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Charlotte FAQ

General questions about your pet

General

How often do I need to feed my pet and how much?


We recommend feeding your pet at least twice a day. Puppies and kittens should be fed at least 3 times a day. Depending on the weight and what type of food you feed will determine how much to feed. Most foods will have a table on the package to guide you through this.

What can I do if my dog gets motion sick?


Motion sickness is not an uncommon problem among dogs. If you have a puppy that gets motion sick, they may outgrow it. Some older dogs may never outgrow it. Taking your dog on short, frequent car rides sometimes helps them to acclimate. Keeping a window rolled down slightly may also help. There are also some medications which can be beneficial, so please consult with one of our veterinarians if you have questions or concerns.

My dog is afraid of thunder and firecrackers, what can I do?


It is not an uncommon problem for dogs to be afraid of thunderstorms or firecrackers. Many dogs can sense a thunderstorm before there is any actual thunder. There are many over the counter, holistic remedies, or clothing, which seem to work for some dogs. If you are not at home, placing your pet in a basement with a radio or TV on is beneficial. If your dog is crate trained, place the crate in the basement and keep them in the crate. If you are at home, keep them near you in a quite area or one with background noise like music or TV. Prescription medications are also available, so please consult with one of our veterinarians if you have any questions or concerns.

How many litter boxes do I need in my house?


Generally, it is best to have one more litter box than the number of cats in your household, or at least one per floor.

How can I stop my dog from eating their own stool/cats litter?


Coprophagia, or the eating of stool, occurs in many species. There are many over the counter remedies that are available, however there is no one sure fire way of stopping this behavior. The best way to stop this behavior is to remove the stool from the yard and place the litter box in an area your dog cannot reach.

Can I feed my pet table scraps?


Although it is very tempting to feed your pet leftover food from the table, it can be unhealthy for your dog or cat to eat human food. Bones can splinter and perforate the stomach or intestines, which can be life threatening. Many foods are very fatty which can cause pancreatitis in dogs that can be life threatening or require hospitalization which can very expensive. Some foods we eat can be toxic to pets, like chocolate, onions, grapes, and artificial sweeteners like xylitol. The best bet is to stick with food created specifically for cats or dogs.

Do I need a dog license in Mecklenburg County?


Yes. You can get them licensed on line at: http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/CMPD/organizati...

Should I crate train my dog?

Crate training is a good way to train your dog. Dogs are “den” animals and generally train well to a crate. Using it to house break your puppy is just one of the many uses. Many dogs will actually prefer their crate, using it as a “safe” area to go to when they want to be away from a hectic or uncomfortable situation. There are many good websites that can guide you on the best ways to crate train your dog. Below is a good one from the humane society:
www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/crate_trai...

My cat urinated outside the box, what should I do?

Inappropriate urination is the biggest reason many adult cats wind up in animal shelters. If inappropriate urination is not caused by a medical condition it can be difficult but not impossible to overcome. You must first determine if your cat has a medical condition, like a urinary tract infection. Your veterinarian will start with running some common tests like a urinalysis, +/- a urine culture, and blood work. She may then recommend a radiograph or ultrasound to rule out bladder stones. If the inappropriate urination is due to a behavioral issue, your veterinarian can then recommend further steps to take to alleviate the problem.

Are dogs/cats colorblind?


Dogs are not colorblind - they see color, but their chromatic acuity is significantly less than humans. This is for two reasons: (1) dogs have far fewer cone cells in their retina (cone cells are responsible for seeing color); and (2) dogs are dichromatic (they see only two primary colors - blue and yellow) whereas humans are trichromatic, meaning we see three primary colors - red, blue, and yellow.

Humans have 7 times higher proportion of cone cells than dogs, meaning that when dogs do see colors, they are pale or faded. However dogs have a much higher concentration of rod cells, which are responsible for seeing black-and-white, and also much more sensitive in lower light conditions. For that reason, dogs have much better night vision than people.
Cats seem to be able to distinguish between higher frequency colors, meaning cats respond to the colors purple, blue, green and possibly yellow range. Red, orange and brown colors appear to fall outside cats’ color range and are most likely seen as shades of grey or purple. Purple, blue and green appear to be the strongest colors perceived by cats. Tests suggest cats can distinguish between more shades or levels of gray than can humans.

How many teeth do dogs/cats have?


In general, there are 42 teeth present in adult dogs - 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars. There can be genetic alterations in some breeds.

Adult cats typically have 30 teeth - 12 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars, and 4 molars.

The average age for puppies and kittens to lose all of their baby teeth is 7 months.

What is a normal temperature?

The normal body temperature for cats and dogs are higher than humans. Ours on average is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but dogs and cats are typically between 99.0-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Medical questions about your pets

Medical

How often does my pet need to be seen?


Ideally twice a year, unless your pet has a chronic medical condition or is a senior over the age of 7 years - then we recommend more frequent visits. On average pets age 7 years for every human year - a pet that is 5 years old, will be equivalent to a 35 year-old person.

How often does my pet need vaccinations?

Your pet's vaccinations will depend on his/her age, environment, and risk of exposure to harmful pathogens. Your veterinarian will help determine the best vaccination protocol for your pet. In general, you can follow these guidelines:



Dogs: An adult dog will typically receive a rabies vaccination every 1 to 3 years, a distemper/parvo vaccine every 3 years, and a leptospirosis vaccine yearly. The Bordetella vaccine should be given every 6 months to 1 year.



Cats: Should receive a rabies vaccination every 1 to 3 years and distemper/upper respiratory vaccine every 3 years. A leukemia vaccination should be given during the kitten vaccine series then every 1-3 years for outdoor cats.

What vaccinations does my dog/cat need?

The lifestyle of your pet will determine what vaccines he/she will need. Rabies is required by law. Distemper for dogs and distemper/upper respiratory for cats is highly recommended. Leptospirosis for dogs is recommended, especially if your dog is around raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes and other wildlife. If your dog goes to kennels, dog parks, day care, or grooming facilities, Bordetella is also recommended. If your cat is an outdoor cat, leukemia is strongly recommended.

What vaccinations does my puppy/kitten need?


Puppies and kittens will require a series of 3-4 distemper/parvo vaccines depending on their age. Leptospirosis and leukemia are a series of 2 vaccines when initially given. The first rabies vaccine is generally given at 4 months of age and is good for 1 year.

How old does my pet need to be before they can be spayed/neutered?


We can spay or neuter as early as 4 months of age.

What does it mean if my dog’s nose is warm?


It is an old wives tale, which states your dog has a fever if his nose is warm or dry. Your dog’s nose can alternate between being warm or cool during the course of a day.

Can my pets catch my cold?


The colds and flu viruses that we carry are specific to us, so your pet cannot “catch” those viruses from you. There are some things that can be contagious between you and your pets. Leptospirosis, generally transmitted via urine, is contagious to humans; and many parasites like roundworms, hookworms and giardia can also be spread between humans and dogs and cats.

Can I give Tylenol or aspirin to my pet?


Cats and some dogs may NOT receive Tylenol or aspirin. Please ask us about safer alternatives for your pet.

How do I know if my pet is suffering or in pain?


A pet in pain can show that pain in many ways, depending on the type of pain they are feeling. A dog with arthritis will not want to go for walks or play like they normally would. They may refuse to go up and down stairs or jump up on the furniture or bed. They can also become very lethargic and not want to eat. Cats also can suffer from arthritis. Similarly, they will have a harder time jumping up onto furniture, or into the litter box, if it is elevated, so they may start urinating or defecating in other places around the house.
When your pet is suffering from any disease or condition, it is easier for you to determine than your veterinarian in many cases because you know your pet better than we do. Questions we ask our clients to determine this include:

Does your pet still enjoy life? Does he/she still greet you at the door when you come home? Does he/she still do the things he/she typically enjoys like playing ball, or chewing on rawhides? Can he/she still go outside to urinate or defecate? Does he/she still enjoy eating?

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  • Seasonal Care

    Heat Stroke Heatstroke may kill or seriously injure your pet—but it can easily be avoided by adhering to the following tips. Never leave pets in cars on warm days. Exercise your pet during the cool part of the day. Look out for rapid breathing, loud panting or staggering; these can be signs of dehydration, ...

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  • Recognizing Illnesses

    Only a healthy pet is a happy companion. Assuring your pet's daily well-being requires regular care and close attention to any hint of ill health. The American Veterinary Medical Association therefore suggests that you consult your veterinarian if your pet shows any of the following signs: * Abnormal ...

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  • Mealtime

    Puppies Feed a high quality diet designed for puppies. A wide variety of diets and formulations are available and your veterinarian should be your primary source of information as to the best choice for your puppy. The amount fed will vary with the type of food and the individual dog, but in general, ...

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  • Ticks

    Ticks are the small wingless external parasites, living by hematophagy on the blood of mammals, birds, and occasionally reptiles and amphibians. Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that are often found in freshly mown grass, where they will rest themselves at the tip of a blade so as to attach themselves ...

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  • Seizures

    Seizures are common in dogs, but more unusual in cats. Seizures are just symptoms which can occur with many kinds of diseases. They can happen because of diseases outside the brain or inside the brain. Low blood sugar that can happen with an overdose of insulin or with a tumor of the pancreas can cause ...

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  • Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

    The rupture of the cruciate ligament is the most common knee injury in the dog. This injury has two common presentations. One is the young athletic dog playing roughly who acutely ruptures the ligament and is non-weight bearing on the affected hind leg. The second presentation is the older, overweight ...

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  • Luxating Patella

    Luxating patella is a condition where the kneecap (patella) moves out of its normal position. Luxating patella is one of the most common knee joint abnormalities of dogs, but it is only occasionally seen in cats. It may affect one or both of the knees. In some cases it moves (luxates) towards the inside ...

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  • Liver Shunt

    A liver shunt is also named a PSS, portosystemic shunt, portacaval shunt or portosystemic vascular anomaly. This abnormality occurs when a pet's venous blood from the intestine bypasses the liver. In the normal pet, blood vessels pick up nutrients from ingested material in the intestine and carry it ...

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  • Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism is the natural deficiency of thyroid hormone and is the most common hormone imbalance of dogs. This deficiency is produced by several different mechanisms. The most common cause (at least 95% of cases) is immune destruction of the thyroid gland. It can also be caused by natural atrophy ...

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  • Epilepsy

    Epilepsy (often referred to as a seizure disorder) is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is commonly controlled with medication, although surgical methods are used as well. Epileptic seizures are classified both by their patterns of activity in the brain ...

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