There are few things grosser than finding out that dogs eat cat poop. Although we can’t believe they do it and don’t understand the allure, dogs sure seem to enjoy it, no matter how much we protest.
It turns out this disgusting habit is a result of natural dog behavior. At Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we explore the reasons behind this tendency and what owners can do about it.
The Reasons Dogs Eat Cat Poop
Dogs are scavengers and omnivores; the sad truth is, dogs eat cat poop because it’s there and they can. It doesn’t indicate a nutritional deficiency, and it’s not a behavior problem they can be trained out of (unfortunately).
Dogs in the wild, stray dogs, or rural-living dogs will eat anything and everything to survive. Your city dwelling dog has this natural tendency as well, even though they’re well fed. You probably know dogs will eat anything, including carpet, socks, rocks, and everything in between. We’ve seen evidence of all these things on x-ray images at our hospital!
The scientific term for poop eating is coprophagia. It might start in puppyhood, but most of the time, the habit begins when dogs first discover the litter box has tasty treats inside. After that initial taste, the behavior is reinforced every time they get a snack from there.
Is Cat Poop Bad for Dogs?
It’s common for dogs to eat cat poop, and most of the time, they’re fine. Aside from mild gastrointestinal upset, many dogs have no problems at all. However, there is some risk of your dog contracting harmful bacteria or parasites from cat poop. To make matters worse, some of the bacteria, like salmonella, can be transmitted to people. It could also be harmful if your dog ingests a large amount of litter, but all of these risks are relatively minimal. If your dog routinely raids the litter box and has diarrhea or is constipated or if you’re concerned about their health, please give us a call.
So how can you prevent this disgusting behavior? Well, once the habit is established, it’s nearly impossible to break. Scooping the box immediately after your kitty uses it also isn’t realistic. Instead, prevention is the best medicine. Here are some tips and ideas:
Place the litter box high off the ground where your dog can’t reach. This is especially helpful for homes with small dogs and kitties who are allowed to jump up on a shelf or cabinet.
Invest in a covered box or dog proof litter box.
Cut off the top ⅓ of a storage bin. This gives your kitty a landing pad but also prevents your dog from reaching in due to how deep it is.
Place the litter box in a room with a cat door that’s too small for your dog to access.
Use a baby gate positioned above the floor so your cats can get underneath but your dog can’t.
Hopefully, you have some new ideas and information about coprophagia. Although disgusting, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with your dog.
Please give us a call if you’re concerned about this with your dog or if you have any questions. We’re happy to help!
By now, most of us have heard about, or use, essential oils. These highly concentrated liquids from plants (also known as volatile organic compounds) have long been used in aromatherapy and alternative medicine. Recently, they have become popular for use in cleaning products, herbal remedies, personal care products, food and drink flavorings, and more.
Humans can reap myriad benefits from essential oils, but that isn’t necessarily the case for pets. The use of essential oils on pets should be done with extreme caution, or not at all, as animals are much more sensitive to the compounds present in the oils. Some products, such as liquid potpourri and many varieties of essential oils, including oil of peppermint, cinnamon, citrus, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang ylang, are toxic to pets.
Diffusers are a popular way for humans to reap the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils. They work by evaporating the oil into the air, producing the desired odor. Caution should be taken when operating a diffuser in a home with pets for the following reasons:
Pets have a more developed sense of smell than we do, and what we find pleasant may be irritating or overwhelming to them.
Inhalation of essential oil fumes can cause irritation to the lungs and airway (especially in birds and cats).
If the diffuser tips over near or onto a pet, the oil can be ingested or absorbed through the skin and may produce symptoms of toxicity.
Always provide a way for your pet to escape the area where a diffuser is being used, and make sure it is placed in a location where your pet can’t reach it.
Liquid potpourri is a combination of essential oils and detergents, and can cause chemical burns in the mouth and skin if your pet comes into contact with it. If you must use liquid potpourri, make sure to supervise your pet at all times and place the container in an area your pet cannot access.
Signs and Symptoms
If you notice any of the following signs that your pet may have liquid potpourri or essential oil poisoning, contact us right away:
Fragrance or scent on skin, coat, breath, or in vomit
Rapid or difficulty breathing
Stumbling or loss of coordination
Lethargy or weakness
Pawing at the mouth and face
Redness or burns on the lips, mouth, or face
Using Essential Oils on Pets
Before using essential oils on pets, give your team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital a call. Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss the risks and benefits of essential oil use, and recommend natural-minded pet care products that contain safe and properly diluted essential oils.
Fractured teeth are a common veterinary dental crisis, especially in dogs. So what is an animal lover to do if their pet’s tooth breaks? Don’t worry, your partners at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital will help you be prepared should you encounter a broken tooth in a pet.
When Good Teeth Break
Pets may experience a broken tooth secondary to some type of trauma to the tooth itself. This is not limited to things like being hit by a car, but more frequently occurs when the animal bites down on a very hard object. Dogs who chew on things like deer antlers or marrow bones are very likely to fracture a tooth.
Any tooth can break, but most commonly affected are the canine teeth and the big premolar tooth. A broken tooth may have obvious exposure of the internal pulp cavity, visible as a red spot on the tooth, however sometimes fractures are less obvious.
A broken tooth in a pet is a painful occurrence no matter how apparent the fracture is. The pulp of the tooth contains sensitive nerves, and there is no question that this condition hurts.
A broken tooth in a pet may present as:
Resistance to handling of the mouth
Change in chewing habits
Refusal of hard foods
Just because a pet isn’t complaining doesn’t mean an obviously fractured tooth doesn’t hurt, though. Many of our clients report a dramatic change in overall demeanor when a broken tooth is addressed.
Your Roll in a Pet Dental Emergency
If you suspect or know that your pet has fractured a tooth, it is important to keep calm. As soon as you are aware of the problem, it is important to call us so that we can examine your pet right away. Performing a dental exam allows us to confirm the fracture and determine the extent and nature of the fracture.
Dental radiographs are typically needed in the case of a tooth fracture as well. This provides us with information essential in formulating a plan to address the issue.
Allowing us to examine your pet a soon as possible also allows us to prescribe pain relief for your pet. Do not be tempted to give your pet over the counter or other pain medications without direction, though. Many of these options are harmful or may interfere with the medications we would like to prescribe.
Untreated, a broken tooth is not only a continual source of pain for the pet, but also a source of infection. The tooth itself as well as the surrounding bone and soft tissue structures may become infected and eventually abscess.
Treating a Broken Tooth in a Pet
Once we know what we are dealing with, we are able to formulate a treatment plan for a broken tooth in a pet. In general there are three main options:
Extraction – Removing the tooth entirely removes the source of pain and infection for the pet. Sometimes this is the best option, however there are risks involved and the loss of a functional tooth is never ideal.
Root canal – During a root canal the pulp tissue is removed from the tooth and the tooth sealed. This keeps the function of the tooth in the mouth, helps to maintain the jaw bone, and is often less painful than an extraction.
Vital pulpotomy – This option is often utilized in younger animals and has the goal of helping the tooth to continue to live. During the procedure a small amount of the nerve within the tooth is removed sterilely and then sealed.
A broken tooth in a pet is no fun for anyone, but should it happen to your four-legged family we are glad to be here to help.
At Rocklin Ranch, we have a dental technician training and working towards earning their certification in both the root canal and vital pulpotomy procedures and are looking forward to offering these services in the future.
Our expert knowledge and experience in veterinary dentistry will have your pet as good as new in no time at all.
Recent reports of canine influenza involve two separate viruses: H3N8 and H3N2. Previously limited to Asian countries, H3N2 swept through the Chicago area in 2015. It has since spread to thousands of dogs across the nation (and a group of domestic cats in the Midwest).
Because these viruses are relatively new, there hasn’t been enough time to build up resistant antibodies. Unfortunately, this means all dogs are at risk of contracting this dangerous illness.
Canine influenza virus (CIV) originated in horses and spread to a group of racing greyhounds in Florida in 2004. Referred to as H3N8, this strain has infected animals in 40 different states.
The more recent strain (H3N2) developed in Asian birds before setting off an outbreak in the U.S. in 2015.
Symptoms of Canine Influenza
Symptoms can emerge as soon as 2-3 days after exposure. They typically include:
Wet, persistent cough
Puppies, senior dogs, and those with health issues are at a greater risk for pneumonia, making a physical examination even more critical.
Like other viruses, there is no “cure” for canine influenza. Because of this, we are recommending that all dogs receive the H3N2/H3N8 bivalent vaccine and are requiring both the initial vaccination and the booster be administered / current 1 week in advance of boarding at our facility.
Likewise, there are methods for stimulating a robust immune response in your pet, such as increasing fluids, offering proper nutrition, and getting plenty of rest.
If your dog tests positive for H3N2, we recommend isolation for up to 3 weeks or until he or she feels well.
How to Protect Your Dog
Canine influenza is spread via air, contaminated surfaces, and through humans in contact with infected dogs. CIV is a respiratory illness and can spread quickly in areas that house multiple pets.
Fortunately, there are vaccinations to protect your dog from contracting canine influenza. We are recommending that all dogs receive the Vanguard H3N2/H3N8 bivalent vaccine. Our veterinary staff can help your pet get started on the two required doses (administered 2-4 weeks apart). Puppies should be at least 6 weeks old to receive the vaccine.
Every dog is at risk of contracting canine influenza; exposure to other dogs obviously increases this risk. That’s why it’s important to closely monitor time spent at parks, boarding or grooming facilities, and doggie daycares. Even simple contact with passing dogs can place your pet in danger.
Because of this, we are requiring both the initial vaccination and the booster be administered / current at least 1 week in advance of boarding at our facility. Our appointment space for these vaccinations are booking up fast, so please plan ahead.
We understand that canine influenza can be very frightening for owners, but it’s important to remember mortality rates for CIV are considered low. With proactive measures, you can prevent your beloved dog from contracting either virus. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.
Have you noticed your pet’s breath lately? Is it less than fresh, so to speak? If so, it is time for a pet dental exam. Bad breath is often the first sign of dental disease, a common but preventable condition in pets.
It is estimated that over 80% of pets over the age of 3 have some form of periodontal disease, whether it’s gingivitis or periodontitis.
Regular dental exams are your first step in evaluating and preventing this disease. But, what exactly is a dental exam, and what does it show?
What Is a Pet Dental Exam?
As with any physical exam, a dental exam will begin with a medical history. Your veterinarian will ask you about any pawing at the mouth, trouble chewing, drooling, or bad breath. All of these signs can indicate that your pet suffers from dental disease.
Next, your veterinarian will examine your pet’s head and neck, checking for any swelling or enlarged lymph nodes. The mouth will then be examined and your veterinarian will check your pet’s teeth and mouth for redness, swelling, or bleeding. These signs can signal gingivitis, a painful condition that results from accumulation of plaque and bacteria at the gumline.
Your veterinarian will evaluate the teeth and look for any cracks or fractures, as well as any loose teeth. They will assess the level of plaque and tartar, and grade your pet’s teeth on those things seen, such as plaque. Plaque and tartar hold bacteria, which can enter your pet’s bloodstream and affect their heart, liver, and kidneys.
As your veterinarian examines your pet’s mouth, they will also look for spots that could be oral cancer. If there is any concern, a biopsy may be recommended.
All of these aspects of the dental exam can generally be performed without sedation. However, professional dental cleaning requires anesthesia. Under general anesthesia, dental x-rays will be taken of any problem areas. X-rays show below the gum line as well as the internal structures of the tooth, including the root and the bone below.
Each tooth will be probed and any recession recorded. Deep pockets will be noted as will any other problems that need to be treated.
How Does My Pet Benefit?
Dental exams can be valuable for pets at any stage of life. As puppy and kitten baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth, your veterinarian can check to make sure adult teeth are coming in normally. Puppy and kitten dental exams during their first visits are wonderful for getting new pets used to ongoing dental exams.
Older pets need regular dental exams, too, to help catch disease early. Early detection is important to prevent and treat dental disease before there is a major problem, saving your pet from painful, infected gums and saving you money.
At-Home Dental Care
After the dental exam, your veterinarian many recommend a dental cleaning. At-home care, such as tooth brushing, dental chews, diets, and rinses, may also be recommended to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Tooth brushing is not as hard as it sounds, and we can show you how during your pet’s dental exam.
At Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we look forward to your pet’s next dental exam and to helping you give your pet a lifetime of good oral health! Call us for an appointment or with any questions. We’re here to help.
Your senior pet has been with you through good times and bad. They’ve seen you at your best, worst, and everywhere in between. And, they still love and adore you!
The deep connection and satisfying companionship of a senior pet is incomparable, and wanting to give them the absolute best in their golden years is commendable. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take a discerning look at senior pet wellness and implement ways to encourage a great quality of life for your furry friend.
What Makes a Senior a Senior?
Every pet is different, but we generally consider pets to be senior by 7 years of age. While your pet may look and act the same, aging pets are at risk for many of the same ailments that affect older humans, including:
Vision and hearing loss
Supporting Senior Pet Wellness
Pets age more rapidly than humans, which is why we generally recommend that senior pets come in for wellness examinations more frequently. By seeing your pet twice per year or more often, we are better able to catch and correct problems as they crop up.
New Year’s Resolutions for Senior Pets
It doesn’t take much to create the ideal environment for a senior pet. The following principles of senior pet wellness are a great place to start as you create a wonderful year for your pet:
Eat well – A changing metabolism often means a dietary change is necessary for older pets. Talk with your veterinarian about the right diet and portion size to best support your pet’s wellness.
Get plenty of exercise – Senior pets can and should exercise daily to keep joints limber and prevent weight gain. Pay attention to your pet’s energy levels and signs of pain and adjust their activity levels accordingly.
Prioritize comfort – Products like raised food and water bowls, orthopedic beds, ramps/stairs, non-slip mats, and easy-access litter boxes can make life much more manageable for a pet with mobility issues.
Have fun – Just because your pet is a senior doesn’t mean their zest for life has decreased. Continue to include your pet in as many areas of the family’s daily life as possible, making adjustments for any physical limitations your pet may have.
We love all of our senior patients here at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital. We look forward to walking alongside you as you navigate the meaningful path of senior pet ownership. Please let us know if you have any questions about senior pet wellness or how we can support you in caring for your pet!
There are some people out there who are natural animal lovers. They seem to intuit the needs and emotions of animals and also have the ability to respond accordingly. Understanding animal body language comes easily, and they can put a pet at ease quickly.
Other folks can only dream of high-level human-animal companionship and may have to learn about animal behaviors the hard way. No biggie! With a bit of determination, patience, and a positive can-do attitude, you can learn how to love a dog – and, what’s more, be loved in return.
There are a few basics to letting a dog know you aren’t a threat. For starters, lower your voice to a slow, soothing tone. Get down on the animal’s level or even below where they stand. Do not run directly at the animal or maintain constant eye contact. Mimic the sounds the animal makes, like a breathy pant, squeal, bark, and sneeze.
Trying to show your dog how much you love and appreciate them? Try these tips:
Start with an ear rub to trigger and release endorphins.
Praise them, and say “I love you.”
Feed your dog one piece of kibble at a time – by hand.
Pay close attention to what they’re trying to tell you with their body language.
Training is another huge boon to the human-dog relationship. Not only does positive reinforcement training give your dog clear and defined methods of pleasing you, but it’s also incredibly motivating and rewarding (for both of you!).
Please let us know if you need help establishing the right dynamic at home. Once your dog knows their place, the bond between you can blossom and flourish.
Love a Dog, Achieve Happiness
Creating and supporting a loving relationship with your dog may not necessarily occur overnight. Once it happens, you’ll know it, and you’ll have zero regrets about how you landed there. Once you’ve laid the groundwork and shown how much you love a dog, they’ll demonstrate affection in their own way, such as:
Sustained eye contact with happy blinks
Ecstatic about your return home
Constantly happy to see you (even if you’ve been together all day!)
There have been sizable changes in the world of pet ownership over the years. Now you can choose between competing companies for pet insurance, shop around for fancy hotels where you can stay with your pet on vacation, and peruse seemingly endless rows of pet food, treats, and toys. There’s probably never been a better time to be a pet than right now. It might also be time to embrace the trend of pet yoga, as countless studios and practitioners worldwide have began making the opportunity more available.
No Longer on the Fringe
Pet owners who practice yoga at home can probably attest to the fact that their pets can’t keep off the mat. Whether they like to distract you or simply lay down next to you while you flow, animals are drawn to the peaceful, relaxing qualities of yoga just like us. In fact, numerous poses, or asanas, are inspired by animals, such as crane, pigeon, cat, cow, dog, crow, horse, lion, monkey, and tortoise.
On the Farm
There are opportunities to practice yoga alongside free-roaming goats. If you’re a risk-taker, you might try flowing while on the back of a stationary horse (similar to yoga on a stand-up paddle board).
Another pet yoga trend involves inviting adoptable kittens to play, snooze, or observe ongoing yoga classes. Not only a source of joy for the yogis and yoginis, these kittens typically find their way to a forever home through this venue. Win-win!
Many people leave the house to exercise, only to return home to walk the dog or play with the cat. With pet yoga, you can integrate these necessities into one streamlined activity. Now, your quality time with your four-legged best friend can center on, well, getting centered, aligning, and gaining insight into the present moment (just what your pet is already good at!).
A Few Tips
In pet yoga, animals are held during poses for weight resistance or employed as partners to their human counterpart. Integral to shaping the human-animal bond, decreasing anxiety and stress, and controlling impulse control, pet yoga is also fun and entertaining to do with fellow animal lovers.
Considering Pet Yoga
Like other worthwhile physical activities, yoga helps you develop strength, flexibility, awareness, and mindfulness. Not only is pet yoga great for preventing health problems, it can also minimize symptoms related to heart problems. A perfect companion to routine walking, running, and playing together, pet yoga is a new trend worth considering.
It probably comes as no surprise that the most popular New Year’s resolution is to get healthy or lose weight. Many of us could stand to eat a little better and move more, and the same could probably be said for our animal companions.
The rise in pet obesity rates over the past several years have corresponded to an uptick in health concerns, namely heart disease, high blood pressure, joint/mobility issues, cancer, and reduced life expectancy. At Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we are committed to helping you every step of the way as you strive to keep your pet at a healthy weight.
Focusing on Food to Treat Pet Obesity
Although today’s pets are living longer than ever before, they are also heavier than previous generations of pets and suffer from chronic diseases. Fortunately, many obesity-related illnesses and conditions can be prevented through proper nutrition. Consider the following:
Portion control is just as important for pets as it is for people! Work with your veterinarian to determine the right amount of food for your pet, and measure out each portion. Setting regular mealtimes also helps to control the amount of food your pet is taking in.
Limiting treats is essential when it comes to managing pet obesity. Even small treats can quickly add up in terms of daily calories. Break treats in half, or try small pieces of pet safe fruits and vegetables for a healthy, low-calorie alternative to traditional pet treats.
Eating slowly can have a positive impact on a pet’s weight, especially for pets who tend to quickly gobble their food. Slow feeder bowls and puzzle feeders are great ways to encourage pets to slow down when eating.
You can also give pets the opportunity to practice their innate hunting skills by hiding pieces of kibble for them to find during mealtimes (and to discourage eating too quickly).
The Bottom Line
When it comes to pet obesity, sometimes we are our own worst enemy. It’s easy to forgo the daily walk when you’re tired or busy, and resisting the temptation to give in to a begging pet can be challenging indeed. Your steadfast commitment to your pet’s health is essential in the fight against pet obesity.
Please feel free to reach out to the staff at Rocklin Ranch with your questions and concerns!
Scrolling through our pet care blog, we can’t help but pat ourselves on the back for the sheer variety of topics at hand. Of course, the typical pet care subjects will always be relevant, such as parasite prevention, the importance of dental care, and how to maintain a healthy weight. However, depending on the time of year, we at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital have dug a bit deeper to cover heat stroke, winter safety guidelines, and poison prevention.
The good news is that we’re nowhere near running out of things to write about with our valued pet care community in mind. To that end, we’re sure that 2018 will be another great year to reflect on in 12 months time.
For now, though, let’s take a quick look back at the Top 10 pet care blogs that were viewed the most by pet lovers in 2017.
Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Top 10 Blogs of 2017
A Helping Hand: Supporting A Loved One Through Pet Loss – All pet owners know that the death of a beloved companion is one of the most heartbreaking experiences in life, and watching a loved one grapple with pet loss can be nearly as difficult. Even if we’ve experienced pet loss ourselves, it can be challenging to know what to say to someone else. Read More…
A Cold Drink From The Toilet: Uncouth Dog Behavior (Sometimes) Makes Sense – We not only allow, but wholeheartedly welcome dogs to share in all the trappings of modern living. Some dogs are invited to sleep with their owners on goose-down bedding; others hang out on the sofa for the latest binge-worthy TV. Indeed, dogs are veritable members of the family. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t collectively scratch our heads at certain canine codes of conduct. Dog behavior varies between individuals, but as a group, dogs seem to really enjoy slurping from the toilet bowl. But why? Read More…
All About Pet Sweat (In Case You Were Wondering) – I sweat, you sweat, dogs sweat, er…cats sweat? Well, sort of. The problem is that pets don’t sweat exactly like us (and therefore never have to worry about B.O. or nervous, sweaty handshakes). This is one of the reasons you need to pay extra close attention to your pet during the heat of the summer. They simply lack an efficient cooling system. Read More…
Do You Have A Smart Pet? A Quick Guide To The Most Intelligent Cats And Dogs – People typically see themselves as left or right brained, but there are actually nine distinct types of intelligence. Whether you have logical-mathematical strengths or intra-personal skills, you could also have smarts in the departments of nature, music, life, people, words, or pictures (among others). In short, we all have unique perspectives in order to understand the same world. Read More…
Cuddles Or Puddles? Caring For Your Dog In The Rain – Rocklin may not have the slushiest spring weather, but our precipitation levels are typically highest in February and March. Your dog might be a self-respecting pluviophile who can’t resist a rainy day, or perhaps he or she winces at the sight of a wet yard. Either way, our team is here to give you tips about caring for your dog in the rain. Get your galoshes ready! Read More…
A String Around Your Finger: Don’t Forget About Indoor Cat Care – Many cat owners are amazing at keeping routine wellness appointments for their indoor felines. However, anecdotal evidence shows that a large number of indoor cats do not receive regular veterinary care. If this sounds familiar, we understand that it’s often easier to remain at home than to force a cat to travel. Plus, cats – especially those who are safe from accidental injury or exposure to disease – give the impression they don’t really need a check-up. However, indoor cat care is vital to health and longevity. Read More…
Are Pet Kisses Safe? To Smooch Or Not To Smooch – It’s hard not to love the fact that your pet is thrilled to see you after a long day apart. For many pet owners, this means enduring a daily round of slobbery pet kisses. Some of us don’t mind this type of attention, while others avoid that doggy tongue at all costs. Read More…
Kitty Conundrum: Why Do Cats Love Boxes? – The image of a cat in a cardboard box is so ubiquitous it’s becoming cliche. Countless jokes, stories, cartoons, internet memes, even entire websites are devoted to the love affair between cats and boxes. Most of us take it for granted, but have you ever stopped to wonder why it is that cats love boxes so much? Read More…
Ear Licking And Beyond: What Does This Dog Behavior Mean? – Dogs will be dogs, but when a behavior veers from cute to mildly obsessive to downright annoying, it’s time for a change. Licking ears is one of these canine quirks that sends owners into tailspins of doubt, wonder, frustration, and (hopefully) resolution and relief. If you’re put off by this common dog behavior or have no more patience for it, you’re in the right place. Read More…
Thank you, dear readers, for making our pet care blog so much fun to write. We always care about what you think! If you have a blog topic you’d like to learn more about, please let us know!