Buyer Beware: Why Big Business and Veterinary Practices Just Don’t Mix

Corporatization is changing the world of petcare, and our pets are paying the price.

There’s no doubt that the quality of petcare has improved drastically in recent years. However, an emerging trend is threatening to undo all of the amazing progress we’ve made over the past several decades. The perpetrator? Big business.

Whereas most veterinary practices used to be run by individual providers, more and more corporations are seeing petcare as an opportunity to turn a profit off of people’s love for their pets. In fact, according to Bloomberg contributor Jason Clenfield, “corporations now own 15 to 20 percent of America’s 26,000 pet hospitals,” and consolidators are buying them up at breakneck speed.

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Cats in the Cradle: How to Properly Care for Your Kitten

The cat’s out of the bag! Here’s the lowdown on basic kitten care.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “no matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be kittens.” If you’re thinking about bringing one of these furry bundles of joy into your heart and home, here’s what you need to know.

Looking After Your Litter

Just like any other newborn, brand new kittens need plenty of tender loving kitten care. If you’re raising the litter yourself, remember that kittens need much more attention and energy than their adult counterparts. Newborns will need to nurse fairly regularly (usually every 1-2 hours), although after around 3 or 4 weeks they can be weaned onto milk replacers and store-bought kitten foods. In addition to constant feeding, they also need constant attention. In order to teach them how to play well with others, try to make sure your kittens are socializing for at least a few hours a day.

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Boarding Your Pet in NYC? Here’s What You Should Know

Finding temporary housing for your pooch can be a stressful process — but with this checklist in hand, it doesn’t have to be.

Breaking away from the city for a few days? Sometimes, taking your pet along for the ride is impractical, and alternate accommodations must be arranged. Since the safety and happiness of your pooch is at stake, it’s important to carefully consider your options when seeking out a boarding facility.

Evaluating a Kennel

With such a wide variety of kennels to choose from in the city, it’s important to conduct a thorough evaluation to find the facility that will best suit your pet’s specific needs. To narrow down the list, consult your veterinarian and ask local dog owners for their input.

After researching your options, be sure to visit each kennel on your list. While touring, you’ll inevitably form a strong first impression of the kennel. Is it clean and well lit? Will your dog receive individual attention, or is the kennel overcrowded? Pay attention to the way the kennel is organized as well as the attitude of the staff and the general disposition of its canine lodgers.

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pet dental health

Preventative Pet Care: Tips for Long-Term Health & Wellness

To ensure your pet’s well-being for years to come, it’s crucial to plan ahead.

When it comes to long-term pet health, there’s no replacing an annual checkup with a veterinarian. But in the time between visits, conscientious pet owners can look after their pet’s physical and mental health by practicing effective preventative care. Doing so will help prevent disease — and reduce the possibility of unexpected medical bills.

Read on to learn more about how proper pet care practices will allow you to keep your trusty companion healthy and your veterinary costs low.

 

Keep Up With Annual Exams

Let’s start with the most important element of preventative care: regular checkups with the veterinarian. At your pet’s annual visit, the vet will go over the essentials: nutrition, weight control, dental exams, health screenings, and vaccinations. However, the biggest benefit of regular checkups is that your vet can detect common health issues before they become bigger problems.

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puppy care

Puppy Love: Raising Your Dog Right from Day One

The early days of pet ownership can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. With these tips in mind, you can help ensure your puppy is healthy and well-adjusted from day one.

With the great joy of a new furry friend comes great responsibility. You want to train and care for your puppy properly, but where to begin?

Not to fear. Remember, you’re not the only nervous one. As your puppy adjusts to its new environment, he’ll be looking to you for guidance, affection, and nourishment. If you adopt these five important measures after bringing your new pup home, you can set the stage for a long and happy relationship.

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pet dental health

Make Those Canines Shine: The Definitive Guide to Your Pet’s Dental Hygiene

Proper canine dental care is essential to ensure a long and happy life for your pet.

Responsible pet owners know that proper nutrition, ample exercise, affection, and regular visits to the vet are all necessary to keep their furry housemates healthy and happy. In fact, most pet parents monitor their dog’s or cat’s well-being as vigilantly as they do their own.

Yet many of those same owners overlook a crucial element of pet health: dental hygiene. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats harbor some form of tooth decay or oral disease by age three. To avoid such decay, proper canine dental hygiene must start from a puppy’s very first days.

 

Read the Signs   pet dental health

Since your pet can’t tell you if they’re experiencing tooth pain, you should always be on the lookout for the telltale signs of dental disease yourself.

Twice a week, gently pull up your pet’s lips to examine her teeth and gums. Healthy teeth will appear white and clean, with no patches of brown tartar, and healthy gums will appear pink with no swelling. If this sounds like your pet’s mouth, you’re in the clear. But if you notice particularly foul-smelling breath, red and swollen gums, broken teeth, a mass on the gums or tongue, or excessive drooling, schedule an appointment with the vet immediately. Those may be symptoms of more serious dental problems.

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urban pets

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your City Dog Happy & Healthy

Urban living and pet ownership don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Here are our tips for keeping your furry friends happy and healthy in the big city.

Owning a pet in the city requires a few logistical considerations that might not apply for more spacious environments. If you do decide to adopt a furry roommate, you must take the necessary steps to ensure that he’s safe and satisfied in his surroundings — here are a few of the most crucial items to tick off your list.

 

Pet-Proof Your Apartment

Think your dog can’t get into trouble in a 500-square-foot apartment? Think again. First, ensure that you are not harboring any houseplants that could be harmful if ingested. Jade, aloe vera, and rosemary can pose a particular threat. Be sure to check in with a vet for a longer list of potentially dangerous and common household plants.

While removing potentially harmful items from your apartment is relatively straightforward, you may face another challenge that’s a bit more difficult to address: a lack of space. While you may not be able to move into a larger apartment just for Fido, you can learn to cohabit peacefully in your tight quarters. For city dogs, proper crate-training is key to keep your dog (and your apartment) safe while you’re out and about. Make your pup comfortable by giving them a bed, some water, and a toy or two — in fact, if handled correctly, you can teach a dog to think of their crate as a safe and happy place, rather than as a punishment.

 

Close Quarters   urban pets

So you and your dog are getting along just great — but what about your neighbors?  If at all possible, try to choose an apartment with a friendly policy towards pets, so that your dog will have plenty of canine company — and you’ll be able to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow dog owners.

Then, with your very thin, shared apartment walls in mind, you’ll want to minimize the possibility of any pet-related disturbances. The sound of a dog running back and forth across the floorboards could very well drive neighbors up the wall, so opt for densely woolen rugs that insulate noise and can withstand wear and tear. Lonely pups also have a tendency to express their discontent with vocal yowls (which may not be very popular with your neighbors). In order to avoid this, maintain your pet’s high spirits with regular exercise and proper socialization.

 

Exercise, Exercise, and More Exercise

Everyone knows that keeping a dog healthy requires regular fresh air and exercise. However, without the luxury of spacious, fenced-in yards, urban pet owners must take a more proactive approach to keeping their dogs fit and happy. Many community parks feature “dog runs,” where local owners are able to unleash their pets and encourage them to socialize with fellow canine friends. Before taking your dog to public parks, however, you may need to obtain proof of vaccinations from your vet.

For larger, more active breeds, long brisk walks or jogs in the park may be the best way to maintain your dog’s health — plus, it has the added benefit of keeping you healthy as well! If your schedule doesn’t allow for one or two walks during the workday, consider hiring a dog walker to help fill in the gaps. Keep in mind that, because most city dog walkers handle multiple dogs at once, you should make sure your dog is well-socialized and able to travel in groups.

 

Playtime for Puppy

Doggie day care centers and pet spas are another great option for dogs with working owners. Many offer training, grooming, and health care for your pet, as well as numerous exercise and socialization opportunities. Before dropping your dog off for day care, research the requirements of the center, since most demand up-to-date vaccinations. Tour the facility to confirm it is a safe and suitable place for your pet’s needs, and leave emergency contact information with the administration.

At University Animal Hospital in New York City, we have years of experience caring for urban pets. We offer dog and cat boarding services at our Upper East Side location, with a vet on-premises 24 hours a day for medical care and supervision. Our staff will also take your dog out for a walk three times a day, with additional outdoor playtime in our cage-free area. You can trust us to take attentive care of your dog while you’re at the office or away on vacation, ensuring that your beloved pet returns home well-rested, well-exercised, and well-fed.

Air Travel Tips and Information

Air Travel Tips

If traveling with your pet is not an option, let them have a staycation with us. Whether it’s one night, one week, or more, your dog will enjoy our clean and comfortable facilities. We provide supervised and loving care around the clock. While you are away we will closely monitor your pet, ensuring his or her comfort and health. We have a veterinarian on premises 24 hours a day for boarding supervision, and can accommodate special medical boarding requests.

Rain, sunshine, sleet or snow, our kennel attendants walk each dog individually 3 – 5 times per day, just like you would at home. Our expert groomer, Gracia, is also available to give your pets the spa treatment with a full grooming before they go home. Call us today to book your space.

University Animal Hospital

(212) 288-8884

354 East 66th Street

New York, NY

10065

pet travel

Bone Voyage! Everything You Need to Know About Traveling With Your Pet

Planning to bring your furry friend along for your next big adventure? Here’s what you should know before booking your flight.

As the holiday season kicks off, people will soon take to the skies in droves to visit far-flung loved ones. For many, a pet is as much a family member as a person, and you can bet that Lassie will be coming along for the cross-country holiday celebrations.

Flying with a pet requires careful planning, so if you’re bringing yours along for the ride, consider these precautionary steps before boarding the aircraft to ensure that both your pet and your fellow passengers are as comfortable as possible.

 

Routine Check Up

Before you take off, be sure to make a trip to the vet, who can ensure that your pet is healthy enough to travel and provide the necessary paperwork to confirm as much. Obtaining proper documentation from the vet can ease international travel significantly. Many countries have vaccination requirements, a full list of which can be found at the International Air Transport Association. Be sure to request a domestic or international travel certificate that lists the dog’s breed, country of origin and full vaccination history before you go.

Finally, if you know your pet experiences severe travel anxiety, consider the option of pre-flight sedation. Of course, you should only administer sedatives with the vet’s approval. If your pet will have a positive reaction to the medicine, you’ll be able to determine the correct dosage with your vet’s assistance.

 

Pre-Boarding Checklist    pet travel

Each major airline has its own specific guidelines for transporting pets. Pet owners must take numerous factors into consideration, from dog breed and size to whether the plane is already at pet “capacity.” That’s right — planes can only hold a certain number of dogs at a time, so ensure that yours makes the cut by planning for your trip well in advance. American Airlines only allows seven dogs per flight, and JetBlue caps the number of total canine and feline passengers at four.

Experts recommend that pet owners book their tickets as early as possible to secure seats in the cabin for themselves and their pets. In addition, watch out for airline fees, which can vary depending on whether your pet is traveling as checked baggage or carry-on cargo. Most flights charge about $125 for pets in the cabin, but prices for checked cargo can climb up to $250 each way. With this in mind, it’s best to book direct flights to avoid multiple fees — not to mention the discomfort of multiple takeoffs and landings for your pooch.

 

Flight Maintenance

Price aside, which is the optimal mode of pet transportation: carry-on or cargo?

One option is storing your pet in the under-seat carriers provided by many airlines. However, these are limited in size. If your pet is too large for a carrier, you can opt to transport your pet in the plane’s cargo hold — but it might not be an easy trip. Cargo conditions, which are subject to very hot and cool temperatures, can make an already taxing situation more stressful for you and your pet. So if your pet is compact enough to fit, you should try to bring him into the cabin with you.

One last thing to consider: airlines generally recommend that snub-nosed pet breeds, like pugs and Persian cats, avoid flying altogether. With their delicate and compressed respiratory systems, these pets are especially sensitive to cabin pressure changes, meaning that flying could be harmful to their health.

 

Know Your Pet

As the owner, you know your pet’s personality better than anyone. Some dogs and cats may take to the air like seasoned travelers. Others may be thrown off by a new routine, and find the experience too stressful. Only you, the pet parent, can make that final determination.

As a test run, animal expert Cesar Millan recommends putting your pet in an airline carrier and going for a drive to mimic in-flight conditions on the ground. He also suggests applying an “association scent” to your hands when you take your dog for a walk or at feeding time — for example, you might try lavender oil. Use the scent again on the plane, and your pet will develop a positive association with air travel.

Another tip? Take your pet for a long walk before heading to the airport. That way, your pet will be tired and use the flight as an opportunity to nap.

If you decide to forego the hassle and leave your pet at home, consider the dog and cat boarding services at University Animal Hospital in New York City. We offer 24-hour vet supervision, multiple walks per day, and additional outdoor play time in our cage-free area. We’ll take attentive care of your pet while you’re away, allowing you peace of mind as you enjoy the holiday festivities.

Praise Outranks Treats For Dogs | University Animal Hospital NYC

According to ScienceMag a recent study strongly indicated that dogs might actually prefer the praise of their owners over treats. Despite the long-standing use of treats and food by us ‘Hoomans’ to help train our canine companions it would appear that the positive reinforcement of a belly rub or a pat on the head is actually more effective in melting most of your fuzzy children’s hearts.

In the first half of the study (soon to be published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) the brain activity of fifteen canines was monitored by researchers. After being shown a toy car the canines were then praised by their respective owners. Later, they were each given toy horses with a piece of hot dog. Of the fifteen dogs in the study thirteen exhibited a greater or equal response in the area of the brain associated with reward and decision-making when the reinforcement was praise from their owner vs. food/treats.

The second half of the experiment positioned the dogs at the start of a maze that forked in two directions. One led to a bowl of food and the other led the dog to his or her owner. Most of the dogs chose their owner over the food bowl. The dogs who chose the food were the same subjects who favored treats in the first half of the study indicating that some dogs are just food motivated.

Of course fifteen is not a large enough sample size to reach absolute conclusions but it gives us further understanding of the nature of the dog/owner relationship. The affection does appear to go both ways.

There are always skeptics who question the ability of our furry children to truly reciprocate the feelings of love we have for them but anyone who has returned to their dog from a long absence knows the reaction of their furry child. It’s pure excitement and joy. Watch this dog after he is reunited with his owner after being stolen from him two years before.

So dogs prefer praise. What about Cats?

Are cats on the same level as the canine companions we love so dearly or do they merely tolerate our existence in exchange for food? The latter is apparently much more likely if another recent study is any indication.

In February of 2016 BBC2 broadcast Cats V. Dogs, a television documentary that explored this question by measuring the level of oxytocin in cats and dogs. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain when we feel an attachment to someone or something. Oxytocin levels in humans rise by up to 60% when we see someone we love.

Researchers tested saliva samples from ten cats and ten dogs before and after playing with their owners for a ten minute period. The dogs showed an increase of 57.2% after the playful interaction with their owners. For cats it was just 12%. In fact, only 50% of the cats tested showed any rise in their oxytocin levels at all. Moo (from the video below) appears to be the exception to the rule.

Again, these small sample sizes can’t back up definitive conclusions but they do seem to support the notion that most of our cats view us as food dispensers above anything else. Compared to dogs they appear to be fairly indifferent to us. As someone who has had multiple cats and multiple dogs I don’t think these theories are too far from the truth. Do I think my cats have loved me on the same level that my dogs have? Maybe — but who can be sure? Look at those glares…

20160825_195023_1472169149038

This doesn’t look like satisfaction…

Untitled

Maggie’s ‘friendliest’ expression. Seriously.

 

 

 

 

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