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Allergies affect people and pets alike, and can strike at any time of the year. For pets, most allergies cause itchy skin instead of the more typical human allergy symptoms of runny nose and eyes.

According to pet insurance companies, allergies are the number one reason people seek treatment for their pets at the veterinary hospital. Let’s take a look at what an allergies in pets look like and how to help them.

Common Causes of Allergies in Pets

In pets, the most common causes of allergic reactions include:

Environmental allergies – Pets can be allergic to the pollen of any number of blooming plants and trees, as well as to dust, mold, and grass. Indoor pets can also be susceptible since many of these particles can find their way indoors.

Flea Allergy – Pets who are allergic to fleas are usually highly allergic to the flea saliva. Even one flea bite can cause intense itching, hot spots, hair loss, and resulting chronic skin and ear infections.

Food allergies – Most of the time, pets are allergic to the protein in pet food, such as beef and chicken, as opposed to grains.

Identifying Allergies

Most people with allergies suffer from watery eyes, a runny nose, or a dry, scratchy throat. In animals, allergies usually manifest as itchy skin. Some common signs to watch for include:

  • Intense and persistent itching
  • Biting or chewing at the ears, face, underside, or under the tail
  • Rubbing their face or body against the carpet or furniture
  • Patches of hair loss
  • Open sores
  • Increased body odor
  • Red or blotchy skin
  • Head shaking
  • Red eyes
  • Scratching around the ears
Diagnosing Pet Allergies

A diagnosis of allergies in pets may be long and involved. Not every pet is allergic to the same things, and all pets respond differently to different allergens. Generally, there are clues your veterinarian can observe from your pet’s physical exam and your observations of their behavior at home. Most of the time, diagnosing allergies is a process of elimination.

Dogs and cats can be tested to find out what exactly they are allergic to. Allergy testing, a rigorous flea control program, and a food elimination trial are all approaches that we can take depending on your pet’s symptoms. Contact us to get started.

What You Can Do

If your pet has environmental allergies, here are a few things you can try at home to help manage mild itching (keep in mind that these ideas won’t work for a food allergy):

  • Wipe off your pet’s feet and belly when they come inside
  • Run a HEPA filter in your home
  • Vacuum and clean your home frequently to remove dust and pollen
  • Bathe your pet in a mild shampoo as recommended by your veterinarian
  • Keep doors and windows closed
  • Keep your pet on a regular flea preventive year round
  • Take off your own shoes in the house
  • Administer an over the counter antihistamine as directed by your veterinarian
Managing Pet Allergies

Unfortunately, there is no cure for pet allergies – only good management. So if your pet is very uncomfortable, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. With a team approach, we can discover what your pet is allergic to and make a plan to help them feel better. Berkeley Veterinary Center is your partner in maintaining and improving your pet’s health.

The post No More Itch: Identifying and Treating Allergies in Pets appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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At Berkeley Veterinary Center, a Fear Free experience for you and your furry friends is of utmost priority to us. Did you know that our staff and doctors have undergone special training to ensure that your pet’s stress, anxiety, and fear is kept as minimal as possible during their visit?

Learn about all the extra things we do at our Fear Free Certified facility to make your pet’s experience a great one!

It’s the Little Things

There are so many things that go into helping each pet who enters our practice feel at ease. Fear Free is about adapting to the needs of each individual patient. For example, a food-loving lab is going to require a much different approach than a terrified kitty!

Some of the things that we do to decrease fear, anxiety, and stress in our patients may include:

Treats, treats, and more treats — We utilize food as a reward and a distraction for many of our patients. This helps us to earn their trust and is often enough to keep a pet preoccupied during their exam. Special high value treats like spray cheese and peanut butter are always on hand, but you are encouraged to bring along your pet’s favorites. Be sure your pets arrive to their appointment hungry!

Pheromones everywhere — While you may not notice them, your dog or cat is sure to take note of the pheromone diffusers throughout our hospital. Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs help to put our patients at ease.

Getting down — Getting down on your pet’s level helps to create a sense of calm in many of our patients. Don’t be surprised to see us down on the floor. We may also get creative about performing procedures where your pet is most comfortable, such as in someone’s arms or up on one of our chairs. It’s all about getting things done safely and without anxiety.

A smelly undertaking — We hope that you notice the absence of smells in our hospital when you walk in. Your pet is sure to notice as well. We take extra care to remove odors that may cause nose-blindness or feed fear in the animals who visit.

No dogs allowed — Almost nothing is scarier for our feline patients than being greeted face-to-face by an unfamiliar and most unwelcome dog. The barking, smells, and general commotion that comes with canines can increase stress and anxiety in our cat patients.  Separate dog and cat entrances into the hospital, separate dog and cat waiting rooms, and a cat-only exam room help to minimize this.

A considerate approach — You may wonder why we don’t just jump in and get the job done. Moving slowly and using a pet’s body language to gauge how they are feeling can help us to get more accomplished during your pet’s visit with less stress and anxiety.  

Calming sounds — Sometimes the sounds at a veterinary hospital can be disconcerting for already anxious animals. We do our best to minimize these, often using calming music to help.

Prioritizing wants vs needs — We may have a laundry list of things that we hope to accomplish during your pet’s visit, but your pet will likely have some different ideas. We do our best to prioritize the things that “need” to happen, saving the things that we “want” to happen for last. This allows us to provide the best medicine for your pet, while making good judgements about when to push on and when to maybe try under different circumstances another day.

Fear Free is Our Goal

A Fear Free experience is very important to us. It is a rewarding feeling to work with your pets in a stress-free environment. Creating this experience for our pet patients is rewarding because it helps to build a sense of trust in the dogs and cats we treat and makes them want to see us again. It also allows us to see their true personalities, and to get to know them better.

If you have questions or want to learn more about Fear Free, please give us a call. We would love to meet you and your pet. You can also find more information on Fear Free at FearFreePets.com.  

The post Your Pet’s Fear Free Experience appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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Welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your family is probably one of the cutest, sweetest, and most delightful experiences in life. It’s also a major lifestyle adjustment! Young animals require around-the-clock attention, and providing them with the right amount of love, exercise, socialization, and training are only a handful of the many components of new pet care.

Whether you adopted a puppy or kitten over the holidays or you’re planning to get one in the near future, the team at Berkeley Veterinary Center has you covered with our new pet care tips!

The First Visit

One of the first things you should schedule is a visit with your new pet’s health care team. A puppy or kitten will need to see us more frequently during their first year of life. These visits will include the following services:

  • Nose-to-tail physical exam – Your pet will be thoroughly examined for illness and abnormalities. If your pet has breeder or adoption medical records, bring these along to your appointment.
  • Diagnostic testing – Most puppies or kittens are born with some internal parasites, which can be harmful to your pet and others in your home. Your veterinarian will ask you to bring a fresh stool sample for testing and will discuss appropriate parasite prevention for your pet.
  • Vaccinations – Your new pet’s vaccination protocol will begin around 8 weeks of age. Puppies and kittens require 3-4 sets of vaccines during the first year of life and yearly boosters after that. Until your puppy or kitten is fully vaccinated, they’re susceptible to a large number of deadly diseases and should be kept away from areas where pets congregate (dog parks, boarding kennels, grooming salons, etc.).
  • Spaying/neutering – If your new pet hasn’t been spayed or neutered, your veterinarian will discuss the procedure with you. Having your pet spayed or neutered will not only prevent unwanted litters, it can also reduce the occurence of certain health and behavioral problems.
  • MicrochippingHaving your pet microchipped will significantly increase the likelihood of a happy reunion should they become lost. The procedure is painless and can be performed right here in our office during your pet’s visit.

New Pet Care at Home

Establishing a relationship with your veterinarian is important to your pet’s long-term health, but the rest of their care is up to you!

  • Exercise – All animals need daily exercise to burn off energy and maintain a healthy weight. Each day, commit to a walk, a game of fetch, or indoor playtime with your new pet. Get the family in on it, as well!
  • Socialization – Exposing your (fully vaccinated) pet to as many people, places, and animals as possible will result in a happier, more well-behaved companion. Ethical and humane obedience training for puppies is also extremely important.
  • Dental care – Most pets develop some form of dental disease by the time they reach the age of 3, but this statistic can be turned around with good at-home care and professional dental cleanings. Young pets are more readily accepting of tooth brushing than older animals, making now the perfect time to introduce them to the activity.

If you need to schedule your pet’s first wellness exam or have additional questions about new pet care, please give us a call. We can’t wait to meet your new addition!

The post Puppies, Kittens, and Cuteness Overload: New Pet Care Tips from the Pros appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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2019 is upon us, and we’re looking forward to a new year. It’s exciting to think ahead to all the upcoming goals, challenges, and triumphs that hopefully await us. Surely many of us are already hitting the gym more often, practicing mindfulness and gratitude, and spending more time with our loved ones (including our pets!).

Don’t get us wrong, 2018 was filled with wonderful moments for our staff, and many of those were with our Bayville area patients and clients. So, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we wanted to share one more look back with you. Our monthly blog has been a privilege to research, write, and publish this year, and we’re flattered that so many of you are reading it. To that end, we’re looking back at Berkeley Veterinary Center’s top 5 pet care blogs of 2018, and we hope you enjoy!

Berkeley Veterinary Center’s Top 5 Pet Care Blogs of 2018

#5: Keeping Kitty Safe: The Need for Indoor Cat Parasite Prevention
Year-round parasite control is an important part of your pet’s wellness plan. Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal worms, can greatly reduce an animal’s quality of life, and some are transmissible to people as well. Keep reading…

#4: Splish-Splash for Spot: Understanding Water Safety for Dogs
For many of us, swimming is one of the best ways to stay in shape, cool off, and socialize with friends. For those of us with canine companions, a day on the water offers much of the same benefits – but with a catch! Swimming is as natural to dogs as it is to humans, which is to say that not every pup is inclined to the water. Learn more about water safety for dogs by reviewing these tips from the friendly team at Berkeley Veterinary Center. Dive in!

#3: Tips for New Cat Owners
Whether you’ve owned cats for years, or are just delving into the world of being a cat parent, we can all agree that cats are the best. They are smart, loving, energetic, and so much fun to be around. And, either way, there is always more to learn about these creatures who we love so much. Meow?

#2: Flea Control: The Greatest Thing You Do This Summer
Summer is the time to think and dream big, right? We plan camping trips, picnics, family reunions, and extravagant vacations. However, while we are having our summer fun, some of the smallest pests around are ravaging our yards, trails, and, unfortunately, our pets. Fleas can be daunting, particularly in the summer months, but with a proactive approach to flea control, your pet can enjoy summer fun with the family, and you can rest easy. Read more…

#1: Nothing to Be Afraid Of: Understanding The Fear Free Veterinary Movement
In 2016, Dr. Marty Becker coined the phrase “Taking the Pet out of Petrified” as he took up the mantle of the Fear Free veterinary movement. We are happy to announce that Berkeley Veterinary Center has become the first Fear Free certified practice in the state of New Jersey! We’re so excited to share this veterinary approach with everyone.  

Endless Possibility

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the past, and we hope you enjoy future pet care blogs this upcoming year. If there are any topics you would like to see, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The possibilities are endless!

We are looking forward to seeing all our friends and patients in the coming year. From our family to yours, Happy New Year!

The post Berkeley Veterinary Center’s Top 5 Pet Care Blogs of 2018 appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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2019 is upon us, and we’re looking forward to a new year. It’s exciting to think ahead to all the upcoming goals, challenges, and triumphs that hopefully await us. Surely many of us are already hitting the gym more often, practicing mindfulness and gratitude, and spending more time with our loved ones (including our pets!).

Don’t get us wrong, 2018 was filled with wonderful moments for our staff, and many of those were with our Bayville area patients and clients. So, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we wanted to share one more look back with you. Our monthly blog has been a privilege to research, write, and publish this year, and we’re flattered that so many of you are reading it. To that end, we’re looking back at Berkeley Veterinary Hospital’s top 5 pet care blogs of 2018, and we hope you enjoy!

Berkeley Veterinary Hospital’s Top 5 Pet Care Blogs of 2018

#5: Keeping Kitty Safe: The Need for Indoor Cat Parasite Prevention
Year-round parasite control is an important part of your pet’s wellness plan. Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal worms, can greatly reduce an animal’s quality of life, and some are transmissible to people as well. Keep reading…

#4: Splish-Splash for Spot: Understanding Water Safety for Dogs
For many of us, swimming is one of the best ways to stay in shape, cool off, and socialize with friends. For those of us with canine companions, a day on the water offers much of the same benefits – but with a catch! Swimming is as natural to dogs as it is to humans, which is to say that not every pup is inclined to the water. Learn more about water safety for dogs by reviewing these tips from the friendly team at Berkeley Veterinary Center. Dive in!

#3: Tips for New Cat Owners
Whether you’ve owned cats for years, or are just delving into the world of being a cat parent, we can all agree that cats are the best. They are smart, loving, energetic, and so much fun to be around. And, either way, there is always more to learn about these creatures who we love so much. Meow?

#2: Flea Control: The Greatest Thing You Do This Summer
Summer is the time to think and dream big, right? We plan camping trips, picnics, family reunions, and extravagant vacations. However, while we are having our summer fun, some of the smallest pests around are ravaging our yards, trails, and, unfortunately, our pets. Fleas can be daunting, particularly in the summer months, but with a proactive approach to flea control, your pet can enjoy summer fun with the family, and you can rest easy. Read more…

#1: Nothing to Be Afraid Of: Understanding The Fear Free Veterinary Movement
In 2016, Dr. Marty Becker coined the phrase “Taking the Pet out of Petrified” as he took up the mantle of the Fear Free veterinary movement. We are happy to announce that Berkeley Veterinary Center has become the first Fear Free certified practice in the state of New Jersey! We’re so excited to share this veterinary approach with everyone.  

Endless Possibility

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse of the past, and we hope you enjoy future pet care blogs this upcoming year. If there are any topics you would like to see, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The possibilities are endless!

We are looking forward to seeing all our friends and patients in the coming year. From our family to yours, Happy New Year!

The post Berkeley Veterinary Hospital’s Top 5 Pet Care Blogs of 2018 appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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Millions of people around the world are living with, or know someone living with diabetes. Yet, in spite of how pervasive this disease has become in our society, many pet owners are surprised to learn that their four-legged friends are also susceptible to the disease. Moreover, just like its human counterpart, diagnosis of pet diabetes is also experiencing a steady rise.

While the rise of pet diabetes is indeed an alarming fact, the overall prognosis for those diagnosed with the disease is looking better than ever, thanks in part to an increased understanding of the disease as it pertains to pets and in the treatment options available to veterinarians and owners, alike. Your team at Berkeley Veterinary Center is not only committed to raising awareness of the risk of pet diabetes, but also providing diabetic pets with the best possible treatment for the disease.

A Primer on Pet Diabetes

At its core, pet diabetes is much the same as the human disease.

Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing adequate levels of the hormone known as insulin. In a healthy body, insulin pushes glucose (sugar) into the body’s cells through the bloodstream. When insulin levels are impaired or non-existent, the cells basically starve and glucose builds up in the bloodstream. If left untreated, this will cause the body to start breaking down fat to feed the cells, leading to life-threatening complications.

In human patients, diabetes is classified as Type I or Type II. Type I occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to sustain the body. Conversely, Type II diabetes occurs when the body cannot respond normally to the insulin made by the pancreas (insulin resistance), and the eventual inability to make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose at normal levels. Although diabetes in pets is sometimes classified as Type I or II, the difference between the types is less clear in pets than it is in humans.

Cats and Dogs?

Both cats and dogs are at risk for pet diabetes. While senior pets of both species are at high-risk of developing the disease, pets of any age are susceptible to becoming diabetic. Consider these interesting facts about pet diabetes in cats and dogs:

  • Pet diabetes is more likely to be found in overweight cats and dogs and among those that eat primarily high-carbohydrate diets
  • An overweight cat is four-times more at risk of developing diabetes than a cat of normal weight
  • Most diabetic cats are older than 6 years of age
  • Male cats are twice as likely than female cats to develop diabetes
  • Female dogs have a higher risk than male dogs
  • Among canine species, Miniature Poodles, Dachshunds, Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds have an above-average rate of developing diabetes.
  • Diabetic dogs are usually 4-14 years of age, and most are diagnosed at roughly 7-10 years of age
Symptoms of Diabetes in Pets

Keeping up with your pet’s regular wellness exams and lab work will help detect early warning signs of diabetes. However, symptoms may develop between appointments, particularly in obese and senior pets. Be mindful of the following symptoms of pet diabetes:

  • Increased appetite paired with apparent weight loss
  • Increased thirst along with increase need to urinate
  • Whiteness of the lens of the eye
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Oily skin, dandruff, or other poor condition of the skin
  • Vomiting and dehydration
Looking Ahead

If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, don’t feel too overwhelmed; helping pets live with diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated. Certain diagnostics, such as urinalysis and blood tests, will help us create a treatment plan for your pet’s unique situation. We offer internal medicine for diabetic stabilization and work closely with owners on monitoring pet glucose levels. Given just beneath the skin, insulin injections cause minimal pain and can be done swiftly.

You’ll also need to remember that…

  • Managing your pet’s weight is critical toward the treatment of pet diabetes.
  • Keeping their diet consistent helps regulate blood sugar.
  • Consistent exercise for diabetic pets is an important daily activity for their health.

Early detection and treatment is paramount to the successful treatment of any disease. If you have questions or concerns regarding pet diabetes, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is at your service.

The post Pet Diabetes: Is Your Pet At Risk? appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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In 2016, Dr. Marty Becker coined the phrase “Taking the Pet out of Petrified” as he took up the mantle of the Fear Free veterinary movement. We are happy to announce that Berkeley Veterinary Center has become the first Fear Free certified practice in the state of New Jersey! We’re so excited to share this veterinary approach with everyone.  

What is a Fear Free Veterinary Practice?

The fear free movement began when surveys of pet owners showed that pets weren’t getting the care they need at their veterinarian largely because pets were afraid of going there. Pet owners want to do the very best they can for their pets, but when your cat yowls in the car all the way to the vet’s office, or your dog shakes like a leaf (or bites!) during the entire visit, it becomes difficult to even come in once a year.

Enter: the fear free movement, which endeavors to help practice teams, veterinarians, and pet owners come together to help pets be less stressed before, during, and after their veterinary visits, and thus get the regular preventive care they need to lead healthier and longer lives.

Fear Free Practices Now and in the Future

Fear free certification has historically been an individual certification, with veterinarians and team members taking specific courses and action in their practices. There is now also a practice certification, which is new for 2018.

Fear free professionals adopt the following measures to reduce pet fear and anxiety:

  • Provide education for clients on less stressful techniques for getting pets to the veterinary office from home.
  • Separate waiting areas for different species to eliminate fear and anxiety before exams
  • Non-slip surfaces to stand on during exams, such as yoga mats or towels
  • Pheromone use at home and in the office to reduce anxiety
  • Avoid eye contact with pets, giving them a chance to get comfortable with new surroundings
  • Give lots and lots of treats!
  • Use toys and other gentle techniques to distract your pet
  • Perform exams and procedures with you in the room (unless you prefer otherwise)
  • Take note of your pet’s emotional response, and what techniques and treats worked best for them
What Makes a Fear Free Practice Different

Fear free practices make your pet’s emotional well being front and center. And to do that, we are required to establish certain procedures, practices, and standards. We passed an in-person evaluation by the Fear Free organization with flying colors. And although every visit won’t be completely fear free for all pets, it’s our goal to make veterinary visits more enjoyable for you and for your pet.

How You Can Help

Let us know if you think your pet might suffer from anxiety during the trip here, or while visiting the hospital. We can tell you what to look for, and we can come up with ways to help your pet be more comfortable. If your veterinary team doesn’t know about a problem, we can’t help you fix it!

We always try to win over our furry friends with snacks- so when coming in for an appointment please bring your pet hungry, and if your pet is picky you can bring their favorite snack from home. If your pet isn’t crazy for food, but is obsessed with a particular toy- bring that with you too.

Give us a call if you have any questions about Fear Free or how our practice is implementing this important program.  


The post Nothing to Be Afraid Of: Understanding The Fear Free Veterinary Movement appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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If your pet was injured and needed to be hospitalized tomorrow, could you afford the bill?

We all want to do the very best we can for our pets. After all, they’re members of our family! And we’re fortunate that in this day and age, we have access to very advanced veterinary care for our pets. From cancer treatment, to life saving oxygen, to surgical procedures and more, it’s possible to treat almost all injuries and illnesses our pets may encounter.

This advanced care comes with a cost, though. And with veterinary expenses averaging $1800 per year, per pet, it’s easy to see why veterinary care might put a significant financial strain on many families.

This is where pet insurance comes in. Just as human health insurance can bridge the gap between needed care and cost, pet insurance is designed to offset the financial burden of unexpected illness or injury to our pets. But, does it make sense for you? It’s important to weight the costs and benefits so that you can begin to make a decision for your personal situation.

Pet Insurance Basics

Pet insurance is usually designed to help pet owners meet the cost of unplanned injury or illness. Some plans also have options to cover preventive care such as exams, dental cleanings, vaccinations, and even prescription pet food. However, these plans are usually more expensive on a monthly basis.

Pet insurance companies typically expect pet owners to pay for veterinary services up front and then submit the invoices to them for reimbursement after care is complete.

Unlike in human health insurance, pet insurance plans don’t have a network of providers – so you can rest assured that your coverage is effective even if you have to go to the emergency clinic.

How to Pick A Plan

There are many pet insurance options available now, all with different perks and designs. To pick a plan that works for you, you need to do a bit of research and compare apples to apples. This can be a bit daunting, but if you compare the following, you’ll be off to a good start.

  • Monthly costs (premiums)
  • Deductible amounts
  • Lifetime limits
  • Exclusions, including breed and congenital disorders
  • Waiting periods (some companies require a wait before the insurance kicks in)
  • Payout maximums per incident
  • Add on costs
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Age limits

Also consider consumer reviews online and customer service. It can be helpful to call your top 3 companies and talk to them to get a feeling for how they handle their calls and customer care.

The sooner you sign your pet up for pet insurance, the lower the monthly premiums will be. So consider signing up your puppy or kitten right away, before any pre-existing conditions can arise.

Peace Of Mind

Perhaps the biggest plus to pet insurance is the peace of mind it can afford you. Pet insurance can save your pet’s life. If your pet is critically injured or has a diagnosis of cancer, having a pet insurance policy will allow you to focus on what’s important – your pet’s medical care – rather than how you will pay for treatment. It’s an individual decision, but that kind of peace of mind can be priceless.

If you have other questions about pet insurance, please call us. Many of our team members at Berkeley Veterinary Center have pet insurance for their own pets, and we’d be happy to share our experience.

The post Dollars and Pets: What to Know About Pet Insurance appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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Whether you’ve owned cats for years, or are just delving into the world of being a cat parent, we can all agree that cats are the best. They are smart, loving, energetic, and so much fun to be around. And, either way, there is always more to learn about these creatures who we love so much.

Here are our tried and true tips for new cat owners, and a few ideas even seasoned cat owners might find useful.

Tips for New Cat Owners

Choose a cat-friendly veterinarian and practice. You may or may not be aware of the designation of Cat Friendly Practice, but there is such a certification, and it can make a big difference in your cat’s stress level at the veterinarian. As a Cat Friendly Practice, Berkeley Veterinary Center knows cats. We can guide you every step of the way with the special needs of your new friend. We have invested in how to make cats feel special, including how to use low stress handling techniques.

Get the most from your vet visit. At your first veterinary visit with your cat, we’ll do a complete physical exam and talk to you about your cat and their lifestyle. We’ll also set up a vaccination schedule, talk about parasite prevention, and answer your questions about nutrition, behavior, and training. Preventive care is the cornerstone of a lifetime of good health, and we recommend semi-annual visits for all cats.

The basics. Make sure you have the basic supplies you’ll need before bringing your new cat home:

  • Food and water bowls
  • At least two litter boxes (plus one for each additional cat)
  • Resting spots
  • Climbing spots
  • Scratching posts

Safety first. As current cat owners can attest, cats can go anywhere! Make sure your home is safe and anything valuable is put away, especially at first. Medications, poisonous plants, liquid potpourri and candles, and house cleaning supplies are all at the top of the list for things that should be put safely out of your cat’s reach. Cats are curious and mobile, and they will get into everything they can! Make sure windows and screens are locked and secure, to keep cats from falling out. And, keep our phone number and the emergency clinic number and address pre-programmed into your phone in case of an emergency.

Feed the best quality diet you can. Just as in people, good nutrition is vitally important for cats. Feeding a high quality diet not only helps your cat feel their best, but studies show that it can actually help them live a longer and healthier life. Ask us if you have any nutrition questions.

The Next Step

After you have the basics of cat ownership down, you may be wondering what other things you can do to be the absolute best cat parent you can be. If you’re thinking about this, read on!

Enrich their environment. This one’s for current cat owners, too! Cats have the athletic prowess of Olympic athletes, and strong natural instincts. Give them opportunities to exercise these hunting behaviors with these ideas:

  • Use vertical spaces to encourage climbing/ perching
  • Hide food on different levels of their climbing tree
  • Use food puzzles
  • Give them a catio for safe outdoor time
  • A game of laser pointer tag, or teach them how to fetch

Recognize signs of pain and discomfort. Cats have a powerful natural instinct to mask when they are in pain. This instinct protected them from predators in the wild, and helped them survive. Today, it’s up to us to recognize when they are suffering. Limping, vomiting, skipping meals, and difficulty breathing are not things to “wait and see”. See a veterinarian immediately to address your cat’s problems.

Groom and socialize with your cat daily. Cats are great groomers, but even they need a little help! Long-haired cats especially need to be groomed on a regular basis. Not only will grooming help your cat’s coat and skin look and feel beautiful, it will also build an important bond between the two of you. And, running your hands over your cat’s body every day will help you to recognize if something has changed.

We’re so happy for both new cat owners and those with a lot of experience, and we would love to see your new (or not so new!) cat soon. We are also excited to be sharing a free nail trim during each and every wellness exam, a $30 value. Call us today to schedule your appointment.

The post Tips for New Cat Owners appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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Summer is the time to think and dream big, right? We plan camping trips, picnics, family reunions, and extravagant vacations. However, while we are having our summer fun, some of the smallest pests around are ravaging our yards, trails, and, unfortunately, our pets. Fleas can be daunting, particularly in the summer months, but with a proactive approach to flea control, your pet can enjoy summer fun with the family, and you can rest easy.

Two Crucial Steps

Effective flea control hinges on two things: keeping fleas off your pet and eliminating fleas from your house and yard. The good news is that by keeping your pet on a year-round parasite prevention medication, your pet is effectively protected against an infestation. However, once fleas get a foothold in your pet’s environment, fleas are notoriously hard to get rid of.

Life Cycle

After consuming a blood meal from a host, a female adult flea lays approximately 40 small, whitish eggs. Depending on the temperature and humidity, the eggs hatch into larvae 2-4 weeks later. Fleas then feed off environmental debris and adult flea feces, all the while taking up residency in carpet fibers, bedding, grass, leaves, and soil to avoid light.

Emerging from their silk-like cocoons, flea pupae begin to transform into adults. Utilizing pressure, heat, and carbon dioxide, this transition occurs over a 5-10 day period. Without these types of stimulation, pupae can remain in their shell for more than 9 months! However, once emerged, if fleas don’t find a blood meal, they will die within a few days.

The Gross Factor

Within two days of an emergent female’s first blood meal, she is able to lay more eggs, thus beginning another life cycle. Over the course of her 3-week long life, she may lay up to 840 eggs!

Flea control remains an important component of pet care because these parasites have the potential to cause anemia, cause tapeworm infection, and make pets very uncomfortable.  Some pets can even become infected with a flea allergy dermatitis.

Flea Control Within Reach

We urge pet owners to consult with us before administering flea medication to their pets. Determining the safest, most effective products depends on your pet’s size, breed, lifestyle, and exposure risk. We recommend Bravecto, Credelio, Revolution, and Seresto collars.

Give your pet’s wellness a head start this summer with flea control. As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns. Our staff is always here to help!

The post Flea Control: The Greatest Thing You Do This Summer appeared first on Berkeley Veterinary Center.

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