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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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…

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This doesn’t look like satisfaction…

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Maggie’s ‘friendliest’ expression. Seriously.

 

 

 

 

Summer Heat Solutions for Cats and Dogs| University Animal Hospital NYC

The summer heat in New York City is really kicking into high gear. With record heat waves scorching the city and making all of us reconsider even stepping outside there are some that feel the effects of the harsh sun’s rays far worse than we do — our furry children. Both cats and dogs are at risk of overheating as our city roasts like a rotisserie chicken. Cats typically because they’re confined inside baking apartments or homes that often lack suitable air-conditioning when owners are not present and dogs because they’re walking in the intense heat — lacking a sufficient way of naturally cooling themselves.

Dogs are particularly susceptible to the effects of the heat. Heatstroke for canines is dangerous and likely when dealing with temperatures over 100 degrees. Dogs do not sweat through their skin like we do so the heat is much more uncomfortable and dangerous for them. I just read an article this morning about a police dog in Texas that died in the line of duty from heatstroke while pursuing a suspect. It’s a real threat and something people sometimes overlook or forget about. Signs of heatstroke to look out for include: excessive panting (a natural way dogs cool themselves down), drooling, increased salivation, restlessness and other signs of agitation. There are, fortunately, actions pet owners can take in order to help with the dangerous heat that might make these summer months a bit safer for your fuzzy child.

Many people have taken to carrying around a spray bottle when they walk their dog in order to give a relieving cool mist on the face or belly. Consider carrying a collapsible water cup and water to decrease the risk of potential dehydration. Look into obtaining booties to protect his or her pads on the hot pavement and sidewalks. It may seem odd to look at but have you wondered what it might feel like to go barefoot on the Manhattan streets in the blazing heat? Your dog isn’t too concerned with how he looks to strangers (you shouldn’t be either) and avoiding discomfort is probably much higher on his list of priorities.

ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS FOR STAVING OFF THE SUMMER HEAT?

If your dog is pad/paper trained you should think about foregoing outside walks until the heat has died down. If outside walks are necessary take shorter relief walks as opposed to the usual jog or hour-long strolls. Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior when out and about so you can be aware of significant discomfort or distress. If your dog lays down in the shade or grass perhaps it’s time to head back inside. Take frequent breaks and try to walk in shaded areas or on grass whenever possible.

Keep your home at a reasonable temperature even if you’re not there with your pet. People are often apprehensive about leaving the air-conditioner on when they aren’t home for fear of extreme electric bills. Keep the air conditioning at a level that’s safe for your stay-at-home pets but that won’t kill your energy bill. Make sure the water you leave out is cool and that the bowl is full. Consider dropping an ice cube in from time to time when you are home with them. Do not ever leave your dog in an unattended car for any period of time even if you think you’ll only be gone for a moment. In under ten minutes the inside of your car can reach temperatures of over 102 degrees so no amount of time in a car alone is acceptable or excusable.

The most important thing to remember is that your dogs and cats can’t verbalize the discomfort that the summer heat bestows upon them. It is up to you to keep your eyes and ears open and look for the signs of distress or overheating. Be alert and present when you’re taking your walks and pay attention to the tiny details that your dog is giving you. The dangers of the heat are too great to risk and you know your fuzzy child is worth it.

 

Cost Effective Flea and Tick Products | University Animal Hospital NYC

Do not let the recent cold temperatures fool you. Spring is right around the corner. Any day now people will be wearing sandals and tank tops and the heat wave will soon be upon us. With that comes an increased risk that your dog or cat might be interacting with the dreaded parasites. The flea and tick problem.

These little monsters are actually a year-round presence but they are far more prevalent in the warmer months of the year.

That is why it’s so important for your pet to be on monthly flea and tick preventative all year round.

Some of our clients at University Animal Hospital have downplayed the need for their pet to be on the flea and tick preventative. I’ve heard people say that fleas and ticks aren’t really an issue in Manhattan. This is simply not true.

Fleas can live up to a year without feeding. Ticks like to hang out on the tops of blades of grass waiting to grab onto unsuspecting warm-blooded beings. You don’t need to leave the city to encounter these creeps. You can find them in plenty of places in New York City. I’ve run into ticks in a few of my apartments in Queens over the last several years. Twice in the month of December.

The health concerns of your pet getting bit by a tick far outweighs any apprehension you should have about the medications. The products are very safe and very effective. It just depends where you get it from.

Many pet stores and online pharmacies sell generic flea and tick medication that can be very harmful to your pet. In the cases where they have the actual product and not a cheap knock-off they are getting them through third party suppliers and not the manufacturer or a licensed distributor. Since this product is coming from a third party seller there is a risk that it is not being shipped and stored based on the manufacturers recommendations. This can leave the product ineffective and potentially harmful to your pet. You don’t really know what you’re getting.

Fake Frontline Plus found on ebay can be very dangerous

Fake Frontline Plus found online

These online pharmacies also do not offer some of the rebates and freebies you get from buying the product from a licensed distributor (like University Animal Hospital.) In our case we’re able to offer two free additional doses of Frontline Plus when a client purchases a pack of six. In the case of Nexgard we’re able to offer a free month worth of the medication. With Bravecto there are rebate coupons available that helps keep the cost of the medication manageable. The net down price of the free goods we’re able to offer our clients often-times makes our product considerably less expensive than one you’re buying online.
There are three fantastic options for flea/tick preventative available at University Animal Hospital.

Frontline Plus

Topical options are effective.

What kind of flea and tick products are there?

1. Frontline Plus. Chances are you’ve tried this before or have at least heard of it. It’s a topical that is placed on the skin of your pet (between the shoulder blades) once every month. This is a highly effective treatment. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 8 months for the price of 6.

Nexgard

Chew-ables are growing in popularity.

2. Nexgard. This is a once-a-month chew-able from the makers of Frontline that is just as effective — if not more.

Nexgard - Chew

It’ s a chew-able treat and thus there is no chance the medication will rub off on your hands or come off if your pet gets wet. It’s also beef flavored so dogs tend to love them. If purchased from University Animal Hospital you can get 7 months for the price of 6.

3. Braveco. Like Nexgard this is chew-able but it only needs to be given every three months. That’s just four doses a year. If you buy multiple doses the rebate amounts increase.

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These items are also available for purchase through the University Animal Hospital Online Store

There’s really no reason you shouldn’t take measures to protect your dog or cat from these creatures. The cost of the medications is minor and the peace-of-mind they provide should be more than worth it. Trust me when I say you don’t want to have to treat your pet for Lyme disease if you don’t have to. Not to mention dealing with fleas is a burden I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (okay, maybe I would but only because I have firsthand knowledge of how terrible it is). You’ll get that story next time

Traveling Tips for Cats and Dogs | University Animal Hospital NYC

If you have ever traveled with your cat or dog you must know that it isn’t the easiest endeavor. Besides finding an airline that is pet friendly there is often paperwork and several hoops that must be jumped through that are necessary in order to board the plane without issue. If you are flying internationally then there’s a whole assortment of steps you have to take in order to cover your bases. If you have not traveled with your pet before then hopefully these dog and cat traveling tips will prepare you for any potential issues that can arise.

The first thing to consider is if it is worth the effort to take your pet on your trip with you. Factor in the length of your trip and what will be required in order to bring your fuzzy child along. Most importantly consider the effect it will have on your pet. Does he/she travel well? Will the three days apart be easier than going through all the motions? If it’s a long trip maybe it would be worth it to bring them along for the adventure.

If you’re traveling domestically with your pet you should immediately contact your airline and ask what their specific requirements are. Most often the airline has rules specific to them. Almost every major airline will require a domestic health certificate, signed by your veterinarian, that states that your pet has been examined within a certain period (usually 30 days) and is fit for travel.

Many of them require your pet be in a certain sized carrier. They have to be certain that your pet, in the carrier, will fit under the seat. I learned the hard way that the size of this space can alter depending on the size of the plane your flight is scheduled for. I spent at least an hour on the phone with Delta Airlines customer care team having my flight changed to ensure that the plane I would be flying on would have the appropriate sized space under the seat to fit my cat (Maggie Rooneymara Nilbog-Ackerman IV) in her carrier.

Should I get my pet micro-chipped before I travel?

Consider the possibility that your pet could be lost at some point during your trip and make sure that your pet has a collar and ID tag with your contact information (address and phone number) clearly visible. It’s also a very good idea to have a microchip implanted into your pet (if you haven’t already) which can help locate your pet if he/she is lost at any point during your trip. It’s a quick injection, non-invasive, that can be done when your pet is awake.

If your pet is a nervous traveler discuss with your veterinarian any supplements or medications they might suggest to help keep your pet calm during travel. There are calming supplements that can help your pet without actually having to medicate them. In some cases your pet might need a sedative but this should always be something you discuss with your veterinarian first. Do not attempt to administer medications without discussing with your vet beforehand.

Pack some water if it’s a long flight. You don’t want your dog or cat to get dehydrated. A few treats to reward good behavior couldn’t hurt either. A chew toy or something to keep him or her distracted is always helpful. Don’t forget to pack a leash, some toys, extra water/food bowls, poopy bags, any necessary medications, etc.

If you’re staying at a hotel make sure it is a pet-friendly establishment. A little bit of research goes a long way and you’d rather have things set up in advance than be scrambling to figure them out in a crisis.

Remember that emergencies can happen so it’s also very important to do some research on emergency veterinary hospitals where you’ll be staying just in case your pet begins experiencing symptoms of illness. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s medical history on hand for this very reason. Save it to your e-mail as a PDF file so it can be easily accessed in an emergency.

How hard is it to traveling internationally?

If you are traveling internationally things get a little more complicated. The rules for international travel are not standard. They vary from country to country and change on a semi-regular basis. In almost every case you will need an international health certificate issued by a USDA certified veterinarian that proves your pet was examined and found fit for travel. Most often this needs to be done within ten days of arrival in your destination country. The vets at University Animal Hospital are USDA certified and fully capable of filling out any documentation required to travel. They are familiar with paperwork necessary and can inform you what you’ll need when trying to get into the country of your destination.

If you are planning on traveling with your pet set up an appointment with one of our doctors to get the process moving and to answer any questions you might have. Let them handle the details and the nightmare of paperwork so you can focus on your trip and the fun things you plan to do, with your dog or cat in tow.

Chances are you’re probably spending time with your furry children this holiday season. With that in mind there are always precautions that should be taken. Here are some holiday pet safety tips to factor into the festivities.

Christmas trees are beautiful but make sure you keep your pet away from the tree stand. The water in the stand can house fertilizers from the tree itself and bacteria can also grow in the stagnant water. There’s also the concern of the tree itself. It should be secured well enough that you don’t run the risk of it tipping over on a curious cat or dog. Perhaps place it in the corner where tipping is less likely. Tend to the area frequently to remove any possible pine needles which can cause intestinal problems if swallowed.

Holly and mistletoe are poisonous to pets and can cause serious health problems. I suggest going artificial with these. Lilies, poinsettias, amaryllis, hibiscus and certain types of ivy can cause problems for pets so those should be avoided as well.

Avoid tinsel around the house. It’s pretty to look at but there’s nothing pretty about an obstructed digestive tract or emergency surgery — which can be a possibility if your pet ingests the sparkly decoration.

Stick with twinkle lights instead of candles. Unattended candles around your pets is just asking for trouble. If you must go with candles be sure they are in solid protective holders and that you blow them out when you leave the room.

If you go with those twinkle lights make sure the wires are out of reach. Keep from off of the lower branches of your tree. The ornaments hanging from your tree or around the house could also be dangerous if ingested or stepped on by your furry child.

Be cautious when wrapping gifts. String and scissors should be kept off of floors or low tables where they are less likely to be touched by your pets.

Be careful with the human food. During the holidays there are an assortment of goodies that can be dangerous is consumed by your fuzzy children. The obvious chocolates and artificially sweetened items should be kept away and in a safe place. Keep in mind any fatty or spicy foods and especially anything with bones. Keep any alcoholic beverages away from your pet’s roaming tongue as well. Any of these people-friendly items can be issues for your pet. Do yourself a favor and ensure that the lid to your garbage can is also secure.

If you’re planning on gifting your pet any toys be sure to stick with pet-friendly chew toys. Kong toys are safe and can be safely filled with treats. For your cat try to avoid stringy toys. Ribbons, yarn and little pieces can cause digestive issues and potential obstructions. Spare yourself the inevitable grief and don’t even bother with these toys. Stick with a new ball (that’s too big to swallow) and consider a stuffed catnip toy or interactive cat dancer.

 

Tell your house guests to keep their medications carefully zipped up and packed away. Consider giving your pet a private space somewhere quiet they can retreat to away from all the noise and commotion. New Year’s is the next major holiday on the agenda and with that comes noisy poppers and fireworks.

 

 

Avoid giving pets as gifts to those not in your immediate family. A pet is not like caring for a plant. It’s a full-time job. Gifting a living being to someone who may not be prepared to handle everything that comes with that is not a good idea. This is what often results in animals being given up for adoption a few weeks into the new year. If you plan on giving someone a pet as a gift make sure they’re aware and have told you they are okay with that.

There are always unforeseeable incidents that can occur so make sure you have some emergency numbers easily accessible should anything happen. Remember that our doctors are only a phone call away and can be reached if you have any concerns or questions. I’ll never forget a dog we saw a few years ago suffering from lethargy and diarrhea. After having X-rays done we saw a perfectly centered metal “Star of David” in the dog’s stomach. It had been in the cup-holder of a client’s car. The client has placed a cupcake on top. Left alone for just a moment in the car resulted in the dog swallowing the cupcake and the star. Luckily the dog was okay after some surgery but the issue could have been easily avoided with some easy pet-proofing. That was just a dog in a car. Imagine a home filled with visiting guests and holiday chaos. Safe yourself the headache and take a little time to ensure your holiday festivities are joyous and relaxing.

 

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Despite what you might believe or have heard – IT IS IMPORTANT to spay and neuter your pets.

There are quite a few reasons why this is true. First and foremost there are the obvious health reasons that one should consider. Neutered dogs live an average of 18% longer than un-neutered dogs. Spayed dogs lives 23% longer than un-spayed dogs. The reduced lifespan for these unaltered pets often has to do with an increased urge in unfixed animals to roam. This leads to increased likelihood of being struck by cars, fighting with other animals and a wealth of other potential mishaps.

Another major factor is the decreased risk of certain types of cancers. Female cats and dogs who are unspayed run a greater chance of developing uterine cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system, as well as pyrometra, a potentially fatal uterine infection.

Male cats and dogs who are not neutered have a greater chance of getting testicular cancer and it’s believed they have higher rates of prostate cancer as well.

The most absurd justification for choosing to not neuter male dogs is the owner’s concern that their male dog will feel less “masculine” if neutered. Animals do not have any concept of sexual identity or ego. These are human constructs. Neutered male dogs do not feel lesser than their un-neutered counterparts. They are, however, less assertive and less prone to “marking” than unneutered dogs. Would you prefer your pet urinate everywhere that he smells another dog’s scent? Fixing animals solves 90% of marking issues — even in cats that have been doing it for a while. In cats it can also minimize howling, fighting with other males, and the urge to roam.

While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality. Their protective instinct, for example, will remain intact.

Beyond the health concerns there is the matter of homeless animals. The United States is overrun with them. There are estimated to be anywhere from 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Less than half of these animals are adopted — the rest of them are euthanized. These are healthy and lovable pets who are put to sleep primarily because of a lack of resources. These are not all “street” animals. Many of these pets are puppies/kittens (some even purebreds) who have been abandoned or lost. Healthy and loving pets that simply do not have homes.

 

I’m amazed that many people are completely unaware that more than 2.7 million healthy and adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year. I have known about this since I was a pre-teen and considered it to be common knowledge. Still, again and again, I find myself explaining this fact to people only to be met with wide-eyed surprise. Few seem to be aware just how big of a problem this is. Even people who do not intend to breed their pets often don’t consider the possibility that their pet could be lost at some point. Suppose your male or female dog/cat got loose and came across another unfixed dog or cat in the wild. Their interaction could very easily result in a litter of unwanted pets. It happens every day and it’s a big part of why shelters are overrun with unwanted animals.

Believe it or not it is also more cost-effective to care for a spayed or neutered animal. When weighed against the potential medical costs that are common in unfixed pets, spaying and neutering procedures are far less expensive in the long-run. Do you know how expensive it is to treat a dog or cat with cancer? Even the cost of a renewing a pet license is cheaper for fixed animals. The reality is that it’s just less expensive to have your pet fixed.

If you’re still not sure this is the best thing you can do for your pet you should discuss this with one of our amazing veterinarians who can discuss all of the options and help you to make an informed decision about your pet and his or her health.

 

 

What NOT to Feed Your Pet This Thanksgiving | University Animal Hospital NYC

I grew up in a household where human food was regularly offered to the family dog. Passing a scrap of food to the family dog isn’t the most absurd thing for any pet owner to have considered at one time or another. My mom used to let our dog lick the plates clean after many of our family dinners. Though she always told us not to give our dog chocolate (something she’d heard from her veterinarian) she was oblivious to some of the other foods that are quite toxic for our fuzzy children if consumed. I distinctly recall her feeding our dog Corky grapes on several occasions. She was completely oblivious to the damage that can cause. Thankfully, Corky still lived a long and healthy life despite his dietary missteps. Fred (the one with the horrendous teeth, remember?) has to settle for getting the occasional bit of boiled chicken mixed in with this dry food.

With Thanksgiving approaching I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of foods and substances you should definitely not be feeding your pets. With the gatherings that tend to happen around holidays we often find our homes flooded with visitors and the family pets have many opportunities to beg their way into receiving sneaky treats from unknowing relatives. Before you let Aunt Helen pass the remaining bite of her raisin-filled banana bread to your precious pooch consider reminding your guests what not to gift your fuzzy child. Should you ever be worried that your pet has consumed something they should not have call Animal Poison Control immediately.

Alcohol is a toxic substance and can cause an assortment of health issues for your pets. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, damage to the central nervous system, tremors or even death.

Avocado contains an ingredient that can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Caffeine, Chocolate and Coffee all contain methylxanthines, found in cacao seeds. If you pet ingests this it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, excessive thirst/urination and death. Darker chocolate is worse than milk chocolate. Baking chocolate is easily the worst. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxantines.

Citrus. The stems, leaves, peels, seeds and fruit of various citrus plants contain citric acid and essential oils can cause irritation and depression to the central nervous system and stomach upsets.

Coconut, coconut oil and coconut water can cause upset stomach and diarrhea.

Grapes/Raisins can cause kidney failure.

Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, tremors, weakness and depression in dogs. Almonds, pecans and walnuts contain high amounts of oils and fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea and pancreatitis in pets.

Dairy can cause issues because pets lack significant amounts of lactase (an enzyme that breaks down lactose). Diarrhea and digestive upset can occur.

Onions, Chives and Garlic cause gastrointestinal irritation and can lead to red blood cell damage. While cats are more susceptible dogs can be at risk if large amounts are consumed.

Undercooked/Raw Meat and eggs contain bacteria that can be harmful to pets if consumed.

Bones can cause pets to choke or sustain internal injuries if bone splinters are lodged in your pet’s digestive tract.

Salt and Snack Foods can result in excessive thirst/urination or even sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, elevated temperature, tremors, depression, seizures and death. This means no potato chips, popcorn or pretzels.

Xylitol, a sweetener used in many products (candy, gum and toothpaste) can cause insulin release which can lead to liver failure.

While most people would obviously not jump at giving many of these foods to their pets there are a handful mentioned above that many wouldn’t think twice about. So think twice about it. Think a few dozen times. Your dog can be happy and healthy with the occasional dog treat and their regular diet. A hug or some physical affection is a much better way to show your love than with food, anyway.

Pet Costumes and Halloween Pet Tips | University Animal Hospital NYC

The Halloween spirit brings along more than just candy and carving jack o’ lanterns. The ringing of the doorbell and constant knocking from inevitable trick or treating children (or opportunistic adults with extra time on their hands…) can cause stress for more anxious pets. The swarm of people wearing grotesque and disturbing costumes and the heightened noise levels can likely be alarming for your fuzzy children. Don’t fret. It’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of fantastic pet costumes for your dogs and cats these days that make the holiday madness worth it. The National Retail Federation estimates that over 22 million Americans will be dressing up their animals for Halloween this year. They will be spending upwards of $330 million dollars on costumes for their fuzzy children. The most popular costume? A pumpkin.

The primary choice among dachshund lovers appears to be a hot-dog costume.

One suggestion I can give is make sure whatever costume you decide to put your pet into is comfortable for them. Something extravagant might look really amazing but your biggest concern should be that your pet isn’t miserable for the evening. It is also worth considering the overwhelming nature of the holiday and the effect this could have on your pet. The festivities might be a little too much for your fuzzy child given how many people will undoubtedly be dressed up as extras from “The Walking Dead” or “Donald Trump.”

Personally, I feel this would be insulting to your pet despite how hilarious it might look. There are far better costumes you can dress them as. Bill Murray? Dorothy? Freddy Kruger? School-Girl? A shark?

The costumes available for pets has completely overshadowed what was available for human children was I was young enough to trick or treat. In 2015 there are some truly clever options for your pet to be a part of the holiday.

For pets that get a little anxious in large crowds or with too much noise consider a few options to increase their comfort level. For example, if nonstop doorbells and constant knocking might result in excess barking consider giving your dog a closed off area with puzzle toys or chewing treats to keep him or her occupied. Close the shades and turn on some calming music. Many pets are also lost on Halloween due to the constant opening and closing of front doors.

If your pet is not currently micro-chipped perhaps that is something you should consider. It can be done easily by making an appointment to see one of our amazing staff veterinarians.

Many pets rely on our facial expressions to know how we are feeling and having masks on can make it scary for a lot of them. When addressing your fuzzy children let them see your face without a mask, if possible.

Take steps to ensure your pets do not have access to any candy or treats that might be left around the house. Even on the upper east side you’re likely to get some foot traffic outside your apartment from child-sized ghosts and ghouls demanding sugary treats and these can be easily dropped on the floor or left at the edge of a table within reach of your pet’s awaiting mouth. When food is involved fuzzy children can get very resourceful.

Above everything else just remember that Halloween in New York City is a fun and festive time and even your dog and cat deserve to share in the celebration. There are plenty of ways to get them to join in the fun.

 

 

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MEL and tigers and bears… Oh my! Hospital Dog and Superstar Mel shows off his amazing Lion Costume

 

 

Fun Dog Names | University Animal Hospital NYC

Last night I watched Mike White’s hilarious and bizarrely somber 2007 comedy “Year of the Dog” and besides finding myself loving the character Molly Shannon perfected in “Peggy” I also found myself really digging the names of the various dogs (“Pencil” and “Valentine,” to name two) that she interacted with throughout the film. In recent years dog names have trended more towards cutesy names people would otherwise give their kids.

Working in the dog-care field I’ve met thousands of dogs and cats and I can say I rarely hear a name that’s incredibly original. Sure Ella, Stella and Bella are cute names but they’ve become so common in the pet world that nothing stands out. I recall meeting a dog several years back named “Iggy Von Bacon Bits III” and to this day I remember him quite well. I recall a time when people used to pick a name that fit the personality of their pet or fit his or her look.

According to some of my internet research these are

the most popular dog names of 2015

Female: Bella, Lucy, Daisy, Molly, Lola, Sophie, Sadie, Maggie, Chloe, Bailey

Male: Max, Buddy, Charlie, Jack, Cooper, Rocky, Toby, Tucker, Jake, Bear

Those names are all adorable and I can think of several dogs and cats (past pets of my own included) that had names from those lists.

Still I can’t help but wonder how much more fun everything would be if people gave their pets names that were a little more exciting or absurd. Imagine strolling along the streets of the Upper East Side of Manhattan and hearing someone call out “Oompa Loompa! Stop licking the pavement!”

I’m going to compile my own list of fun dog names I’d like to see given to animals soon. These names are gender neutral because gender roles are absurd. Imagine your male or female future pet with any of the following names and see the potential for fun and hilarity. I’ll refrain from explaining why these names are, in general, the best possible names for your dog or cat and leave it ambiguous. It’s just funnier that way.

Fun Dog Names

1. “Hilaryswank” (yes, one word)

 

 

2. “Cucumber”

 

3. “Sigourneyweaver” (again, one word) (also will accept “Zuul” or “Ripley” and since he’s pictured “billmurray”)

 

 

4. “USB”

 

5. “Garol”

6. “Stove”

 

7. “Hashtag” or “#”

 

8. “BobBarker”

 

9. “DoloresVanCartier” (will also accept “OdaMaeBrown,” each one word)

 

 

10. “Idon’tbelieveinfairies” (one word)

11. “Seinfeld”

 

12. “Cottonweary” (or “Galeweathers” — one word)

 

13. “Cat Stevens” (for a Dog only. For your cat = “Dog, The Bounty Hunter”)

 

14. “Selfie” (let’s be honest, this is a much better cat name)

15. “Wife,” “Husband” or “Life Partner” (cause let’s be honest… for some of us this is looking likely)

 

16. “2/2”

17. “Coffee_Bean” (with underscore)

18. “Pennsatucky”

 

19. “Walter White” or “Jesse Pinkman” or “Nancy Botwin” “Don Draper” “Tony Soprano” (really any modern TV anti-hero fits well in here)

 

20. “Dirty Martini” “Scotch” “Whiskey” (any drink of choice would make an excellent dog name)

The reality is you can name your pet just about anything you want. With a world of choices let’s expand this spectrum a bit more and encourage more creativity and try to think more outside the box. I’m naming my next pet “dotcom.com” (intentional use of double .com)

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