Why do Cats Meow?

Why Do Cats Meow?

Some owners find that their cats meow almost constantly, where as others may only hear theirs meow rarely – so why do cats meow? The amount they meow varies from breed to breed, their age, as well as the cat itself.

Age

Kittens meow to their mothers whenever they’re hungry, cold, or scared – making these meows necessity. Over time cats will start vocalising in different ways – such as scent, body language, growling, and hissing – to communicate to one another. They may still meow, but it’s normally reserved for communicating with humans. Paying attention to the different lengths and pitches of meows will allow you to figure out what your cat is saying to you over time.

Why do Cats Meow?

Cats meow for a variety of reasons, some seem to like hearing themselves talk, others meow for a more serious reason.

  • Attention seeking – despite the popular stereotype, cats like attention just as much as dogs and will meow to get it or to initiate play, and being lonely throughout the day will make them meow more
  • Stress – just like humans, cats get stressed too! A new pet, environment, or baby can contribute to this until they’re use to it
  • Hunger – cats tend to meow whenever you’re around food in the hopes of getting some themselves, in addition to when its getting close to when they eat
  • Illness – cats tend to vocalise more when they have the symptoms of a more serious problem such as kidney disease or an overactive thyroid, both of which can cause hunger, thirst, or pain, which causes excessive meowing
  • Greeting – when you see them in your home they’re likely to meow as they’re happy to see you!
  • Cats in heat – females will meow more when in heat, and males will meow more when they smell it
  • Age – as well as meowing frequently as kittens, cats meow more when they’re older as they’re confused so will often cry for no apparent reason

What should you do?

If your cat has started excessively meowing more than normal, take them to a vet to be checked! It’s better to be safe than sorry when your pet starts acting abnormally. If your cat is healthy, start changing your habits. For example, give your cat food once they’ve stopped meowing, or give them attention when they’re being quiet rather than when they’re meowing for it. Do not ignore your cat or avoid feeding them! These changes may help in cutting down meowing, but it wont stop it. Equally, you can switch to an automatic feeder to get them to meow at the feeder rather than you, or get various toys (interactive, balls, normal) to keep them occupied whilst you’re out throughout the day.

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Raw Food Diet for Dogs

Raw Food Diet may seem daunting at first for owners, but it’s not as hard as it initially seems! With the right balance of Meat, Vegetables, Fats and Carbohydrates your Dog can have a homemade meal that meets all of their daily needs that most shop-bought dog foods don’t. Besides knowing exactly what your Dog is eating and knowing that it’s fulfilling their daily needs, there are other advantages to feeding Raw Food.

Why feed raw food?

One of the first advantages of a Raw Food Diet is that your Dogs’ stools almost immediately improve, becoming more firm. This is due to no cereals being present in their food so more of the food digested is absorbed in the digestive tract, making the stool firmer and less frequent. Another benefit is that raw food doesn’t get extruded like some pet foods do – meaning that more of the original nutrients is retained and means that supplements don’t need to be added to the diet.

Other advantages include:

  • More palatable
  • Healthier
  • Better looking coat

what does a raw food diet need to contain?

1. Bones

Macro-minerals are the most important minerals within a dogs diet and are needed in the largest quantities, without them your Dog could die. These include Calcium; Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium and others. Bones contain enough minerals to mostly cover  these needs. Bones should make up about 12-15% of a Dog’s daily diet.

Meaty bones that are good for this include:

  • Chicken or Duck wings, legs, necks or thighs
  • Lamb or Goat necks or ribs
  • Beef tail bones

 2. Organs

Another good way of getting your Dog all their vitamins is through feeding them organs. Organs contain the most nutrients and without them your Dog could be missing some of the most important vitamins. Organs include Lungs, Kidney, Liver, Brain and other nutrient-rich organs. A third to a half of the Dogs diet should be a kind of a muscle meat from either Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork or Lamb. These provide important proteins that help with the build and repair of tissues and also allow new hormones and enzymes to be made.

3. Fat

Only slightly over 10% of the Dog’s diet should be made up of fat. Over-feeding fats can cause malnutrition of vitamins and minerals that other parts of their diet would normally supply. Fat is important for skin health and the immune system so it can’t be missed from a daily diet and is a must for making sure you don’t over or underfeed fat.

4. Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and Vegetables are the more optional part of the diet, while your Dog could live without them but they can also source some important macro-minerals such as Magnesium from leafy green vegetables, for example. If you decide to feed Vegetables it should make up approximately 30% of a daily diet.

Finally, don’t forget to give your Dog some variety! The food might be more palatable but your Dog can still get bored of eating the same food every day – even if it is healthier for them.

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Can Dogs get Cancer from Lawn Fertiliser?

Can Dogs get Cancer from Lawn Fertiliser?

Recent studies have found a link between some cancers in dogs and chemicals in lawn fertiliser. Chemicals such as 2,4-D from the fertilisers have been found in urine of dogs, with the chemical able to travel to neighbouring gardens.  This increase in exposure has been found to have a direct link to an increase risk of bladder cancer in dogs. In more recent studies its been found that professionally applied pesticides on lawn links to a 70% higher risk of cancer. These chemicals have been found in pesticides normally used to kill clovers and dandelions.

Unfortunately, these chemicals can be both digested and absorbed so its hard to control whether or not your dog gains these chemicals. The main cancers caused by these chemicals are Canine and Bladder-related, making it important to keep an eye on dogs.

Which breeds are more at risk?

Dogs such as sheepdogs, beagles, and scottish terriers are more likely to get bladder cancer once exposed to 2,4-D. However, this doesn’t limit these cancers to these breeds, they’re just more likely to get it than others.

What are the symptoms?

Most dog cancers have similar early symptoms so its important to keep an eye on any changes in them. These symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Weight loss
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent urination/pain when urinating
  • Changes in eating

The best way to try and limit your dogs content it to avoid contact. Unfortunately, not a lot can be done other than to limit contact. This can be by changing parks to somewhere you know doesn’t use the fertiliser, or using more natural methods to fertiliser your soil, and avoiding the use of pesticides.

Something to keep in mind is that animals are normally more sensitive to environmental changes than humans are, so it is possible that these risks apply to humans. However, this is currently under investigation both legally and scientifically to see if these claims are true.

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Oral Flea Treatment – pt 3

Oral Flea Treatment is the easiest to administer out of flea treatment for your pets, and also the most effective. Oral flea treatment is 99.9% effective compared to the 88.4% effectiveness for Topical flea treatment. This makes it 11.5% more effective and gives a whole-body protection. Not only is it fast working – in some cases as fast as 15 minutes – it’s also out of your pets system in up to 3 days. This means you can use them in conjunction with other flea and worm treatments.

Different Oral Treatments

It’s important to read what you’re getting. What can seem like a bargain for £1 in the supermarket can actually be useless. This is because different treatments target different areas.

What to look out for:

  • If it treats just adult fleas or all ages
  • Whether it treats worms and what type – especially important as some only treat Roundworm or Tapeworm
  • If it’s for cats or dogs – dog treatment can be toxic to cats so keep an eye out for what you’re giving your pet
  • How long treatment works – some lasts up to every 2 weeks
  • Whether the tablets need to be swallowed or chewed

The main advantage of oral treatments is that there’s no sticky mess and the doses are better. This means that you won’t leave any dose behind like you do with topical flea treatment. However, oral treatment doesn’t include flea eggs and larvae which will fall off in your house and garden, so your house will need to be treated too to hopefully completely stop any further infestations.

How do you administer?

The key thing to remember when giving oral treatment is that the tablet shouldn’t be crushed. When the tablet’s crushed it becomes less likely to work or not even work at all, making the dose pointless. Try putting the tablet in their favourite food to get them to eat it in one. Equally, try giving hairball paste to your cat frequently. This way you can put the paste on the tablet to get your cat to eat it up with no problem.

Once the pill is consumed the chemicals enter the pets blood stream – which is non-toxic to your pet – and the blood becomes poisonous to fleas. This means that when fleas land on your pet and drink their blood the fleas will die shortly after.

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Spot-on Flea Treatment – pt 2

Spot-on flea treatment is normally applied to the back of your pets neck, this way the ingredients from the flea treatment can be absorbed into the skin without easy access for you pet. These usually last about a month, but can be different depending on the spot-on purchased.

Advantages and disadvantages:

Spot-on treatment costs less and lasts longer so can be great if you’re on a budget. It’ll also mean you won’t have to get a tablet down your pet’s throat, which to some owners will be a great relief.  Spot on treatment can also be applied any time of the month and only needs to be applied once every 4 weeks, compared to the every 2 weeks for tablets and is also quick to work and easy to apply.

Although it sounds like a winning product, spot on treatment takes a couple days to completely absorb so can be dangerous to children or other pets in the process and can cause skin sensitivities.

Some other examples of disadvantages to spot on treatment:

  • Very dangerous if your pet ingests it
  • Harmful to humans
  • Has to be places in exactly the right position otherwise it won’t work or your pet will be able to lick and scratch at it
  • Some treatments need your pets to be bather before and/or after treatment

Efficiency of spot on treatment

Flea spot on treatment is almost impossible to be completely efficient due to a couple of factors. The first hurdle is that the pipette is the perfect dose for an animal of that size, however you’ll never be able to completely get it all out making it inefficient. It’s almost like trying to get all the toothpaste out of a tube – virtually impossible. Also, if your pet gets wet within 48 hours of application the treatment can completely wash off. Treatment can also wash off partially if you wash your pet halfway through the course – even if it’s just a splash in the sea. For the treatment to work the most efficiently, be sure to follow the instructions as close as possible as instructions tend to vary on individual products and keep your pet dry for as long as possible.

varying spot-on flea treatments

Depending on where you buy your treatment will depend on how strong it’ll be and how quickly it’ll work, with vet prescriptions being the strongest and supermarkets being the weakest. It’s best to buy treatments on your local pet specialist’s advice as they’ll be able to sell you treatment that’ll best suit the type of animal you own, including the weight, and also recommend how many doses are needed per treatment.

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Fleas – The Basics Part One

The Fleas series pt. 1

What are fleas?

Fleas are flightless insects that live by consuming the blood of their hosts. Female fleas can consume about 15 times their body weight in blood every day. With an 8 inch vertical leap and a 3mm long body, fleas are both hard to catch and see and therefore can quickly become a problem.

The Flea Life Cycle

  1. Mating occurs on host
  2. Fleas lays 40-50 eggs a day
  3. ‘Flea dirt’ drops off host onto environment
  4. Larvae hatch from eggs
  5. They then consume ‘Flea dirt’
  6. Larvae go through 3 stages and then spin a silken cocoon
  7. Pupal development begins, taking anywhere from 8 days to 30 weeks
  8. Flea waits in place for a suitable host
  9. They begin feeding immediately and excrete ‘Flea dirt’
  10. Mating occurs on host

Average lifespan of a flea:

  • Ideal conditions – 12 to 22 days
  • Average conditions – 30 days
  • Poor conditions – up to 1.5 years

 

Why are fleas a problem?

Besides causing severe discomfort including scratching, chewing, biting and restlessness, fleas can cause a number of serious problems such as Anemia and Tapeworm infections. As well as this, a common condition among cats and dogs is Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), so it’s best to avoid fleas.

How to control your flea problem

  • Consult your local pet specialist – they’ll quickly be able to spot if you have a flea problem and will be able to give you a subscription to strong and appropriate flea treatments
  • Kill fleas on your dog/cat – getting rid of the fleas in your house is pointless if you still have fleas on your pet and vise versa, so it’s vital to rid all of them to stop the problem
  • Eliminate fleas in your home – either by contacting professionals to rid your house of fleas or doing it yourself, it’s important to clean every surface and everything thing in your house as fleas will be hiding everywhere and anywhere
  • Prevent future infestations – simply by taking tablets fortnightly or weekly in hotter periods, you can prevent another severe infestation

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Flea Tablets or Flea Spot-on?

dog

When we are choosing flea and worm treatments for our pets there are lots of things to consider. How effective they are, what other parasites they treat, how long they last and how much they cost!

But another important consideration that is often overlooked is: “How easy is this treatment going to be to give and will the lifestyle of my pet effect how well it works?” This falls under the umbrella of compliance and is arguably the most important factor when making a choice. It doesn’t matter how good a treatment is if it can’t be applied effectively.

The two most common forms of flea and worm treatment are tablets and spot-ons…

So which should we choose?

Many flea and worm tablet treatments now come in tasty treat form and so are less difficult to give. In many cases this makes them a much more convenient option for many clients but they still do not suit all pets. A minority of pets will vomit on tablet medications and if your pet has a history of this then trying a spot-on instead is well worthwhile. Similarly some pets have sensitive stomachs or are very suspicious of tablet shaped food items!

Spot-on treatments remain very popular. They are tolerated by most pets and are convenient to apply but like tablets will not be suitable in every case.

Some pets will have local skin reactions to topical treatments making tablets a better option. Frequent swimming and washing can also make some spot-on treatments less effective.

These factors mean that a tablet is not a superior choice to a spot on in every case or vice versa but rather a decision is made depending on individual circumstances and the patient’s needs.

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Flea season is coming

Fleas are going to start waking up soon as the temperature starts to rise outside, you will never cure fleas, you need to simply keep on top of flea treatment, even indoor pets can get fleas as WE go out side and bring them into our own homes, flea treatment must be done all year round, now humans and pets have moved from caves to houses, there’s no cold winter to kill fleas off like there was 1000 years ago, a warm house is like being out side in summer to fleas, fleas are now awake and active 356 days of the year, With ample food supply, the adult flea will often live up to 100 days. Newly emerged adult fleas live only about one week if a blood meal is not obtained. However, completely developed adult fleas can live for several months without eating, so long as they do not emerge from their puparia. to flea a pet all year will cost only £33.40 with tables or £31.00 with spot on, where as getting a flea infestation out of your house can cost £££, check out our flea products for cats,  dogs and home

fleas   Fleas are holometabolous insects, going through the four life cycle stages of egg, larva, pupa, and imago (adult). Adult fleas must feed on blood before they can become capable of reproduction. Flea populations are evenly distributed, with about 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults

Eggs-The flea life cycle begins when the female lays after feeding. Eggs are laid in batches of up to 20 or so, usually on the host itself, which means that the eggs can easily roll onto the ground. Because of this, areas where the host rests and sleeps become one of the primary habitats of eggs and developing fleas. The eggs take around two days to two weeks to hatch

Larvae-Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic material such as dead insects, feces, and vegetable matter. In laboratory studies, some dietary diversity seems necessary for proper larval development. Blood only diets allow only 12% of larvae to mature, whereas blood and yeast or dog chow diets allow almost all larvae to mature. They are blind and avoid sunlight, keeping to dark places like sand, cracks and crevices, and bedding

fleaPupate-Given an adequate supply of food, larvae will pupate and weave silken cocoons within 1–2 weeks after 3 larval stages. After another week or two, the adult fleas are fully developed and ready to emerge. They may remain resting during this period until they receive a signal that a host is near – vibrations (including sound), heat, and carbon dioxideare all stimuli indicating the probable presence of a host. Fleas are known to overwinter in the larval or pupal stages.

Adult flea-Given an adequate supply of food, larvae will pupate and weave silken cocoons within 1–2 weeks after 3 larval stages. After another week or two, the adult fleas are fully developed and ready to emerge. They may remain resting during this period until they receive a signal that a host is near – vibrations (including sound), heat, and carbon dioxideare all stimuli indicating the probable presence of a host.  Fleas are known to overwinter in the larval or pupal stages.

 

Fleas on the pet dog https://www.shanklinpetstores.co.uk/product-category/dogs/health-hygiene-dog/

fleas on the pet cat https://www.shanklinpetstores.co.uk/product-category/cats/dentalfleaswormersshampoo/flea-tick/

fleas in the house  https://www.shanklinpetstores.co.uk/product-category/garden/fleas/

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Why do Cats have Whiskers?

Why do Cats have Whiskers?

Cat Whiskers, despite looking like Human Hair, are a sensory tool that are incredibly sensitive also known as vibrissae. These are connected to muscular and nervous systems to give cats a more heightened sense of feeling – allowing them to detect changes in their immediate surrounding and respond to them. They can be mostly
found on either side of their nose and upper facial lip, as well as above each of their eyebrows, with whiskers on their jaw line and front legs but they’re less visible.  At the root of these hairs there’s a follicle loaded with nerves.

Cats also use their whiskers to feel their way around tight spaces and visually measure distances and feel vibrations in the air when chasing prey. Without their whiskers Cats would be disoriented and frightened, highlighting the importance of NOT cutting your Cat’s whiskers, as they use them as we would our fingertips. If you have cut their whiskers already, don’t worry! They grow back over time.

Cats also aren’t the only ones with whiskers – most mammals have extrasensory receptors to help improve their sensing of environments at night.

Cat Whiskers Determining their Mood

In addition to this, Cat’s Whiskers also change depending on their mood – this allows others to gauge what mood a Cat is in. When the whiskers are still and sticking straight out of the head it means the cat is relaxed. When they’re pressed slightly forward it means the cat is either curious or on the hunt. If a cat is nervous or upset they’ll pin their whiskers back towards their face – this highlights the importance of whiskers for cats.

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Tear Staining in Cats and Dogs

What is Tear Staining?

Tear staining, also known as epiphora, is caused from an excessive tear production in dogs and cats and is normally just minor. Excessive tear production results in a red/brown streak under their eyes and is much more obvious in lighter-furred animals over their darker counterparts.

However, tear staining can also be due to a more serious health complication, such as:

  • An eye infection
  • Teething
  • Ingrown eyelashes
  • Tear duct and gland abnormalities
  • Ear infection
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Eye disease
  • Medication
  • Stress
  • Poor diet

Whilst it is unlikely that your pet might have one of these health complications, its recommended that you consult a vet to rule out any of these possible causes.

What causes Tear Staining?

The breakdown of red blood cells create a waste product called porphyrins. Whilst in most animals – and humans – these are removed in faeces, but in cats and dogs they are removed through urine, saliva and tears. When the porphyrins are on fur for a period of time staining will occur and will darken once exposed to sunlight.

In chronic cases, the stains will go brown indicating that your pet has developed a yeast infection from having constantly damp skin – highlighting the importance of going to the vet once tear staining has been noticed. This is because the constant damp skin causes skin irritation which is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and yeasts infections.

How do you treat Tear Staining?

Treatment normally depends on the cause of the tear staining and sometimes flushing out the eye will sort out the problem. Besides this and going to the vet there are other ways of treating tear staining in your pet. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Washing your pets face with a wet and damp cloth twice a day
  • Replace plastic food and water bowls as they can harbour bacteria with non-plastic bowls
  • Fresh filtered water instead of tap water – tap water contains a high mineral content which can be toxic to pets
  • A high quality diet – both a grain free and/or a raw diet can greatly benefit pets in many ways, see our other blogs to find out how
  • Regular grooming for both dogs and cats
  • Eye wash to gently clean any matted fur with a cotton ball

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