Some cats are very confident. They are friendly to anyone who comes into your house, they run to the door when there’s a knock, and they don’t even shy away from the vacuum! But just like humans, every kitty is different. For every gregarious cat, there’s a skittish cat that jumps at the smallest noise or shies away from strangers.
If your cat is skittish, don’t fret! There are things you can do to help your furbaby come out of her shell. First, it’s important to understand why she might shy away from people, things, noises, and smells.
Why Is Your Cat Skittish?
A cat can be skittish simply because it’s part of her personality, but sometimes outside factors make a kitty skittish or cause her shyness to be worse.
1. She’s in a new environment.
This is the number-one reason a cat is anxious. When you bring home a new cat, she needs some time to get used to the house, family, and any other pets you have around—with all their sights, smells, noises, flavors, etc.
Bringing a new member of the family home is an exciting time as you get to know each other, but your cat may not feel as overjoyed as you right away. She’ll need her space as she explores her new home.
2. She doesn’t know how to act around humans.
Socialization is essential to overcoming your kitty’s anxiety, but bad socialization can have a negative effect. Mistreatment by a previous owner takes time to overcome.
3. She has a medical issue.
This could be the case if your cat’s anxiety started recently and wasn’t a part of her personality before. Behavioral changes and problems could be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Take your fur baby to the vet to rule any serious issues out.
Tips to Help Your Skittish Cat Come Out of Her Shell
If your cat is a bit anxious and you’ve ruled out underlying causes, here are some tips to help her come out of her shell:
Tip #1: Prevention
If your new cat is a kitten, prevention is the best way to avoid or reduce the chance that she’ll grow up into a skittish cat. Early socialization is essential. Introducing your kitty to new people, sights, objects, sounds, etc. while she’s young will help her be more comfortable with those things and new things she encounters as she ages.
Ensure your cat meets a wide variety of people in your life, especially family members, friends, or neighbors who come over often. Cats that grow up without meeting men early in life, for example, could make a trip to a male veterinarian or technician difficult for you!
Tip #2: Provide a Calming Atmosphere
An important step in helping a skittish cat overcome her anxiety, whether she’s young or old, is providing a calming atmosphere. In general, but especially in known stressful situations, avoid loud music, ask your children to quiet down, and turn down the TV a bit. Try not to yell at your cat, a family member, or another pet.
Be sure nothing chases your cat, like children or other animals. Although kids are naturally curious and excited about a new pet, chasing your cat could create lasting negative effects. The outcome could be scratched arms as well as more fear for your furry family member.
If your cat has a favorite place to hide, spend time with her in that space. Speak softly, and show her that everything is okay and she’s safe with you. An occasional treat or two can do wonders as well!
Tip #3: Give Her a Place to Go
Cats, whether they’re normally skittish or not, do not like their escape routes being cut off. Suddenly being trapped is distressing. Make sure your cat has easy access to her favorite hiding spots.
If you don’t have one already, consider buying a cat tree. Cats love to be up high. It helps them feel at home, comfortable, and safe because they can see their domain. This could be a great compromise for you and your cat: She’s in the room with the company that normally stresses her out, but she gets to be there on her terms.
Tip #4: Play
Relaxing play (and treats!) can also help your skittish cat come out from under the bed or her favorite hiding place. A feather wand or laser pointer is a quiet toy that may pique her interest. When playtime is over or she’s emerged from her lair, reward her with treats and praise.
If your cat isn’t taking the bait, try giving her more space with the toy. Allow her to smell it and investigate. Don’t rush her. Stay low to the ground to appear less threatening. Perhaps sit on the floor, speak in a soothing voice, and show your kitty that play and treats can be a great time for both of you.
Tip #5: Be Patient
The best thing to do for any skittish cat or kitten is to be patient. Their behavior is not going to change overnight. You never want to force your cat to sit with you or be around strangers. This will only reinforce her anxiety about her environment.
A soft voice, a gentle hand, and plenty of time can go a long way in calming your kitty.
Is Your Cat Shy Around Strangers Specifically?
If your cat is perfectly fine around the family, but runs when a stranger comes to the door, you can help her overcome her fear. This takes time and patience and shouldn’t be forced (Never lock her in a room with a stranger.), but it is possible!
Start with distance. When a new friend or neighbor comes to call, see what distance your cat is most comfortable with regarding the stranger. Don’t have the human get any closer than that. Practice this every time the stranger comes over. If your cat ever gets too anxious about how close they are, have your friend back up until your cat is comfortable again.
As you work toward progress, reward your kitty with treats and praise. Playtime may also help her associate the stranger with positivity.
The most valuable piece of advice when it comes to a skittish cat is: Be patient. Whether she’s new to your home or just afraid of strangers, giving your cat time and space to overcome her fears can do wonders. Forcing her to socialize can only do more harm than good.
If your kitty is suffering from anxiety and is still skittish after you’ve worked through these steps, give us a call, so we can rule out medical causes. Once that’s done, we’d be happy to talk through options for behavior counseling, so we can get your furry friend feeling fancy free as quickly as possible!
You’ve finished off most of your Christmas list for your family, but what about your fur babies? They’ll love a stocking of their own to investigate on Christmas morning. Here are a few stocking stuffer ideas for dogs, cats, and birds!
Stocking Stuffers for Dogs
The most obvious stocking stuffer for a dog is a brand-new toy (or toys)! While the kids are playing with their own, your pup can enjoy his as well. Something with a squeaker will add to the joyful cacophony. This moose is available for both small and large dogs. Don’t want a moose, or feel like mixing and matching a bit? KONG® has 10 different animals to choose from!
If you want to stay in the Christmas spirit, but would like a more peaceful Christmas morning, a tug toy is a great way to spend time with your dog. This one comes in Christmas colors! Natural fetch toys can also be a unique choice.
And if you have a pup that never sits still and never bores of fetch, you may find the perfect present in an automatic ball launcher. Although not a stocking stuffer, your dog will no doubt thank you for this one. Just see how nuts this dog gets!
Of course, if your dog has simpler tastes, you can never go wrong with a stocking stuffed to the brim with tennis balls.
Treats are a given in any good stocking—for dogs or humans! A few of your pup’s favorites (or a whole bag) will never steer you wrong!
Christmas is a special season, though, and if you want to treat them, opt for chicken strips or even their very own ice cream—in peanut butter flavor no less! Just put that ice cream in the stocking last minute to avoid any melting disasters.
Occupy your dog with a treat, and he may forget to beg at Christmas dinner!
Handmade gifts are always treasured when given to family and friends because they know you took the time and effort to make something special.
Combine a tennis ball and treats for the ultimate dog toy. With a knife, cut a hole in the tennis ball, and place treats inside. Your dog will become a ball of fun trying to get the treats out on Christmas morning!
Old shirts are great too, especially because they smell like you. When braided, they create the perfect tug-and-toss toy. Towels and socks also work great for this creation, especially for those fur babies that just can’t seem to get enough of your socks.
Stocking Stuffers for Cats
Probably like your parents, shopping for cats can be a bit more difficult. They can be fickle! Knowing a few of your feline’s favorite things will get you far on Christmas morning, but here are a couple ideas if you’re stumped.
For most kitties, you will never go wrong with springs! We have yet to meet a cat that doesn’t love them. Although you’ll lose quite a few under the stove and couch, they’ll provide endless entertainment and plenty of time for fetch. They’re also perfect for stuffing in a stocking!
A concealed motion toy is also a great idea for a stocking stuffer. It’s similar to a wand, but allows you to take a break once in a while.
And, of course, wands are beloved toys. They’re great for bonding, and feathers are irresistible to most kitties.
Another toy you’ll never go wrong with is anything cat-nip infused. This banana could be a hit!
Just like with presents, cats can be a bit fickle with treats and food. Although you can definitely experiment, you may want to stick to your kitty’s favorites unless you know he would like something different!
There are plenty of ways to turn treat time into fun time. If your cat is clever, puzzle toys like this mouse can entertain him for hours as he tries to get his treats out!
And, of course, a must-have in any cat stocking is cat nip!
For more stocking stuffer ideas, there are plenty of easy-to-make, handmade presents out there for kitties. One is a kick stick. You’ll need a sewing machine (or needle and thread if you prefer to hand sew), stuffing, a sturdy fabric, and, of course, cat nip! Even if you’re new to sewing, this is a pretty simple project.
Don’t forget: boxes. You’ll have plenty of empty ones on Christmas morning. Keep them out for your kitty to explore!
Stocking Stuffers for Birds
Just like cats, birds can be fickle when it comes to toys and treats. They definitely have their own personalities! Here are a few stocking stuffer ideas to get you started.
A foot toy can fit perfectly into a stocking and provide your bird hours of stimulation. These barbells, for example, are perfect for throwing and for watching as you pick them up! Chewy toys are another option that allow for stimulation and fun.
Birds also enjoy foraging for their food, so you may want to include a new puzzle toy inside your bird’s stocking! This one can be filled with fruits, pellets, veggies, and more.
Treats are always great to include in your bird’s puzzle balls and toys. Their favorites can provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need and encourage them to use their natural skills and behaviors.
A treat you could consider is a pet kabob because a bird’s gotta chew!
Fresh chop could be the perfect “handmade” gift for your bird. Include all their favorite ingredients as a special treat on Christmas morning! What you mix in depends on your bird’s taste. Just make sure everything is finely mashed before feeding to your bird.
Birds are often quite attracted to some of the items we consider everyday objects. Poker chips and frozen treat sticks are great for chucking around the house or chewing on. Keep an eye on them, though, for chips, breaks, and splinters to avoid harm to your feathered friend.
Another simple, handmade present is balled-up paper with a treat inside. Simple and fast, this is a great idea for Christmas morning—or any morning! It provides the perfect excuse for foraging.
These are just a few ideas for your pet’s stocking! While some may not quite fit into a normal-sized stocking, we’re sure your furry or feathered friend would never object to an oversized one. We hope you, your family, and your pets have a wonderful holiday season!
In search of even more—and larger—awesome gift ideas? Check out our gift guide for cats, and for dogs!
A puppy entering your life is cause for celebration! Whether expected (You picked him out at the shelter.) or unexpected (He followed you home!), having a little furry friend is a life-changing experience and requires some extra planning. What food does your puppy like? What vet will you take him to?
What happens when you go on vacation?
Boarding your dog is a great option when you’re planning a vacation, or when an emergency arises in your household. Puppies can be boarded too! But there are some things you should know first.
Can I Board My Puppy?
Yes, there’s nothing about puppies that means they can’t be boarded; unfortunately, some facilities prefer to board only adult dogs. This is because puppies require a specific amount of care, and not all boarders have the experience, space, or time for a young dog.
There are lots of facilities that do accept puppies, including Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. They are likely to have boarding requirements, so brush up on those before bringing your puppy for a stay.
Most facilities require dogs to be at least 12 weeks old, or 4 months. You may also see 17 weeks as a requirement from some facilities.
Age requirements are primarily due to the vaccination schedule for young dogs. At 12 weeks, many pups receive their first adult shots and will receive another round at about 16 weeks.
Cinco Ranch Vet offers boarding for all dogs that are up-to-date on their vaccines.
While these requirements may put you in a bit of a pinch, it’s for the safety of your dog and other dogs with which he comes into contact. Because boarding facilities house many dogs in close quarters, illness can spread, especially if the pups play together. Younger dogs are also more prone to disease because of their age.
Call the boarding facility you have in mind to see if they allow puppy boarding. They may not state it on their website, so it’s best to double-check before scheduling!
Whether you’re boarding a puppy, an adult dog, or a cat, planning is important. Kennels and facilities can fill up quickly, especially during the holidays or summer months, so snagging a spot for your fur baby as early as possible is essential. This also gives you plenty of time to call other places if your first choice is full.
We understand at Cinco Ranch Vet—and many other facilities do too—that emergencies happen! If you must board your puppy, explain the situation to your veterinarian or the boarding facility. They may be able to make last-minute adjustments for you, but it’s not guaranteed.
If something happens on your trip—your flight is delayed or your car breaks down—and you won’t make it home at the scheduled time, call the facility to make them aware and ensure your pup can get the care he needs in the meantime.
You May Want to Wait on That Vacation
Boarding your young puppy can be a stressful experience, both for you and your pup. The sudden change of scenery and people can be a bit frightening. If you can push your vacation back just a bit, especially if your dog is less than 17 weeks old, it may be the best option for everyone. You and your pup will have more time to grow together, get to know each other, and do some helpful training.
Boarding a puppy also requires special attention from boarding staff. During a busy season, that attention may not be possible for your dog. If you’re unsure, ask the boarding facility about special accommodations they have available and how much attention each dog receives in general.
How to Find a Boarding Facility
There are certain things you should look for when it comes to finding puppy boarding. Here are a few questions to ask caretakers and things to keep in mind:
- Do you usually take care of puppies, or only adult dogs?
- Where will my puppy be kept? Do you have special facilities for puppy boarding?
- Do you walk the dogs? Outside? Do they have interaction with other dogs?
- What type of food do they get? How often? Can I bring my puppy’s food instead?
- Are there any beds or toys? Can I bring some from home?
- What happens if my puppy gets sick?
- Are there any specific requirements for my puppy to be boarded?
- How safe is the facility? Is it clean?
- Are your employees and caretakers certified?
- How do you avoid fleas?
- What documentation do you need from me?
These are just a few of the questions you may want to ask! The answers all depend on each specific boarding facility. Some will allow you to bring your own dog’s food and toys, while others request that you don’t. Toys and bedding, for example, can get torn or lost. If your dog follows a raw diet, the staff may not be equipped or have the time to allow for this.
You’ll also want to check out reviews and fees when it comes to your puppy’s boarding facility. Many places have this information on their websites, but others like you to call or e-mail to get more in-depth information. Taking a tour of a facility can also give you a great idea if it’s the right place for your pup!
Reducing Anxiety for You and Your Puppy
It can be stressful leaving your fur baby behind while you travel, especially a young dog. Puppies in particular can be prone to stress due to change, so it’s important to reduce the chances of anxiety. Asking the questions listed above to ensure your new boarding facility is equipped to handle your young pup is essential. If they’re not generally used to younger dogs, it could be more difficult for them and your dog to adapt.
Even asking questions may not entirely soothe your anxiety, especially if a worry pops into your mind as you drift off to sleep in your hotel room. Thankfully, many boarding facilities allow you to call and check on your puppy during office hours! Some even have webcam viewing, so you can see your puppy on your phone or computer whether it’s 9 PM or 2 AM. This is a perk you can take advantage of if you choose Luxury Boarding with us!
Options If Your Puppy Is Too Young
If your dog is under 17 weeks old, he may be too young for puppy boarding, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. If you purchased your dog through a breeder, the breeder might be open to watching your new dog for a short period of time. Family members, trusted neighbors, and reputable pet sitters can also be a great asset, especially for shorter trips. Just ensure you leave enough information about your puppy for him to be well cared for.
Board Your Puppy with Cinco Ranch Vet!
We offer boarding for all dogs and cats that are up-to-date on their vaccines. Our staff is trained according to American Animal Hospital Association standards. When they stay with us, puppies younger than nine months receive:
- 2 meals a day
- 3 walks a day
- A bath when they leave
Other package options include:
- Special toys
- Additional playtime
- A television
We also offer the opportunity to check on your pet anytime via webcam if you choose Luxury Boarding.
Need to board your pet for an upcoming vacation or a sudden emergency, give us a call! We provide a range of options when it comes to puppy boarding. Find more information here, or call us at 281-693-7387.
Trimming your cat’s nails doesn’t sound like a fun chore, does it? Most cats won’t let you touch their paws, let alone trim their nails! But it’s something that needs to be done for your cat’s overall health and comfort.
Here are some tips for how to get started, followed by a step-by-step guide to getting those claws to the right length. (And if you’re a dog owner too, check out our step-by-step guide to trimming their nails!)
Why Trimming Your Cat’s Nails Is Important
Scratch posts, boxes, cat trees, and your furniture only go so far in keeping your cat’s nails short, sadly. This means you have to regularly trim their nails. Without trimming, long claws could lead to serious problems, like turning in on the pads, creating pain and a potential infection.
Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed can also lead to more comfort for you. There’s nothing cuter than a cat kneading your leg, but it can quickly turn to an “ouch” moment if they catch you with one of those needles. Longer claws also make it easier to scratch during play, rip up the carpet, or tear apart the couch.
Just trimming the tips can make a world of difference for you and your furbaby. How often you should trim your cat’s claws varies and depends on how fast they grow. We recommend you check them every two weeks, though older cats may need to be checked once a week.
If you don’t feel comfortable checking or trimming your cat’s nails, or your cat just won’t cooperate, give us a call at 281-693-7387, and we’ll happily schedule an appointment!
Materials You Need
Everything you need to trim your cat’s nails can be found online or at your local pet store. Here are just a few things you should have handy:
- Nail Clippers
- Styptic powder or styptic pencil
For cats, you have two choices when it comes to nail clippers:
Scissor clippers, which use a scissor motion, are a great choice if you’re new to nail trimming or just need to trim the tip of the nail.
Use guillotine clippers for thicker or tougher nails. They work by sliding the claw into a slot, where a blade cuts it.
In most cases, scissor clippers will get the job done.
Styptic powder is essential in case you make a mistake while trimming your cat’s nails. If you cut too far, the powder or pencil can stop the bleeding. Always have this on hand before attempting to cut your kitty’s claws.
And treats are always a good idea! They can help your cat relax and start to enjoy their regular manicures.
Note: Never use human nail clippers on cats or dogs. Human nail clippers are not designed for the shape of animals’ nails and could lead to injury.
Your First Few Times…
The Internet is a wonderful place for learning how to trim your cat’s nails, and so are we! You should always watch someone who knows what they’re doing trim an animal’s claws before you attempt to do it yourself. YouTube videos are a great place to start, but you may also want to ask one of our expert groomers for advice before getting started.
Always ensure your cat is comfortable before starting with the trim. We highly recommend you start slowly. In the beginning, this may mean just getting your cat comfortable with you touching their paws and the sound of the clippers. Once they relax, you may then only be able to get one nail done before they get uncomfortable. This is okay. Never try to cut a cat’s nails while they are stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable. It could lead to accidents or injury.
Once your cat is more comfortable with the procedure, you may want to try to do a paw a day until they can sit still for all four. Always have treats on hand to reward them, especially when you’re starting out.
If you can, try trimming your cat’s nails when they are still a kitten. Starting early can be much easier for you and your cat.
Steps to Trim Your Cat’s Nails
When both you and your cat are ready, it’s time to trim their nails.
Step 1: Hold your cat.
Hold your cat in your lap, facing away from you. Only continue to the next step if they are comfortable.
Step 2: Massage the paw.
Take your kitty’s paw into your hand, and slowly massaging it. Press the pad lightly to extend the claws. Determine which nails need to be trimmed.
Step 3: Find the quick.
This is the pink part of the nail, where all the blood and vessels are contained. Avoid cutting this part. You may want to trim less than usual just to be on the safe side.
Note: If you accidentally cut the quick, use the styptic powder immediately. Hold it to the cut nail, and stop trimming for the day. If you’re nervous about how much you cut the quick, you can always make an appointment for the vet.
Step 4: Clip!
Clip the nails using either your scissor clippers or guillotine clippers.
Step 5: Treat!
Bring out the treats! Even if you only managed to get one nail trimmed before they grew uncomfortable, they should still get a few. Treats can help reduce the stress of the procedure.
When to Take Your Cat to A Professional Groomer or Vet
Trimming your cat’s nails can be quite an adventure, especially if it’s the first few times and they aren’t yet comfortable. If you don’t feel confident that you can trim your cat’s nails or your cat isn’t relaxing after a few weeks of attempts, you should absolutely schedule regular appointments with your veterinarian or professional groomer.
If your cat’s nails ever reach the point of affecting how they walk, it’s important to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Your cat will be in pain and may require antibiotics.
Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed and well taken care of is essential to your pet’s health. Scratching posts are simply not enough to do the job! If you are struggling with trimming your cat’s nails and they’re getting long, it may be time to make an appointment. Call us at 281-693-7387 to schedule one!
Christmas is right around the corner! As you’re busy purchasing the perfect gifts for your family and friends, don’t forget about your kitty. After all, he or she is part of the family as well.
Cats and Gifts
Whether your cat’s playful or aloof, all kitties have one thing in common: They love gifts! Whether it’s a new toy or a treat, Fluffy’s eyes will light up when she sees her new toy. Besides the fun of getting to see your cat play (and playing with it), the best part of buying a Christmas present for your cat is that you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to satisfy it.
What kind of gift will your special feline fall in love with? Here are a few ideas for presents that can be purchased or made at home.
Buy a Cat Christmas Present
1. Cat Dancer
Cats can be pretty easy to please! This charmer wand is cheap, simple, and will keep your furry friend entertained for hours.
2. Catnip Cat Toys
Cats love mice. They also love catnip. What happens when you combine both? Hours of entertainment for your kitty!
3. Cat Tree Scratcher Play House Condo
Is your home simply not enough space for your cat? This 72-inch condo gives your cat their own abode with plenty of scratching poles to boot!
4. Thermal Cat Mat
House getting cold? For an electricity-free way to keep your cat warm, get this thermal mat that reflects your cat’s body heat.
5. Food Maze
Stimulate your cat’s mind while giving them a treat (making them love you forever). Try out this treat maze for lots of feline fun.
6. Lion Mane
Keep your cat’s head warm while making them feel like a ferocious beast (and giving you tons of cute photo ops) with this lion wig!
7. Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Do you have a generous budget? Why not upgrade your kitty’s litter box with a self-cleaning one? Not only will your cat get a fresh place to use the bathroom, it’s much more pleasant for humans too!
Make a Cat Christmas Present
Making gifts at home can sometimes feel like a lost art, but you can bring it back through toys and treats for your kitty. Many of these can be made from items already found around the house!
8. Yarn Ball Catnip
Yarn is a timeless cat toy. Take it to the next level with catnip-infused yarn balls.
9. Feline Detour Tunnels
Are you skilled in architecture or just love a good DIY challenge? Why not create a transit system for your cat?
10. Cardboard Cat Playhouse
This is perfect if you have a lot of boxes around. Use cardboard to create your cat’s own awesome house!
11. Pipe-Cleaner Cat Toy
While this pipe-cleaner toy will need to be refreshed once in a while, it’s wonderful in its simplicity.
12. Puzzle Cat Feeder
A puzzle feeder is a great way to exercise your cat’s brain and help them have some fun that isn’t just chasing a string. Use a water bottle to create your own puzzle feeder.
13. Homemade Salmon & Oat Treats
Want to gift your feline something yummy they’ll love? Make a healthy oat-salmon treat!
14. Menswear Mouse Toy
Craft a mouse toy from spare clothes. Not only will it be durable, it’s extremely cheap to make!
Is your cat’s Christmas gift becoming a little clearer now? Whether your gift is homemade, store-bought, inexpensive, or a luxury item, your kitty will cherish your present and especially the time you spend playing together! What will you be getting your kitty for Christmas?
As you wrap up your Christmas shopping (or get started on your list of what to buy for friends and family), don’t forget the dogs! Your pup is one of your best companions, and if you’re like many dog owners, you think of Fido as your own family.
Thankfully, you don’t have to spend too much for your pup. You won’t need to give him the latest video game console or buy him a fancy new outfit. Your dog will be overjoyed no matter what the gift is.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Pet Fountain
Spruce up your dog’s drinking experience by turning their bowl into a water fountain!
2. Gourmet Dog Treat Gift Box
The holidays are a time to eat and be merry. What’s the best way to treat your pup? How about a box of 75 treats?!
Keep the chill off during those long walks. (One of you has to work off the turkey and Christmas cookies!) This cozy sweater will keep your pal warm.
4. Pet Paw Protection Wax
Speaking of walks, sometimes your dog’s paws can feel extra cold or get too hot in the summer. These invisible wax puppy shoes will protect them against heat, cold, sand, and more!
Make a present.
If you’re the kind of dog owner who prefers to make your gifts with love at home, here are a few ideas for going the homemade route.
6. Homemade Dog Treats
Bake some homemade peanut butter dog treats. You can even use Christmas cookie cutters to infuse these snacks with holiday spirit!
7. Customized Pet Bowl
Make a customized pet bowl using dot painting.
8. Denim Dog Toy
Looking for a cheap, sturdy, and homemade plaything? Try a denim toy.
9. Easy & Cheap Dog Toy
Your dog’s brain needs stimulation, just like yours. Why not craft a homemade treat puzzle from a tennis ball to do the job?
10. Recycled Dog Sweater
Dog sweaters don’t have to couture to be cute! Hit up the thrift store, and construct one yourself!
11. Easy, Washable Pet Bed
Looking to whip up some fresh, homemade treats for your pup? Try Bake-a-Bone. You can bake four treats at once!
Don’t forget to wrap all these presents in some edible, non-toxic, doggie wrapping paper.
Enjoy Christmas with Your Furry Friend!
Hide the presents underneath the tree, and when it’s time, give the wrapped gifts to your dog. He’ll tear open his presents, and you’ll get to watch his eyes light up as he plays with his new toys or chows down on some cute treats.
There are plenty of other doggie gifts for pups to enjoy—your options are almost endless! Look around your nearest pet store or even around your house to see if there’s anything you can make for Fido with safe household items. He’ll enjoy any gift you give him!
Two straightforward reasons dogs need baths are:
- They just came home from the dog park, covered in mud.
- They need medication.
But there are many more. Maybe you’re the lucky owner whose pup just loves the tub!
Besides water, there’s one thing you always need at bath time: shampoo. There are a lot of dog shampoos out there, though. How do you know which is best for your pup?
We’ve got you covered!
Check out the list of shampoos we recommend and use on dogs at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. You can buy each of these online, but we have them all at our office as well. Feel free to purchase a bottle during your next visit!
Your Dog Has Normal Skin
1. Desert Almond Shampoo
For dogs with normal (non-itchy) skin, we highly recommend Desert Almond Shampoo by Groomer’s Edge. We use it on the pups that board with us or see our groomers and don’t require medicated shampoo. Oatmeal-based and full of vitamins, it’s extremely gentle and will leave your dog’s fur soft and shining.
Desert Almond Shampoo is a perfect choice for most dogs, especially after trips to the dog park when they’re covered in dozens of unidentifiable odors. Your furbaby will emerge from the tub clean and smelling like almonds.
Desert Almond is also a great choice for cats! You can find a 16-ounce bottle on Amazon or at our office.
Your Dog Has Itchy Skin
If your pup suffers from itchy skin, we highly recommend using a medicated shampoo. Itchiness can lead to more complications, such as:
- Skin irritation
Before you use a medicated product, bring your dog in for an appointment to get to the bottom of the itchies. We’ll be able to tell if it’s allergies, fleas, or something else. And we’ll find the best shampoo for your pup’s condition.
The shampoos below are the medicated products we use for dogs that come to our groomers suffering from:
2. DOUXO® Calm Shampoo
DOUXO Calm Shampoo is a regular choice at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital. A medicated, soap-free shampoo, it’s perfect for dogs that suffer from allergic dermatitis, pruritus, or have sensitive skin.
The formula is simple:
- Plant extracts that moisturize your pup’s skin
- Phytosphingosine – It sounds complicated, but its job is straightforward: Promote a healthy skin barrier.
Are you more of a cat person? DOUXO Calm is good for them as well!
3. DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
Also part of the DOUXO line, another dog shampoo we recommend is Chlorhexidine PS. As with Calm, it is a medicated, soap-free shampoo, but it’s meant for more severe skin irritations and conditions. The ingredients allow for treatment of bacterial and malassezia skin infections and can help control:
Long-lasting, Chlorhexidine PS can help keep your pup comfortable and prevent their skin from losing moisture or drying out.
We highly recommend treating itchy skin with shampoo that won’t irritate your pet, and DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS is a great choice for managing certain conditions.
4. DOUXO Seborrhea Shampoo
DOUXO Seborrhea is a shampoo we use for dogs that suffer from seborrheic conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis—better known as “greasy dandruff.” Exactly like it sounds, seborrheic dermatitis can give your furbaby dandruff with fur that appears and feels greasy. It’s a chronic condition, so it’s nice to give your pet some relief. In addition to reducing these symptoms, DOUXO Seborrhea can prevent comebacks of the dermatitis and reduce inflammation, as well as moisturize, helping to repair the skin barrier.
DOUXO Seborrhea works great for dogs, but it also has a benefit for humans! It controls sebum production. Sebum is a major cause of dog allergies in humans. If anyone in your home or any of your friends are allergic to your pet, this shampoo could be the perfect addition to the bath as it eliminates excess sebum.
DOUXO Seborrhea is most commonly used for greasy dandruff in both cats and dogs, but it can also be used to treat:
- Mixed seborrhea
- Seborrhea sicca
- Seborrhea oleosa
You can find DOUXO Seborrhea in three ways:
Why Medicated Shampoos Are Important
If your dog suffers from itchy skin, whether from allergic dermatitis or something more serious, it may be time to see the vet. Some breeds, such as Labrador retrievers and Basset Hounds, are more prone to skin conditions, such as greasy dandruff, which makes treatment a must. We can help diagnose your pet’s issue and offer ways to reduce their inflammation, discomfort, and symptoms, making your pup much more comfortable.
Even though medicated shampoos and regular baths with them can help many skin irritations and conditions, we know not all owners feel comfortable or are physically able to give their dogs baths. We also know that some dogs really dislike getting them!
That’s why our groomers are perfectly happy to take care of bath time for you. For pets with skin irritations, we use the three medicated shampoos we recommended above, depending on the animal’s condition:
- DOUXO Calm Shampoo
- DOUXO Seborrhea Shampoo
- DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
For dogs without skin irritations, we regularly use Desert Almond Shampoo.
If you’d like to schedule a grooming appointment for your dog or would like to get to the bottom of your pet’s skin condition, don’t hesitate to call us at 281-693-7387!
Everyone loves a fluffy dog or cat, but did you know the hairless breeds are also adored? Despite their biggest fans, they’re still much less well-known than their furry counterparts.
Learn about the coolest hairless dogs and cats out there, and give them some love!
1. Mexican Hairless
The Mexican hairless dog, officially known as the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced: show-low-eats-queen-tlee) or the Xolo, is one of the rarest breeds in the world. It’s also one of the oldest. The name Xoloitzcuintli is ancient! It’s a combination of Xolotl, an Aztec Indian god, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog.
Native to Mexico and Central America, Xolos are considered to have been one of the first dogs to live on the North American continent.
Xolos are most often hairless, although they can occasionally be born with a very short coat. Many are blue-gray, but they can come in a variety of colors, including:
Due to their lack of hair, the dog developed warm skin. Thanks to their warm bodies, they made excellent cuddle companions for those with arthritis. They were also believed to ward off other ailments and evil spirits.
What’s the Mexican Hairless Like?
Today, Xolos are known for being extremely loyal dogs, devoted to their families. A common name for them is “Velcro dog” because they won’t leave your side! They are also intelligent and athletic, making them trainable and excellent guard dogs. Xolos love exercise and long walks, though they will remain calm in the house.
It’s usually recommended that Xolos be supervised if you have other dogs or children, but they’re excellent companions if you’re allergic to dogs as they’re hypoallergenic!
COOL FACT ABOUT XOLOS! Mexican hairless dogs are commonly seen at the “World’s Ugliest Dog” competition!
2. Chinese Crested
The Chinese crested’s origins are first in Africa and later in China. Bred to be small, they were soon all over the world, becoming popular in the United States by the 1900s. They did not become an AKC breed until 1991 and are usually companion pets today.
Although they are considered hairless, they often have fur on their heads, paws, and tails. There is also a variation of the Chinese crested known as a powderpuff, which is entirely covered in silky fur. This variation is rare, since the hairless crested is often preferred. A toy breed, the Chinese crested weighs about 10 pounds and comes in 11 different colors.
What’s the Chinese Crested Like?
Like a Xolo, your crested will become extremely close to you once it overcomes its shyness. Affectionate, playful, and goofy, cresteds are also considered “cat-like” because they love high places. They’re great with children, so long as the kids are taught to be gentle.
If you’re considering adopting a Chinese Crested, keep in mind that the hairless variety will need regular treatment for its skin to avoid sunburn and other injuries. The powderpuff version requires regular brushing.
COOL FACT ABOUT CHINESE CRESTEDS! As the ancestors of the Chinese crested left Africa, they were often used to hunt rats on ships!
3. American Hairless Terrier
The American hairless terrier (AHT) is a relatively new breed of dog, especially when compared to the Chinese crested and Xolo. In the 1970s, a hairless dog was born to a purebred rat terrier in the United States. Named Josephine, the owners wished to have more like her, and the American hairless terrier came to be after an extensive breeding program. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2016.
The AHT can come in 19 different colors, with 7 variations in markings. There is also a coated version of the American hairless (known as the coated carrier). A smaller dog, they weigh up to about 16 pounds.
What’s the AHT Like?
Since it originated from the rat terrier, the urge to hunt and rat still exists for the AHT. But because they don’t have a coat, they can’t take part in those activities. They still have an energetic streak, though, so they love to play and explore. They’re intelligent and territorial, making great watch dogs for the family.
As with the Xolo, American hairless terriers are hypoallergenic, making one a great choice if you suffer from allergies. They also get along wonderfully with other pets.
COOL FACT ABOUT AHTS! They are the often considered the first hairless breed to start in the United States.
The sphynx cat is a relatively new breed of hairless cat. The original one was born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada to a domestic cat. Recognized as unusual, cat breeders began a program to create a healthy version of the hairless cat through selective breeding with various furred cats, like the devon rex. The results are a beautiful sphynx with fewer genetic problems.
A truly unusual cat, a sphynx is born with plenty of wrinkles that start to disappear as it grows older. Its body can be either smooth and hairless or with a very fine down, like a peach! Sphynxes come in a variety of colors, from white to chocolate to calico. If they have any fur, it will often be the same color as their skin.
What’s the Sphynx Like?
If you love an attentive cat, you’ve found it in the sphynx. Affectionate and cuddly, it will not leave your side. Sphynxes are also clever, fearless, and friendly, even to strangers. There’s no doubt they make excellent companions.
If you’re looking for a cat that will truly capture your interest and heart and even keep you laughing, the sphynx is an excellent choice. They even do extremely well with other pets and children. It’s highly recommended that you adopt two if you work away from home, as they do love companionship at all times.
5. The Donskoy
Although the donskoy is often mistaken for the sphynx, it’s its own breed! Also known as the Russian hairless, don sphynx, or don hairless, this kitty got its start in 1987 when a bald cat had kittens, just as bald as their mother. A breeding program began soon after, and the donskoy went on to become recognized by the World Cat Federation in 1997 and The International Cat Association by 2005.
This hairless cat comes in four different types:
- Rubber bald
- Velour coat
- Brush coat
- Flock coat
The rubber bald is completely bald from birth, while velour, brush, and flock coats have a variety of fur and textures. Flock coat, for example, appears to be bald, but does have soft fur. Donskoys also come in a variety of colors, from blue to lilac to auburn.
What’s the Donskoy Like?
The donskoy is very similar to the sphynx in behavior:
If you’ve always wanted a dog, but love cats, you may find your soulmate in this hairless breed. Extremely intelligent, they’re trainable and have some of the best qualities of both cats and dogs.
A wonderful lap cat, this is a kitty that won’t leave your side. It also gets along with everyone in the family—from kids to adults—and has excellent social skills with all other pets in the home.
COOL FACT ABOUT DONSKOYS! The donskoy’s paws are quite unusual: Their webbed toes and thumbs allow them to pick up items!
Hairless dogs and cats may look unusual, but there’s no doubt they make excellent additions to homes, especially with owners who have allergies! If you’re interested in adopting one of these dogs or cats, check out your local shelter first. Many purebreds in shelters have their documentation! If you’re considering breeders, always ensure they have the proper paperwork and the animals are well taken care of.
If you take home a Mexican hairless, a Chinese crested, an American hairless terrier, a spyhnx, or another pet, congratulations! Make sure they see a vet for their first appointment! Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387 to schedule your fur(less) baby’s checkup!
Everyone knows dogs need baths, especially after a trip to the dog park or a romp in the backyard.
But do cats?
You may not realize your feline fur baby needs a bath from time to time. Giving your cat a bath and living to tell the tale might sound impossible. It’s not!
Here’s exactly why bath time is important and how to do it.
4 Reasons Bath Time Matters for Cats
There are a few reasons why your cat may need a good cleaning now and again or more regularly.
1. Your cat doesn’t groom itself.
Even though cats are programmed to groom themselves, some are not so good at it, especially if they get into dirty or dusty places. They may have greasy or stained spots on their coat that they’re just not taking care of. For long-haired cats, it’s especially tough to keep up with all the grooming required!
Still, most cats are good at cleaning themselves. If you notice your cat isn’t grooming itself, there may be a medical reason. Obese and arthritic cats, for example, have a hard time reaching their lower backs. This causes the hair to become matted and, in turn, irritates the skin. Cats with mouth disease or tumors also have no interest in grooming themselves due to the pain.
If your cat has suddenly stopped grooming, call us. It may be time for a trip to the vet to check for an underlying cause.
2. Your cat has fleas.
No cat wants to have fleas, and neither do you! A flea infestation should be handled immediately. Sometimes a bath can help remove the little pests, the flea dirt, and the eggs.
Most flea medications kill fleas, but if an infestation is particularly bad or your cat suffers from a flea allergy, a bath can provide immediate relief. There are also soaps specifically designed to help relieve your cat of these pesky critters.
For fleas, make sure you talk to your vet about the available medications, treatments, and shampoos.
3. Something is stuck to your cat’s coat.
Cats are notoriously curious, and sometimes that leads them into sticky situations—literally! If your kitty wanders outdoors, it can easily come home covered in tree sap, motor oil, or other items. Or your curious critter got into the syrup, honey, or another sticky food in the kitchen!
Even small spots of something stuck in fur may be impossible (and unhealthy) for your cat to get out on its own. For your cat’s health, it’s important to remove whatever substance is in the coat as quickly as possible.
If you suspect your cat has consumed a foreign substance, make a trip to the vet to ensure it didn’t ingest too much, and it doesn’t need medical attention.
4. Your cat has ringworm.
Ringworm is not like hookworms or roundworm. It’s actually a fungus on the skin that appears as a lesion. These lesions sometimes disappear on their own, but treatment is occasionally needed. This could be a combination of:
- Topical creams
- Oral medications
It’s recommended you bathe your cat before applying the cream. Other times, your cat may be prescribed a medicated bath.
When is it time to schedule a visit to the vet? If your cat has a skin lesion with:
- No fur
- A scaly center
- Small pustules
4 Tips Before You Bathe!
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind before you start gathering what you need!
1. Start young – Some cats, when introduced to water as kittens, grow to love the bathtub!
2. Brush regularly – Doing so in between baths can help your cat find relief, especially if it has long hair. Brushing removes dead hair, dead skin, and dirt, but also helps with blood circulation.
3. Do it for your cat – Even if your feline isn’t dealing with any of the issues listed above, regular baths help it maintain a healthy coat.
4. Read the bottle first – Certain pet shampoos and soaps are not made for kittens. If you’re not sure, ask your vet.
4 Items You Need for Bath Time + 4 More You’ll Probably Want
You’ll have to gather a few items as you prepare to give your cat its first bath. Here’s what you should have ready:
1. A Towel or Non-Slip Mat
This will protect your cat from the uncomfortable, slippery surface of the bathtub.
2. Pet Shampoo
Never use human shampoo or soaps on your pet. If you are unsure what brand to use, ask your vet for a recommendation before starting.
3. A Detachable Shower Head with Low Settings, a Bucket, or a Pitcher
4. More Towels
Have towels ready to dry your cat off after its bath.
Optional #1: A Laundry Basket
You may want to use the laundry basket inside the bathtub, to give your cat a more comfortable, secure area for bathing.
Optional #2: Gloves
If this is your cat’s first bath time, consider using gloves to prevent scratches. Long gloves are recommended. It may also be a good idea to trim your cat’s nails before bath time.
Optional #3: Treats
Baths can be stressful for some kitties! Treats could help yours relax.
Optional #4: A Helper
For cats that really don’t like baths, a helper may be a necessity. Someone the cat is comfortable with is always preferred.
How to Wash Your Cat
Now that you have all the items you need, it’s time to start the bath!
Fill about an inch or two of the bath with warm water. Ensure that it’s not too hot.
Put your kitty in the bath. If you’ve enlisted the help of a family member or friend and your cat is not happy, one of you should hold the cat while the other bathes him or her.
Pour (or use the shower head on a very low setting) the warm water over your cat, avoiding its head.
Lather your cat up with pet-friendly shampoo. Again, it’s important to avoid:
Rinse off your cat with warm water, either from the shower head or bucket. Make sure all the soap is off your cat.
Gently dry your cat using towels. If your cat is young, it may love being put in what is known as a “purrito!” This is similar to swaddling a baby.
Giving your cat a bath for the first time can be trying. That’s why it’s important to start as young as possible to ensure your furry friend is comfortable as it gets older. Whether for the benefit of their coat or their health, sometimes a bath for your cat is an absolute must.
If your cat is particularly adamant about not having a bath or you’re uncomfortable giving your pet a bath, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional groomer. We offer grooming services for both cats and dogs! Find more information here, or call 281-693-7387.
Nothing can wake you up at night (and keep you up) much like a cat meowing. If it’s happening every evening, it could have serious effects on your sleep, your cat, and your life. Here’s a look at why your cat might be meowing so insistently at night and some solutions to handle it.
4 Reasons Your Cat Won’t Stop Meowing
There are a number of reasons your cat may be meowing throughout the night instead of sleeping. Here are a few of the more common causes!
1. Your cat is in pain or discomfort.
The very first thing you want to do is rule out medical reasons for your cat’s crying. This is especially true if your cat has cried all night in the past or if it also meows insistently during the day. Pain or discomfort could be causing your kitty to cry out, unable to sleep.
If you suspect a medical issue, it’s important to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet can test for deafness and other issues. If nothing medically is wrong, you have at least ruled out this possibility, giving yourself peace of mind and your vet other avenues to explore.
2. Your cat is bored.
Boredom is a very common reason a cat will meow nonstop in the night. Even though cats’ ancestors were nocturnal, modern housecats do tend to sleep throughout the night like their humans. Still, they will wake up occasionally. This may be to take a walk around the house, grab a snack, or go to the bathroom.
If your cat doesn’t get enough attention or playtime during the day, it may be wide awake and bored come nighttime. Meowing might wake you up, and your kitty will get the attention it wants and needs! This is especially the case with younger cats and kittens that don’t get long enough workouts during the day.
3. Your cat is anxious.
Anxiety is another reason why your cat may cry while you’re trying to sleep. Changes in its environment—like if it was recently adopted—can be startling for a cat! Your furry friend may be:
- Seeking reassurance
- Calling for litter mates
Besides meowing, other signs of anxiety in cats include:
- Excessive grooming
- Urinating outside the litterbox
- Increased aggression
With time, as your cat becomes comfortable, the nighttime meowing for the reasons above may stop.
4. Your cat wants attention.
The nonstop meowing your cat is exhibiting may just come down to an attention-seeking behavior. This could be due to boredom, but your feline could also be used to getting what it wants when it meows. If your cat has a more demanding personality, this may be the root cause of the cries.
Tips for Breaking the Habit of Nighttime Meowing
Don’t worry! There are a few ways to tackle your cat’s nighttime cries.
1. Don’t encourage the behavior.
You should never encourage or reward nighttime (or excessive daytime) meowing. Your cat is smart and will quickly learn that a meow can get results, whether it be food, playtime, or cuddles. The less you react to the crying, the less it will be used against you.
During the night, try wearing earplugs while you wean your kitty off this behavior. During the day, try not to respond to excessive meowing; walk away instead. You can give your kitty attention when it’s calmed down!
But make sure you stick to your plan! Giving in even one night can undo all your progress.
Pro tip: Don’t yell at your cat for meowing—day or night. It could cause behavioral issues in addition to the crying.
2. Stick to a routine.
Cats prefer routine, like knowing their food bowl is filled at 8 AM and 8 PM. Do the same with playtime and attention, and make sure you’re spending time with your furry companion every day. With enough playtime, you can work out that pent-up energy and reduce the midnight meows. You may also want to consider playing with your cat just before you go to bed.
Cats also tend to fall asleep after a big meal. Feeding them dinner just before bedtime can ensure they stay asleep for longer. To prevent nighttime calls for food, consider using a timed feeder. Your cat will learn this schedule quickly and won’t wake you up!
3. Reduce your cat’s anxiety.
If your cat’s nighttime cries are due to anxiety, you’ll want to take steps to reduce its stress. Plenty of attention and playtime during the day goes a long way, but you also don’t want to leave your cat all alone during the night. If your kitty is a new addition to your home, for instance, it may not know it can go upstairs with you!
Your meowing cat could be lonely, especially if you work during the day, and it’s an “only cat.” Adding a second kitty to your home could be the answer, but make sure to take proper steps to introduce them correctly.
4. Take a visit to the vet.
If none of these solutions work or you suspect a medical issue, it’s time for a trip to the vet. As stated before, insistent meowing at night could indicate an underlying issue that’s causing your cat pain or discomfort.
In addition to testing for medical problems, your vet can provide additional advice and/or remedial products for your cat’s anxiety or stress.
You love your cat, but no one wants to be kept up all night by their furbaby’s cries! Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s yowling can help you better understand the steps you need to take to reduce this behavior and help your furry friend be more comfortable.
If you think the cause of nighttime meowing may be an underlying medical issue or you just want advice, don’t hesitate to call us at 281-693-7387 to make an appointment!