Finding a straight answer on the internet isn’t always easy — especially when it’s about your pet. What works for one dog might not work for another, and that’s not even considering the differences in size, age, breed, or even location. The internet can be a really great place for general pet advice, but if you really want information tailored to your pet from reliable sources, talking to a vet online is your best bet.
Every week, Pawp’s online vets answer questions from pet parents on their cats and dogs. In last week’s Ask A Vet, we talked about teething puppies and cats that don’t purr. This week, the online vets are discussing dog overgrooming and cat oversleeping. If you have a question about your pet, talk to an online vet now.
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Pet insurance requires a cost-benefit analysis. It makes sense for some pet owners, especially before a pet has been diagnosed with medical conditions or if an owner has a reasonable expectation their pet may have future health issues. Your monthly premium will vary depending on your pet’s age, breed, and location as well as your chosen annual maximum and deductible. On average, an accident/illness plan for dogs is $47 and depending on your pet’s details, that number can climb up to $160 or more. There are alternatives to pet insurance, like Pawp’s Emergency Fund that can provide a safety net in case of emergency vet bills while maintaining one price for all pets.
While it may seem bizarre, eating grass is quite common. When a dog (or anyone) eats things that aren’t food, it’s called pica. There are a few reasons your dog could be exhibiting pica: they could be lacking something in their diet, trying to regulate their digestion, or just acting out while bored (see: puppies). Understanding why your dog is eating grass is key. If your dog is showing signs of vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea, evaluating your choice in dog food may help. If your dog is left to their own devices often, see if increased playtime or activity decreases their grass intake. Most dogs will end up eating grass at some point, just make sure it doesn’t become a habit.
Your dog could be licking himself for many reasons. On the behavioral end of the spectrum: it could be out of habit, boredom, or anxiety. On the medical end, it could be allergies, pain, infection, or even digestive issues. Is your dog’s over-grooming recent or has your dog been doing it for a while? Paying attention to the circumstances of your dog’s grooming habits will help determine why your dog is licking himself so much. It might be when he’s left alone or it might be right after he’s been on a walk. Talk to a vet if your dog’s overgrooming continues so you can identify the root cause and solve it.
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Cats are naturally very sleepy creatures. It’s ingrained in them to conserve their energy between hunts. And while most indoor cats are not hunting down every meal, their natural tendency to nap, eat, nap still prevails. Depending on your cat’s life stage, sleeping up to 20 hours isn’t cause for alarm. Kittens require a lot of sleep while growing. Adult cats prefer intermittent “cat naps” between play, cuddles, and meals. Senior cats may spend more time sleeping because they don’t have the same energy to expend as they used to. Your cat will generally have a routine of sorts by adulthood, so if their sleep schedule changes dramatically from what you’re used to, it may be time to talk to a vet.
Meowing in cats is a form of communication with humans (more than it is for other cats, with whom they use hissing, yowling, and growling to talk). Excessive meowing means your cat is trying to talk to you, the question is what is she trying to say. She may be indicating she’s hungry, thirsty, in pain, lonely, or wants attention. Do these vocalizations occur around meal times? Are they accompanied by any shaking, vomiting, or diarrhea? Have you paid attention to your cat in a while? Cats may seem like independent creatures, but they can get bored and anxious too. Pay attention to the circumstances surrounding the excessive meowing to help determine their reasoning. If you think it’s related to any form of pain, speak with a vet immediately.