Whether you’re curious about your cat’s change in behavior or you’re not sure if your dog ate something they shouldn’t have, you can talk to a vet anywhere and anytime. Pawp’s online vets are available 24/7 to answer all your pet questions and concerns. Don’t wait up all night worrying about your pet, get answers when you need them.
Every week, Pawp’s online vets answer questions from pet parents. Last week’s Ask A Vet dealt with dog exercise and cat litter box habits, this week’s Ask A Vet is about dog hydration and cats hiding under the bed. See what the online vets have to say about pet care this week:
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How often you should go to the vet really depends on your pet’s age. Puppies and kittens will need an exam, vaccinations, and a possible spaying/neutering in their first year. Adult cats and dogs, depending on their health levels and whether there are risks associated with particular breeds, will probably only need one annual exam a year (while re-upping on vaccinations and preventatives during those visits). Senior pets may require slightly more frequent wellness visits to track any health problems that may be more prevalent in later years, they might need two visits per year.
Signs your dog is dehydrated include excess panting, fatigue & lethargy, reduced skin elasticity, dry nose and sunken eyes. An easy way to test for this is grabbing a flap of skin and releasing it; if your dog is well hydrated it will return quickly to its place, if your dog isn’t, it might take a bit longer. You can also put your finger to their gums, if the color returns quickly, your dog’s water levels are OK; if it takes a while, your dog may be dehydrated. Make sure your dog has access to fresh clean water at all times. You can also supplement some electrolytes into their water if their dehydration seems more severe. Of course, talk to a vet if you’re worried.
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Why your dog is howling is really context dependent: some dogs howl because they want attention while others might howl to introduce themselves. If your dog is primarily howling when you’re not home, it can be related to separation anxiety (you might notice it’s accompanied by other disruptive behaviors). Dogs can also howl because they’re hurt, so see if any particular movement or action accompanies the sound. Many times dogs howl in response to sounds, which might not necessarily be problematic, unless these sounds happen often. Nearly all training for howling involves desensitizing your dog to whatever triggers the sound, making them associate positive emotions with distressing situations.
Cats are survivalists and are naturally wary of new or unfamiliar circumstances. Cats hide when they feel either threatened or unsure of their surroundings and will generally come out of hiding when whatever scares them either goes away or no longer feels scary. A hiding place allows them to scope out the situation without the immediate danger so they can make a fight, flight, or avoid decision themselves from a safe distance. If there’s nothing new or strange in the house causing your cat to hide, they may also be feeling unwell and could be using this hiding space to try and recoup in safety. If you think your cat is feeling sick, talk to a vet and get your cat the help they need.
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Cats don’t necessarily all enjoy walks, so the most important thing is to respect your cat’s reaction and don’t force them into something they’re not comfortable with. If you do decide to take your cat for a walk, make sure you use a harness as cats can squirm out of collars easily. Get them used to the harness before you take them out. It’s important to take things slow and provide lots of treats along the way. Stay close to home, in a relatively quiet area if possible. Let your cat lead and allow them to move at their own pace. Feel out your cat’s comfort levels and adjust accordingly. If your cat is outside more often, we do recommend microchipping them just in case you ever get separated.