FCVC Blog - We Talk Pets

Keeping pet owners in the know

Crazy Cat Cravings

Some cat cravings are easy to understand: Cream, catnip, mice.But plastic bags, houseplants, wool, paper, rubber bands? Why would a cat eat those?
Strange Things Cats Eat

The urge to eat nonfood items — called pica — can be pretty common in cats.

Many cats will nurse on wool, says Arnold Plotnick, DVM, a veterinary internist and feline specialist in New York. Oriental cats “are predisposed to that,” he says.

That habit also may appear in cats that were weaned too early. The younger a cat is weaned, the stronger its drive to nurse and the more likely the cat is to suck on wool — or its owner’s arms, earlobes, or hair. Although some cats may only suck on such fuzzy items as wool, fleece, and stuffed animals, others progress to eating these fabrics.

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Cat Salad

Do Cats Need Grass?

Certainly those of us with houseplants and cats know our feline companions can do a good deal of damage snacking in the windowsill garden. My beloved cat, Symba, ascribed to the Morticia Addams school of floral design when it came to roses. He would gently behead every flower until the vase contained only stems and the floor below was littered with blossoms.

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, one thing is for certain: your feline friend has probably nibbled on grass on more than one occasion. While it might seem like strange behavior — especially when your cat throws up afterwards — there’s really nothing to worry about. Not only is there no evidence to suggest that grass will harm your cat, but many experts theorize munching on those long green blades can be beneficial for your cat.

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The Cats Tail

While dogs may wag their tails furiously as a sign of greeting and excitement, cats have more nuanced—but no less expressive—body language. Unlike their canine counterparts, felines have more complicated gestures, and oftentimes pet parents find it difficult to decode their cats’ feelings. In particular, many pet parents may speculate about the meanings of a cat’s tail wags.

“Cats have very expressive tails, so tail position and movement can tell us a number of things,” said Dr. Eloise Bright, a veterinarian based in North Ryde, Australia. Of course, tail movements are only one piece of the body-language puzzle. Other important physical signs to note include everything from posture and facial expressions to the position of the ears and tail.

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Why Do Cats Purr ?

Your cat’s purr can mean many different things. Find out what she’s trying to tell you.

The purring cat. It may well be considered the epitome of contentment. But there’s much more to purring than meets the ear.

Research is starting to shed some light on purring — starting with how cats do it.

How do cats purr? Experts have offered a number of theories over the years. Most now say that purring begins in the brain.

A rhythmic, repetitive neural oscillator sends messages to the laryngeal muscles, causing them to twitch at the rate of 25 to 150 vibrations per second (Hz). This causes a sudden separation of the vocal cords, during both inhalation and exhalation – the unique feline vibrato.

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Cats with Allergies

We have heard of people being allergic to cats or dogs, but what about your pet being allergic?
When a cat has allergies, her immune system is overly sensitive to certain everyday substances and begins to identify them as dangerous. Even though these substances-or allergens-are usually common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a cat with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. As her body tries to rid itself of these substances, she may show a variety of symptoms.

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Cat Fight!

Some cats just won’t give peace a chance. There are several reasons that cats might not get along. The most common is under-socialization—a lack of pleasant experiences with other cats early in life. If your cat grew up as the only cat, with little or no contact with other felines, he may react strongly when he’s finally introduced to another cat because he’s afraid of the unknown, he lacks feline social skills, and he dislikes the disruption to his routine and environment.

Cats tend to prefer consistency over change. This is especially true if the change involves a newcomer to your cat’s well-established territory. Cats are a territorial species. While some cats overlap their territories a great deal, others prefer to keep a good distance from their neighbors. Two unrelated males or two unrelated females may have a particularly hard time sharing space.

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Catch from a Cat? Zoonotic Diseases (Part2)

Parasitic Infections
Fleas are the most common external parasite of cats, and their bites can cause itching and inflammation in humans and cats alike. Fleas may also serve as vectors for CSD and other zoonotic diseases. Flea-infested cats may become infected with tapeworms from fleas ingested while grooming. While not common, people can also become infected with tapeworms by inadvertently ingesting fleas.

Scabies, or infection by the mange mite Sarcoptes scabiei, is another zoonotic external parasite of the skin of cats. While not as common as flea infestations, these mites can be passed from infected cats to people, where they burrow into the skin and cause itchy, raised lesions. Treatment in people usually involves the use of topical ointments to decrease itching, diligent treatment of infective pets, and careful cleaning of clothes and bedding.

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Catch from a Cat? Zoonotic Diseases (Part1)

Although most feline infectious diseases only affect cats, some of these diseases can be transmitted from cats to people. Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people are called zoonotic diseases. While not comprehensive, this article highlights the most common zoonotic diseases that may be carried by cats and simple precautions you can take to reduce your risk of contracting these diseases. For more information about specific risks, diagnosis, and treatment of zoonotic diseases, contact your physician/health professional.

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Feline Friday!

We are excited because it is Feline Friday! It’s always fun to see all our favorite cat friends. We look forward to seeing who is coming in today! Don’t miss out on 10% off feline services.

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Why Cats Nip

Catnip, catmint, catwort, field balm — it doesn’t matter what you call it. Lions, tigers, panthers, and your common domestic tabby just can’t seem to get enough of this fragrant herb.

Originally from Europe and Asia, minty, lemony, potent catnip — Nepeta cataria — has long been associated with cats. Even its Latin-derived cataria means “of a cat.” And research shows that cats big and small adore this weedy, invasive member of the mint family. But why do they like catnip so much? Is it safe? And what does it mean if your cat doesn’t like it?

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Reminder from Your Cat

Your cat would like to remind you that Feline Friday is tomorrow. Our cat friends and their parents save 10% on all feline services on Fridays. Call to book your appt! 970-587-5140

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By a Cats Whisker

Those stiff hairs on your cat’s face and legs don’t just add to her cuteness — they have real work to do. Whiskers are GPS and radar systems for your cat.

“They are a powerful and important part of how a cat senses the world,” says W. Mark Cousins, DVM, the founder of a veterinary clinic in New Orleans.

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The Scoop on Cats and Poop

You can learn a lot about your cat’s health from his poop. Whether you’ve just adopted your first kitten or you’ve shared your home with cats for years, watch for a few key signs when you scoop out the litter box.
Cat Poop: What’s Normal?

Most cats will poop at least once a day. If they’re healthy, their poop should:

Be deep brown in color
Feel not too hard or too soft or mushy
Not smell too foul, though some odor is normal

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Cats and Shedding

Shedding is a cat’s natural process of losing dead hair. Outdoor cats may lose more hair in the spring and fall and retain more fur in the winter, while indoor cats can shed all year round. Regularly grooming your cat and vacuuming hair from your house should minimize the inconvenience of shedding. However, if you see bald patches in your cat’s fur or notice a significant loss of hair, the underlying cause may be a health-related problem and should be investigated by a veterinarian.

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Cats and Hairballs

No two ways about it: Hairballs in cats are unpleasant. And they’re not just disagreeable for the person who has to clean them up — they can cause intestinal blockages, which can be a serious health problem for your cat. It’s a given that your cat is going to groom herself, so what can you do to keep hairballs to a minimum?
What Causes Hairballs in Cats?

Hairballs may be disgusting, but they develop as a result of your cat’s healthy and fastidious grooming routine.

When your cat grooms himself, tiny hook-like structures on his tongue catch loose and dead hair, which is then swallowed. The majority of this hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Usually, your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it. Because hairballs pass through the narrow esophagus on the way out, they often appear thin and tube-like, rather than round.

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Why Pet Immune System Support

A healthy immune system is critical to your pet’s well-being. It works around the clock to protect the body from potential invaders. An immune system operating at less than full throttle can make your pet susceptible to any number of health challenges. Many pet owners are turning to Standard Process Veterinary Formulas to provide their pets with nutrients to support a strong immune response.

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Adopt A Pet Search

At FCVC we know that you can get pets from many places. We have added the Adopt-A-Pet Search widget right on our site! While we are talking mostly about cats this month, Adopt A Pet.com is for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and other critters. This is in keeping with our support of rescue groups and shelter that have many cats, dogs and other species of pets that need good homes. Maybe even at your house! Give the Adopt-A-Pet Search a try and see what pets are waiting for you today. We would love to see your new pet, too!

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Eye of a Another Color

Sometimes you might see a cat with one blue eye and the other orange, copper, green or yellow. There is nothing wrong with the cute little kitty; the two different colored eyes are a genetic tweak. Cats with eyes of two colors can see just as well as “regular” cats.

Causes

The scientific name for odd eyes is heterochromia iridis and can occur in other species including dogs and humans. Eye color is determined by the amount of melanin pigment in the eye. In cats with the white or white-spotted gene, the melanin is often prevented from reaching one eye, so that one will remain blue, while the other eye receives melanin and changes to green, yellow, amber or another color. The phenomenon is seen most frequently in white cats.

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Cats Eye Colors Unmasked

Cats can have an amazing range of eye colors. But why is that? What makes your cats’ eye colors?
Cat eye colors start with the iris
The colored area around the pupil of the eye is called the iris. The iris has two layers, the stroma and the epithelium. Both of these layers contain pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. In the stroma, those melanocytes are loosely arranged, and in the epithelium, they are more tightly packed.

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Fleas – Small Pests, Big Problem

FCVC Note: In our previous blog post Fleas on a Indoor Cat? we talked about how even indoor cats (and other pets in your house) are not immune to getting fleas. Now we talk about why fleas are so noxious to your pets (and you!). Like many things – it is often easier and less expensive to prevent the problem than it is to try to deal with the full-blow infestation…

The recipe for relief? Get those freeloaders off your animal and out of your home!

Your typical cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis felis) doesn’t ask a lot from life. All it wants are the basics – a comfortable place to live, proper nourishment, the chance to raise a family and the company of like-minded friends.

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Fleas on a Indoor Cat?

Many cat lovers think it’s impossible for their indoors-only kitty to get fleas — but it’s not.

Many people think that because they have an indoor-only cat, fleas are an impossibility.

They would be wrong.

Although an outdoor cat is more likely than an indoor cat to be infested with fleas (as well as ticks and intestinal worms), an indoor cat can, in fact, attract these parasites.

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Obesity in Cats is a Real Thing

Feeding for Health

Love doesn’t equal unlimited amounts of food. It’s better to keep your cat lean and healthy. Here’s how.

Obesity is recognized as a serious health concern among Americans today, putting more and more of us at risk for chronic illnesses and earlier mortality. Unfortunately, the unhealthy eating habits of many Americans often extend to their pets as well.

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How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?

The amount and frequency of meals depends on your cat’s age, health and preference.

Check the pet food aisle at your local supermarket, and you’ll find dozens of varieties of food to entice your cat. Feed your cat too little or the wrong kind of food, and he won’t maintain good health. Feed him too much, and he’ll get fat. But you can help get your cat off on the right paw by establishing regular feeding routines. Although the food you feed your cat should be complete and balanced, the simple answer to how often you should feed him is that there isn’t a simple answer.

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6 Common Misconceptions About Feral Cats

Don’t buy into the stereotypes—feral cats deserve respect and appreciation.

It’s a familiar sight in most neighborhoods: the outdoor cat. Perhaps you encounter them skittering across the street, materializing on your deck when you’re grilling, or yowling in the night during a heated cat-on-cat brawl. While some of these freewheeling neighborhood felines are simply pets roaming for the day, most fall into one of two categories—stray cats, who have been lost or abandoned, and feral cats, who are, to a certain extent, wild.

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Choosing and Caring for Your New Cat

After reading our FCVC blog article on June is Adopt a (Shelter) Cat Month you might have decided a new cat was just the way to round out your family. Here are some more tips on choosing and caring for your new cat:

Before choosing a new cat, do your research and think about your options. Keep in mind the personality, age, and appearance, you’re looking for as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home. If you’ve never owned a cat before, it’s also important to know what taking care of your new cat will involve in advance.

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Why Cats Spray (& How to Stop It)

Most cat lovers are aware that un-neutered male cats will spray urine on walls, furniture, and elsewhere in a hormone-fueled effort to mark their territory. But many pet parents are surprised when males that are “fixed” will spray, or when female cats—spayed and un-spayed—exhibit this same noxious behavior, says Dr. Cathy Lund of City Kitty, a feline-only veterinary practice in Providence, R.I.

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Why is My Cat a Picky Eater?

Way, way back in 1968, according to their website, 9Lives® introduced the world to a big, orange tabby cat named Morris® – “the world’s most finicky cat.” I don’t imagine that it was too difficult to ‘sell’ Morris as a character. Ask anyone who has ever had a cat (and probably most people who never have) if cats are picky eaters, and the answer will likely be an immediate and resounding, “Yes!”

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Off to College?

Tis the season for graduations at all levels. High school graduates may be going off to future studies at college.

For those interested in pursuing veterinary degrees, we have compiled some scholarship resources that may help you on your way.

You may be surprised that a number of these are still taking applications for this year! So if you missed the opportunity on some others – grab onto these.

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Barks, Purrs, Tweets and Neighs

National Pet Week 2018, June 3-9, 2018, is sponsored by the Auxiliary to the AVMA to foster responsible pet ownership, recognize the human-animal bond, and increase public awareness of veterinary medicine. This year’s theme is “Barks, Purrs, Tweets, Neighs … Pets Speak Love Many Ways”.

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Adopting – How it Works

If you’ve never adopted a pet before, you may be wondering, how does the process work? How long does it take? How much does it cost? The information below will help give you an overview of how it works to adopt a pet from the two main types of organizations: Shelters and Rescues. Each organization is different, but it helps to understand the two main types and what to expect, so you can have a better overall pet adoption experience.

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Adopt A Cat (or Dog)

North America’s Largest Non-Profit Pet Adoption Website

The need is real. Many pets are up for adoption in the 17,000 shelters and it is pretty easy to connect with them. Purina, Petco and Bayer have combined resources to put together Adopt A Pet.com.

In going to the Adopt A Pet.com website you are met with a easy form for choices – Pick the tab for Dogs, Cats, Other Pets, or Shelters and Rescues. If the only other choice you make is to put in is your zip code, you will get a lengthy list. For example we chose Cats and put in 80534 for Johnstown and left the distance as 50 miles or less.

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Keep Bonded Pairs Happy by Keeping Them Together

Separating them can cause behavior issues and even illness.

Cricket and Tucker came to Northeast Abyssinian and Somali Rescue (NEAR) as a set. The 7-year-old littermates were extremely bonded, and co-director Kristen Wookey wanted very much to keep them together.

But the siblings were also special needs cats: Cricket had cancer, and Tucker was diabetic. So placing them together was going to be a much trickier proposition.

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Adopt a Cat Month

With the onset of “kitten season,” it’s no surprise that June has been designated as Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.

If you’ve been thinking of adopting a kitty, now is the time to do it! Even if you can’t adopt, you can still help out by donating your time, cash or supplies.

Here are 5 ways you can help.

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Dogs and Cats Are Amazing

We already know dogs and cats are incredible. But recently, scientific studies have provided evidence to back our beliefs.

Almost all pet parents will tell you they feel their furry friends are amazing.

Although this is a common view, until recently there hasn’t been much factual information to back it up. In recent years, however, scientists have started looking at how dogs and cats can help their humans in all aspects of life, including in terms of health and emotional development.

Here are 8 scientific studies on dogs and cats — showing that pets are great for people.

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How Cats Heal Us

People have long believed in the healing power of cats. Whether it’s lowering stress or powering the purr, we think there’s some truth to it.

Jason was an imposing 18-pound tuxedo cat with a tail like one of those ostrich plumes that fashionable Victorian ladies decorated their hats with. I’d had him since kittenhood, and he only truly loved 2 people: my dad and me.

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Ten Things Every Cat Owner Should Know

No one adopts or purchases a cat with the hope that it will misbehave, destroy the house or hide under the bed. Whenever you enter into a relationship with a cat you have expectations about sharing a wonderful life together. So what goes wrong? Well, all-too-often we’re the ones who mess things up. We’re quick to blame the cat, but we don’t follow through on our part of the bargain.

So here’s a little reminder list of ten things you shouldn’t forget:

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Cat Carriers

If you have cats, chances are you already have a carrier of some sort. If not, there are many choices – traditional carriers like that pictured above, soft-sided carriers, carriers that can be opened from the top, etc., etc.

Here are the types of carriers available:cat in carrier

Homemade carrier from items you have at home. Some people transport their cats in an old cardboard box, a pillow case, or a laundry basket. These types of carriers are not safe for moving your cat around. Cats can easily escape or become injured if you are transporting them in items that are not specifically designed to be cat travel carriers.

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Pet Pickup and Delivery

Dog owners – If you have cats, we can help them, too.
Is transporting your cat to the veterinarian a real chore? Many cat owners think so. It can be especially difficult if you have multiple cats for their appointments. We can help!

We can always help get your cat from your car to the clinic. We know many carriers can be heavy. Call us from your parking space or come in and let us know you would like help. We can come get your cat for you.

We even provide pet pickup and delivery service and make house calls in the Johnstown and Milliken area.

We are YOUR cat-friendly veterinarian!

Read more about cat carriers.

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June is Adopt a (Shelter) Cat Month

Each spring during “kitten season,” thousands of newborn kittens join the millions of cats already in shelters across the country. That means your local shelter has tons of cute, cuddly newborns, in addition to all the mellow, older cats and everything in between. And the shelter staff are ready to help you adopt your very first cat – or to bring home a friend for another beloved cat!

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Prepare for a Tick Explosion

Dogs and the great outdoors go together in Colorado like ham and cheese. But you need to keep a careful eye on pets and human bodies after venturing into the great unknown. This is why:

Experts Warn of “Tick Explosion” Coming Soon. Here’s Why & What to Do

In recent years, there’s been plenty of talk about a rising tick population across America. In part a result of this growth, “vector-borne” illnesses (or illnesses passed by blood-feeding) have tripled in the US since 2004. Because Coloradans tend to spend so much time outside, this can pose a major health concern.

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USDA Pet Air Travel Regulations

U.S. Pet Air Travel Regulations

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates air transportation of pets within the U.S. and all airlines are required by law to follow the guidelines below. Individual airlines may impose further restrictions or fees for flying with your pet. For the individual policies of each airline, refer to our Airline Pet Policies page. If you will be traveling from the Continental United States to Hawaii or a foreign country, please consult our International Pet Travel page for additional regulations imposed at your destination.

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United Airlines and Pets 2018

In March, United began a comprehensive review of the transportation of animals and, in May, announced it will be working with American Humane, the country’s first national humane animal organization, to improve the well-being of all pets that travel on United.

Effective June 18, 2018, United will implement several new policies and customer requirements for pet air transportation to improve the safety of the travel experience. Throughout the remainder of the year, United and American Humane will continue to make enhancements as needed to further improve the safety and care of animal transportation.

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Could your cat have asthma?

Feline asthma, sometimes referred to as allergic bronchitis, is very similar to the asthma we humans get. For some cats, this can be a chronic problem, while for others it can be seasonal or can come and go inexplicably. In some instances, once a cat’s airway is restricted, your cat’s ability to breath can become life-threatening in just minutes.

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Remembering Dogs of WWII

For those brave dogs who served, but didn’t come home.

Guam will always remember its 1944 liberation from Japanese occupation and honor the U.S. soldiers who risked, and gave their lives to make it happen. But there are also, “the few, the proud, the Marines” who made the ultimate sacrifice on all fours – 25 faithful canines from the 2nd and 3rd War Dog platoons.

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Remembering Military Heroes

Everyone has a story to tell, even Military Working Dogs, who are loved by the men and women who work with them. These dogs have saved countless lives and in many stories have lost their own lives. This story recognizes six such canine heroes.

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Pets and Crowds

Have you ever wanted to take your dog to a street fair, Saturday market, parade, or a pet expo but haven’t because you are afraid of controlling your dog in large crowds? Or, have you taken your dog to one of these events and then had to leave because you just weren’t able to control your dog? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Handling a dog in a crowd can be a difficult and stressful situation. There are a lot of dangers within the crowd itself — people stepping on your dog, tripping on them, other dogs that may or may not be friendly, children running up and grabbing your dog from behind or by the ears — not to mention your dog’s reactions to all of the sights, smells and other stimuli going on around him. The following simple tips should relieve the stress and help you control your dog in a crowd.

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Battling Pet Anxiety with All-Natural ProQuiet

We all know what happens when we eat a big turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. The post dinner sleep kicks in, not entirely because of a massive food coma, but because of a lovely little amino acid called tryptophan. Scientists have actually found that tryptophan has the same calming effect in our dogs and cats as it does in humans. Luckily for us, we can actually utilize this in an all-natural supplement called ProQuiet.

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Pet Car Travel Tips

In addition to the ThunderShirt we have available for sale at FCVC, here are more tips on traveling with a pet that is subject to issues like car anxiety and car sickness.

How to Overcome Your Dog’s Car Travel Anxiety

Your dog is your best friend, which means you want to bring her with you everywhere you go. But do you have one of those dogs that just doesn’t travel well in the car?

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