Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Get Started on the Right Paw With Your New Pet: Here’s How

The pitter-patter of paws through the house just warms the heart. It’s no wonder so many people choose to expand their pet families this time of year. If you’re one of the lucky pet parents that’s bringing home a new pet, we know you may have those ‘new-pet-jitters.’ But we have some tips to help the process go smoothly and safely.

Get ready to fill your home with the love and excitement of a new pet! And follow this how-to for some simple tips to help your new pet settle in and get started by putting his best paw forward.

1. Pick Up the Essentials: The Supplies You Need for a New Pet

Big or small, timid or outgoing, fuzzy or scaly: there are some things you will have to prepare to welcome your new pet home. You don’t have to buy the most expensive toys but the essentials will make those first few days go smoothly.

So what do you need?

Before picking up your pup, rabbit, cat, or bearded dragon, check online for the supplies recommended for the species and breed. If you’re unsure, give us a call to make an appointment for some one-on-one advice and suggestions.

For a new feline friend or canine companion, here are the basics:

A New Dog Will Need

  • A leash
  • A collar with ID tag and harness (especially for little dogs)
  • Poop bags and carrier
  • Treats
  • Food
  • Bowls for water and food
  • Toys
  • A bed
  • A kennel big enough for him to stand in and turn around
  • Grooming supplies: shampoo, brush, toothbrush & toothpaste, water additives
  • Cleaning supplies

Optional, depending on your dog

  • Potty pads
  • A compression shirt
  • Adaptil
  • A baby gate

Tip: Don’t buy a puppy the most expensive collar, leash, or bed. He will likely outgrow it in a few weeks or months and they tend to chew on them.

For Cats, You’ll Need

  • A collar with ID tag
  • Food
  • Treats
  • A bed
  • Catnip
  • A litter & litter box
  • A scratching mat
  • A scratching post
  • Toys
  • A Carrier
  • Grooming Supplies: brush & shampoo, dental supplies

Optional, depending on your cat

  • Feliway, to help your cat feel more at home
  • Feliscratch, to help your cat learn where they should scratch in your home

2. Prepare Your Home: Basic Pet Safety

You’re better safe than sorry. As for most precautions and prevention, a little bit of preparation goes a long way. This is especially true when it comes to keeping your new pet safe. We’ve put together a simple checklist to help you pet-proof your home before you pick up your new pet.

Pet-Proofing Checklist

_Tie up loose wires and strings (remember to check blind pulls)

_Make sure all cleaning supplies, anti-freeze, and other potentially harmful chemicals are locked up and out of paw’s reach

_Store anything breakable that could be bumped or easily fall

_Clean up the floor to make spotting accidents easier

3. Put a Plan In Place

If the kids know you’re picking up a new fuzzy family member, they’re probably thrilled. This makes for a great opportunity to remind them of some ways they can keep your new pet calm as they settle into the family.

Your plan should include

  • Who is going to ride along when you pick up your new pet?
  • Who is going to keep an eye on the pet in their carrier on the ride home?
  • Who will take the puppy out or rush the kitty to the litter box?
  • Who can hold the new pet? And remind the kids about gentle touches and approaching the new pet slowly and calmly from the front.
  • Where will your new pet sleep? Choose a spot that is quiet, dark, and enclosed.

4. Make Your First Vet Appointment With Us

We want to meet your new pet. No, not just because we just love each critter that comes through our doors (although that is definitely true), but establishing care with us is important for your new pet’s health and safety.

If an emergency does occur, it’s easier to get your pet in to see us for an assessment when we have a history with that pet.

You’ll also want a wellness check and to set up a schedule for your pet’s immunizations. Your first appointment is a wonderful time to ask us questions about your new pet’s needs including his diet, exercise, grooming, and general care.

Don’t forget to ask about having your pet microchipped. This will help them find their way home if they sneak out.

5. Is the Car Carrier Ready for Pick Up?

The drive home can make new pet parents very nervous. When your pet can safely ride in a carrier, it can provide you with peace of mind and keep you all safe on the journey home. And once you do arrive at your pet’s new abode, the carrier prevents him from making his great escape.

6. Let Your New Pet Explore With Supervision

Once your pet is safely inside, find a quiet spot and gently set down their carrier. Give them some space and open the carrier. Allow your pet to come out when ready. Never force your new pet out or reach in to grab them since this can make some pets feel cornered and scared.

If your pet lives in a habitat and arrived in a box, set the box in their new home and open the lid. Make sure the lid is on tight and let them explore the enclosure and settle in.

Your pet will explore little by little. Keep your new puppy or cat in one room, only opening the door once they’ve settled into that room.

Keep a watchful eye on your new pet. You don’t want them getting into trouble: tearing up your furniture, not being able to find the litter box, or falling off a countertop.

7. Your New Pet May Need Time to Get Acquainted with Everyone

Bringing a new pet into your family can create an eruption of energy and joy. Just be sure your pet meets once your pet has settled in and they are ready. Asking children to stay seated can help keep the jumps and wiggles to a minimum.

We recommend keeping your new best friend safe and sound at home for the first three days.

When introducing your new pet to your resident pet:

First impressions matter. To help both pets start off on the right paw, give them time and introduce them in a safe way.

For cats, allow them to meet with the safety of a door between them. Wait at least 24 hours until they see each other face to face.

As for dogs, if you can introduce them in an open area that isn’t part of your resident dog’s stomping ground, you’re more likely to have a successful meet-n-greet.

8. Are You Ready for Potty Training?

Potty training takes time. If you’ve adopted an adult pet, your new buddy may not need more than a reminder of where the yard or litter box is. Kittens learn early on how to use the litter box, so there’s not a whole lot of training needed other than placing them in the box.

As for puppies, ready your patience!

Puppies have accidents. It’s just how it is, between their small bladders and the fact that they’re still learning.

You may want to invest in some pee pads for your puppy’s crate or enclosure. Remember to take your puppy outside if they do start to go inside.

9. Prepare to Play and Train Your New Pet

Some puppies and kitties can play for hours at a time. Others tucker out every fifteen to twenty minutes. To help your new puppy or kitty learn and have fun,devote some time every day to play with them.

If you’re adopting a new puppy or dog, we suggest looking into some training class to help your pooch build some confidence, improve your bond, and help them learn some communication skills.

We Hope the Experience of Bringing Home Your New Pet is Paw-sitive

Those first few weeks with a new pet are a lot of work. We’re here for you, though. We want your pet to have a healthy, long, and happy life. If your new buddy needs an appointment, be sure to give us a call.




Image credit: Larissa Barbosa | Pexels

What Do You Need to Know About Your Pet’s Health & Exercise?

As temperatures drop and the days shorten, many pet parents find it difficult to adjust their pets’ exercise routine to provide as much active play and mental stimulation as they need. And while it can be difficult to convince yourself to bundle up to take the dog out or play with the cat when you have so many other winter chores to do, exercise is vital for pet's health.

Regular exercise is the best preventative medicine for your pet. Just how much does exercise matter and how much does your pet need? We have the answers you’re looking for.

How Does Exercise Affect Your Pet’s Health?

Exercise isn’t just about staying trim and fitting into a harness. Exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight can improve your pet’s quality of life and lengthen how many years you have to spend with your best buddy.

Of all the things you can do for your pet, exercise has the biggest impact on your pet’s health. And they don’t cost much. In fact, walks, play, and games are free!

A Healthy Heart

Regular exercise has a direct relationship to your pet’s heart health. How much does exercise benefit your pet? The National Institute of Health concluded that 20 minutes of elevated heart rate is better for dogs than any prescription. The same is true for other pets as well.

Exercise improves your pet’s heart health by

  • Reducing bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Strengthening the muscles around the heart

Joints and muscles also benefit from exercise. How?

  • Exercise lubricates your pet’s joints. Movement transports and activates synovial fluid which works like grease on metal machine parts.
  • Exercise builds and maintains muscle which can help pets keep their mobility after developing arthritis or experiencing an injury.
  • Strong muscles from exercise help support your pet’s joints, so they’re less likely to get injured.
  • Strong muscles lead to better balance which prevents slips and falls that can lead to other injuries.

A Healthy Mind

When you play with your cat or walk your dog, you’re not just helping her body stay healthy, you’re providing her with mental stimulation as well. Exercise activates your pet’s mind for a healthier brain and less boredom. A lifetime of mental stimulation can reduce mental deterioration, anxiety, stress, and memory loss.

Other Health Benefits

Running, jumping, pouncing, and playing prevents excess weight gain and helps keep pets trim. This can lower the risk of diabetes, kidney failure, and cancer. A busy pet is also less likely to get into trouble.

Signs Your Pet Needs More Exercise

When pets don’t get enough active exercise, they can gain weight, become bored and depressed, and develop bad behavioral habits. Some signs to look for to determine if your pet needs more exercise include

  • Destruction: pets often find an outlet for their energy. From your shoes to curtains to furniture, your pet may sharpen her claws, chew, or play with objects that aren’t toys.
  • Weight gain: Dogs and cats should have an hourglass shape from the top. This means that her waist should narrow between the ribs and the hips. You should also be able to feel your dog’s ribs, and your cat’s tummy should not sag.
  • Nervous habits: dogs and cats that don’t get enough mental stimulation can become neurotic and anxious. This can manifest as paw licking, excessive grooming, bald spots, pacing, separation anxiety, and general nervousness.

How Much Exercise Does Your Pet Need?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation for how much exercise your pet needs daily. There are some guidelines that can help you determine if your pet is receiving enough exercise and how much exercise pets like yours need. We can help you find the right balance for your individual pet as well.

Play with Your Puppies and Kitties

Puppies and kittens learn from play and adventure. This teaches them social skills and coordination while helping your little fuzzball develop strong and healthy muscles.

When it comes to developing puppies and kitties, provide as much exercise and fun as you can. They’ll tucker out when they’ve had enough play. Having more than one puppy or kitty can help reduce your work since they’ll play with each other.

Avoid high impact exercises like daily running with your puppy. As their bones grow, high impact exercise can have a negative effect on your puppy’s healthy growth. This is even more important when it comes to large and giant breeds.

Fit and Feisty Felines

Contrary to what they want you to believe, cats don’t have to nap all day. Provide your purr-ball with several play sessions of fifteen to twenty minutes throughout the day. For those days you’re at work, you can supplement with battery-powered toys and catnip-filled play-things. Exercise will keep your cat in shape and help them rest better at night.

Dog-Gone Fun with Your Doggo

Breed: research your specific breed to find out how active they typically should be. Most medium and large active breeds need at least an hour or more of active exercise daily. Giant breeds often need a bit less exercise and smaller breeds get their energy out a bit easier.

Dogs with short snouts struggle to breathe while running or partaking in high-energy exercise. Be very careful when exercising with them. If you’re worried about your dog’s ability to stay active, we can help you find other ways to keep these pups healthy and active.

Age: Senior dogs don’t need as much exercise as they once did, but they do need to elevate their heart rates daily to stay healthy.

From Big to Small: Obese and overweight dogs need to start slow and gradually increase exercise as they lose weight. Too much too soon can damage your dog’s joints and put her at risk for injury.

Simple Ways to Help Your Pets Remain Healthy and Active

Exercise can be a great for you and your pet. Find the right toys, treats, and activities to keep play fresh and fun. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you can make cat toys from craft materials lying around the house. For dogs, always check sales bins for frisbees, balls, rope toys, and other dog toys.

You can also create cat ramps to encourage more movement for your cat. And take your dog on hikes and to parks.

Help Your Pet Stay Strong and Active

As the days shrink, keep your pet active indoors, or bundle up and take your dog for an after-dark walk. The important thing is to keep your best friend busy and moving. It’s easier to stay active that get back in shape.

If you have questions about a diet to support your pet’s health or an exercise routine that will work for your pet, we can help. Give us a call.



Image credit: Josh Hild | Pexels

5 Simple Ways to Support Your Pet as He or She Ages

Have you noticed your dog, cat, or rabbit getting a few more white hairs mixed in their coat? As our pets slow down a bit, their needs change and transform to promote healthy, happy aging. While your dog may no longer be a puppy, they will never lose those puppy eyes you fell in love with. And while your kitten has become a cat, they still get bursts of energy and playfulness.

To offer sustained health to keep your pet active, psychologically sharp, and healthy, we have some suggestions that are simple and straightforward. 

Repay that puppy love or those kitty cuddles by assisting your senior pet in graceful aging. 

5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Aging for Your Pet

1. Support a Healthy Diet and Weight

Your pet’s weight is a reliable predictor in how they’ll feel during their senior years. Healthy body shape and weight will keep your pet more active for years to come. Reducing extra pounds increases mobility and lessens joint strain and pain. 

Pet obesity can increase the risk of some serious health issues. 

Maintaining your pet’s healthy weight reduces the risk for

  • Skin irritation
  • Joint pain and cartilage deterioration
  • Decreased mobility
  • Cancer and tumors
  • Heart and lung problems

As memes of chubby pets become more and more popular, it’s important to keep your pet’s wellbeing in mind. As your pet gets older, you don’t want to witness them struggling to get around. Pets want to enjoy getting out, running, playing, and experiencing the world around them.

Do you have questions about your pet’s weight? We can help. From safe exercise to a change in diet, we can help your pet shed a few pounds so they can enjoy their senior years.

2. Don’t Let Parasites Take a Bite Out of Your Pet’s Health

Parasites aren’t just gross. They can trim years off your pet’s life expectancy. Parasites can live in your pet’s circulatory system, digestive system, in her ears, or on their coat.

Parasites like fleas, mites, and ticks can cause your pet mental distress. From random bites that wake pets from sleep to relentlessly itchy ears, parasites can take a toll. Pets with external parasites often wind up with scrapes, scratches, and cuts that can become infected and feel extremely sore.

Internal parasites like worms and heartworms can also rob your senior pet of health and longevity.

3. Increase Vet Visits to Twice Per Year

While we love your pet, that’s not the only reason we want to see them more often as they get older. Our senior pets become more vulnerable as they age. Increasing frequency of checkups helps with early diagnosis and treatment. With a few simple blood tests, we can also check your pet’s metabolic function to make sure they are feeling their best.

Does your dog have some lumps and bumps? Does your senior kitty seem withdrawn or lethargic? Bring your pet by. We can offer you peace of mind with a simple exam. 

4. Prevent Slips and Falls

Assisting your pet in getting around the house will help them maintain their  independence. It will also prevent the risk of emergency vet visits.

To reduce the risk of slips and help your pet get a grip you can:

  • Purchase pet stairs or ramps to help your pet leap into the car or more easily hop on the bed.
  • Put down rugs on slippery surfaces.
  • Avoid ice when walking your dog.
  • Invest in a support harness for your dog to reduce sudden jerks or neck strain.

Many dog parents stop walking their dogs. And cat owners don’t play as often with their senior pets. Don’t fall into this habit. Senior pets need exercise too. Physical activity lubricates the joints and supports cardiovascular health. Strong muscles also stabilize joints.

5. Your Pet’s Mental Health Also Requires Maintenance

Pets experience many of the same issues of psychological senility as people do in their aging years. From anxiety to dementia and depression, senior pets also need cognitive workouts.

Some techniques you can use to prevent mental deterioration: 

  • While you can find puzzles for dogs and cats for sale, you can also create tasks for rabbits and other pets for mental stimulation. 
  • Continuing to encourage play with your pet also helps keep the mind active. 
  • Training for dogs assists older dogs to feel young and motivated.
  • Be sure your cat can access their favorite window ledge to watch birds, squirrels, and the outside world.

Provide Your Pet with the Quality of Life They Deserves as They Age

Just because your pet is aging, doesn’t mean life needs to slow down or that they need to lose their quality of life. Aging gracefully can be as simple as bringing your pet by to learn more about their individual needs during their golden years.

Don’t let the memories dwindle. Keep your pet active, healthy year after year. Make the most of those golden moments with your senior pet and support healthy aging with a few simple changes.



Image credit: Alru4 | Pixabay

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