Category Archives: Pets – General

A Pet is a Good Thing

long-haired chihuahua

long-haired chihuahua

Any one who has ever truly loved a pet knows how much the cat or dog enhanced their life or perhaps impacted the family as a whole. Many studies and surveys formal and informal have been conducted about how owning a pet is beneficial mentally and physically. 

Many of these studies and surveys determined that a pet is good for children and older individuals.  Some of the amazing discoveries of owning or interacting with a cat or a dog have proven a pet can exert positive effects on children with autism and older people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  Sometimes a cat or dog is the one thing that motivates these individuals to smile or speak a few words. A pet enables people to come out of their shell so to speak. An animal accepts a person as they are, not who they are. And that is the greatest gift that a person can receive from a pet.

Petting or stroking a warm furry animal has proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. A furry pet provides a sense of calm and an overall good feeling. Researchers determined that approximately 30,000 lives are saved each year because owning or interacting with a pet increases the survival rate of heart attack victims.

The survey findings concluded that taking care of a pet gives a person something to nurture and in turn provides one with the feeling of being needed and wanted which in turn decreases feelings of loneliness and isolation. A dog or cat also provides the owner with an increased sense of security. In addition a pet provides companionship, affection, as well as entertainment.

Researchers noted that a pet lowers pulse rate and blood pressure, decreases depression, increases activity, provides opportunities for socialization, helps an individual cope with the loss of a loved one, and increases the desire to take an interest in personal hygiene. In addition a dog as noted previously is a good alert or alarm system when someone or a stranger is at the door.

Many care facilities now have a cat that is allowed to move freely among the residents. Some care homes have visiting therapy cats or dogs which have proven to be a hit with most residents although there are some people who simply have no desire to interact with a furry creature and of course no one will ever force that person to interact with a pet.  And some care facilities enable residents the privilege of bringing their pet from home or maybe obtain a cat or dog to aid in reducing loneliness and a sense of loss that every resident must feel when they had to leave their home. It enables a person to feel a sense of continuity when their pet is able to accompany them to their new home. 

Therapy animals must be certified by an orginazation that insures the animal/s meet strict criteria. The cat or dog is tested in different areas to assure the animal will be comfortable in the setting of a school, hospital, or care facility. These pets and their owners display a great deal of warmth and happiness. Some pet therapy owners have said that their pet is really happy that  “they have a job to do” when visiting a facility.

Overall pet therapy is viewed as a good thing for just about anyone that is fortunate enough to interact with or own a pet. Residents that have a pet in their care are the lucky ones. Many studies have concluded that love for another being is the most important health tonic and having a pet in your life can be the best source of love. A pet doesn’t care what a person looks like or what their station in life might be. A pet merely accepts an individual for who they are and quite often is the one constant being in a person’s life.

Post and photo: Yvonne

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Litter Box Issues in Cats

 I was just catching up on some old journal reading on this dreary and rainy day and came across an interesting study. House soiling (not using litter box) is a big problem in cats and can often lead to the cat being left at the shelter for euthanasia. Cats are a  domesticated animal, but when they lived in the wild they eliminated in desert sand. Consequently, cats now prefer something as close to sand as they can get. Several studies have been done to determine what substrate (litter ) that most cats prefer.

  It appears that cats prefer unscented clumping cat litter over clay. Many litters are now scented, but they are scented to appeal to human, not cat, noses. Cats do not like the smell of citrus or any type of heavily perfumed sweet smell. If you must go for scented litter they like the ones that have Activated Charcoal added for odor control- it doesn’t mask the scent of waste material. Instead it helps to absorb it. Some cat litter has activated charcoal in it and cats seem to like this type better than heavy scented litter.    Cats also prefer larger litter boxes that are cleaned twice daily. If you don’t scoop them at least once a day and have multiple  cats using the same box, it is probably the equivalent  of  us using the Porta-Potties at ACL when it is 100 degrees out . Cats have sensitive noses and are very clean- notice how much they groom themselves?    The usual rule of thumb is one litter box per cat and then one extra. So if you have  2 cats, you really need 3 litterboxes. If you have a larger cat, make sure the box is big enough for them to eliminate in w/o their bum hanging out the back of the box.

  Also remember that if your cat is geriatric or arthritic, they may have trouble getting into taller litter boxes, so make it easy for them by providing shorter boxes.

Post by: Dr. D. DVM (Yvonne’s daughter) Posted January 4, 2011 website (vet to pet austin Site is no longer up)

The Cost of Buying a Pet By Dr. Lisa Daniel

If you insist on buying a dog instead of adopting/rescuing one, please read the following.

According to pet insurance claims for the past 10 years, in the US the most expensive breeds are:

English Bulldog

Bernese Mountain Dog


Great Dane

French Bulldog

As I always tell clients “The more you pay for a pet, the more it will cost you!” Please, please save a life and adopt a pet. Now days, there are rescue groups for every purebred dog and cat imaginable if you really want a particular kind of dog or cat.

Post: Dr Lisa Daniel DVM

Tagged ,