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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease and Stress

As many pet parents know, urinary tract problems are a common kitty complaint. In part, that’s because cats evolved as desert animals, and therefore don’t have a strong instinctual drive to drink water. Not taking in enough fluids can result in a scenario where minerals pile-up in the kidneys and bladder, setting the stage for the formation of stones or crystals.

These problems are common enough that you should be on the lookout for these warning signs:

  • Frequent urination
  • Urination in places other than the litter box
  • If he/she strains to urinate
  • If you see any hint of blood in her urine

And now, there’s evidence to suggest that stress can be one of the primary causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Stress can let loose a flood of hormones that could cause the muscles of the lower urinary tract to constrict.  Changes in your routine, a new companion animal in the home, changes in weather and even a lack of attention can increase your cat’s stress level. You can see how important it is to be in-tune with your cat’s emotional state, and take steps to decrease or eliminate stress in her life.

Additionally, you might consider providing water for your cat using a continuous fountain.  The constant motion of the water attracts the attention of cats, hopefully encouraging them to drink more. And, of course, providing fluid-rich canned foods like Instinctive Choice can help boost overall fluid intake, too.

If you take steps now, you might be able to prevent your cat from developing urinary health issues, like FLUTD, helping him or her to live a healthier – and much more comfortable – life.


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Dealing with the Loss of a Dog or Cat

Losing a companion animal is devastating. And yet, many pet parents don’t receive the kind of emotional support they might expect if they had lost a human family member. Failing to show such a depth of compassion is common for those who have never shared a special bond with a dog or cat. These people might say to themselves, “What’s the big deal … it was just a pet.”  What they don’t understand is a very simple truth: losing a companion animal is losing a member of your family.

Anytime we suffer a dramatic loss, it is appropriate to grieve. Your first priority should be to come to grips with the fact that it is perfectly acceptable to grieve the passing of your companion animal. Accepting the magnitude of your loss can facilitate the process of grieving. The more you fight to suppress your feelings, the worse your grief can become. Hiding the heartache will do you no good.

Grief takes many forms, whether it’s denial, anger, bargaining, depression and ultimately, acceptance. While many tout the different characterizations of grief as if they were absolute stages, these steps should be interpreted more as a continuum of emotion. That is, some may not experience them and others may experience many simultaneously.

Some find the process of grief frustrating, as it is a process of reaction. We may ask ourselves, “What can I do to feel better?” Those who have experienced a recent loss should take some comfort in knowing that there are outlets for this impulse. There are several organizations that allow you to contribute funds in the memory of your dog or cat. Many of these groups will publish an announcement of your gift along with a special message of tribute. In this way, you can create a legacy for your companion animal.

Additionally, you should be certain to actively take care of yourself physically. Because grief takes a toll on us physically, you should allow yourself extra time to sleep, be sure to exercise and eat well.

Don’t arbitrarily assign time limits to your grief. The bottom line is – as with most emotional processes – it takes as long as it takes.

Above all, know that you are not alone in your experience. Be sure to talk to other pet parents about your loss, but be sure to spend time sharing memories about the best times you spent with your dog or cat, too.


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The Importance of Pet Insurance

Near-term costs. Long-term savings. That’s exactly what pet insurance, just like your health insurance (if you’re fortunate enough have coverage), offers pet parents. And in difficult economic times, pet insurance may be the answer to escalating vet bills.

Veterinary charges continue to rise dramatically, in large part due to the fact that procedures that were once used exclusively for human diagnoses (like CAT-scans and MRI’s) are now much more commonly used in diagnosing companion animals.

Recent measures put the number of insured companion animals at 3%, but that’s double the number of covered pets compared to the previous year. 

Pet insurance represents a relatively inexpensive way to help families deal with the high costs of the veterinary care. Policies are available through companies like Veterinary Pet Insurance, Pet Health, Inc., ShelterCare and others, both for cats and for dogs, and cover everything from annual exams to specialized treatments. 

Before you buy a pet insurance policy, call your veterinarian office to find out what policies will cover costs there. After all, there’s no point getting a policy if it your veterinarian doesn’t accept it. 

Additionally, you recommend that you discuss with your vet which policy will best cover your companion animal’s needs. With the expert information you can receive from your vet, you should be able to make the best determination for your family’s needs.


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Protect Your Cat and Dog From a Common Household Device

With a growing number of Americans concerned about identity theft and privacy issues, many are now using paper shredders to deal with mounting paperwork. Newer models are even equipped with enough mincing power to destroy CD’s.

Tragically, however, the addition of paper shredders to home offices has led to startling and grisly injuries inflicted on companion animals. In nearly all of the heartbreaking instances, curious dogs and cats stuck probing tongues into the openings, causing the slicing mechanism to activate. Unfortunately, it’s rare that these poor creatures survive the resulting injuries. 

Thankfully, you have the power to prevent this from happening to your dog or cat and prioritize their safety.

Instead of leaving your shredder set on “automatic” - operating only when something is fed into it - simply switch the device to the “off” position.  Or shut the door to the room where the device is located, denying your companion animal access to the room. Or, better yet, unplug the device while it’s not in use. Then, you’ll never have to worry about the position of the switch or the potential of horrible mutilations. 

There you have it. Let's keep our furry friends safe!


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