855 908 4010

August 2014

Does Smoking Affect Your Dog?

 by jaime on 31 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
Governments and numerous health agencies have spent the last two decades raising awareness about the dangers of smoking. Citizens across the world have learned about what dangers smoking poses to their own health and the health of those around them. Secondhand smoke has been shown to have negative impacts on the health and well-being of those living with smokers.   Overlooked in all of these awareness campaigns has been the health and well-being of pets. Does your smoking pose a health risk to your dog? According to available data from the ASPCA, there are 71 million pet owners in the United States, and about one-fifth of those people are smokers. Exposure to secondhand smoke kills an estimated 50,000 Americans each year. Additionally, there are as many as four million children living in homes where they are exposed to secondhand smoke and in many of these homes there are also dogs.   Numerous studies have found that dogs, as well as cats, face health risks similar to those of humans exposed to secondhand smoke. These risks include decreased lung capacity, sinus issues, and cancer.   Exposure to secondhand smoke has been found to cause a number of health problems in dogs living with smokers. Cardiovascular disease, asthma, chronic lung infections, eye problems, and respiratory disease are some of the illnesses that dogs suffer from as a result of secondhand smoke.   It is also possible for dogs to develop lung cancer or nasal sinus cancer. A study from the State of Colorado found that dogs living with smokers had a higher incidence of nasal cavity tumors than dogs living in a home with no smokers. Dog breeds with longer noses, such as Collies, face a significantly higher chance of contracting nasal sinus tumors and cancer compared to breeds with short to medium noses.   Experts believe this higher rate of occurrence is linked to the longer nasal passages in certain breeds. Those dogs with longer noses have a greater surface area in the sinus cavity for toxins and carcinogens to be deposited before reaching the lungs. Additionally, all dog breeds are at risk for lung cancer as a result of those carcinogens eventually reaching the lungs.   Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco release more than 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke. These chemicals include dangerous toxins like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, arsenic, benzene, chromium, nickel, and vinyl chloride. Each of these toxins poses a serious threat to your dog's health, increasing its risk for chronic illness and death. Feature image credit

What To Do When Your Cat Refuses To Use Their Litter Tray

 by jaime on 31 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
It is frustrating when your cat refuses to use a litter tray, but it can also be cause for concern. As it turns out, your pet might be urinating outside of the designated area area due to medical reasons. Here's what you need to consider if you want to understand and fix the problem. Most cats care a lot about hygiene, and so a dirty or poorly filled litter tray could be so off-putting that it might prompt your pet to go elsewhere. If you think the tray could be cleaner, make a commitment to cleaning it at least once a day and see if your cat's behavior changes. If you have more than one cat, having several litter trays can help to ensure that one is always clean. In addition, think about where the litter tray is placed. Cats feel vulnerable doing their business, so if the tray is exposed or difficult to escape then they might choose to go somewhere more private. Furthermore, it might be worth trying a different type of litter to find out whether your kitty doesn't like the feel or smell of your current product. No matter what litter you use, most cats will prefer it to be no more than two inches deep. If your cat is of a mature age, then that may be the reason why you have seen a change in litter tray use. Firstly, some elderly cats can develop a degree of dementia that may leave them feeling confused about where they are or cause them to forget where they are supposed to urinate. Secondly, arthritis is a fairly common complaint in older cats, and the joint pain associated with the condition can make it difficult to get into the litter tray. If your cat has arthritis then it may need a litter tray with low sides. Certain health problems can strike a cat of any age and lead to a reluctance to use the litter tray. It can be useful to make an appointment with your vet and discuss all of the following: Urinary tract infections: If your cat enters the litter tray but does so more often than normal and only manages to pass small amounts of urine, a urinary tract infection may be behind the new tendency to urinate elsewhere. Interstitial cystitis: This inflammatory disease affects the bladder and makes your cat feel like urinating more often. As a result, your pet might start urinating in unusual places instead of (or as well as) the tray. Bladder stones: Bladder stones are very painful, so if your cat is suffering from this problem then you might hear crying when the animal tries and fails to urinate. In any of these cases, treating the underlying condition should eliminate the problem with inappropriate urination.

Loss of Balance In Cats

 by jaime on 30 Aug 2014 |
6 Comment(s)
Have you noticed your cat moving to one side, tilting their head or other similar symptoms? They may be suffering from ataxia, a sensory dysfunction that affects the coordination of the limbs, head or trunk. Generally when your cat's brain and spinal cord are compromised this prevents their ability to communicate with the rest of the body's nervous system which is what will cause many cases of ataxia and loss of balance. While cats are typically elegant and graceful creatures, they are not exempt from balance issues. If you notice one or two instances where your cat is being a little clumsy, it is probably nothing more than that. But if it's beginning to occur on a fairly regular basis, then it may be something more serious. There are three different types of ataxia that all affect the nervous system in various ways: sensory, vestibular and cerebellar. Sensory ataxia This is when the spinal cord is slowly compressed. A cat with this type of ataxia will often be misplacing their feet and experiencing progressive weakness. Vestibular ataxia This is when the nerves that carry information from the inner ear to the brain are damaged. Some signs that indicate this may be what your cat is experiencing include: changes to the head and neck, problems hearing, falling or rolling over, changing eye movements, weakness in the legs and drowsiness. Cerebellar ataxia This is when your cat's motor skills and activity are affected. You will notice that the limbs, head and neck are uncoordinated. They may be also stepping oddly, having tremors of the body or head and the body swaying. Symptoms There are various symptoms that could indicate that your cat indeed has ataxia, many of which are listed above, but let's recap here: Lack of appetite Nausea Weakness of the limbs (can affect one or all of the limbs, or just the limbs on one side of the body) Stumbling or swaying Excessive sleepiness Changes to behaviour Tilting head to one side Not responding to being called Abnormal eye movements Causes There is a huge variety of conditions that could be the cause of your cat's ataxia: Cysts Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) Inflammatory diseases Middle ear or fungal infections Cancer Degeneration of spinal cord and nerves Malformation of spinal cord Anemia Low potassium Low blood sugar Spinal cyst Blockages of blood vessels (blood clot) Encephalitis - acute inflammation of the brain Ear infections Ear mites Neurological disorders Other causes for loss of balance include arthritis, senility and Alzheimer's disease. In other cases, medications used to treat other conditions can cause a loss of balance. And sometimes, it's just old age causing your cat to not be as coordinated as they once were. Treatment What's important to note is that many of the conditions above are degenerative so if you suspect something is up, don't hang around to see if it gets worse-take your cat to the vet ASAP. Your vet will need to know thorough details on your cat's health and what symptoms they are experiencing. Most likely, blood tests and urine samples will be taken to try and make an initial diagnosis. Medical imaging including X-rays and ultrasounds will also be required to see the exact location of any diseases and to evaluate it's progression. Feature image credit  

Do Puppies Really Need Puppy Food?

 by michelle on 30 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
Puppies, like babies, receive complete nutrition from their mother’s milk. Eventually though, they’ll need to be weaned off which typically begins around the four week mark, when mama dog’s milk is no longer 100% sufficient. By 7-8 weeks, the puppies should be completely weaned from their mother and eating solid food regularly, and by solid food I mean puppy food. To answer your question, yes puppies need puppy food. Because puppies grow so fast, they need to take in more calories and more nutrients, and puppy food has just that. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend specific brands, but in general quality puppy food is high in protein, calcium, and calories. Look for brands that list meat as the first ingredient. Most brands will have a feeding chart printed on the bag for you to use as a guide. The amount of food recommended for your puppy will likely change on a weekly basis as they grow. When choosing a puppy food, also make sure to select the type right for your breed. Large-breed puppy food is different, with less calcium and phosphorus than other puppy food to help prevent future skeletal issues. When a puppy is almost at their expected adult weight, it’s time to switch to a food that will work to maintain their weight and nutrition. Generally, smaller dogs reach maturity faster, around 9-12 months, while larger breeds can take up to 12 -18 months. If you feed your dog puppy food for too long, your dog will be taking in more calories than they need, and could be at risk of obesity. If you have any questions on weaning your puppies or choosing a brand of puppy food, remember to consult your veterinarian!   Feature image credit

5 Reasons Why Your Cat Won't Stop Crying

 by jaime on 29 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
If your cat starts crying all the time, your first response may be distress and worry. However, many owners become annoyed when there is no apparent cause for constant crying. Since there can be serious underlying medical problems when a cat cries, it is vital to investigate the issue properly. The following advice will help you deal with the wide range of reasons why a cat might become excessively vocal. 1. Health issues Before considering psychological causes, it's smart to visit your vet so that your cat can receive a full checkup. If you have an elderly cat, an overactive thyroid gland may be the reason for increased vocalization, and this can be treated with a careful balance of medication. Kidney disease is also a common cause in older cats, though it can strike pets of any age. Slowing the progression of kidney disease requires careful monitoring and changes in diet. In principle, any illness that might lead your pet to feel hungry, confused, thirsty or sore can cause constant crying, so a thorough physical examination and a wide range of blood tests will probably be required. 2. Loneliness If physical problems have been ruled out, it's time to start looking at your cat's mental health. Sociable cats may be crying for attention, especially when the house is quiet at night. Sadly, many cats that are used to having other feline companions can become especially vocal when their friend passes away, as they sense that something has changed. If you want to discourage your cat from crying, you can set a precedent of only paying the pet attention during quiet periods. However, it is important to balance this idea with adequate care; you should never neglect your cat's emotional needs, and you should spend time giving affection and engaging in play every day. 3. Looking for food If your cat is consistently vocal when you enter the kitchen or when it is nearly time for a meal, you may be able to reduce this crying by providing the food when the cat is quiet. If you give treats, you might also want to consider stopping this practice until your cat's interest in food no longer gives rise to constant mewing. Once again, an elevation in hunger levels should be investigated by a vet, as eating without feeling full is a warning sign of certain health problems. 4. Boredom Some cats cry because they are not feeling appropriately stimulated, so think about whether you are providing enough fun activities for your pet. There should be places from which your cat can watch the outside world and plenty of standard toys, but smarter cats may also enjoy the challenge of puzzle-based toys. 5. Stress Finally, think about whether any major changes might be stressing your pet, as there is a link between stress and crying. Common examples include a new home, a new baby, or conflict in the home. You can make things easier by offering extra affection and demonstrating soothing behavior. Feature image credit

Can Different Diets Affect A Dog's Behaviour?

 by jaime on 29 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
There a lot of other factors that affect a dog's behaviour, but many people also believe that diet can also be influential. For dog lovers, what you feed your dog is a polarising topic, and many pet owners get very passionate about it, and while there's no real right or wrong answer, all owners should strive to find the best diet for their dog. All dogs are individuals and will react differently to different foods, much in the same way we do - so it seems quite likely that diet can contribute to behaviour. We are generally very conscious about what we feed ourselves and our family - for example you wouldn't feed your child a breakfast full of sugar and lots of preservatives, just before they go to school? So shouldn't the same logic be applied to our much loved pets? There are various schools of thought about what diet is best for an energetic and obedient dog but again, we can't stress enough that there isn't one answer and it will come down to trial and error and observing how your dog behaves when eating certain diets. Lifestyle, finances and preferences will also play a role in what diet you'd like to feed your dog, much in the same way it affects our own meal time. Different diets, different results Let's take a look at how some of the most popular diets can potentially affect your dog's behaviour… Commercial dog food This is a popular option for doggy parents the world over and in general the high quality options do provide your dog with a well rounded and balanced meal, with key nutrients for a happy and healthy dog. However, the cheaper the variety, the more likely fillers in the form of grains and cereal will be present and it's said that a high intake of carbohydrates can affect blood serum levels which is thought to cause aggressive tendencies, mood swings and hyperactivity. However, by avoiding the cheapest food available, you should be completely fine to feed your dog commercial dog food. Raw feeding A lot of people like feeding their dogs a raw diet. Dogs seem to enjoy it because they get to enjoy plenty of raw meat and bones, but one of the setbacks from this diet is a lack of calcium which can lead to health issues such a dental problems. Dental issues can also lead to behavioural problems - including aggression and lethargy. Organic Lots of people enjoy eating a diet full of organic ingredients, and you can't deny the benefits. So it's no surprise that many dog owners also like feeding their dogs organic food. Organic dog food can be bought from many online sellers or pet stores (or you can make it yourself), and its major pro is that it doesn't contain any chemical additives, but includes all the nutritional benefits you get from other commercial dog food varieties. Generally, feeding your dog organic should eliminate and curve any behavioural issues and if after a few months, no changes have been cited, then a consultation with your vet should be on the cards. Natural A dog's diet that is all natural is similar to the recently popular "Paleo" diet, where you feast on what your ancient ancestors ate. People who feed their dog this sort of diet, generally give their dog animal carcasses, meaty bones and scraps from the butcher. While it resembles nothing of what most people feed their dogs these days, it's said that this type of diet is kinder to the digestive system and reduces unpredictable mood swings. Variety is the spice of life Some dog trainers and behaviourists believe that some poor behaviour from dogs can stem not just from what's in the food, but the repetitive nature of it, calling it the "monotony effect." It's said the monotony effect can cause begging and boredom, so even if your dog is hungry, they may refuse to eat it because they are tired of the same thing! If this is something you are experiencing, consult your vet. If you plan to change up your dog's diet, remember to introduce the new food gradually so not to upset their stomach. Don't get tripped up on treats Everyone loves a treat, including your pal and usually these treats can be incredibly high in sugar, potentially causing hyperactivity. If you think your dog is hyperactive, then a good way to help is to eliminate what dog treats you are giving them. Remember to always read the label and choose one that is of a high quality. So in many ways it seems that the old saying 'you are what you eat' can really apply to our dogs too. Feature image credit

Jaundice in Cats

 by jaime on 29 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
Icterus or yellow skin, more commonly known as jaundice is when tissues throughout the body turn yellow due to high levels of bilirubin (a bile pigment) in the blood. You will most likely notice jaundice on the skin, whites of the eyes or gums. Jaundice falls into three categories: prehepatic, hepatic and posthepatic. Finding out what category your cat's jaundice falls into will help your vet figure out what the underlying condition and cause is. Jaundice usually signifies something wrong with the liver. Types of jaundice Prehepatic jaundice occurs before blood has reached the liver. Hepatic jaundice is when there is damage or disease to the liver. Posthepatic jaundice occurs after blood has passed through the liver. Symptoms of jaundice Yellow coloration of the skin Increased urination Weight loss Lethargy Loss of appetite Urine and stools have a orange appearance Increased thirst Vomiting Fever Paleness Diarrhoea Abdominal pain In severe cases symptoms may also extend to: Bleeding Confusion Causes of jaundice As mentioned, jaundice is a symptom of an underlying condition rather being a disease itself. Possible causes include: Hepatitis Excess fat in liver Tissue damage of liver Tumors Infection Incompatible blood transfusion Large volume of blood inside a cavity. Diagnosis For your vet to be able to come up with a proper diagnosis they will have to perform a number of tests including a complete blood count, a biochemistry profile and urinalysis. They will do a thorough physical examination and consider your pet's health history. Further tests involve: X-rays, ultrasounds and other radiographic studies - usually to get a better understanding of the size of the liver and to cite the presence of any masses or tumours. Treatment Treatment completely depends on what the cause is and the appropriate course of action will be determined by your vet. Feature image credit  

Should You Feed Your Cat Offal?

 by jaime on 28 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
Choosing food for your cat can be a complex affair, as even expert opinions vary dramatically. Raw diets are increasingly more popular, and offal (i.e. the internal organs and entrails of animals) is often incorporated into these diets. Here's what you need to know about whether you should feel your cat offal, and some advice about how to approach a raw diet more generally. Raw diets and types of offal Some pet owners favor a raw diet of meat and offal instead of the processed food that you can buy in cans and bags. The thought is that a raw diet is more natural, and more closely represents the original diets of the cat's ancestors. One of the most popular approaches is the BARF diet which revolves around raw and minced meat combined with some vegetables (typically pureed). Around 20% of a cat's meat intake should be comprised of offal, as it is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Heart, liver and tripe are the forms of offal that are most commonly given to cats on a raw diet, as they are enjoyed by most felines and provided a wide range of useful nutrients. In particular, heart is a source of taurine, which cats depend on for adequate health. Before it was widely known that cats require taurine, many cats that were deficient in taurine went on develop potentially fatal forms of cardiomyopathy (which can lead to end stage heart failure). The dangers posed by offal Firstly, you should be vigilant about the quality of offal provided for your pets, as offal can contain potentially hazardous parasites. Ideally, you should look for HC grade meat sourced from a local butcher that you trust, as this meat will have been inspected for parasites prior to sale. Secondly, when you are feeding liver to your cat, it's very important to be aware of the amount of vitamin A that you are providing. Specifically, vitamin A is fat soluble, and cats only need a relatively small amount in their diet. If you feed your pet excessive quantities of vitamin A, this can lead to toxicity, the major symptoms of which are reduced appetite, tiredness, weight loss and constipation. Other cautionary notes about raw diets Many people who avoid raw diets are quick to mention that there are infection risks associated with raw offal and meat, especially chicken. While a cat's body is most likely capable of killing these bacteria in the stomach, it is very important to be careful when preparing a raw diet. Ideally, you should have dedicated utensils that you only use when dealing with your cat's raw meat and offal. In addition, never be tempted to feed your cat any cooked bones, as these can easily splinter into small, sharp pieces that can puncture key areas of your pet's digestive system. Finally, since it can be tricky to start a raw diet, make sure you get some advice from your vet and do thorough online research. Feature image credit

14 Things To Do To Prepare Your Dog For Fall

 by jaime on 28 Aug 2014 |
No Comment
We're not quite there yet, but fall is approaching. While it is a beautiful time of year and one that both you and your dog can enjoy, there's a fresh set of challenges and hazards for you to be aware of and protect your dog from. 1. Wrap up warm Once fall has well and truly arrived, you will notice the days (and nights) become a great deal cooler, so while you start to put on your extra layers, the same should be done for your dog. If you don't already have one, you should consider purchasing a dog coat, especially if you have a smooth or single coated breed. Make sure it's water resistant, lined and is adjustable. 2. Snakes Fall is when snakes get ready to hibernate and are also more likely to bite at this time of year. Educate yourself on what snakes are known to slither around your area, in particular poisonous varieties so you can stay away from their usual locations. 3. Mothballs Did you know that mothballs are toxic to dogs if eaten? Be extra cautious when bringing out your winter woolies after being tucked away in your wardrobe for a long time. 4. Engine coolant Fall is the time of year people are most likely to change their engine coolant. Look to see if the variety you use is ethylene glycol based as this is toxic to dogs. If you can, change brands to one that is propylene glycol based because if accidentally ingested it is less toxic. In any case, make sure any spillages are immediately cleaned up. 5. Mushrooms Mushrooms are delicious to eat and are the perfect addition to any fall-time meal. However, while 99% of mushrooms are perfectly harmless, there is still 1% that are incredibly toxic, so make sure when you are out and about you keep your dog away from all mushrooms to be on the safe side. If your dog does eat a mushroom, contact your vet immediately. 6. Walking in the dark The days are shorter and night fall draws in much sooner, so you'll probably find yourself taking your dog for a walk at dusk or in the evening darkness. If this is the case, make sure you are vigilant about your dog wearing proper ID, including tags with your contact information and that they are microchippped. For added safety, you should consider buying reflective collars or hi-vis clothing for yourself and your dog (just the hi-vis clothing for you!) 7. Rodenticides Fall is also the time that many people choose to use rodenticides to deter rodents from coming into their home. If you are a pet owner, you must be extra vigilant because these are incredibly toxic to dogs - so if you are determined to use rodenticide, be careful to not put it in places where your dog can reach - or seek out safer alternatives. 8.Outdoor living If your dog spends a lot, if not all of its time outdoors you will have to prepare them to face the impending cold temperatures. Make sure they have a warm and dry shelter to protect them from the elements. Be sure to include extra blankets and bedding. Consider including cedar shavings into the mix because they provide great insulation. It's a common belief that during the cooler months outdoor dogs should be fed more food to keep them warm, however this is not often the case. If your dog is particularly active, then you could consider giving them a bit more at meal time, but no more than a 10% increase. This also doesn't mean you can go crazy with the snacks! 9. Grooming Fall can be quite a wet and muddy time of year so make sure you are prepared for the extra washing and grooming you may be required to do. Have extra towels in your car to absorb excess water and you could even invest in a waterless shampoo, so you can keep your dog squeaky clean without the hassle of a bath. 10. Hearty foods While we love fall because we can indulge in some of our favourite comfort foods, be aware that many of the things we love to eat can be toxic to dogs and make them sick. Chocolate is particularly dangerous so make sure none is in reach. As tempting as it may be don't get into the habit of sneaking your dog left overs from your dinner plate, because while they are not toxic they are not good for your dog's health and can cause intestinal upsets and diarrhea. If you want to give your pooch a seasonal treat, pumpkin is a good option to consider. 11. Fleas and ticks It may be getting cooler, but that doesn't mean fleas and ticks are no longer a problem. Make sure you keep on top of your usual flea and tick treatments. 12. Conkers Conkers are a true symbol that fall has arrived. They are so very dangerous for your dog and are highly toxic if they are chewed or eaten and can cause serious blockages internally. The same applies for daffodil or tulip bulbs, so gardeners beware! 13. Allergies Like humans, the changing seasons can set allergies off for dogs. If your dog develops a skin rash, starts sneezing or has clear discharge coming from their nose, it's likely they are feeling the effects of an allergy. Take your dog to the vet so medicine such as antihistamines can be prescribed. 14. Decorations They're bright, fun and festive but in the wrong paws can be quite dangerous. Be aware of leaving any decorative objects around that your dog could munch on - otherwise there will be a trip to the vet. Feature image credit  

6 Reasons Why Your Cat Has Lost Their Meow

 by jaime on 28 Aug 2014 |
49 Comment(s)
If your normally vocal kitty has suddenly become a little hoarse you are probably wondering what has caused this sudden silence… 1. Prolonged meowing Sometimes your cat has just meowed themselves silent for a little while. Perhaps it has been during the night or whilst you've been at work, but in any case, their meow should return to normal after a little while. 2. Rabies Rabies causes hoarseness so if you think there's been even a slight chance of your cat being in contact with a rabid animal take them to the vet immediately so they can investigate. 3. Upper Respiratory Infection Upper Respiratory Infections (URI), which often results in laryngitis, can cause hoarseness. In addition to hoarseness, if your cat is displaying a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, lack of appetite, lethargy, or yellow or green discharge from the eyes or nose, take them to the vet so medication such as antibiotics can be prescribed. 4. Hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid glands, is a common ailment in older cats which can cause hoarseness along with weight loss. If you suspect this is the cause for your cat's lack of meow, take them to the vet so blood tests can be performed. 5. Laryngeal paralysis This is when nerve damage of the larynx or voice box is caused preventing it from working properly when your cat wishes to breath or meow. It's a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Accompanying symptoms include: coughing, weight loss, difficulty eating and struggling for breath. 6. Growths Growths can develop on the throat, particularly the vocal cords, causing benign tumours or polyps - however sometimes it can result in throat cancer. Symptoms along with hoarseness include: changed vocal sound, sneezing, coughing and persistent ear infections. If you are suspicious that your cat has growths developing - take them to the vet so a diagnosis (often via a biopsy) can be given. Feature image credit
Call Us - 855 908 4010

Search blog archives

Latest Updates

Tag Cloud

Blog Archives

Subscribe to RSS

Subscribe to RSS feed

Shop with Confidence
  • Low Price Guarantee
  • Free & Fast Shipping
  • Best Customer Service
Pet Bucket Ltd is a UK registered company | Company no: 08345021 | BTC Bessemer Drive Stevenage | SG1 2DX UK