Ask A Vet: Pawp Online Vets Discuss Dog Nutrition, Cat Training & More

In this week's Ask A Vet, Pawp Clinic's online vets discuss what not to feed your dog, how much puppies should sleep, and how to train your cat,

Pawp's Online Vets

Updated January 10, 2023 • Published September 14, 2020

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Ask A Vet: Pawp Online Vets Discuss Dog Nutrition, Cat Training & More

Have you ever wondered what talking to a vet online is like? What pet questions can you ask, what diagnoses can they make, how can they help your pet? If you're curious about vet telemedicine or just your dog or cat in general, you've found the right place. Pawp is a 24/7 digital vet clinic that helps your pet through every stage of their emergency — from triage to payment.

Every week, Pawp's online vets answer pet questions about cats and dogs they've received over the week. When you ask a vet anything, it definitely leads to interesting questions... and answers! If you need general vet advice, have a question you can't find a straight answer to, or you need help in an emergency, talk to Pawp's online vets now. You can also check last week's Ask A Vet.

Ask Our Online Vets Anything

My puppy is sleeping 18 hours a day. Is this normal?

Congratulations on your new puppy! Although sleeping 18-20 hours a day can be hard for a human to fathom, it's not all that out of the ordinary for a puppy. As you can probably tell in the remaining six hours your puppy is awake, they definitely have a way of tiring themselves out and burning through a lot of energy (which is why they need to eat more too!).

Even adult dogs can sleep up to 14 hours a day. You may not notice it as much as most dogs prefer to nap throughout the day rather than conk out for the whole day straight. Unless your puppy's lethargy persists in their waking hours or if they have any other symptoms, they should be fine (just tired!).

Read More: Is My Dog Sleeping Too Much?

Which ingredients do you not want to see on your dog food nutrition panel?

When it comes to your dog's food, the simpler the ingredient list generally the better. Looking for a dog food with an AAFCO seal of approval is a good start, that means it meets the nutritional standards of a healthy and balanced dog food. In general, you should avoid dog food with "meal" rendered products, artificial preservatives and colorings, lots of carbohydrates, and propylene glycol.

Read More: The Ingredients You Should Avoid In Dog Food

My dog won't stop barking. What should I do?

Determining the reason your dog is barking will help solve the problem at hand. Is your dog protecting their territory or acting as a watchdog? Closing the curtains or blocking the outside view can help. Is your dog afraid or anxious? Remove the stressor if possible, otherwise train your dog to associate the stressor with positive things, like treats. Is your dog demanding attention? They could be bored, hungry, or ready for a walk. Try using interactive dog toys to quell their boredom. Overall, it helps to keep your dog active. Tired dogs don't bark nearly as much!

Read More: How To Train Your Dog Not To Bark

My cat often has trouble breathing. Could it be asthma?

Anywhere between 1-5% of cats are affected by feline asthma. It is not very common but if it is left untreated can become more severe. So if your cat is showing any persistent symptoms of feline asthma, like trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, hacking, or vomiting, it's a good idea to contact a vet. If your cat is having extreme symptoms, like blue gums, nose, or lips, bring them to an emergency vet clinic immediately.

Read More: Does My Cat Have Asthma?

Can my cat taste sweet things?

While a slice of cake may be heavenly to humans, it doesn't do much for our feline friends. While every other mammal can experience sweet flavors through the bumps on their tongues, cats cannot. Cats are strict carnivores; they don't derive nutrition from anything other than meat. And thus all cats' bodies (even the big ones) have evolved without the need for the receptors on the tongue that identify sweet things. If your cat is attracted to sweet things, it may be something else in the ingredient list luring your cat in (probably fat).

Read More: Can Cats Taste Sweet Food?

Can you teach a cat tricks?

While dogs are more famous for their training skills, it is indeed possible to do some basic tricks with your cat. First, it's important to remember that cats are different from dogs and don't have the same motivations. While a dog may try and please you, a cat will need a reason to be pleased. Always reward cats for their efforts so they associate a treat with the desired behavior. Clicker training can be effective for tricks like "come," "stay," "shake," or even "play dead." The cat will obey the command, hear a click, and get the treat. It's important to keep your sessions shorter so your cat can remain focused for the duration. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day and your cat may take some coaxing before they comply.

Read More: Can You Teach A Cat Tricks?

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