Cats Going Into Heat After Spay; Scratching Where They Shouldn’t

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

Our first question is from Bryant. He writes. “After cats get spayed, can they still have heat symptoms?”

Yes, in rare cases that can sometimes happen. Usually what we have is that there is some ovarian tissue outside the ovary itself, somewhere in the abdomen, that’s not easily seen, that is still functioning ovarian tissue making the hormones and so the cat can come into heat, even after she’s had her spay surgery.

This is pretty rare but it can happen. Work with your veterinarian. He or she can determine if that’s truly what’s going on. If it is, unfortunately the kitty has to have surgery again so that they can go in and find that tissue, take it out, and prevent her from going into heat again.

The next question is from Katie. She’s talking about a couple kitties that she has. She says, “They are indiscriminate scratchers, ignoring their many scratching posts and climbing toys in favor of the carpet, the leather furniture, or whatever happens to be handy, such as someone’s leg. We are at our wits’ end with these two kitties.”

It’s important to remember that scratching is a very normal behavior in cats. They do it for several important reasons. First of all, they can flex and stretch their muscles and joints. It also helps to remove the old sheath that’s on the outside of the claw and it’s very important for scent marking, too.

It’s most important to know that this is normal. They are going to do it. What you need to look at is providing them with a lot of different types of scratching posts, like you have done. Also, look at what they are choosing to scratch on and then try to simulate that same surface on the scratching post, whether it’s cloth, carpet, wood, or even sisal rope. You also want to make sure that you are putting the scratching posts in the common areas, the busy areas of the house so the kitties are more likely to use them. If those scratching posts are tucked away in a corner, it’s not going to happen.

It’s also very good to put the scratching posts near the areas where they like to sleep or nap. Most kitties do want to stretch and scratch immediately after getting up, so if you put the post there they are more likely to use them. Another good idea is to rub or spray catnip onto the post to try and make them more attractive.

You definitely want to try to keep your kitties’ claws trimmed on a regular basis. That may be anywhere from every two weeks to every month. That will prevent a lot of the damage that’s being done. There are also nail caps that can be glued onto the kitties’ claws to prevent damage. If you are not making headway with these suggestions then you want to contact your veterinarian. There are a lot of other ideas that can be used. Sometimes the veterinarian may even advise you to check with a veterinarian behavior specialist.

Why your puppy needs pet insurance

A puppy with dog insurance chews on a toy.

Puppies can be trouble. They are curious and mischievous which means they can get into all kinds of things and cause chaos. A puppy that is left alone can do some serious damage, like chewing your favorite shoes, or even causing damage to your home. Dog insurance can cover your puppy if she gets carried away and actually ingests something she should not eat, like your shoe, a child’s toy, a favorite towel, or even your wedding ring.

Lack of puppy exercise is a major contributor to boredom, which leads to puppies chewing excessively. Puppies that chew excessively can end up destroying their toys, and if they are left for long periods of time, puppies can chew other items in the home including furniture, personal items, and even the actual walls of the house. Dog insurance helps to ensure that if your puppy does eat something, the vet bill won’t leave you financially strapped.

Eating non-food objects can lead diarrhea and other pet health conditions in puppies. A foreign object is a serious medical concern. Foreign objects can cause a blockage of the intestines, which can lead to death if not treated. If the object perforates the intestines, the situation then turns into a medical emergency. Pet insurance should be a requirement for all puppy owners in case the worst happens to your curious puppy.

To keep your puppy from chewing things they shouldn’t, keep them in an area where they can be supervised at all times. Use pet gates to keep your puppy out of rooms that are not puppy-proofed. Exercise your puppy daily to help stimulate them both mentally and physically.

Young Dog Going Gray and a Female Dog Who Marks

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

This one comes from Haley. She writes, “My dog is only four years old. She used to be pure black, but now her entire face and the back neck have turned gray, so much so that people think she’s 15 years old. Is it common for dogs to prematurely gray and could it be stress-induced?”

This is really common. It tends to be the darker dogs where it’s the most profound. There is thought to be a genetic link so genes can play a role in it. Labradors, for example, are a common breed where this happens. The Black Labs will go gray prematurely. It’s probably not related to any sort of underlying problem or disease and it’s probably not stress-induced. It’s probably just normal for her.

The last one comes from Christa. “Is it normal for a female dog to urine mark like a boy when we’re on walks in the park?”

This is a great question. Yes, it is normal. This can be a learned behavior. Typically it is male dogs that will mark more than female dogs but female dogs can do it, too. They’ll even lift their leg like a boy dog. If she’s squatting uncomfortably or it’s a new behavior for her, you might want to ask your veterinarian just to make sure there’s not something new like a urinary tract infection. But if it’s something she always does at the park, it’s probably normal for her.

How to make your dog behave!

A dog with dog insurance learns how to behave.

By: Judy Luther
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
For Pets Best Insurance

I’m going to share one of my favorite methods of solving behavior problems with the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance readers today. This menthod is teaching dogs an incompatible behavior in place of something they currently do. This is very effective in eliminating unwanted behaviors and teaching the dog to offer acceptable behaviors instead, therefore reinforcing what we want the dog to do.

I know this probably sounds a bit difficult, but it is really quite easy. It’s simply a different way of thinking through your dog’s behavior and a coinciding training plan. Instead of telling our dogs to stop doing something, we are going to ask him to act differently.

Let’s say you have a dog that loves to jump on people to greet them. Would you prefer, instead, to have your dog sit when someone enters your home? While there is no right or wrong answer, it’s up to you to determine what you’d like your pet to do and how he should behave.

The next step is to put the plan into action. Each time your dog jumps you will ask him to sit. You should only ask him to sit one time, and then simply wait for him to respond to your command. Ignore all other behaviors he may offer, including any additional jumping he may do. Once he sits, reward him with praise, petting and/or a yummy treat.

Initially this will take a bit of effort on your part. You are going to have to think through your dog’s behavior problem, and come up with an alternative behavior. The alternative behavior you select, should be something that is opposite and therefore incompatible with the undesired behavior. As in the example above, your dog cannot jump if he is sitting.

This method can and should be used with any unwanted behavior your dog does. So the next time your dog is chasing the cat, pulling on his leash, digging a hole in the garden, darting out the door, etc, simply ask yourself “What would I rather my dog do?” You will be surprised at how quickly your dog’s behavior will change, and how much fun you will have training him. Another benefit of this training method is that you will build a great training partnership with your dog, while solving behavior issues without force or punishment.

For more articles by Judy Luther, visit the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance blog at

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