01-2012 January

Bust Doggie Breath
Don’t let that offensive doggie breath get between you and your pet. Oral odor isn’t just a bad smelling- it can shorten our pets’ lifespan by chronic showering of bacterial products in the blood which can cause kidney, liver, and heart disease. Dental cleanings and home preventative steps can add years to your pet’s life!

Join in on our February dental cleaning & polishing special. Special includes free bath, nail trim and anal sac expression and a $35 discount on the regular price. Get your pet friend clean from head to toe and he’ll thank you for it.

Ask Dr. Debbie
Q: I just got a new kitten and my husband is less than thrilled. He gets angry when the cat jumps on the table or counters. He says that it has to stop, or either he goes or the cat goes. How can I get the cat to stay off the counters?

A: Part of what makes a cat a cat is their curiosity and interest in exploring their environment, so what your kitty is doing is a natural behavior. If this behavior is not welcome and you aren’t looking to get rid of the husband then we need to work on two things- providing a deterrent to the off limit areas and providing a suitable alternate environment to explore.

jan12When possible you can restrict your kitty’s access to the rooms which are off limits, but when that isn’t realistic you will need to have a humane deterrent to correct her when she jumps in the off limit areas. I am not a fan of the squirt-gun technique to keep cats off of counters, since it can become a game for many cats- the shouting and chasing humans are fun and cause cat to repeat the behavior in the future. And never use physical discipline it serves as unkind and ineffective training methods.

Static mats are a useful deterrent, such as the Scat Mat, which give off a static charge when the pet steps on the surface. These are available in different sizes and shapes to fit the area you are working with. Another deterrent item is a motion activated compressed air canister. When the pet walks in the unwanted zone an electronic eye senses movement and a burst of compressed air is expelled. A simple low-tech option is to just place a plastic carpet runner upside down on the counter. Double sided sticky tape works for some cats as well.

And don’t forget- do not leave any food items out on the counter to tempt the kitty- this is just asking for trouble. The hope of a tasty reward will continue the motivation for counter jumping, so just don’t leave ANY food out for the taking.

At the same time you should provide new areas for your cat to explore such as a kitty jungle gym, cat tree, or window hammock. Remember that higher spots are favored by cats that want to get a cats eye on the household action- one reason that counters are of interest to cats. Other fun activities for cats to explore are tunnels and cardboard boxes.

Keep up the efforts- it’ll take time, but with patience and training you can get your cat and husband to live happily together.

Pet of the Month
Say Hello to Krystal our February 2012 Pet of the Month. Krystal is a chicken that was brought into the home as a farm animal but quickly became a family pet instead. Read more about her at our website www.lmah.net.

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