Feline Depression

Recognizing the Symptoms and Treating the Disease

Black cat

Think people are the only ones that get the blues? Think again. Cats often suffer from depression as a result of major changes in their routines, such as the death of a family member or companion animal, loneliness or a change in their environment.

Diagnosing Feline Depression

To be depressed is to be sad or despondent for a prolonged period of time. Cats, too, get the “blahs” or can get “down in the dumps.” If your feline friend doesn’t meow as often as she used to, doesn’t greet you with her usual enthusiasm when you return home, snubs her snout at her food or loses her appetite altogether when she’s normally a big eater, any change in your cat’s mood or personality could indicate she may be exhibiting symptoms of depression.

Additional signs of feline depression include:

  • Lack of grooming
  • Signs of lethargy or changes in personality
  • Aggression
  • Increased sleeping
  • Hiding in an isolated place for extended periods of time

Additionally, the signs listed above as well as loss of appetite or lethargy can be indicators of a number of other illnesses. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian right away to rule out any life-threatening health conditions.

What You

Dog And Cat Relationships

Making Them Work

A cat and dog share a bed

We’ve all heard the phrase “fighting like cats and dogs,” mainly to describe two animals (or humans, for that matter) that are always at odds with each other. However, relationships between cats and dogs are possible, depending on their personalities and their owners’ patience and understanding. And while the initial introductory period can be tricky, this unique relationship can be quite rewarding both species.

Dog and Cat Behavior

By nature, dogs are predators and often chase things smaller than them—including cats. However, this doesn’t mean that dogs and cats are not able to live in harmony. As the two most common household pets, the way dogs and cats relate to each other have a lot to do with their temperament, and whether either have had any adverse reactions to members of different species in the past.

For example, a dog raising his paw to a cat may mean he wants to play, but a cat can take it as a sign of an attack, prompting the cat to swat her paw at the dog, sending her into a hissing fit. Likewise, a cat that tries to rub up against a dog may

Dog Training 101

Young and Adult Dogs Can Learn the Basics

VPI employee Jenn and her 12-year-old Dalmatian, Pierce

Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or a seasoned one, a puppy’s behavior can test your patience: exuberant bounding; jumping, licking and nipping; the stolen socks and chewed-on shoes; and, best of all, misinterpreting “Come here!” as “Run!”

This may be cute at first, but as your puppy grows, many of these behaviors become a nuisance and possibly dangerous for both you and your dog.

Dog obedience training can curb bad behavior. Teaching your dog that you’re in charge could potentially protect him from harm — such as running into the street.

It takes a lot of patience to train your pet, whether he’s a puppy or a mature dog. But it’s possible, no matter what his age. Here are some key things you’ll want your dog to learn.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

You can begin working with your dog when he is 7-8 weeks old. Some tips to keep in mind along the way:

  • Use a specific word for each command, and say it in the same tone. For instance, make sure everyone in your home knows that when you want him to sit, you say “Sit” – so

Stress-Free Visits to the Vet

Make Veterinary Experiences Better For You And Your Pet

For some, a visit to the veterinarian begins with a game of tug-of-war at the clinic’s front door. Your pet knows exactly where he is, and remembers the last visit—the probing and prodding, the smell of fear in the air and the whimpering sounds coming from behind closed doors. It’s no wonder you find yourself coaxing your pet to go inside, right?

Familiarize Pets At An Early Age

Visiting your veterinarian doesn’t have to be so frustrating. Minimize your pet’s stress by taking proactive measures, especially while your pet is still young.

Familiarize your pet with being handled. Frequently touch his paws, toes and ears. Open his mouth, rub his gums. Reinforce cooperation with affection and training treats.

Comfort Goes A Long Way

Is the pet carrier beginning to feel like prison to your pet? Create an inviting environment: add a towel or blanket, a couple of toys and a sprinkle of catnip. Eliminate any panic-by-association and occasionally leave the carrier out so your pet can become comfortable with it.

Car rides can be a good experience. If your pet only connects being in the car with visits to the veterinarian, consider taking Fido along when running short errands.

Most Popular Pet Names

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pet Name

What you name your pet says a lot about you as an individual, and with hundreds of thousands of names from which to choose, finding the ideal name for your new fuzzy friend can be overwhelming.

“Max” Is Tops For Dogs and Cats

The good news is there are many popular pet names to choose from. A recent analysis of Veterinary Pet Insurance’s (VPI) 450,000 insured pets revealed that “Max” is the most popular name for both cats and dogs. Molly, Buddy, Bella and Lucy rounded out the top five most popular names for dogs, and Chloe, Lucy, Tigger and Tiger rounded out the top five most popular names for cats.

The majority of these names are a far cry from once traditional pet names such as Rover and Fluffy. Pet naming trends are reflecting the humanization of pets as the emotional connection between owners and their animals continues to grow.

“When people consider their pet an integral part of the family, they are more inclined to pick a human name for it,” says Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary officer for VPI. “The prevalence of pets with human names clearly reflects the growing human-animal bond.”