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How To Keep Your Dog Healthy This Spring

Here comes the sun! After such a tedious and cold winter, it can be exciting to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and plot your outdoor activities. But don’t get too overwhelmed with excitement just yet! As the temperature rises and the days go longer, maintaining your dog’s health should be on your list of priorities aside from going to the beach.

Spring with your four-legged companion means more time outdoors and more flocks of birds to watch outside, but it’s also the time when parasites increase in number and dogs are at higher risk of contracting illnesses.

However, there’s no need to worry and panic! Follow these tips to maintain your dog’s health this spring.

Prevent seasonal allergies

Does your dog usually itch as soon as the sun comes up? If yes, you should consult your local veterinarian to find out if the root cause is seasonal flu. If that’s the case, then you can help your dog relieve symptoms by feeding him foods that contain high nutritional value. You can start by feeding your pet premium fresh dog food since it typically contains fewer additives and giving him dog treats for sensitive stomachs. Consequently, if you have a Maltese dog that is prone to tear stains, what you can do is provide him with premium dog food that helps boost the immune system.


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Protect your dog from long exposure to the sun

Given the beautiful weather this season, it can be tempting to spend a lot of time outdoors. However, keep in mind that not only humans, but dogs are also prone to sunburn and heatstroke this season due to stronger UV rays emitted by the sun. Therefore, don’t let your dog bask in the sun for long periods of time!

Provide proper grooming

Unfortunately, spring doesn’t only mean longer days—it also means more mosquitoes, bugs, ticks, and fleas! These insects proliferate rapidly during this season and they can breed on your pup’s skin or in his gut. Ensure your fur baby is protected by providing proper grooming—long-haired dogs should be brushed daily, whereas smooth-haired dog breeds should be brushed at least once a week. Also, use a natural insect repellant as a safer alternative to chemical spot-on treatments.

Some dog breeds like Siberian Husky, Shiba Inu, and Bichon Frise are fastidious about self-grooming but their efforts may be inadequate in keeping them clean and healthy this summer. Make sure to bathe your pooch using a dog shampoo that contains naturally-derived ingredients to keep his coat nourished and shiny.

In addition to these grooming habits, you should also remove stagnant water sources from your property because they serve as bug breeding grounds.

Give proper exercise

Summer’s the perfect time to exercise with your four-legged best friend! Go on longer morning walks with your dog and allow him to play around! Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps lower the risk of diseases like arthritis and diabetes.Aside from enjoying long strolls with your pooch, you can also enjoy a fun, interactive playtime outside. If you have a chew-happy pet, make sure to buy indestructible toys that can withstand a mischievous destroyer’s intensive chewing.

Photo by Jodie Louise from Pexels

Pet Health Checklist

Pets are the best friends to us humans. They probably understand human emotions than our fellow humans would. Also, pets, to a high degree, blindly trust their owners. Although, they cannot talk to us, they definitely know how to communicate with us. We have the privilege to watch our pets grow; We get to play with them, pamper them, and most of all, care for them. Our pets may seem completely fine and healthy to us from outside. However, the real question remains – are they really healthy from within? 

If you are wondering how to figure out what a healthy pet looks like, here are some appropriate signs to look for:

  • Ears: Start with the ears and check if they are clean. Healthy ears will not have a bad odor, and they won’t show redness, and will be devoid of excessive wax.
  • Eyes: The next thing to check out are the eyes. Much like humans, clear and bright eyes are a good sign, this means they are well maintained. Look out for redness and watery eyes; These are signs of unhealthy vision.
  • Mouth: A healthy mouth may or may not have bad breath. Consult your veterinarian regarding this. But you can check out is red and swollen gums. Discolored teeth and gums also mean possible problems surfacing in the mouth. This could lead to gum disease and loss of teeth.
  • Coat & Skin: A healthy-looking coat will always be devoid of redness. It will not be flaky. Also, the skin won’t be excessively dry and won’t have any scabs or lumps.
  • Joints & Bones: You can figure this out by keeping a close watch on how your dog or cat is moving around. Healthy bones and joints will facilitate normal activities with ease. Concerns will arise if they are limping or having trouble while standing up. If they do not hesitate to walk or use the stairs then the pets have no problems with their bones or joint movement.
  • Weight: To check on whether the pets weigh right, look out for a slight tuck in behind the ribs or a visible “waist”. Signs of pets maintaining their weight are that their ribs can be felt easily but not seen.
  • Lungs & Heart: Signs of a healthy cardiovascular system include no sneezing, wheezing, labored breath, and coughing. Check if the pets are refraining from playing and exercising and if they are getting tired too easily.
  • Digestive System: A healthy digestive system paves the way to a normal appetite. Vomiting, diarrhea, swollen abdomen, passing gas, burping more than usual, and having trouble passing stool are signs of a malfunctioning digestive system.
  • Urinary System: Pets that are home-trained won’t cause accidents in the house. Check if the urine of your pet smells and looks different than usual. See if they are having trouble urinating or are completely unable to urinate. Such a case demands immediate medical attention. They could be facing life-threatening blockage.

It is time to take a pet’s health seriously, and all of this starts with you. It is your responsibility to schedule regular welfare sessions for your pets with the vet. Also, keep the vaccinations up-to-date. This helps in staying on top to prevent parasite manifestation. Make a perfectly nutritional and complete diet for the pet. Training the pets and helping them get adequate exercise works like magic for their health. Take good care of them. Help them stay strong, happy, healthy, and lively. Start today!          

Rising Health Costs Are Coming Your Way

*This article concerning health costs came from the New York Times. It was written by David Leonhart and it was published on July 19, 2019. Link

My health care is a benefit. Your health care is a cost.

That widespread attitude has long hurt political efforts to hold down medical costs. When people hear that the government (or an insurance company or a hospital) is taking steps to reduce health care spending, they get nervous about being denied medical care.

You can probably see the problem: Someone has to pay for medical care. And to some extent, we all pay for each other’s care, through both taxes and private insurance. Ultimately, an unwillingness to say no to health care spending leads to higher costs for everyone.

That’s one reason that Americans have the world’s highest medical costs. (Another reason is that doctors, drug companies and other parts of the American health care industry make a lot of money.) We struggle to say no even to health care that doesn’t make us healthier. Cardiologyprostate care and obstetrics are three examples, among many, of fields where high-cost care often brings no benefit.

All of which brings me to the sad story of the Cadillac tax.

During the long debate over the Affordable Care Act a decade ago, the Obama administration was one of the only forces for fiscal conservatism — that is, trying to hold down health care spending. Congressional Republicans could have pushed for cost-saving measures, but instead they just opposed any effort to insure the uninsured. Many congressional Democrats, especially in the House, had no interest in policies to hold down spending.

Now that the Obama administration is gone, an important part of the health care law seems likely to die: the Cadillac tax. Had it gone into effect, the tax would have applied to expensive insurance plans — that is, those with relatively few restrictions — as a way of encouraging companies and workers to use more efficient plans. A few years ago, though, Congress delayed it, and on Wednesday the House voted to repeal it. The Senate seems likely to follow. Being in favor of unconstrained health spending is politically easy, even though it’s bad policy.

Labor unions are probably the best example of the perverse politics of medical spending. Unions have always opposed the Cadillac tax, out of fear that it will deny needed medical care to their members. As a result, the unions have ended up effectively pushing for expensive health care plans that quietly pinch their members’ paychecks.

The sharp rise of health spending in recent decades is one reason that wage increases have been so weak. As Paul N. Van de Water, a health care expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told Abby Goodnough of The Times, the tax was “one of the A.C.A.’s most important cost-containment measures” and could have led to pay increases.

For more …

“Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success,” Karl W. Smith wrote for Bloomberg Opinion. “Instead, Democrats have set up that market for more turmoil.”

Sarah Kliff, then of Vox, explained in 2015 how the threat of the Cadillac tax was already holding down health costs. “Opposition is getting fiercer because the tax is working,” she wrote.

The Urban Institute has published a research paper with suggestions for improving the Cadillac tax rather than abolishing it.

For the other side of the argument, see Janet Trautwein, who works at an insurance industry trade group, or Stan Dorn, a consumer advocate. Core to the case against the tax is the idea that wasteful health care is not a meaningful contributor to overall costs.

7 Common Cat Behavior Problems and How to Fix Them

Here’s another article from our friends at Healthcare for Pets, a blog dedicated to your pet’s health. It covers seven bad habits cats have and how to deal with them. It could be said that bad cats existsbecause they were bad kittens. But there are behaviors that can developed in the best of conditions.

Original article: https://www.healthcareforpets.com/article/7-common-cat-behavior-problems-and-how-to-fix-them/

Does your cat have some bad habits, such as destroying the furniture or meowing at all hours of the night? Have you tried the usual “cat deterrents” such as messy essential oils, sprinkling cayenne pepper or outright yelling at your cat to no avail? Don’t despair: a combination of accommodating your cat’s natural instincts and changing the environment can help with common cat behavior problems and restore peace in your household.

stray cats sitting on street near house
Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com


What Doesn’t Work: Punishment

Confrontations with your cat will never end well. Even when you win, the negative feelings generated can come back to bite you even if your cat doesn’t. The problem with punishment is that unless you get the timing exactly right (during the unwanted behavior), your cat will associate the punishment with you. This is almost impossible to get right, so most of the time, punishment is a lost cause. You may have some success with clapping your hands loudly the instant you catch them doing something wrong, but unless you manage to catch them 90% of the time, the association will still be weak.

1. Litter Box Issues

Has your cat suddenly started having litter box accidents — outside the litter box — after years of being tidy and fastidious? They could be experiencing pain while relieving themselves, and avoiding the litter box as a result. Cat logic: it hurts to pee here, so I’m going to pee somewhere else! Make sure what you’re dealing with is not bladders stones, crystals in the urine or a UTI. Your vet can handle these.

Perhaps your cat is letting you know that the litter box needs a cleaning, or if you have more than one cat sharing a box, maybe it’s time to think about individual boxes. Somebody could be feeling crowded and wanting some personal space.

Sometimes cats are drawn to mark certain objects with their scent by spraying: the bed, shoes, and laundry are common targets. Wash these items with an enzyme cleaner and remove your cat’s access to these items.

2. Scratching

There are a few possible reasons for this behavior. She may be sharpening her claws, playing or working off some excess energy. Just buying the first scratching post you see at the store is unlikely to solve this problem.

Wondering how to stop cats from scratching? Start with spraying the scratched areas thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner to remove the scent that encourages your cat to keep scratching the area. Once dry, take steps to protect the area from your cat. A spray of cat deterrent or a little bit of sticky paper is unlikely to do the trick. A quick method to stop cats from scratching the furniture would be to cover it entirely in a throw blanket or if it’s possible, moving it to a room your cat cannot get into. For carpeted stairs, clear packing tape regularly reapplied to the edges can help.

Keep your cat’s claws trimmed. If you’re hesitant to trim them yourself, you can ask your vet.

Provide a stable scratching post covered in a texture you know your cat will enjoy, in an area of the house they prefer, and with enough height for them to fully stretch while scratching. Entice them with catnip and praise to reinforce the new behavior of using the post.

3. Aggression

Wondering how to calm an aggressive cat? Is this a new behavior? The first step is to check for any physical causes. If you get a clean bill of health from the vet, think about other possibilities.

Aggression can result for a number of different reasons. Maybe your cat is sick or feeling crowded by other pets in the house. Perhaps your mama cat feels like she must protect her kittens from real or imagined dangers.

An unneutered male can get pretty aggressive. The solution here is simple: get him fixed.

Make sure your cat’s needs are being met. If you have multiple pets, make sure everyone has enough space, enough food, comfortable sleeping spots.

To break up a cat attack, use a spray bottle to squirt them both with, or make a loud sudden noise. Don’t get physically involved.

4. Interrupting Your Sleep

Is your cat meowing at night? If you can tire your cat out before bedtime this might help. Often, your cat is just plain bored and looking for stimulation. Providing them with an enriched environment and taking time to play with them before bedtime can go a long way to curbing this behavior. It might sound strange, but cats are reassured by routine. Playing with them at the same time each evening (perhaps after dinner) will help soothe a demanding cat.

A timed feeder will also help to keep your cat’s attention on the food bowl and away from you during the night. Many couples report that their cats will only bother one of them to be fed in the morning, and leave the heavier sleeper alone because they know their efforts won’t work. Once your cat figures out that the food comes from the feeder and not from you, they will stop bothering you for food.

5. Cat Playing Rough

This is almost always caused by how the cat was raised as a kitten. Kittens need to be taught that human hands are not playthings, but older cats can also learn this as well. When playing with your cat, use a toy as an intermediary: wiggle a stick, not your finger, under a crinkle mat, or dangle a feather toy from a string rather than holding it. When your cat attacks, scratches or bites you, playtime is immediately over. Withdrawing attention will teach your cat the rules for keeping the fun going longer.

6. Caterwauling Kitty

Is your cat noisier than usual?

If she’s in heat, there are only two ways of stopping the noise. One is another cat, and the other is a trip for spaying at the vet’s office.

Other reasons for a cat to be complaining a lot include problems/unmet needs such as flea bites, empty food/water bowls or dirty litter boxes.

Is your cat howling at night? Elderly cats may begin to cry at night as they become confused and their senses decline. Other cats may yowl to express loneliness or anxiety. They often respond well to a Feliway diffuser which you plug into an electrical socket and it has a pheromone that it heats up and aerosolizes in your home. It has a calming effect on cats. If the behavior is well ingrained and they don’t respond to this, your vet may suggest a trial of anti-anxiety medication.

7. Destroying Houseplants

Interested in how to stop a cat from eating plants? Everyone will have their own suggestions: citrus peels on the soil, cayenne pepper, or bitter apple sprays from the pet store. The real bitter truth is, many cats will barely take notice of these so-called deterrents and happily continue to chew on your plants or dig through the soil. The only effective solutions are to put appealing plants out of reach, to select plants that are unappealing to chew on, and to cover the exposed soil if they like to dig. Your mileage may vary, but plants with leathery leaves such as mother in law’s tongue, succulents or cacti are the least likely to attract your cat’s attention.