Ariel

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: PET CARE

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  • Which vaccines should my pet receive?
  • Only rabies vaccinations are required by law, and they are required of both cats and dogs beginning at four months of age. Rabies vaccinations administered by an owner are not recognized as valid. Only licensed veterinarians may vaccinate an animal against rabies. You should keep all rabies vaccination records (given to you by your vet at the time of the shot) with your other important records. If your pet bites someone, these records will prove it was protected. Without them, your animal could be confiscated or euthanized.

    Other vaccinations are important for your animal's health. Many preventative vaccinations are life-saving, such as those given to prevent distemper and parvo. Preventative heartworm treatment is also imperative for dogs (and is now being suggested for cats, too). Consult you veterinarian for more information on the right vaccination schedule for your pet.
  • What's so bad about keeping my pet outdoors?
  • Living outside leaves your animal open to dangers they wouldn't have to face if they lived in your home - things like wild animals, moving vehicles, poisons, diseases, a nd cruel people who would hurt or steal your pet. All animals need food, shelter, and water to survive, and cats or tied-out dogs may have trouble obtaining these things. Unaltered animals will not only produce litters that will further the overpopulation problem, but they also tend to get in more fights that can lead to infection or death. Finally, keeping an animal outside never really allows you to bond with your pet. How will you form a relationship with an animal you hardly ever see or interact with? Many outdoor dogs become territorial and aggressive due to boredom and poor socialization, making them more likely to attack neighbors and children.

    Simply bringing your pet inside to share your home will help him or her live a longer, happier life and allow both of you to develop a life-long friendship!

    Cats CAN live indoors! They'll need toys and scratching posts, but a nice window seat and some love and attention from you will help them live a longer and healthier life. Indoor living can increase a cat's life expectancy by over 10 years!
  • What's wrong with declawing a cat?
  • Declawing is equivalent to removing the first bone in each of your fingers. It's a painful procedure that takes a long time to heal and is not always 100% effective (sometimes the nails will continue to grow if they have not been removed completely). Declawing can sometimes lead to behavioral problems like biting and refusal to use the litterbox.

    There may be times when declawing is appropriate (example: some polydactyl cats may need to be declawed to prevent the nails on their extra toes from growing into their paw pads), but declawing should NOT be a preventative measure to keep your cat or kitten from scratching your possessions. Having a cat that draws blood by scratching itself or its owners is one thing, but declawing a cat before you even know if it will have a scratching problem is unneccessary and cruel.

    Scratching is a natural and healthy behavior that allows the cat to stretch the muscles in its back and shoulders and also sharpen its claws (cat nails have layers they can shed to reveal a newer, sharper surface). This behavior should not be prevented, but rather, redirected. If you have a kitten, get him/her used to scratching on good surfaces like scratching posts. If an undesirable surface is being targeted, try some double-sided tape or a quick squirt from a spray bottle or squirt gun. Let kitty know that it's okay to scratch some things, just not your furniture!

    Trimming your cat's nails is easy if you introduce the process to them when they're kittens. Handle your kitten's feet regularly and try trimming cat/kitten nails when kitty is in a lazy, sleepy mood instead of an excited, playful mood. If you're not sure where to cut, be sure to ask your vet - there are blood vessels in cat and dog nails that can bleed heavily and cause pain if you cut them.
  • What is microchipping?
  • When you microchip a pet, you put a tiny capsule under its skin (about the size of a grain of rice) that can be read by a special electronic scanner. When the chip is scanned, it reveals a unique number that can be traced back to the pet's owner, breeder, or the shelter it came from - like carrying a permanent ID tag. Microchipping is easier than tatooing and can be done anytime.

    Some people think that microchipping may actually cause some problems, so you'll see that it's not practiced everywhere. However, if you find a stray pet and want to keep it, it's always a good idea to get it scanned by a vet or at a local shelter in case it was chipped by a previous owner.

    If think you might be interested in microchipping your pets, please ask your vet for details.

Pulaski County Humane Society
P.O. Box 1046 Dublin, VA 24084
(540) 674-0089
info@pchsva.org
 
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