Okaw Veterinary Clinic

140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953

(217)253-3221

www.okawvetclinic.com

What Should I Know Before Getting a Pet?

 

Getting a Cat

What kind of cat should I get?

CFA has 39 recognized breeds of cats. You may chose to have a pure breed cat or a mix breed cat. Cats don't vary as much in size as dogs. Cats don't need a large amount of space to live. They can live in an apartment without any problems. Cats can have 3 lengths of hair, short, medium or long. Some breeds have very little hair. Cats with long hair require brushing every day.

I know what breed of cat I want. Are there any health concerns I should be aware of?

Cats have fewer inherited problems than dogs. Inherited problems are passed from generation to generation. Pure bred cats are more likely to have the inherited problem, but mixes can also develop the illness. Read books about the breed you are interested in or call your local veterinarian and ask about breed specific health issues. Some inherited illnesses include heart problems (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy in Maine coon, American shorthairs and Persians), eye problems (Nonulcerative Keratitis in Persian, Siamese, Burmese and Himalayan) and hallucinating problems (Hyperesthesia in Siamese).

I want to buy my cat from a breeder. What should I look for?

Visit CFA's website and search for breeders in your area. Call local veterinarians and groomers to see if they can recommend a breeder. When you find a breeder, ask lots of questions and make a visit to see their facility. A kitten purchased from a reputable breeder is likely to have fewer health problems. Kittens raised in an unclean environment, with parents that are not properly cared for, have a much greater chance to have worms, earmites, and other health issues.

When you contact a breeder ask lots of questions, including:

      Has the kitten had their first vaccination?

     Can I have a veterinary reference?

     What kind of food are the kittens eating?

     How many adult cats do you own?

     How long have you been breeding cats?

     What do you know about the breed?

     Can I have a referral from someone who has purchased a pet from you in the past?
   
     Have you seen any inheritable problems in your kittens in the past?

     Are you a member of any breed associations or other pet related associations?

     Why are you breeding these cats? (To promote the breed, to make money?)

     Are you licensed by the state of Illinois?

     Do the kittens spend several hours out of a cage? (Have the kittens met other cats? Other animals? Kids? Other people?)

Ask to visit the breeding facility. If the breeder refuses to let you see the facility or the parents, reconsider purchasing the kitten from them. This is a red flag that something is wrong with the facility or the health of the animals.

Answer the following while visiting:

     How clean is the facility? (Does it smell like urine or stool? Is there fresh food and water? Is there any stool on the walls?)

     Do the parents look healthy?

     Are there any signs of vomiting or diarrhea?

     Do the kittens have clean eyes and ears?

     Are the kittens clean and playing around with each other?

     Do the kittens look healthy?

What do I need before I get a cat?

You will need to purchase a few items before your cat comes home. You will need: a collar or harness, food and water dishes, food, treats, toys, litterbox, litter and a scoop. Choose a collar that is the appropriate size for your cat or kitten. You may need to take the cat with you when you pick out the collar. Place the collar on your cat and check that the collar is not too loose. You should be able to fit a finger under the collar. If a collar is too loose, it may come off. Loose collars can also slip and get caught in the cat?s mouth and cause it to choke. Choose a high quality cat food that is appropriate for your cat. For example, if you are getting a kitten, purchase kitten food. Lower quality food contains more fillers that cannot be digested by your cat, so the fillers go through the intestines without being absorbed. The fillers cause your cat to need to go to the bathroom more often. Do not purchase toys that are made of strings or ribbons. Some cats will eat the string, which can cause problems if the strings become knotted in the intestines. Purchase a litterbox that is twice as wide and twice as long as your cat. Cats like to have some privacy, so purchase a box that is covered.

I purchased a cat, now what?

Bring your new friend to see us. We will give him or her a physical exam. If your cat needs any vaccines, we can do those at this time. We will also check your cat for intestinal parasites. You will be asked to bring a fresh stool sample to your appointment. We will look for parasite eggs in the stool. If we find parasites, we will give your cat a dewormer. We can run a test to see if your cat has Feline Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus by drawing a small sample of blood. We are happy to answer any questions you have about your new pet?s health or behavior. We are part of the Animal Behavior Network and we can sign you up for free behavior emails. 
 

 
                   

 

Getting a Dog

What kind of dog should I get?

AKC has over 150 recognized breeds of dogs. Boutique dog mixes, such as cockapoo or morkie, are also becoming popular. Mix breed dogs are also popular. If you want to get a pure breed dog, read books and visit websites that have breed specific information. When trying to decide what kind of dog to get, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1.Size: How big will the dog get? How much room do you have? Will you be able to handle the dog?

   -Small dogs: Yorkie, Maltese, Chihuahua and other small breeds of dogs will remain small. These dogs do not need a large amount of space to live. They will do fine in an apartment. They require shorter walks than larger dogs. If you have small children (under 10 years old), you may not want to have a small dog. Small dogs can be injured if children trip over them or drop them.

   -Giant breed dogs: St. Bernard, Great Dane, Mastiff and other large breeds can be quite big. They may reach close to 200 pounds. These dogs need lots of room to play and exercise. They need long walks to tire them out. If one of these dogs lives in a small area, he or she can become bored and overweight from lack of exercise. Training is important with any dog, but especially important with large breed dogs. Large breed dogs are hard to control if they have no training. They are stronger than smaller dogs. Smaller dogs are also easier to handle and pick up, larger dogs can not be picked up to be moved.

2. Temperament: What was the breed used for?

Many breeds of dogs were developed for specific jobs. The AKC has grouped dogs according to their job. Some of the groups include sporting, non-sporting, toy, hound, herding, terrier and working. Dogs will often display some of the characteristics of their group. Looking at the group your dog would go into is a good way to start looking for the type of dog you would like. However, each dog is an individual and may show all or none of the group characteristics. Sporting dogs include Retrievers, Setters, Spaniels and Pointers. These dogs were used for hunting and have lots of energy and love to learn. The non-sporting group include many different types of dogs with lots of differences. They have different temperaments, size and coats. Some of the dogs in this group include the Chow, Dalmatian, Poodle, Boston terrier and Shar-pei. Toy dogs include Yorki, Pug, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Toy poodle and Mini Pinscher and Maltese. These dogs are smaller and their job is to be a companion. Hounds include Beagle, Coonhound, Bloodhound, Dachshund and Greyhound. These dogs were used for hunting. They have distinctive barks and can follow trails, which may cause them to get lost. Herding dogs include Collies, German shepherd, Corgi and Sheepdogs. They were used for herding and may try to herd people or other pets. Terrier dogs include Terriers, Schnauzer and West Highland terrier. These dogs were used to hunt and kill vermin. They are smart, energetic and determined. Working dogs include St Bernard, Husky, Boxer, Great Dane and Doberman Pinscher. These dogs were used for guarding, pulling sleds and rescues. They are smart and are larger dogs.

3. Coat: Long or short hair? Single or double layer?

A dog with long hair will need to be brushed daily. The dog may also need to be trimmed occasionally. Bathing a long haired dog or one with two layers of hair will take longer than a short haired dog or one with a single layer of hair. A dog with shorter hair does not need to be brushed daily, if at all. A dog with a single layer of hair will shed less than a dog with a double layer of hair.

 

Take a quiz about that kind of dog to get:

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/search.htm


I know what breed of dog I want. Are there any health concerns I should be aware of?

Many of the illnesses we see in a veterinary clinic can be an inherited disease related the breed. These are inherited problems passed from generation to generation. Pure bred dogs are more likely to have the inherited problem, but mixes can also develop the illness. Read books about the breed you are interested in or call your local veterinarian and ask about breed specific health issues. Some inherited illnesses include joint problems (hip dysplasia in Golden Retrievers, Labradors, German Shepherds and other breeds), blood disorders (Von Willenbrand disease in Doberman, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler and other breeds) and eye problems (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in Cocker spaniel, Bull dogs, Shih Tzu and other breeds).

I want to buy my dog from a breeder. What should I look for?

Visit AKC?s website and search for breeders in your area. Call local veterinarians, dog clubs and groomers to see if they can recommend a breeder. When you find a breeder, ask lots of questions and make a visit to see their facility. A puppy purchased from a reputable breeder is likely to have fewer health problems. Puppies raised in an unclean environment with parents that are not properly cared for, have a much greater chance to have worms, earmites, and other health issues.

When you contact a breeder ask lots of questions. Responsible breeders will be happy to answer your questions.

Come up with a list of questions, including:
 
   Has the puppy had their first vaccination? 

   Can I have a veterinary reference?

    What kind of food are the puppies eating?

    How many adult dogs do you own?

    How long have you been breeding the dogs?

    How much do the breeders know about the breed?

    Have you seen any of the inheritable problems in your puppies?

    Can I have a referral from someone who has purchased a pet from you in the past?

    Are you a member of any breed associations or other pet related associations?

    Why are you breeding these dogs? (To promote the breed, to make money?)

    Are you licensed by the state of Illinois? 

   Do the puppies spend several hours out of a cage? (Have the puppies met other dogs? Other animals? Kids? Other people?)

Ask to visit the breeding facility. If the breeder refuses to let you see the facility or the parents, reconsider purchasing the puppy from them. This is a red flag that something is wrong with the facility or the health of the animals.

Answer the following while visiting:

    How clean is the facility? (Does it smell like urine or stool? Is there fresh food and water? Is there any stool on the walls?)

    Do the parents look healthy?

    Are there any signs of vomiting or diarrhea?

    Do the puppies have clean eyes and ears?

    Are the puppies clean and playing around with each other?

    Do the puppies look healthy?

What do I need before I get a dog?

You will need to purchase a few items before your dog comes home. You will need: a leash, collar or harness, food and water dishes, food, treats, toys and a bed. Choose a collar that is the appropriate size for your dog or puppy. You may need to take the dog with you when you pick out the collar. Place the collar on your dog and check that the collar is not too loose. You should be able to fit two fingers under the collar. If a collar is too loose, it may come off. Loose collars can also slip and get caught in the dog?s mouth and cause it to choke. Choose a high quality dog food that is appropriate for your dog. For example, if you are getting a puppy, purchase puppy food. Lower quality food contains more fillers that cannot be digested by your dog, so the fillers go through the intestines without being absorbed. The fillers also cause your dog to need to go to the bathroom more often. Choose toys that are appropriate for the dog?s size. Toys should not be small enough for your dog to swallow.

I purchased a dog, now what?

Bring your new friend to see us. We will give him or her a physical exam. If your dog needs any vaccines, we can do those at this time. We will also check your dog for intestinal parasites. You will be asked to bring a fresh stool sample to your appointment. We will look for parasite eggs in the stool. If we find parasites, we will give your dog a dewormer. If your dog is over 6 months old we will draw a small sample of blood and check for heartworms. If your dog does not have heartworm, we will send you with heartworm prevention. We are happy to answer any questions you have about your new pet's health or behavior. We are part of the Animal Behavior Network and we can sign you up for free behavior emails.