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The veterinarians and staff at Cats & Critters are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Infographic: Pet Holiday Hazards

The holidays can mean exciting smells, sights and tastes for your curious pet -- and more ways he or she can get into trouble. Please take a look at the infographic below outlining the most serious dangers. Take the necessary precautions to keep the holidays happy and healthy for everyone in your home.

Click on the graphic below and print it out.

Keep it handy during the holiday and give copies to your friends and family.

Holiday Hazards

Keeping Your Dog Anxiety Free On New Year's Eve

Celebrating the new year is an exciting time for many people. Unfortunately, your dog might not share the same enthusiasm you do. There are numerous ways your dog might be put on edge this December 31. Whether it's loud neighbors celebrating loudly or fireworks exploding overhead, as a dog owner you must be conscientious of your dog's fears.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your dog feel more safe as we move into the new year. Here are just a few pointers to keep your dog happy and healthy into the new year and beyond.

Give your dog plenty of exercise before the celebrations begin. Take him or her to the dog park, go on a long walk or jog, play fetch until your dog's tongue is down to the floor. The point is that the more you tire them out during the day, the likelier they are to sleep through a noisy night.
Create a relaxing environment for them. Lavender oil (Lavendula augustifolia or Lavendula officinalis) can be used either on the skin or by letting your dog smell it, and has been found to reduce anxiety. It's also a good idea to play calming music, like classical or light jazz, that's turned up just high enough to wash out external noise.
Ask your veterinarian about medications that may help. Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe your dog anti-anxiety medication that will help calm them throughout the night. These same types of medications can be used for other anxiety-producing scenarios like thunderstorms or car rides.

Above all, remember to have a fun and safe New Year's Eve for both yourself and your dog!

Help, My Cat Keeps Me up All Night

You love your purring, furry companion, but when they're up and about during the night, making noise throughout your home that you begin to see them less of a friend and more of an enemy. Say goodbye to the night reign of the fur monster with these tips.

Cats are considered crepuscular, meaning they’re most active from dawn to dusk, which might not exactly synchronize with your sleeping schedule. The good news is that you don’t have to give up sleep forever. You can help your cat adjust to a new schedule over time, but first it’s important that your cat is not waking you up because they’re ill. Be sure to take your cat for yearly wellness exams.

Sure, you might swear your cat sleeps all day (and chances are they mostly do) but when they’re awake, they want food and stimulation. Playing with your cat will help them not only feel better, but will help make them feel more socialized. When it’s time for bed, create a routine for your cat as well. Start by brushing or spending some quiet time with your cat. This should help calm them and help them fall asleep.

Once asleep, don’t give in to your cat’s attempts for attention. We’ve all been there when they start walking over your head and licking your face because they want more food, but giving in only reinforces their bad behavior. Eventually a cat's persistence will stop, and if you continue to ignore their late-night badgering, they'll develop their own schedule that doesn’t include waking you up all the time.

Flying with Your Pet

Flying may not be the ideal way to travel with your pet, but sometimes there are no other options. In fact, over two million pets and other live animals travel by air every year in the United State. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know what the policies are regarding pet air travel as they vary from airline to airline. Furthermore, states in the U.S. and national governments impose different restrictions. Whether you're flying coast-to-coast, cross-Atlantic, or half-way across the world, there will be specific guidelines to follow before you take to the skies.

Here are a few standard regulations that are helpful to know if you’re considering flying with your pet. If you have more questions, contact your airline directly. Most times, the specific policies and procedures are listed on the airline’s website, or you can call the airline’s reservations line and speak with an agent.

Pets in the Passenger Cabin

Policies regarding animals in passenger cabin vary from airline to airline with one exception – service animals. Since service animals are not considered pets and are needed to aid those with disabilities, they are always allowed to stay in the passenger cabin. Service animals do not require health certificates to travel, nor do they need to be in a container or cage.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows each airline to enforce its own individual policy regarding pets in the passenger cabin, but the FAA requires:

  • The pet container must be small enough to fit underneath the seat without blocking any person’s path to the main aisle of the airplane.
  • Your pet container must be stored properly before the last passenger entry door is closed so the airplane can leave the gate.
  • The pet container must remain properly stowed the entire time the plane is moving on the tar mac, as well as during take off and landing.

Despite differing procedures, there are a number of general policies you’ll encounter that allow for all passengers to have a comfortable flight. Some of these policies may include:

  • Restrictions on the different types of animals allowed aboard
  • A limit on the number of pets allowed in the cabin
  • A requirement that your pet is harmless to fellow passengers, including inoffensive and odorless
  • A requirement that you be able to produce a recent health certificate for your pet

Tips for Safe Air Travel with Your Pet

As a pet owner, you are responsible for the welfare of your animal while traveling. In addition to federal regulations and airline policies, here are a few things you can do to help make traveling with your pet easier and safer:

  • Before traveling, it’s best to help your pet get accustomed to its kennel. Also make sure that the door latches securely.
  • Don’t feed your pet solid food at least six hours before the flight. A moderate amount of water and a walk before and after a flight are strongly advised.
  • Ask your veterinarian if it would be best for your pet to be tranquilized for the trip. It’s also a good idea to try a test dose before travelling to gauge how your pet will react.
  • Health certificates must be issued 10 days before travel. Rabies and vaccinations certificates are also required.
  • Reserve a space for your pet in advance with the airline. Also ask about the time and location for drop-off and pick-up for your pet. Because of restrictions on the number of animals permitted, reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Ideally, try to book a non-stop flight. This will help reduce stress and worry for you and your pet. If possible, avoid connections or traveling during the weekend or holidays.
  • For overseas travel, ask about any health requirements including policies pertaining to quarantine.
  • Be sure to write your name, address and phone number on your pet's carrier, and make sure your pet is wearing a tag with the same information. A temporary tag that shows your destination address and phone number is also a good idea, as is bringing a picture of your pet in case it becomes lost.
VIDEO - How To Brush Your Cat's Teeth

Regular brushing of a cat's teeth can help prevent oral disease that can spread bacteria to other parts of a cat's body. Watch this video to get an idea of how to start the practice of brushing your cat's teeth.

The Best Tips for Feeding Your Fish

Unlike humans, fish have the ability to eat continuously, digest what they need, and excrete the rest. This means it is very easy to overfeed — not the fish, but the aquarium. It is surprising how little food fish actually need. Unlike humans, fish are not fighting gravity or maintaining a high body temperature. Hence, little sustenance is needed to grow and swim around.

Most commercial fish foods contain all the nutrients and trace elements pet fish require. It is, however, recommended to choose a good quality food where the manufacturer has carried out research to find the ideal level of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, which fish require for a long and healthy life. It is important to follow the instructions on the packaging, which usually recommends two small feeds per day, and to remove any leftovers from previous feeding.

Research has shown that to stay fit and healthy and enjoy maximum longevity, fish need a wide range of essential nutrients. Without the right amount of these nutritional "building blocks," fish may cease to grow, lose color, stop breeding, become susceptible to disease and, in certain circumstances, even die. In their natural habitats, fish feed on a variety of plants, insects or other water-borne live foods, which are generally in plentiful supply and high in nutrients. In the confines of an aquarium, live foods can introduce disease and infestation, and problems of water pollution from a high level of fish excreta can cause stress and disease in the fish.

The best and easiest way of feeding fish is to provide a complete and balanced diet free from infestation. A key factor for this is the percentage of water in the food. Micro-organisms cannot develop at moisture levels of 4 percent or less, and flaked fish foods should therefore have a moisture level below 4 percent. Studies have shown that once prepared food is put into the aquarium, the nutrients very quickly leach out and are therefore no longer available to the fish. The longer the food is in the water, the greater the nutrient loss. This means that fish who feed in the middle and bottom of the tank may be getting their food after many of the water-soluble nutrients have dissolved.

How Often to Feed

The frequency of feeding depends on the type of fish you have. If your tank contains a mixture of fish (community tank), then a compromise is to feed two or three times a day. If you breed fish, you need to give several small meals a day, as fry have big appetites but small stomachs.

If you miss a feed, or even several days feeding, don't worry. In nature, fish often experience erratic food availability. You would, however, need to make arrangements if you go away from home for more than a few days.

How Much to Feed

The best and easiest way of deciding how much to feed is to observe your fish during and just after feeding. If there is no food left on the surface of the water after a few minutes, give a little more until the fish stop eating, then remove the excess food. Soon you will be able to judge quite accurately how much your fish need. Food that sinks to the bottom and is not eaten will cause water pollution, so be sure all the food is eaten. Use your net to remove the food that is not eaten after ten minutes.