The Big Question in Pet Nutrition: Can My Pet be Vegetarian/Vegan?

pet nutritionIt’s been well documented that a plant-based diet is healthier for humans. Many veterinarians and veterinary professionals are vegan or vegetarian for health, environmental, or animal cruelty reasons. Could this also be a good approach to pet nutrition? The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are exploring vegetarian and vegan diets to learn if our pets can benefit as much as we do.

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How do Essential Oils Fit Into Pet Safety?

Pet SafetyA trip to the spa typically involves a scent of some kind that decreases stress, such as almond, eucalyptus, clove, peppermint, pine, tea tree, and ylang-ylang. Often mixed with vitamin E oil and massaged into the skin, these scents trigger certain responses through our olfactory receptors, brain, and nervous system. While these products, known as essential oils, are gaining in popularity, they can also threaten pet safety and health.

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It’s that Time of Year: New Year’s Resolutions for Pets

January is here, and with it a brand new year. As we move into February, there is the urge to finally get around to those New Year’s resolutions you’ve been putting off. But, isn’t it true that it’s always easier to meet your goals when you have a friend working on them alongside you?

This year, how about making New Year’s resolutions for pets? Since overweight and obese pets are so common, we thought some resolutions focused on maintaining a good weight might resonate. You may find their resolutions are not so different from your own and might be easier to keep than you think.

The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital have some tips for maintaining a healthy weight for your pet.

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Tummy Trouble: Always a Pet Emergency or Can You Wait it Out?

pet tummy troublesThere are exactly zero pet owners out there who shrug off unforeseen, yet repetitive, vomiting episodes (with or without diarrhea). To be sure, it’s alarming when an animal shows acute signs of sickness, but rushing to the ER every time your pet hacks something up may not always be the right approach. The Pet Experts present: when to wait and see if tummy troubles improve vs. when to accept that a real pet emergency is looming…

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It’s Never Too Late to Start: Pet Costumes to Write Home About

pet costumesThere’s a significant amount of cause and effect in the world shared by our pets, and either positive or negative behaviors are the result of certain stimuli. In the case of pet costumes, it’s never a given how an individual pet will react, but excessive panting, hiding, and growling aren’t entirely uncommon. In fact, pet costumes can repel the pet you so dearly want to dress up, but The Pet Experts have a few tips to keep your Halloween game strong and safe.

Good Show

Many pet owners might purchase or create a costume with the understanding that their four-legged buddy will detest it. In spite of your best efforts, enthusiasm, and encouragement, your pet reserves the right to hate every possible option under the sun. That’s okay. Don’t force the issue. Instead, spend a quiet night at home watching scary movies together.

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Pet Hair, Don’t Care: Tips and Tricks for Managing Shedding

pet hairFall has arrived in Chicagoland, and that means it’s time to clean up the yard, garage, and home in preparation for the long winter ahead. For pet owners, the change in seasons is often a time of increased shedding. Unfortunately, with fewer opportunities to be outdoors or have the windows open, it’s easy to feel as though you’re drowning in pet hair.

Whether it’s seasonal or year round, all pets shed and all pet owners must figure out how to deal with pet hair in their homes, cars, and on furniture and clothes. That’s why The Pet Experts have compiled some of our favorite pet hair removal tips to help keep your home in tiptop shape.

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Cleaning House and Garden With an Eye on Spring Pet Safety

After daylight savings comes and goes, we’re faced with endless seasonal possibilities – and countless chores. To be sure, the extra time in the day allows for more productivity, but where does that leave Fluffy or Fido?

Your pet may be unimpressed by your spring cleaning endeavors or perhaps he or she wants to get in the middle of things. Likewise, your pet could feel unsettled or confused by the increased activity, new smells, and less couch time together. Whatever the case may be, keeping an eye on spring pet safety ensures that everyone enjoys the season in good health. That’s where The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital comes in!

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Paw In Hand: Moving Forward With New Year’s Resolutions For Your Pet

Cat as a presentLists, lists, lists! The holiday shopping list gives way to the cooking or baking list, and on and on it goes. Looking ahead to the new year can only truly be done if there is a moment of understanding about the year we’re leaving behind. There will always be things that we wish to change from one year to the next, and making thoughtful New Year’s resolutions can invigorate your routine or mindset as you turn your calendar’s page.

But what about making New Year’s resolutions for you pet? Whether it’s to improve – or lengthen – his or her quality of life, or infuse a bit more zeal to the everyday, we’ve got five ideas to help you positively forge ahead. Continue…

Diagnostic Screening for Your Pet: Early Warning System for Disease

 

Screening blood1 iStock_000004528468XSmallHave you ever had a diagnostic screening test? You know, when your doctor insists on checking your cholesterol levels, taking your blood pressure, or testing for glaucoma–even though you feel perfectly healthy?

Screening tests are a common strategy used to identify those who have a certain condition or disease even though they are not necessarily exhibiting symptoms.

These diagnostic screening tests are a powerful tool in both human and veterinary medicine, as many diseases respond better to treatment when they are caught early in their course. Many of the tests also provide valuable wellness information that allows your vet to make recommendations for diet or lifestyle to maintain wellness. Continue…

Fat Cats: the Issue of Cat Obesity

 

The pet obesity epidemic is a big concern in this country, and the problem is growing worse.  Weight loss is not easy for anyone, human or otherwise.  When it comes down to it, the solution seems simple:  Eat less, exercise more.  This is easier said than done, however, particularly in the cat.  But there are important reasons for us to strive to reach a healthy weight for our feline companions.

Overweight cats are prone to illness and shortened lives

Overweight cats are prone to some serious medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer.  Overweight cats live shorter lives than normal weight cats.  Also, these cats tend to be “lazier”, not moving around as much, which makes it harder to detect early signs of serious illnesses.  Fat cats are no laughing matter.

What can you do to help your cat slim down?

So how do we accomplish safe, successful weight loss for our furry felines?

  • Cut the calories.  This sounds simple enough, but there is more to it than just not eating as much.  Fat cats are prone to developing a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis if they do not eat enough.  Kitty diets should only be started under the guidance of your veterinarian.  He or she can help you to calculate your cat’s daily calorie requirements.  Don’t be tempted to use a self-feeder.  Instead, measure out portions daily.  Pet or play with your kitty when it begs–some cats are literally starving for attention!  Feed small meals frequently and freshen the water bowl often.  These little changes can make a big one!
  • Change the food.  For some cats, simply changing the diet can make a drastic difference.  For instance, most canned foods have a lower caloric content than their dry counterparts.  Light or diet foods are also available.  Be sure that you are not cutting calories too drastically by calculating caloric needs with your veterinarian.  Cats can be finicky about new foods, so be sure to gradually introduce the new diet over a 1-2 week period.  You can try to make new foods more palatable by warming them slightly or adding a little oregano or a splash of salmon juice or omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
  • Get that kitty moving! No bones about it–it is harder to increase your cat’s activity level than your dog’s.  It takes some creativity to get your cat burning calories.  Make your cat “hunt” for its food by moving the bowl frequently.  Try putting it at the furthest place from kitty’s sleeping spot to encourage movement.  Use interactive toys such as flashlights, laser pointers, paper bags–anything your cat likes to chase to have a short activity session daily.   You may need to change it up frequently.
  • Keep track of progress.  Rechecks and weigh-ins can help tell you if you are on the right track.  Monthly weigh-ins are ideal.  If you are not making progress in a month’s time, it is time to try another food or technique.