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20 things vets wish you knew about your pet

by Charlotte Grainger

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Being a pet owner is a real pleasure. Our furry friends bring us joy, comfort, and offer companionship. In turn, we have a duty to treat them right and care for their needs. We want them to be happy and healthy, after all. Are you doing the best you can? Let’s take a look at some of the secrets that your vet wished you knew about your pet.

Dogs can experience separation anxiety

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How does your dog react when you leave them alone? Animals can experience short bouts of separation anxiety when their favourite person is absent. Signs of this problem include barking, howling, pacing, panting, and destroying things when you are not around. If you find that your dog engages in this behaviour, avoid punishing them and instead speak to a vet about the problem.

Dogs and cats can’t eat certain foods

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If you’re a new pet owner, you should learn about animal nutrition. While it may be safe to feed your pets scraps from the dinner table, there are certain foods that you should avoid giving them. These include chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, fatty foods, fried foods, macadamia nuts, and avocados. You should also avoid giving them treats containing xylitol such as sugar-free candy or chewing gum.

The way you hold your rabbit matters

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Handling rabbits is essential to their socialization. However, the way in which you hold them is important. Information from the Veterinary Medical Association suggests that you should always gently support the back end of your rabbit. If your rabbit twists around and you’re not supporting its hind, it could injure its back.

Overweight pets are at risk of diseases

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Is your pet a healthy weight? When animals are overweight, they have a higher risk of illnesses, such as kidney disease and diabetes, according to the Veterinary Medical Association. Speak to your vet and come up with an action plan to manage your pet’s weight problem. You could change their diet and increase their activity levels.

Cats hate water (but it’s unclear why!)

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If you’re a cat owner, you should know that your pet hates water. Most felines tend to flee away from baths or even puddles. Surprisingly, there’s no scientific reason behind this phenomenon. One theory is that, since cats evolved in desert areas, they were never exposed to water. Another theory is that they don’t want to mess up their fur by wetting it.

Cleaning products can pose a threat to your pets

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Keeping your home spick-and-span is a must. However, if you have many commercial cleaning products lying around your home, they could pose a threat to your pet. The Veterinary Medical Association recommends storing them away in a secure cupboard, out of the reach of your animals. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Frightened rabbits may kick

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When your rabbit is feeling frightened, they might lash out by kicking their hind legs out. These kicks can be quite strong, and so it’s important to protect yourself when you’re holding your rabbit. Directing the legs away from your body could be one way in which you can protect yourself. Always take care when handling animals.

It’s normal for dogs to cry

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Is your dog crying? If you find that your dog is moist around the eyes, this could be due to excessive tearing — a problem known as ‘epiphora.’ This condition is common in dog breeds such as poodles, pugs, and spaniels and may not be cause for concern. However, if it’s happening continually, you might want to speak to your vet about the issue.

Certain plants can make pets sick

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Love having house plants around your home? It’s worth considering the effect that they may have on your pets. Certain flora, such as some lilies, tulips, and rhododendrons could cause your animals to get ill, according to the Veterinary Medical Association. It’s worth learning which plants are safe for your pet and which could pose them a threat.

Dogs can suffer with phobias

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If your dog appears scared or panicky in certain situations, that could be symptomatic of a deeper problem. Dogs can suffer with phobias just as humans can. The most common phobias are thunder, gunshots, and firecrackers. You may find that your pet becomes completely immobile when faced with the thing they fear or starts to behave erratically, e.g. jumping up and down at a window pane. Speak to your vet for help with this problem.

Cats and dogs can get diabetes

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Both cats and dogs can suffer from diabetes, and so it’s important to look out for the warning signs. These include decreased appetite, weight loss, drinking more water than usual, and recurring infections. The risk of this condition goes up as your pet ages, which means that you should be on the lookout at all times. Speak to a vet if you’re concerned.

Avoid feeding your dog pigs’ ears

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Getting a pig’s ear from the butcher for your dog may seem like a nice treat. However, the Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend feeding your pet these meat products. The experts suggest that pigs’ ears can be fattening, which may lead to obesity in the long term. They could also cause your dog to have stomach problems.

Not all vets will see exotic pets

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If you’re thinking of getting an exotic pet, you might want to look for a vet before doing so. Information from the Veterinary Medical Association states that not all vets will see exotic pets. Since your animal will need ongoing care when you adopt it, you should make sure that there is a specialist available in your area.

Spaying and neutering can help protect your pets

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Thinking of getting your female pet spayed or male pet neutered? These procedures have multiple benefits. Spaying can help prevent uterine infections and breast cancer while neutering lowers the risk of enlarged prostate glands and testicular cancer, according to the Veterinary Medical Association. Speak to your vet for more details.

Your pet’s bad breath could be a warning sign

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There’s no doubt that pets can have stinky breath, especially after they’ve just eaten. However, if this is an ongoing problem, it could be a sign of poor oral health. Other symptoms include excessive saliva, swelling around the gums, sore or inflamed lips, and oral cavities. Should you notice these issues, you need to speak to your vet fast.

Flea and tick treatments can harm cats

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When it comes to flea and tick products, one size does not fit all. Using treatments that are intended for dogs could prove toxic to cats, according to the Veterinary Medical Association. Signs of this problem include shaking, a high body temperature, and seizures. Remember, you should only use treatments that are labelled for cats.

Cats can get dandruff

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Think only humans get dandruff? Think again. Cats can suffer with this common skin problem too. Signs of the condition include scaly and scurfy skin, according to the Veterinary Medical Association. If you are concerned about your cat’s skin, it’s important to take them to the vet and get some advice on the next steps.

Microchipping could help you find your pet

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Have you thought about getting your cat or dog microchipped? Information from the Veterinary Medical Association suggests that this procedure gives you a higher chance of finding your pet, should they run away or get lost. It could be worth speaking to your vet about what your options are when it comes to microchipping.

Dogs can be allergic to certain foods

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Food allergies in dogs are often linked to skin problems. You should look out for signs that your pet is allergic to a particular type of food. These may be skin itching, scratching, and biting as well as some cases of vomiting and loose stools. Some of the common allergies include corn, soy, beef, chicken, dairy products, and wheat.

Excessive tail chasing could be a problem

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While it may be funny when your dog chases its tail, if this is a common occurrence, it could be a problem. If the habit is excessive, it could be a sign of a medical problem, according to the Veterinary Medical Association. This seemingly natural thing could be linked to conditions such as epilepsy or even obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in dogs. Speak to your vet if you notice this sign.

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