Keeping Them Well: Pet Wellness Care for Your New Pet

new petA new year has begun, and we’re sure that some of you have added a new pet to your family this holiday season! New pets are such an exciting way to add love and fun to your home, but they also take some adjustment as you become familiar with your pet’s health needs and personality. There’s a lot to learn about keeping your new pet healthy – from exercise and nutrition to pet wellness and preventive care. At Androscoggin Animal Hospital, it’s our job to help you learn the best ways to keep your new pet healthy, and we’re excited to get started!

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Why Pet Wellness Care Matters

Puppy and microscopeMost of us drag our children, and ourselves, into the physician’s office once per year for a checkup. We get weighed (perhaps not the best part of the visit), poked and prodded a bit, our doctor may order a few age appropriate tests, and we’re on our way.

Regular pet wellness exams are just as important for our four-legged family members as they are for us. An annual physical exam is, by far, one of the best investments you can make in your pet’s future. By tending to your pet’s health and wellness now, you are helping to ensure that he or she is healthy, happy, and by your side for years to come. Continue…

Woof! Woof! What? The Meaning Behind Dog Barks

A tan dog trying to get across the meaning of his barks.
What is your barking dog trying to tell you?

Most loving dog owners are sure they know what their dog is thinking and feeling at all times. The problem is that our furry friends don’t come with a bark dictionary, so we are left wondering what each sound actually means. 

If your dog is the chatty type, we can help decipher those barks into a relatable vocabulary. The team at Androscoggin Animal Hospital is here to explain the meaning behind dog barks.

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Should You Leash Your Pet?

In Maine it is “unlawful for any dog, licensed or unlicensed, to be at large, except when used for hunting.”

Of course, “at large” refers to a dog not under the immediate control of an owner in public places. Sure, there are many dogs that don’t get into any trouble while away from home. But to ensure their own health and safety – not to mention the wellbeing of the public – it is imperative to leash your pet dog while outdoors.

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They Do What they Want, But Do Cats Want to Swim?

You may think, “When cat’s swim!” could very well be the equivalent of “When pigs fly!” 

While it is true that some cats detest water, you may be surprised that some don’t. 

Amazingly, certain breeds are not only open to the idea of exploring water but welcome opportunities to play and even swim in it. Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, Turkish Vans, Manx, and Abyssian can easily take to the water, given the chance and a proper introduction.

Just Keep Swimming?

You may be surprised to learn that cats can swim incredibly well. In addition to some breeds actually enjoying the water, all cats naturally move in ways that resemble basic survival swimming. 

But How Do I Teach a Cat to Swim?

Many cat owners have found success by positively introducing their cat to water at an early age. The more they get used to water, the better. Kittens are more apt to acclimate to water if it’s part of their overall socialization process. But, if you approach the introduction with patience and a gentle hand, a cat of any age can learn that water is a-okay. 

Keep the splashing to a minimum and never never force cats to enter the water. Likewise, be sure the water is a comfortable temperature. 

Swimming itself presents certain challenges, some of which you may not have anticipated. For example, be sure that your cat knows how to safely exit the water. Ramps or a feline-friendly ledge can work wonders, but make sure your cat understands that.

Our Amazing, Astounding Cats

If you have questions about teaching cats to swim, overall feline behavior, cat wellness, our veterinarians and staff are always here for you!

To Understand Feline Body Language, Look No Further Than a Cat’s Tail

The magic of cat communication may be lost on people that live exclusively among dogs. Instead of actively vying for their owner’s attention with barks or whines, a cat may simply stare. Likewise, they may not wag their rears for a treat, or lick your face with abandon, but a closely bonded cat will likely greet their person with a long, meaningful blink. 

Incredibly subtle at times, feline body language has a lot to say and it does so by way of their long, fluffy, expressive tail.

The Whole Picture

Of course, cats are known for meowing at their owners to convey their interest in food, snuggling, playtime or outside access. But perhaps more important is the fact that they use feline body language signals to get what they want, or show how they’re feeling.

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When It Comes to Cat Care, Should You Be Worried About Parasites? 

Owners of indoor cats come in all shapes and sizes, but they have at least one thing in common. The majority of these dedicated pet owners fall for the misconception that, because their cat doesn’t go outside, parasites aren’t a real threat. 

Sure, with fewer chances of exposure to bugs, indoor cats are at less risk for potential diseases spread by parasites. But, sadly, cats aren’t immune to parasites, no matter their lifestyle. When it comes to cat care best practices, creating a buffer between all pet cats and the world of creepy crawlies is the answer. 

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Charity Spotlight: All About the AVMF Veterinary Care Charitable Fund at Androscoggin Animal Hospital

A floofy gray dog sits on a vintage, mint green sofa

At Androscoggin Animal Hospital, we’ve seen it all when it comes to pet illnesses and injuries. Each member of our staff entered the field of veterinary medicine out of a deep love for animals, and a desire to help them heal and to see them thrive. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than having to watch a family struggle to afford paying for their pet’s medical bills, or worse having to make the decision to decline treatment. 

Helping our beloved patients and their families, and giving back to our community are both extremely important to us, which is why we’ve joined forces with the Animal Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) Veterinary Charitable Fund.

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The Ins and Outs of Puppy and Kitten Vaccines

Gray kitten in carrier

Our fur babies are important to us and, if you have a new puppy or kitten, we bet you are reveling in the joy and fun of it all. Of course you want to give your new pet a great start in life, and you and your veterinary healthcare team can make sure that happens. 

Puppy and kitten vaccines is the place to start. Androscoggin Animal Hospital shares some of the ins and outs of vaccines, why they are important, and a bit about how they work. 

Why a Series of Vaccines?

Vaccines are important at any age. Adult pets need to be protected from infectious disease just as puppies and kittens do. With adults, we vaccinate much less often, and we carefully balance what vaccines are needed based on age, breed, and how and where an adult pet is active

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What All Dog Owners Need to Know About Canine Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis has been well documented over the last century. Despite our understanding, the disease continues to affect all mammals (although it’s rare in cats). Clusters or hotspots commonly occur outside of Maine, but canine leptospirosis is ubiquitous, and it’s a zoonotic disease. That’s why it remains an absolute priority that your dog – and the people around them – are protected from this bacterial infection.

In the Elements

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by numerous strains of the bacteria leptospira. Typically found in contaminated water or soil, leptospirosis can also be passed on through direct contact with an infected animal.

Cases of canine leptospirosis may result after drinking from a contaminated water source, like a puddle or a shared water bowl at the dog park. Urine from an infected animal can pass the disease, and a dog can pick up the bacteria from practically anything on the ground outside.

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