We’ve all been there: your new puppy Fido Junior is 12 weeks old, and constantly biting anything he can get into his mouth. Your hands are scratched, your ankles are raw, your sneakers have seen better days and your table legs look like a beaver attacked them. Take a deep breath! Teething behavior in puppies and kittens, while incredibly annoying and sometimes destructive, is entirely normal.
It seems, almost daily, I see an appointment or return a phone call about a patient who recently received vaccinations and is now acting lethargic. This issue seems to occur most frequently in young kittens and puppies, as well as adult toy breed dogs (Yorkies, toy poodles, Chihuahuas, Maltese…I’m thinking of you!) While it is always concerning to see Fido uncomfortable, tired, shaking, and tender over the areas where the vaccines were administered, I can say with confidence that this is a normal response to vaccination!
At NSVH we receive a large number of phone messages daily with questions, concerns and dilemmas. Our vets also initiate calls to follow up on sick patients, discuss referrals or report lab results. Much can be accomplished via the phone: discussing what breed of dog to adopt, assuring an owner that it can be normal for their new puppy to be lethargic after vaccinations, dispensing advice about how to feed a picky older kitty.
If your Fido or Fluffy inhales meals in record time, then moments later regurgitates a large amount of undigested food…you are in good company. I remind clients frequently that, while we may have domesticated our furry canine and feline friends, we don’t seem to have domesticated their appetites much. Many dogs and cats are food-seeking missiles, and they will readily and rapidly eat food whenever it is available.
It’s been about 13 years since we had a kitten in the Dr. D household, and, with the addition of Mango’s progeny Watermelon (now called Pudge), I am having a refresher course in Kitten 101. I darn near forgot how much energy kittens have! And how they get into everything (electrical cords, closets, toilet paper.) Good thing Pudge is cute. Here’s a basic primer on what you need to know to care for your new kitten.
A question I’m frequently asked by both new and experienced pet owners: “How do I know if my pet is really sick?” More than any other symptom, a poor appetite can be an obvious indication that Fluffy or Fido is ill. If Fido doesn’t eat for several days, particularly if Fido is a happy-go-lucky Labrador who normally inhales anything in sight, this is very significant cause for concern! If Fluffy typically meows, demanding her morning wet food snack, but is turning her nose up at anything you put in front of her, please bring Fluffy to the vet right away.