Author Archives: Chryssa Rich

Kidney Diesease Diets and Spooked Dogs – Answers from a Vet

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m at home today answering Pets Best questions on their Facebook page.

The first question comes from Nicole. She says, “I have a five-year-old Chessie with kidney disease. I need to switch food and I’m considering going to a raw diet. What considerations should I take into account when switching over and with a raw diet?”

First of all, with kidney disease, I definitely think that you should get your dog on a kidney-formulated diet. These diets tend to be lower in phosphorus and have balanced amounts of protein, making it easier for the kidneys to function at their optimal level. Typically, the best thing for kidney diets is to use a prescription diet that’s formulated for kidney disease. There are some homemade diets that can be done this way, formulated for kidney disease as well. You probably need to talk to your veterinarian about those homemade diets.

I’m not a huge fan of raw food diets for the same reason that you don’t eat raw meat. Dogs can get salmonella and all kinds of other GI diseases from raw food. There are some veterinarians out there who are more of an advocate for it, but personally, I see so many food-borne illnesses with raw food diets that it’s not something that I would recommend.

The second question comes from Carrie. She writes, “My dog has suddenly become terrified of loud noises and trucks on our walks. He will start shaking violently and drags me home. What can I do to help my poor baby?”

This is really unfortunate. Noise anxiety can happen at any time and with any dog. It can be triggered by any number of different things. My advice to you is going to be to work with a behaviorist. I think that’s going to be your best plan to get him over this fear. There are some things that you can try to do, such as desensitization, which can be a little bit tricky. I would talk with your veterinarian about how desensitization towards noises works.

There are anti-anxiety medications that can be used. You might try walking him in an area that’s not as noisy or maybe taking him somewhere completely different, like a park that’s a little bit quieter. If you’re interested in desensitization or anti-anxiety medication, contact your veterinarian.
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Chunky Pets! How to Help Them Lose

Hi. I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

The first question comes from Brenda, who says, “My three-year-old feline is a chunky monkey. She has her dry food monitored but she’s only lost three pounds and needs to lose three more. She’s on Royal Canin Weight Management. It’s the lowest-fat dry food I’ve found. She gets less than a cup a day. What else can I do?”

Cats and dogs are the same as people in that weight loss has to be by burning more calories than they’re taking in. If she has additional weight to lose, she really needs less calories still. Something that you can do would be to cut back that food even just a little bit more. Try to be patient. When you’re a cat and you only weigh 10 or 13 pounds, or whatever your cat weighs right now, that weight loss is going to be really slow. You should aim for probably no more than a pound a month or so. There’s a possibility that if she’s already lost the three, you just need to be a little bit more patient.

You could try switching to a weight management canned food. Canned food tends to have more water content in it, and it’s kind of a bigger amount of food but it’s less dense in terms of its calories. That would be another way you could make her feel like she’s eating more food but actually is taking in less calories. Keep up the good work. A healthy pet is usually a thin pet, so I applaud your efforts there.

The next question also has to do with weight and it comes from Sue. She has a Bichon mix who is very overweight. He’s on weight manage food but it doesn’t seem to be helping. He’s a rescue and has doubled in weight.

We see this sometimes in pets that have been rescued that had poor nutrition before. They never knew when their next meal was going to come so they tried to really eat all the time. What he needs to learn is that his next meal is coming. Great job on getting him on a weight management food, but what you probably need to do now is portion control.

Rather than letting him graze all day with a bowl of weight management food, you’re going to need to actually measure his food. Get an actual measuring cup from the grocery store and follow the back of the bag. Aim for the weight he should be, and aim for the low end of the range that’s on the back of the bag. It’s usually a good place to start.

I recommend feeding dogs twice a day. If he’s the kind of dog that likes to graze all the time and you put the food down and he doesn’t particularly eat it all in one sitting, put his measured amount in. If he doesn’t eat it in 10 minutes or so, then the food goes away and he gets it for dinner. Then the same thing; set it down for dinner, and if he doesn’t eat it that time, take it away and he gets it for breakfast. He’ll figure out eventually that you’re going to take his food away so he’ll learn to eat a whole meal at one time and you’ll have a much easier time with portion control.
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Cats Chewing Corners and Hot Flashes in Felines

Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. I’m going to be answering a few questions today from the Facebook page of Pets Best Insurance.

Our first question is from Molly. She asks, “My [inaudible 0:17] Mason has gotten in the habit of biting things; the corner of my wooden cabinet, knobs on my drawers, sponges, and my sink faucets in the bathrooms, which is the strangest thing. Could it be a dental issue or just a weird habit he’s picked up along the way?”

I don’t often see kitties with dental disease chewing on things but I would definitely recommend that you have your veterinarian take a look at the teeth and give your kitty a physical just to make sure there are not any medical problems going on. Quite often it’s just a habit that they pick up for who knows what reason.

A lot of times kitties can be destructive if they’re chewing on things so what I recommend is that you try one of the products from the pet stores that is a bitter-tasting spray that you can apply to those objects. That will teach him not to chew on things like that and hopefully break that habit of his.

The next question is from Mimi, and she says, “Do female cats get hot flashes like us women do?”

Thankfully for the kitties, to our knowledge, no. We don’t really know for sure, though, because first of all, the cats can’t tell us whether they’re going through hot flashes, and secondly, most of our kitties are spayed so they don’t have their reproductive organs and we don’t see any symptoms like that. Thanks for the fun question.
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Senior Pet Activity Levels, Cat Eating Carpet

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m at home today answering some questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

The first one comes from Tony, who asks, “I have a mixed breed Chihuahua/Pekingese that will be 20 years old in October. She still wants to play but tires out easily. Is this normal?”

Absolutely. 20 in dog years is probably over 100 in people years, so you’re definitely doing something right to have your dog around for as long as she has been. She’s certainly an older geriatric dog, and I think having a little less energy and tiring more easily is pretty common. Definitely keep up with your regular vet checks for older pets so you can make sure everything’s going well.

The next one comes from Crystal who says, “My 13-year-old male cat eats the fuzz off the carpet. I’m worried this will clog his system.”

I’m a little worried about this, too. Carpet fuzz and other cloth and string and that type of thing really aren’t great for cats to ingest. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great solution for you other than getting rid of your carpets, which may not be something that you’re interested in doing. In the meantime, things you want to watch for would be excessive vomiting and not eating anything. If he seems like he’s off, I would definitely get him checked out.
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