post to stay together. They want to tear it to shreds and they want to be able to look upon their work in the weeks to come.

A spray of catnip will make it more appealing to the cat and they’ll likely jump at this new toy for them to destroy.

 

Interrupt

A loud, distracting sound executive when a cat is caught with its claws in something soft and valuable will help teach the cat not to do it again. People can  shake a can of pennies or clap loudly, but they need to avoid losing their temper, as this can lead some people to shout or strike their cat in some way.

Cats need to learn what not to claw; but pet owners don’t want their cat to dread being in their presence. Cats need to be caught in the act, and if you don’t and try shaking pennies at them a few hours later, the cat won’t know what they did wrong.

 

Trimming Cat’s Claws

If there’s a reasonable chance the cat may relapse and return to the luxury of the living room for their scratching fun, regularly trimming the cat’s claws can help. By disarming them, there is little damage they can do, but this should only be done after other methods are exhausted.. The shorter their claws, the less drastic the destruction will be.

 

Help from the Pros

If you still need help, reach out to a Toronto veterinarian at our website or you can reach the Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

Don’t let your cat go stir crazy this winter

Regardless of how often your cat goes outside, your cat will need to spend a lot of time indoors this winter. Even if they are an indoor cat, the cold conditions can cause them trouble indoors that they won’t encounter in warmer weather.

First and foremost, do everything you can to make sure your home is warm enough for cat comfort. If your heating system doesn’t reach every room, try giving them a tented cat bed to retreat to for warmth. Any cat bed will lend them extra heat, and if you don’t have one on hand you can always line a cardboard box with a warm towel from the dryer. Make sure the walls are cut down enough that your cat can enter it freely.

If you want to give your cat a real treat, let them use a warming pad to set to a low temperature. Don’t swaddle them down with a towel or restrict their movement in any way in case they get too warm, and only use the warming pad when you can keep an eye on them.

If your cat has a rivalry with any other pets, be aware that heating issues may force them into the same rooms with each other. You may need to play peacemaker, keep them separated or find ways to keep distant rooms warm enough so all your pets can stay comfortable.

If your cat loses its normal daytime outdoor adventures because of snow and ice, make sure you devote some special playtime to keep your cat entertained. The old fluffy mouse on a string, laser pointer or rolling toys are easy ways to keep your cats active with minimal effort on your part.

Keep any curtains and blinds open during the day to allow warm sunbeams to splash across the floor for your pets to bask in. It’s free and they’ll appreciate the effort.

Make sure you keep indoor humidity under control. The dry winter air and heating systems can make the air in your home unbearably dry. Besides the physical discomfort your pets may feel, the dry air can increase static electricity. No cat likes being patted only to receive a big shock when they touch you with their nose.

Finally, if you do have an outdoor cat, consider using a leash and a harness to take your cat for a walk. Yes, they will look silly and some cats would rather be dragged than walked, but if your kitty is cooped up all winter it just might be enough to help them unwind for a few minutes and regain some sanity.

How to keep cats and dogs from fighting in your home

 

Cat And Dog getting along

 

When we share our house with animals we have to remember that they will always be animals. No matter how many generations of their ancestors have been house pets before them, no matter how cute and fluffy they may be, our cats and dogs will still be animals with instincts and other urges that can make it hard for them to get along with each other.

In all cases, the way cats and dogs behave towards one another depends largely on how they were first introduced.

Give your new pet some solo time to get used to the sounds, sights and smells of your home before meeting any new pet siblings. Keep the established cat or dog in a separate part of the house and give the new pet time to adjust before it has to be social.

If you have baby gates available please deploy them. Unlike putting the pet in a carrier or behind a door, it will let your cat or dog explore a section of the house without feeling shut in.

When you want the pets to meet for the first time, don’t hold your cat up like it’s Simba in the Lion King on Pride Rock, forcing them to be nose to nose. That’s going to make the cat uncomfortable, and possibly claw-happy, which will ensure a bad first impression on your dog.

Instead, let the pets meet each other at their own pace. Get them into the same room, but don’t push them together. When cats and dogs don’t get along it’s usually because the dog acts aggressively towards the cat, so make sure your dog is leashed and the cat has somewhere to run to.

Dogs naturally want to chase things that scurry, but you need to help them break this behavior. Don’t tolerate any chasing or fighting. It’s best to keep a squirt gun handy to break up any brawls so they don’t grow into rivalries.

Keep in mind that personality clashes extend beyond species. If your cat is playful and your dog is not, you will have a tougher time on your hands then if both pets have the same disposition. Expect it to take two or three weeks before your pets get used to one another, and if you are still having trouble don’t wait for one of your pets to get hurt before you seek outside help from a trainer or veterinarian.

Keepings pets cool in the summer

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The sticky days of summer are here, and humans aren’t the only ones who have to worry about heat stroke. Pets depend on us for help when they need to cool down, but unfortunately they are limited in how they can communicate to their owners when they get too hot.

Some common warning signs to look out for in dogs include panting and salivating excessively, lying down on cool or shaded surfaces, skin that feels especially warm to the touch, anxious behavior, stumbling and even vomiting.

While it’s tempting to use ice or very cold water to cool your pet down fast, this can constrict their blood vessels and make it harder for their bodies to shed heat. Instead, try spraying them with cool water from a hose or placing them in a tub. If you’re going use a fan make sure they are wet first.

If you’re in the Toronto area, please give us a call and tell us about your pet’s symptoms right away so we can determine how serious the heat problem is. If conditions are severe they will need to come in for advanced treatment.

To avoid heat problems, never, ever leave your dog in a car on a hot day, even for a minute. Vehicles warm up much faster than most people realize, even if the temperatures seem mild and the vehicle is in the shade. Don’t risk it.

If your pet is kept outside, make sure they have a cool, shaded place to retreat to. Try putting out a second water dish, with ice water inside, in case the first one is emptied or knocked over. If you have a kiddie pool handy, fill it up and put it in the shade for your pets to use.

Don’t walk your dog during the middle of the day. Keep exercise light and time those walks to the morning or evening.

Heat stroke is a serious matter. If dogs reach a temperature of 43 degrees they can suffer internal organ failure, brain damage or death. Pets depend on you for their health and safety, so keep that responsibility in mind as the temperatures soar.

4 tips to safeguard your pet on moving day

It's moving day, but are you prepared? Do you have pet photos and your new downtown Toronto veterinarian clinic address print?Moving day can be a whirlwind of activity in your home. To help your pet deal with the stress of the event, here are a few tips to keep your pet safe and limit the stress your pet may feel as your new home is dismantled on moving day.

  1. It is important to keep as normal a routine as possible. A few weeks before the move, make small changes every day. Changing your pets routine in small ways. One day moving the food dish to a new location. Maybe the next day, taking a walk at a different time or walking a different route. These small changes will make the pet aware that something is different but they will eventually accept the changes with a minimum of fuss.
  2. On moving day, place your pet in the bathroom with a ‘Do not Enter’ sign.   This will notify the moving company that they are not to enter the room and possibly disturb your pet. There will be a lot of confusion on moving day and you want to make sure that your pet is safe and secure.
  3. Have a neighbor, friend or relative take responsibility for your pet on moving day to ensure that your pet does not escape in the confusion or is left behind in the aftermath of packing.
  4. On moving day, keep photos of your pet on hand in case your pet gets away during the confusion of packing. Pictures are great for identifying lost pets.

Moving day can elicit a lot of emotions from people and pets alike. Keep your move positive and stress free by creating a safe haven for your pet, like the bathroom, while strangers dismantle your home for your new adventure.

 

This is a three-part series.

Part 1

Part 3

3 tips to alleviate pet stress when preparing to move

Are you moving with your cat or dog towards a new Toronto vetinarian hospital? Advice from the animal experts on how to keep your furball friends from getting stressed out.Owners may be surprised to find their pet acting out when preparing to move. Like humans, pets thrive on routine.   Like humans, change is scary and unpredictable. With some advanced planning, patience and affection any move can be successful and stress free.

  1. A few weeks before the move, purchase a carrier for your pet that is large enough for your pet to lay down in comfort. Make sure there is enough room for water and food dishes.
  2. After purchase, let your pet get familiar with the carrier. Encouraging your pet to sleep and eat in the carrier or crate will provide your pet with a personal portable shelter.
  3. Be sure to clip your pet nails prior to introducing them to their carrier and crate. This will protect them against hooking their nails on the carrier door, holes and other crevices.

Hopefully the carrier will become a haven for your pet, a home away from home. This will sooth your pet and ensures a safe and stress free trip to your new home.

 

This is a three-part series.

Part 2

Part 3

February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month

If you haven’t spayed or neutered your pet, here’s what you need to know:

Spaying or neutering your pet eliminates unwanted pregnancies and provides many health benefits. In females, spaying avoids the probability of a serious and potentially fatal uterine infection in later years, it also reduces the chance of mammary cancer. In males, neutering reduces the chance of cancer of the testicles and prostate, and lessens the chance of injury due to fighting or misadventure by roaming. We recommend spaying or neutering your new dog, cat or other animal at 5 months.

Your pet’s health

Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. (Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.)

Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought they they have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.

Getting your pets spayed/neutered will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.

Curbing bad behavior

Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting his leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.

For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 4 months of age before there’s even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighitng with other males.

In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained.

Cost cutting

Caring for a pet with reproductive system cancer or pyometra can easily run into the thousands of dollars—five to ten times as much as a routine spay surgery. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive or high-strung around other dogs. Serious fighting is more common between unaltered pets of the same gender and can incur high veterinary costs.

Renewing your pet’s license can be more expensive, too. Many counties have spay/neuter laws that require pets to be sterilized, or require people with unaltered pets to pay higher license renewal fees.

Spaying and neutering are good for rabbits, too

Part of being conscientious about the pet overpopulation problem is to spay or neuter your pet rabbits, too. Rabbits reproduce faster than dogs or cats and often end up in shelters, where they must be euthanized. Neutering male rabbits can reduce hormone-driven behavior such as lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing.

And just as with dogs and cats, spayed female rabbits are less likely to get ovarian, mammary, and uterine cancers, which can be prevalent in mature females.

Millions of pet deaths each year are a needless tragedy. By spaying and neutering your pet, you can be an important part of the solution. Contact your veterinarian today and be sure to let your family and friends know that they should do the same.

February Pet Health Tip: Get A Dental Exam

Pets need dental care just as much as we do. During your pet’s annual physical exam, your veterinarian will likely examine their mouth and check to excess tartar build up, damaged teeth and gum health. They may recommend a professional cleaning, change in food, and cleaning regimen for your pet to maintain good dental health. Since pet’s use their mouths not just for eating, but also grooming, it is important to keep their teeth healthy.

Diet can also affect your pet’s dental health.  We generally recommend Royal Canin, a supplier of high quality, specialized dog and cat foods in the veterinary, pet specialty and breeder channels. Royal Canin offers a comprehensive veterinary exclusive line of therapeutic and life stage formulas.  Royal Canin food is available in hospital and through our convenient web store.

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Celebrating the Holidays with Your Pet

Holidays are a busy time for us, entertaining, shopping, cooking, wrapping gifts, and hosting guests can be exhausting.  But don’t forget to include your pet!

Here’s a few ways to include your pet in the festivities

1-Bring your dog to that holiday party
After you ask permission of course!  This is great socialization for them and you won’t have to worry about rushing back home to let them out.  Just make sure to keep an eye on your dog, guests may want to feed them food he can’t eat or he may become irritated by all the hustle and bustle.  If your dog has a difficult time socializing, leave them at home but make sure to give them plenty of exercise and attention before and after the party.

2-Treat them to a gift.
Give your pet a gift during the holidays too.  It could be a snack, a new toy or bed. They will certainly appreciate it!  Take a look at our pet gift guides here.

3-Spend some time with them.
Pets value our time and company.  Whether you’re playing games with them or snuggling up on the couch, they will love that you gave them a little personalized attention and it will help you relax after all that gift wrapping!

4-Take them for a holiday hike!
We all want to avoid that holiday weight gain so take a few moments to get out for some fresh air and exercise with your pet!

5-Provide your pet with something to do.
Pets may get bored while you’re away for festivities or may not want to be around when all the guests are gathered in your living room.  Consider getting them a toy, puzzle or play place to occupy them while you entertain.

6-Keep your pet safe!
Read our holiday safety guide for pets blog here. 

 

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