Abbeywood Cat Hospital Newsletter

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The veterinarians and staff at Abbeywood Cat Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter of pet-related articles and news stories.

This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine. Get started by browsing the Current Newsletter Topics links that pertain to each article.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Choosing the Right Name for Your Pet

Choosing the Right Name for Your Pet

You’ve just picked up your new forever friend and you aren’t sure what to name him or her. We’ve all been there – the name is an integral part of your relationship, so you don’t want to pick just anything.

Picking the Right Pet Name

You might be surprised to know that about half of the pet names end up being a human name or some form of it. That’s because people tend to call their animals what they would name themselves. Another fifth of the names relates to their personality or appearance. That’s why you get Fluffy or Spot.

More Tips for Picking the Perfect Name

Here are some more tips if you don’t like those ideas.

  • Pick something easily recognizable. One or two syllables seem to work best.
  • Don’t forget that you’ll have to yell this name at the park; don’t pick something embarrassing.
  • Avoid any name that sounds like a command. For example, you wouldn’t want to name the dog Joe because it sounds like No.
  • Instead of choosing a long name, shorten it. Chances are you’ll use the shortened version anyway.
  • Use the heritage to make your name. For example, stick with a French name for Poodles or an Irish name for a Setter.
  • Watch the animal for a few days to make your decision. Sometimes, it just takes some observation of their appearance, behaviors and personality.
  • Pick a name that grows with them. You won’t want to name your dog “Puppy.”

Be Unique

Dog Park Etiquette – What You Should Know

Dog Park Etiquette – What You Should Know

If you live in an urban or suburban setting, chances are that you’ve visited a dog park. These set-apart areas offer a mini-kingdom for your pooch to play unrestricted. They have the freedom to explore, run, socialize and sniff at will.

Just like any public activity, there are some basic etiquette rules that need to be followed to keep peace and order. When you visit the dog park with your best friend, be sure to keep everyone safe and happy by following these guidelines.

Basic Dog Park Etiquette

  • If your dog is acting ill or has any symptoms, you shouldn’t take them to the park. Just like you wouldn’t want your dog to catch something contagious, you owe the other pets the same respect.
  • It’s wise not to take a puppy that is younger than four months old.
  • Don’t take your female dog if she is in heat.
  • Don’t allow your dog out of your sight. You must ensure that your pet doesn’t become aggressive with another animal.
  • Pick up after your dog.
  • Don’t bring food for your dog or yourself; save it for afterward.
  • Travel with your own portable water bowl for your dog to refresh themselves. Don’t use the water bowls located in the park as they often carry communicable diseases.
  • If you have a small dog, stay in the section designated for you. Even if they prefer to hang out with larger dogs, this is the safest place for them to visit.
  • Take a ball (or two) with for fun, but don’t be upset if it gets lost.
  • Don’t be afraid to intervene in any dog play that becomes too rough.

Above all, make some new friends and allow your dog to do the same. The dog park is meant to be an enjoyable experience, and it will be with your adherence to the guidelines.

Exercises You Can Do With Your Pet

Exercises You Can Do With Your Pet

Your best friend might also make a good workout buddy. If you regularly walk your dog, you probably get more exercise than most. What many people don’t realize is that activity is just as crucial for your pet as it is for you. Here are some moves you can do together.


Start your workout routine by putting your dog on a short leash and power walk with them for about two minutes. Once you’ve gotten used to that, move up to a light jog for another two minutes.

Then, stand in one place and do arm circles, leg stretches and shoulder shrugs to warm up your muscles.


Work your glutes, quads and hamstrings by standing against the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure you push your shoulders, lower back and hips into your wall. Then, start to walk your feet as you allow your upper body to sink down to the floor. Go down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold in place for at least a minute. Then, start to come back up slowly. Repeat the action several times.

Find a set of stairs to burn calories, strengthen your legs and boost cardiovascular endurance. Make sure the stairs contain at least 20 steps so you can keep up a steady pace. Take your dog up and down as many times as you can, resting in between each set.

Cool Down

Take a slow walk when you are done and remember to stretch out those muscles yet again. Grab a nice big glass of water and don’t forget to hydrate your best friend as well. As you continue working out together, you’ll find that both of you get stronger and can endure longer sessions of exercise. Continue to increase your time and intensity as you enjoy these valuable moments together.

Fun in the Fall – Activities in Autumn With Your Pet

Fun in the Fall – Activities in Autumn With Your Pet

As the leaves begin to change colors and the weather turns cooler, there are lots of activities to enjoy with your pet. Don’t go alone – bring your best friend with you.

Go to an Apple Orchard

Apples are ready to be picked, so you’ll find an abundance of apple orchards to visit. Most of them allow dogs and it’s a great way to enjoy the weather together. Apples are a great treat for you to share with your pet as they clean your dog’s teeth and make their breath fresh. Just be careful with the core and seeds because they are a choking concern and toxic.

Go Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween isn’t just for kids – your pet looks adorable dressed up. Head out with the kids and your pets to do some trick-or-treating. Carry some extra treats with you for other animals along the way.

Pumpkin Picking

Just like apple orchards, most pumpkin patches don’t mind dogs. Who knows – your dog might just have an eye for the best pumpkin in the patch. When you are ready to sit down to some homemade pumpkin pie, don’t forget your dog. They can have a small amount of pumpkin puree in their food. It’s great for their digestive system and offers lots of fiber.


With football season getting into full swing, you are sure to be invited to a tailgating party. Of course, your pet will be the hit of the get-together, so be sure to bring them along. Don’t forget their favorite toys and food as well.

Take a Hike

Exercise is great for you and your dog, so why not do it together? While your dog won’t see all the colors, they will recognize the different smells and activity. Look for some local events that you and your dog can walk in together as well.

Final Thoughts

Whatever you do this fall, make sure you include your pets. They deserve to enjoy the magic of the season change with you. Get outside and enjoy the fresh, crisp weather while you can.

All About Your Cat's Teeth

During its lifetime, a cat has two sets of teeth, a deciduous set and a permanent set. Kittens have 26 deciduous teeth (molars are absent); adult cats have a total of 30 teeth.

Deciduous or "milk teeth", begin to appear when the kitten is about 4 weeks of age. At 6 weeks of age, all 26 deciduous teeth are present. From 11 to 30 weeks of age, kittens lose their deciduous teeth. During this time they may eat less due to sore gums.

When the deciduous teeth fall out, they are replaced by 30 permanent teeth. The permanent teeth should be in place by about 6 months of age.

A cat’s teeth are well-suited to rip and cut. Twelve tiny teeth (incisors) in the front of the mouth - six in the upper jaw, six in the lower jaw - do some scraping. They are flanked by two upper and lower canines, sometimes described as "fangs," designed to hold prey and to tear flesh. Ten sharp premolars and four molars act together to cut food.

A cat occasionally retains a deciduous tooth after the permanent tooth appears. This deciduous tooth should be removed as soon as possible to avoid displacing the permanent tooth.

Extra teeth are occasionally found in cats. They should be removed by a veterinarian if they cause crowding or injury to soft tissue or other teeth.

Cat Behavior and What It Means

Domestic cats are descendants of the African wildcat, and many of the characteristic behaviors of these ancestors are still exhibited by cats today. An understanding of the origin and purpose of such behaviors can help cat owners appreciate their feline companions more fully and lead to an enhanced human-animal relationship.

Social Behavior

Once thought to be a social animals, it is now recognized that domestic cats can form complex social groupings. Studies have repeatedly shown that they form territories or ranges in which they live and defend these from intruders. In stable situations, cat territories can overlap without overt antagonistic interactions.


The cat has three primary methods of communication: vocal, visual and olfactory. Vocal communication involves a variety of sounds that convey different messages. Visual communication involves the body posture and facial expressions. For example, the position of the ears, hair and tail can offer important information about the emotional state of the cat. Olfactory communication plays a very important role in communication. The deposition of scents via facial marking, anal secretions and urine marking is an important communication tool for the feline.

Sexual Behavior

Female cats are seasonally polyestrus, with peaks in the Northern Hemisphere occurring from January to March and again from May to June. If they are not bred, estrus will last about 10 days and the female will cycle every three weeks for several months. During estrus, the female will engage in increased activity, vocalizations and marking with urine and other glandular secretions. Crouching with rear end elevated and rolling are common body postures that a female may exhibit during estrus.

Eating Behavior

In the wild, the cat developed as a solitary hunter that targeted various small prey. This led to an eating pattern of multiple small meals with considerable variety in the diet. Many domesticated cats continue this pattern and exhibit a preference for a variety of foods.

Bathroom Behavior

Kittens start to eliminate independently at about 4 weeks of age. They instinctively prefer to eliminate in fine particulate material with good drainage. Most cats will investigate a potential spot, dig a hole and pass urine or feces in the squatting position. Cats usually will then cover the elimination.

Sleeping Patterns

Although cats have traditionally been described as nocturnal creatures, they are actually crepuscular by nature, which means that they are more active in the twilight and evening hours. The average adult cat spends 10 hours per day sleeping and an additional five hours resting.

5 Common Litter Box Mistakes to Avoid

If your cat is like most, he or she probably possesses rigid standards when it comes to its private bathroom quarters. Cleaning needs to be routine, the location needs to be ‘purr-fect,’ and the litter better be up to par. To ensure your cat utilizes its litter box regularly and properly, avoid these five common mistakes:

1. The Wrong Box – Most cats prefer more space rather than barely enough. Your cat should be able to stand and sit to do his or her business without being crowded or hanging over any edges. Sidewalls should be of a height your cat can manage stepping over and a hooded litter box can create a dark, odor-trapped environment your cat may not enjoy.

2. The Wrong Spot – Most cats don’t require a litter box overlooking a stream or active backyard birdfeeder, but the location of their bathroom does matter. The spot should be quiet, private, uninterrupted and not too far away from their regular hangout if there is only one in your large home.

3. The Wrong Litter – Your cat probably won’t hassle you to buy the brand it saw on a television commercial, but they often have preferences when it comes to heavily perfumed litters or those with different textures. Their sensitive noses may be driven away by scents designed to suit human tastes rather than their own.

4. Too Dirty – Felines are cleanly creatures and don’t enjoy reusing dirty litter. Boxes should be scooped at least once daily and cleaned thoroughly at least once a week.

5. Too Few – If you have multiple cats, you should maintain a litter box for each – and maybe even one extra. Some cats will agree to sharing, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Some cats even require two boxes, one for each separate duty.

Becoming familiar with your cat’s or cats’ unique litter box preferences will make for a more adjusted, happy and healthy pet. Should your cat ever begin to start urinating or defecating outside of its litter box for unknown reasons, it could be the result of a behavior or health concern. A consultation with your veterinarian will help quickly rule out one or the other.

Hospice Care: What You Should Know

Veterinary hospice care is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as "care that will allow a terminally ill animal (with a short life expectancy) to live comfortably at home or in a facility." Hospice care is typically sought when nothing else can be done and will end with either a natural death or humane euthanasia. The care is centered around keeping your pet comfortable and sanitary during his or her final days, rather than on treatment, diagnosis, or cure. More specifically, it will address your pet's appetite, happiness, hydration, hygiene, mobility, and pain.

The hospice team will consist of your veterinarian, his or her trained staff, and you. Although you will have the guidance and expertise of professionals, much of the care for your pet will often be provided by you and your family. It is important to consider your comfort level with this and discuss your role with your veterinarian ahead of time.

Veterinary hospice care typically includes:

• Implementation of a hospice care plan
• Education about the end-stage disease/illness process
• Pain identification and treatment
• Supplementary nutrition and fluids
• Management of incontinence
• Bandage and wound care