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Excessive Meowing

Why is your cat meowing more than usual?

The cat’s meow: A brief history lesson

The goal of a cat’s meow changes as cats move from infancy to adulthood. In fact, a cat can be extremely noisy after birth. Indicating to the mother that they are cold, hungry or scared, kittens use their newfound voice to bring attention to their needs.

As a cat progresses into adulthood, however, the intentions of their excessive
meowing begin to change from an indication of hunger to a more distressed, or
bored nature. As the ASPCA notes, adult cats don’t meow to communicate with
other cats. Instead, they meow to communicate with people. These vocalizations
include hissing, yowling, chirring, and shrieking, each of which is designated for a
specific time of need. Meowing is generally reserved for their youthful kitten days —
and for people.

As touching as it is to be the reason a cat meows, there might be more concerning
reasons why your cat is meowing all the time, one that can’t be explained by yowls
or hissing.

Is too much meowing a bad thing?

It depends. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Here are some of the reasons
your cat may be more vocal:

Sickness– If you are concerned that your cat may be warning you they don’t feel
well, take your cat in to see the vet as soon as possible. Many illnesses that affect cats have discomforting side effects, including hunger, excessive thirst, and even pain.
Medical conditions, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, hearing loss, and even old age
can cause meowing to increase.

Stress– Although sun-bathing and napping all day might not sound too high
pressure, cats have a way of taking in the energy of the household. Sudden
environmental shifts like moving, the addition of a new family member or the loss of
a relative can all trigger a cat’s anxiety. Left with no other way to express themselves,
cats resort to excessive meowing. Spending time with your pet during these
transitional periods to reduce their anxiety is a great way to minimize the noise.

Breeding– Cats looking to attract mates may turn to their animal instincts to attract
a potential partner. An attempt to lure a lover with a melodic meow may be the
reason your cat has been acting up. Spaying or neutering your cat can dampen their
need to mate.

Accentuate the Positive

Once you’ve ruled out any of these possible reasons your cat may be extra vocal, you
think about different ways to minimize an overly communicative cat through
positive reinforcement.

When your cat is quiet, praise her calmly and peacefully. Make sure you’re lavishing
plenty of attention on your cat throughout the day and following a regular meal
schedule. The trick to this strategy is to avoid punishing your cat for being overly
vocal—that will only induce more fear, prompting more meowing. Ensuring your cat
isn’t neglected is the top tip to reducing your chatty kitty’s tendencies.

Eliminate the Negative

Try to determine what triggers meowing. Is your cat excited? Nervous? Anxious?
Scared? If you can pinpoint the cause, your veterinarian can suggest
ways to help disrupt excessive meowing.

While there are several reasons your cat may be vocally active, pinpointing the cause
can help you keep your cat healthy and happy, and you and your neighbors’ ears at
peace.

If you’ve found ways to encourage your vocal cat to be a little quieter, feel free to
drop a comment below with your tips and tricks!

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Pet, How to Avoid, and Steps of Recovery

Preventing and Recognizing Heat Stroke in Your Pets

Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people.
Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously
above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death.
Unlike humans, who have sweat glands all over our bodies, cats and dogs
have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and
noses. As summer rolls around and temperatures continue to rise, you’ll
notice your pets panting more to regulate their body heat.

Since our beloved pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than us, we need
to be aware of the signs and symptoms so we can keep our furry friends safe.
Early recognition, and treatment of heat stroke can improve your pet’s
chances of making a quick recovery. Symptoms of heat stroke in pets include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced or no urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in mental status (i.e., confusion and dizziness)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

Seek Treatment for A Full Recovery

At the first sign of overheating, it’s essential to take steps to cool your pet
down gradually. Do NOT use ice or frigid water as it can cause shock and
other undesirable reactions. Here are some measures to take if you suspect
your animal is suffering from heat stroke:
1. Remove your animal from the heat immediately. Take your animal
inside or find some shade to allow them to cool off.

2. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cold, wet towels and
use a fan for convection cooling.

3. Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on
foot pads, groin and under the forelegs.

4. MOST importantly, seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as
possible!

Even if your furry friend seems to be feeling better and starts acting normal
again, it is still crucial to take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary
clinic. Vets will be able to determine the severity of the heat stroke and
provide the appropriate medical treatment. This can include medication,
cooling procedures, supplemental oxygen, and blood tests. Additional
monitoring may be required to ensure your beloved pet is back in tip-top
health.

Unfortunately, since our pets can’t communicate their exact feelings to us, we
need to be alert and aware of all of the signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats.
In case of an emergency, we need to be knowledgeable about the steps to
take for pet heat stroke recovery. Once we educate ourselves on the
symptoms, we can have a fun and safe summer with our furry companions.

 

Meet a few of the BARK-iest Dog Breeds from Bloodhounds to Pinschers

What is the BARK-iest dog breed?

As dogs, barking is undoubtedly part of the job description. However, some breeds of
dogs just can’t help but bark more than others. From a bloodhound bark to a
chihuahua bark, no matter the size, every dog barks. It’s always a good idea to know
in advance whether your eardrums are compatible with your four-legged friend. If
you’ve found this out too late, you could always buy earplugs in bulk packets to hand
out liberally to family, friends, and neighbors. Better yet, the best bet is to nip this
habit in the bud. Take the time to work with your dog to teach them to control this undesirable behavior. Here are some of the barkiest breeds and insights into why
they bark as much as they do.

Chihuahuas – One of the barkiest breeds out there, chihuahuas are most definitely known for their shrill yip. This behavior is more common than you’d think, however.
Because of their size, chihuahuas are often mistaken as not needing much exercise.
Instead, the breed’s highly enthusiastic demeanor warrants loud barks to release this
pent-up energy.

A result of their territorial nature, chihuahuas also bark to warn others of their presence. So, while these cute and tiny little terrors may let loose with a string of
brain-shattering barks that could raise the dead, the bark often has the most sincere
intentions to protect.

Terriers (except for bull terriers, who are quiet in comparison) – Terrier breeds are dogdom’s kings and queens of barking, with honorable mentions going to Schnauzers and beagles, who, during the contest, were clearly barking up the wrong tree.

Although they might not look the part, terriers were bred to hunt, which is why their barking habits can be attributed to their acute animal instincts. When they’re not
out in the woods sniffing for small game, these pooches are guarding the home.
Even a little noise might trigger these terriers into a barking frenzy. Next time your
terrier barks, try making a distracting noise of your own to get your dog to stop
barking. Reward the silence and repeat.

German Shepherds – The handsome and intelligent policeman of the dog world has
a deep, throaty howl that could scare even the spookiest of monsters. Loyal and
affectionate in nature, German shepherds use this low bark to draw human
attention or to express their anxiety and yearning for their owner to return home.

Bred to herd (and to be heard), German shepherds fulfill their duties by barking
orders at those being herded. Proud of their success, a German shepherd bark also
indicates pride and confidence.

Regular exercise and training can help them learn to control their instinct to bark.

Miniature Schnauzers – Like many of their larger dog-relatives, a miniature
schnauzer is bred as a guard dog. Their bark can be triggered by sounds coming
closer to the home.

One way to get your miniature schnauzer to stop barking is to reduce your
dog’s view of the outside world. This way, they won’t feel so intimidated.

Bloodhounds – A bloodhound’s bark is instantly recognizable. Distinctive and deep,
it’s no wonder why this dog was bred for hunting and search-and-rescue. Not only
do bloodhounds use their bay to sound the alarm, but they also bark when they feel
lonely or anxious. Giving your dog plenty of exercise can help curve this loud habit.

Huskies – While huskies rarely bark, these dogs are quite vocal and will provide
endless rambling commentary about their day. Because huskies were bred as wild
dogs, they are often non-territorial, leaving them feeling like they don’t need to
protect much. Instead, they are passionate about sharing their opinions using
alternative howls and grunts.

Alaskan Malamutes – Similar to their close cousin the husky, the malamute name is
a lie. There is no “mute” in the Alaskan Malamute. They’ll hold entire conversations
with anyone who will listen. Often, their vocalizations are playful and asking for
attention. When an Alaskan Malamute barks, you can be sure there’s something
awry.

Miniature Pinschers – “Min Pins”, as they are affectionately known, are actually
willful little dictators that are determined to bend you to their wishes. A big dog in a

small body, miniature pinschers bark to assert their power…even if they are only 11
pounds.

If pinschers are not active enough, they will bark just to hear themselves bark. It’s
essential to train these dogs early on so that their nuisance barking doesn’t become
a habit.

Great Pyrenees – Bred to guard flocks of sheep and cattle, Pyrenees use their bark
language to express alarm at everything from a light breeze blowing to actual
predators afoot! Unfortunately, it’s all the points in between alerts that will really test
everyone’s patience.

While we’ve poked fun at the topic, no matter what the breed, excessive barking can
be a severe problem, for you and for your neighbors. With a little bit of training and
lots of rigorous exercise, your dog is sure to wag more and bark less.

The American Humane Society: tips to curb excessive barking.

How Many Breeds of Domestic and Wild Cats Are Out There?

Quick tips for identifying a cat’s breed, whether domestic or wild.

While many pet owners tend to know the general breed of their animals, cat breeds
can be particularly difficult to pinpoint. Why exactly are they so difficult to identify?

Overall, cat classifications vary from database to database, making it difficult to
determine just how many breeds of cats there are and what constitutes each breed.
Altogether, there are roughly 100 breeds of domestic cats and approximately 40
breeds of wild cats. Here are a few tips on how to tell your cat’s breed:

Coat length – Most of these beloved pets can be grouped into two categories: long
haired or short haired. From here, your furry friend can be placed into subcategories
based on coat color and pattern. Long hairs can include a variety of breeds such as
Himalayan, Ragdoll, and Maine Coon. Short hairs can consist of breeds such as Manx,
Bombay, and Bengal.

Fur pattern and color – Your cat’s coat pattern and color can be a significant
identifying factor when trying to determine the ancestral history of your pet.
Patterns can be displayed in a wide variety of colors, including calico, tabby, and
tortoise.

Tortoiseshell coats can include red, black, cream, orange, gold, and white colors.
Affectionately referred to as “torties,” this pattern can be found on a variety of breeds
such as Cornish Rex, Persian, and British Shorthair.

Calico cats have coats that are mostly white with patches of orange, black, cream
and gray. This pattern can include breeds such as Scottish Fold, Persian, and Maine
Coon.

Despite what some pet-owners may think, tabby is actually not a breed. Tabby refers
to the cat’s coat pattern which can display dots, lines, swirling patterns or stripes —
all of which come together to form a distinct “M” shape on its forehead. Its fur can
include brown, black, red, silver, red and cream colors. This pattern can be found on
breeds such as Siberian, American Curl, and Australian Mist.

Facial structure – For the most part, a cat’s bone structure will fall under three
categories: triangle, round, and square. Siamese and Cornish Rex can be identified
by their famously triangular face that gives them sharper features. Felines with
round faces can include Singapura, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmilla. Square faces can
be found on breeds such as the Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon.

While dogs have been bred for various purposes such as hunting, racing, and
herding animals, cats were not bred with the intent to serve humans. Cats were
primarily made to chase mice and look adorable. Due to this, although the exact
number of domestic and wild cat breeds is still unknown, there are still far fewer
recognized breeds of cats than there are dogs.

A recent study shows that cats actually came to domesticate themselves. Since mice
and other rodents were attracted to the agricultural crops created by humans, the
ancient ancestors of our beloved pets likely came into contact with humans daily.
Another lineage of cats from Egypt suggests that humans were intrigued by their
personalities and attitudes — just as we are today.

Cat-owners can agree that some of the most popular breeds include American
Shorthair, Siamese, and Maine Coons. However, if you fancy befriending a rare feline,
some of the more rare breeds include Burmilla, Peterbald, and Serengeti. However,
no matter how popular or unusual your breed of cat is — it will still come with its own
unique and quirky personality that you will be sure to love.

Do Dogs Need a Flu Shot? Combatting Dog Flu in Arizona

Combatting Dog Flu in Arizona: What to Know About Flu Shots for Dogs

Cases of dog flu in Arizona have been in the news recently, with some limited
outbreaks recorded in Northern Arizona. Naturally, we’ve had a lot of calls from
concerned pet parents. We totally get it. Our pets are beloved family members. With
these outbreaks, some of us are left asking: do dogs need a flu shot? Or worse, does
my dog have the flu?

Since we happen to have more than 100 knowledgeable veterinarians within our
AZPetVet family, we decided to ask Dr. Chris Hummel from Westbrook Animal
Hospital to answer the most frequently asked questions about the dog flu in Arizona.

Q: Is dog flu the same as people flu?

No. From a viral standpoint, dog flu is NOT the same as people flu. The two strains of
Canine Influenza viruses found in the United States are H3N8 which researchers
believe originated in horses, and N3N2 which is likely of avian origin imported
directly from Asia. In very rare cases the dog flu virus has been known to infect cats,
but the flu poses little risk to cats beyond a runny nose, coughing and/or sneezing.

People don’t get dog flu, and dogs don’t get people flu. However, in people and in
dogs, there’s a gap between being exposed to the flu virus and developing
symptoms. That’s why we’ll so often see outbreaks happen in clusters. Somebody is
contagious and doesn’t know it until it’s too late; then suddenly everyone is sick.

From the American Veterinary Medical Association:
“H3N8 has an incubation period of 1 to 5 days, with clinical signs in most cases
appearing 2 to 3 days after exposure. Dogs infected with H3N2 may start showing
respiratory signs between 2 and 8 days after infection. Dogs are most contagious
during the incubation period and shed the virus even though they are not showing
clinical signs of illness. Some dogs may show no signs of illness, but have a
subclinical infection and shed the virus.”

Q: How would a dog catch the flu?

Almost the same way a person would. The virus is transmitted through the air by
sneezing and coughing (or barking, drooling and licking), or by contact with infected
surfaces including areas like communal water dishes. Most likely, they would come into contact with another dog that’s contagious. So exposure to the dog flu in
Arizona usually happens at places where you find lots of dogs; the dog park, doggie
daycare, a boarding kennel, grooming salon or dog show.

Q: Does my dog have the flu? – Dog Flu Symptoms

Well, here’s another area where dog flu is similar to people flu. Dogs with the flu will
show symptoms like fever, lethargy, cough, stuffy or runny nose, and watery eyes,
difficulty breathing, wheezing or rapid breathing. Checking on your dog’s wellness is
key to answering the question “does my dog have the flu”. If these symptoms don’t
sound like your dog’s or are more severe, see this article about dog poisoning to help
determine if you’re dealing with something more serious.

You’ll be able to tell your dog is not feeling well. Keep them quiet and away from
other pets to avoid exposing them to the virus. You don’t want to spread the dog flu
in Arizona. After isolating your dog, then it’s time to get busy.

The Canine Influenza virus can remain viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on
clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Wash your hands frequently. Wash
your clothing, and clean and disinfect other items your pet may have touched. These
include kennels and crates, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, bedding, and toys.

Q: Is dog flu dangerous?

Do dogs need a flu shot? Is it serious enough to warrant giving my dog a flu shot?
The severity of the flu varies depending on the viral strain, the pet’s age, and overall
health. Most otherwise healthy dogs will recover from the flu without a problem or any special treatment required. However, it’s important to note that the cough may
last for up to 3-4 weeks.

Older dogs with weakened immune systems or puppies with underdeveloped
immunity are more at risk as their bodies will have a harder time fighting the virus,
so there’s a higher risk for developing pneumonia.

Dogs with short muzzles, like pugs and bulldogs, already have a compromised
respiratory system. Sore throats and stuffy noses would naturally make them feel
quite sick, so they’d need close monitoring and a trip to the vet’s office.

Q: How is Canine Influenza treated?

There is no specific treatment for Canine Influenza; however, if the answer to the
question “does my dog have the flu” is yes, then there are ways to support your dog
and keep them comfortable. The majority of treatments used in severe cases are
supportive. They may include IV fluids, oxygen, antibiotics, breathing treatments,
and mucolytics (a class of medications which help break down mucus to make it
easier to expel it from the lungs).

Q: So do dogs need a flu shot?

While vaccines are available for canine influenza, vaccination would only be
recommended for dogs at high risk for infection. It is important to note, vaccination
can only reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza, it may not prevent
infection. However, the flu shot can potentially reduce the severity and duration of
the flu. It’s best to talk over your concerns with your vet.

Q: Anything else we need to know?

One last, but very important reminder – people can’t get dog flu, but they can
inadvertently spread it if they’ve touched a contaminated surface (or petted one).
That’s why animal hospitals follow strict guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. We
take extra precautions when seeing pets that are exhibiting respiratory symptoms.
If you suspect your pet has the flu or has been exposed to it, or they’re having
respiratory symptoms, call us first. You may receive special instructions for bringing
your dog into the office. These restrictions are in place to reduce the risk of exposing
other animals in the waiting room to something that could be contagious.

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