Exercise with your pet this New Year

a dog running on grassIf your New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, then consider including your dog in your routine. Just like humans, dogs need daily exercise to stay fit and healthy—no matter their age or breed.

Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, offered some insight on exercise programs for dogs.

“Unless their health prohibits it, all dogs need some form of daily exercise,” Eckman said. “However, the amount of exercise depends on the dog’s breed and age. For example, high-energy and working dogs require regular exercise to stimulate them mentally and keep them from getting bored. Other breeds may only require exercise to maintain or achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle.”

In other words, a puppy or younger dog will probably have more energy than an older dog, and a Chihuahua probably won’t be able to walk the same distance as a Border Collie.

Before beginning any sort of exercise routine, Eckman recommends having your dog’s veterinarian evaluate its health condition.

“Work with your veterinarian to develop a diet and exercise program that is tailored for your pet,” Eckman said.

For example, if your pet currently is overweight or lives a sedentary lifestyle, you shouldn’t take them on a five-mile run the first day. In this case, Eckman said to start slow and gradually work a few minutes of exercise into their routine each day.

“This is where tailoring the exercise to the pet and their individual needs is best,” Eckman said.

Exercising can also benefit dogs that are prone to arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other health conditions that can affect mobility. Although it may seem that rest is better for dogs that have joint stiffness or soreness, exercising can actually help relieve this discomfort.

“To alleviate pain, regular exercise, weight management, and veterinarian-prescribed medications are key in these pets,” Eckman said. “You may also rethink your exercise routine for these dogs. Instead of running or walking, try activities such as swimming to reduce impact and help keep their joints moving.”

“Senior” dogs love to exercise and play, too. In fact, Eckman said keeping senior pets active is a good way to prolong their overall health and wellness.

Sticking to a New Year’s resolution can be “ruff,” but finding time to exercise with your dog will promote a stronger bond and an overall healthier lifestyle. But before you begin an exercise routine for your dog, remember to have them evaluated by a veterinarian. Now get outside and get moving!

Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu .

Pets as Holiday Gifts (2017)

kitten with decorated fernsGiving a pet as a gift this holiday season may seem like a wonderful idea, but pets require care and commitment that extends long after the holiday season. Surprising loved ones with a fuzzy friend is tempting, but there are a number of facts to first consider in order to avoid being unprepared when bringing a pet home.

Giving the gift of companionship requires a considerable amount of research and preparation. There can be many reasons why a pet may be unsuitable for a home, such as if the receiver is not financially or mentally prepared for a pet. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how pets can often come with hidden expenses.

“Pets, even healthy ones, require a financial commitment for basic needs, such as food, collars, and leashes, as well as medical needs, such as basic vaccinations,” she said. “Unexpected illnesses or injury may also add to that financial burden, which can be too much for some owners to handle.”

Other reasons a pet may not be an appropriate gift is if the receiver is allergic to pets, if the receiver does not have an appropriate place to keep the pet, or if the receiver does not want or have time to commit to a pet.

Taking care of a cat or dog is a responsibility that is often simplified in the minds of children, but the reality is that pets need care throughout their entire lifetime. Giving a pet as a gift to children who are not yet responsible enough to care for it can lead to pets being seen as “play-things” rather than living and dependent animals, Eckman said.

Adults often take on the responsibilities of feeding, bathing, and cleaning up after the pet when the initial newness of the pet wears off. But sometimes adults are guilty of neglecting the pet, too, especially if they were unaware of the financial commitment from the beginning. This can lead to many pets entering shelters for the remainder of their lives or until another family adopts them, Eckman said.

Although there are many reasons why giving a pet as a gift can be a bad idea, a pet can make a great holiday gift for someone if the proper amount of research and preparation is done. If the receiver has expressed their commitment to a pet, proven their responsibility, and are financially and mentally ready for a pet, the gift giver must then consider the receiver’s pet preferences for gender and breed.

Adoption is also a great option, especially if the new owner prefers an older dog or cat. Many pets are patiently waiting in shelters for a forever home, and the adoption staff at a shelter will be able to help you choose the perfect pet for the new owner, Eckman said.

Although giving a pet as a gift this holiday season may seem like a good idea, there is a considerable amount of research and preparation involved in bringing a pet into a new home, especially if it is a surprise to the new owner. If the receiver has proven their responsibility and expressed their desire for a new fuzzy companion, be sure to consider their pet preferences, as well as adoption.

Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu.

Holiday Travel: Should Pets Come Along?

pets near a decorated christmas treeWill you be traveling this holiday season? If so, will you bring your dog or cat with you? Some pets love traveling with their owners, but others should be left at home with a trusted caregiver that will take good care of your pet. You may also consider taking your pet to a highly recommended boarding facility. How can you decide the best option for your dog or cat?

If you have a cat, Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said most cats are best left at home with a pet sitter.

“This allows the cat to stay in its own environment,” Eckman said. “If a pet sitter is not an option, then a boarding facility with a separate cat area is a good idea.”

If you have a dog, they can also be housed in a boarding facility. Boarding facilities house a large number of kennels for dogs and cats to stay in. The kennels are various sizes and some may even have outdoor access. However, if you choose to board your pet, be sure that the boarding facility is clean and your pets are up-to-date on all required vaccinations. Vaccines can help protect your pet from common viruses found in boarding facilities.

You should also ask yourself: “How often are the pets fed? Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring? Are veterinary services available? Will my pet be comfortable in the kennels provided? Will my pet get adequate exercise?” Eckman said.

In addition, be sure to tour the facility before you decide to use their services. This will help in deciding the best boarding kennel for your pet.

If a pet sitter or boarding facility isn’t your pet’s style, perhaps they would rather be with you. Taking your pet for a road trip is certainly an option; just be sure to secure your pet in a kennel and give your pet a bathroom break every two hours.

If your pet will be traveling on an airplane, bus, or train, please make sure to call ahead to make arrangements for their travel. You may need to pay additional costs to travel with your pet and provide up-to-date shot records.

As a guest at another person’s house, be sure to let your host know that you’re bringing a furry friend. Keep in mind that your pet will be in a different environment with new people, smells, and potentially other pets, so keep a watchful eye on them. If other pets are in the house, consider providing a safe space for your pet where they can be alone.

With the holidays just around the corner, be sure to make arrangements for your pets if you plan on traveling. Knowing your pets are happy and safe during the holidays is the best gift of all.

Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu.

When is your cat hiding illness or injury?

a cute cat sleepingWe do our best to take care of our feline friends, but sometimes signs of pain and sickness go unnoticed. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, described feline behavior that could mean an underlying health issue.

“Cats tend to hide their symptoms, which is probably due to survival instinct,” Eckman said. “Most signs of illness or injury are subtle, including sleeping more than normal; not getting up to greet you, if that is normal behavior; or laying and sleeping in the same position for long periods of time.”

Other changes pet owners should be aware of include the cat withdrawing or being reluctant to be petted. Changes in litter box habits and vomiting can also indicate underlying issues. In addition, cat owners should keep an eye on their pet’s food and water bowl; any changes in appetite and water consumption may mean their feline friend isn’t feeling well.

Since it can be hard to notice subtle changes in your cat’s behavior, going to regular veterinarian check-ups can help identify illness or areas of pain and discomfort before they become a more serious health concern.

“Your veterinarian will be able to monitor vital signs, such as temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as check for weight loss or weight gain,” Eckman said.

As your cat ages, your veterinarian also may recommend laboratory tests to identify or follow-up on any health abnormalities, such as frequent urination or a decrease in appetite.

Overall, regular veterinarian visits are key in protecting your cat’s health. Even if your cat seems fine, it is always a good idea to visit the veterinarian at least once a year.

 

Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu .

Protecting your Pet from Canine Influenza

dog with fluAt the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), veterinarians are working to educate pet parents about the recent outbreak of canine influenza in Georgia and Florida that could affect dogs in Texas.

Just like humans, pets can be affected by strains of influenza and experience flu-like symptoms. The strains of influenza that affect dogs are highly contagious and spread through particles in the air. However, the disease is typically not life-threatening when treated and is not transmissible to humans.

“The most common symptoms of canine flu include coughing and lethargy, as well as decreased appetite and fever,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the CVM. “In some cases, the infection can progress to pneumonia, especially when the flu is complicated by other respiratory bacteria or viruses.”

The canine flu should be treated as soon as possible. If you are worried your pet is experiencing symptoms of the canine flu, contact your veterinarian before going in to their office. This allows the veterinarian to prepare for the visit and potentially decrease exposure to other pets.

If you live in an area where the canine flu has been reported, consider keeping your dog away from other dogs by staying clear of the dog park or kenneling your dog.

Canine influenza is a relatively new virus in dogs, but there are vaccines available to help protect your pet. The vaccine does not prevent your pet from getting infected or spreading the virus, but it may reduce your pet’s symptoms.

The vaccine is recommended for pets that go to dog shows, including hunting and agility; are kenneled or boarded; visit grooming salons or doggie day cares regularly; or are around a high number of dogs that visit these areas,” Eckman said.

If your pet becomes infected with the canine flu, a veterinarian can provide supportive care and medications to make the pet feel better. In the meantime, consider your options for preventing your pet from facing this illness again in the future, such as with a vaccine.

As a pet parent, it is important to provide your dog with excellent healthcare. Talk with your veterinarian about reducing the chances of your dog being impacted by canine influenza.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu .

Apartments and Pets

dog in an apartmentWhen living or moving into an apartment, it may be tempting to get a playful, furry friend as a roommate. However, not all cats and dogs are fit to live in an apartment.

Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained what pet owners should consider when keeping their pet in a small space.

“Dog owners should consider the size and general activity of the dog,” Eckman said. “It is difficult to house working breeds in small apartments since they need a lot of exercise and space; however, an older working dog may not require that level of activity. Additionally, dog owners should ensure their pets are getting proper exercise or they can become destructive.”

Eckman added that dog owners should consider their lifestyle and if they will have the time and ability to walk their pet outdoors several times a day. Some apartment complexes have several flights of stairs, so consider your dog’s age and ability to climb stairs. If you have an older pet, they may require assistance or have difficulty getting up and down the stairs.

Other dogs may live in the same complex, so consider training and socializing your dog to interact well with other dogs.  Because there is potential for your dog to come into contact with other dogs, Eckman said to ensure your dog is up to date on immunizations to protect them from infectious diseases.

Furthermore, if your dog is too vocal, this could upset neighbors, causing tension between you and your landlord.

“Happy and content dogs may be best for apartment living, but these traits are personality dependent,” Eckman said. “Some dogs are quiet and happy, but others may get anxious from the noises from apartments above, below, or beside them.”

If you aren’t fully set on getting a dog, consider a cat. Cats may be lower maintenance than dogs because they generally require less exercise and use a litter box indoors, which may make it easier on pet owners with busy lifestyles.

“Cats may not need the outside activity that dogs require and they take up less space in general,” Eckman said. “You can also add vertical height spaces for cats to climb on to help provide them with entertainment and exercise. Generally, cat owners don’t have to worry about upsetting neighbors because cats are quieter than dogs.”

Whether you are considering getting a cat or a dog to live with you in an apartment, Eckman said, “Do your research. If you are adopting from a shelter, the shelter will often be able to tell you how active the pet is and about the animal’s personality.”

Additionally, make sure you are not allergic to the pet you want to adopt, and above all, remember owning a pet is a big responsibility.

“Don’t forget your lifestyle may change,” Eckman said. “You will need to be flexible in your schedule when you adopt a new a pet, regardless of where you are living.”

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu .

Is Giving Pets as Gifts really a PAWS-itive idea?

Child girl hugging her pet
Child girl hugging her pet staying near her house decorated before Christmas

Giving an adorable puppy or kitten as a gift this holiday season may seem like a wonderful idea, but it is important to remember that pets need a lifetime of care and commitment long after the holiday season. Surprising your family with a new fuzzy friend on that special holiday morning is tempting, but be sure to first consider these facts to avoid being unprepared when bringing a pet home.

Giving the gift of companionship requires a considerable amount of research and preparation. There can be many reasons why a pet may be unsuitable for a home, such as if the receiver is not financially or mentally prepared for a pet. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how pets can often come with hidden expenses. “Pets, even healthy ones, require a financial commitment for basic requirements, such as food, collars, and leashes, as well as medical needs, such as basic vaccinations,” she said. “Unexpected illnesses or injury may also add to that financial burden, which can be too much for some owners to handle.”

Other reasons a pet may not be an appropriate gift this year is if the receiver is allergic to pets, if the receiver does not have an appropriate place to keep the pet, or if the receiver does not want a pet or have time to commit to a pet.

Taking care of a cat or dog is a responsibility that is often simplified in the minds of children, but the reality is that pets need care throughout their entire lifetime. Giving a pet as a gift to children who are not yet responsible to care for it can lead to pets being seen as “play-things,” rather than living and dependent animals.

Adults often take on the responsibilities of feeding, bathing, and cleaning up after the pet when the initial newness of the pet wears off. Sometimes adults are guilty of neglecting the pet too, especially if they were unaware of the financial commitment from the beginning. This can lead to many pets entering shelters for the remainder of their lives or until another family adopts them.

Although there are many reasons why giving a pet as a holiday gift can be a bad idea, a pet can make a great holiday gift for someone if the proper amount of research and preparation is done. If the receiver has expressed their commitment to a pet, proven their responsibility, and are financially and mentally ready for a pet, the gift giver must then consider the receiver’s pet preferences for gender and breed. Adoption is also a great option, especially if the new owner prefers an older dog or cat. Many pets are patiently waiting in shelters for a forever home, and the adoption staff at the shelter will be able to help you choose the perfect pet for the new owner.

Although giving a pet as a gift this holiday season may seem like a wonderful life-long memory for your family, there is a considerable amount of research and preparation involved in bringing a pet into a new home, especially if it is a surprise to the new owner. If the receiver has proven their responsibility and expressed their desire for a new fuzzy companion, be sure to consider their pet preferences as well as adoption.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu .

Pets With Disabilities: Deafness

lady training a dog with disabilityPets can experience hearing loss just like humans. Hearing loss in pets may be the result of disease, old age, or the pet may even be born deaf. No matter the cause, pets with hearing loss can still be great companions.

Sometimes it may be difficult to determine if your pet is experiencing hearing loss. Because pets cannot verbally communicate how they are feeling, it is important for pet owners to pay attention to or record normal behavior in their pets in order to easily detect abnormal behavior. For instance, not responding to their name being called may be a sign of hearing loss in your pet. Other signs of hearing loss may include your pet being unresponsive to loud noises or food being poured into their food bowl.

One simple and effective way to see if your pet is experiencing hearing loss is to wait until your pet is asleep or not looking at you. Try to make loud noises without causing vibrations in the floor or allowing your pet to see your movement. If your pet is unresponsive to the noises you make, this could mean their hearing is not fully functional.

“When pets do not turn toward loud noises, this is a good marker they may be deaf,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor. “If you clap or whistle, they should at least perk their ears up or turn toward the sound.”

Typically there is no cure for deafness or any way to slow the progression of hearing loss in pets. Since we cannot judge levels of hearing loss in pets like we can in people, pets can lose hearing ability before a hearing impairment is even detected. Hearing aids are typically not used in pets because they are expensive, may not be comfortable for the pet to wear, and they do not work in pets who have complete hearing loss. Although pet owners may think deafness bothers their pet, it may actually bother the owner more than the pet itself. For example, most dogs are not bothered by their deafness because hearing is not their main sense.

Despite their disability, pets with a hearing impairment can still learn commands via hand signals. As long as the hand signals are clear and consistent, a hearing-impaired pet can learn commands. In addition to teaching their pet hand signals, Eckman said some pet owners utilize vibrating collars to train and get their pet’s attention. These collars can be bought at most pet stores. No matter the method used, hearing-impaired pets are certainly trainable.

To keep your hearing-impaired pet safe, keep them in a fenced yard or in your home as you would with other pets. You may choose to add a bell to your pet’s collar so you always know where they are. In addition, it may be beneficial to add a tag on the pet’s collar to indicate they are deaf in case they ever get lost.

“If your aged pet becomes deaf, it can still be a wonderful companion,” Eckman said. “Teaching the pet commands based on hand signals and vibrations can further strengthen the bond with your pet. If you are adopting a deaf pet, they are still very trainable and great companions as well.”

Although some may think it can be challenging to care for a deaf pet, hearing-impaired pets are just as loveable as a pet with full hearing.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu .

Boarding Your Pets

boarding dogMany people associate the summer months with traveling and fun in the sun. While some people consider their pet a travel companion, other pets may be better left at home. How can you decide the best option for your pet? Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, offered some insight.

“Cats typically do not do well on vacation, but pet sitters are a great option for cats because it allows the cat to stay in its own environment. If a pet sitter is not an option, then a boarding facility with a separate cat area is a good idea,” she said. “Some pets may be more comfortable with their owners rather than a large population of pets, such as in a boarding facility. Some hotels and campsites allow pets, and depending on the vacation type, this may be a great option. Other pets simply do not travel well; therefore, boarding may be the best choice.”

Boarding kennels—or facilities that house a large number of kennels for dogs and cats to stay in—should be considered a possibility when you decide your furry-friend cannot make the trip with you. Boarding kennels are comprised of various sized kennels. There are typically several kennels in a room, and some may have outdoor access. Some kennels are part of a veterinary hospital, while others are simple boarding facilities. Many kennels are built to reduce the noise and visibility of other pets.

If you decide to board your pet, what should you look for in a boarding facility?

“Recommendations from friends and family are important and may be a good starting point in looking for a boarding kennel,” she said. “In general, kennels should be clean and should require basic vaccines for their clients. Even if a pet is adequately vaccinated, the likelihood of spreading disease is higher when several pets are housed together. No vaccine is 100 percent effective.”

In addition, it is important to tour the boarding kennel to ensure you feel safe keeping your pet there while you are out of town. Questions you should ask yourself include, “Is the facility clean? How often are the pets fed? Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring? Are veterinary services available? Will my pet be comfortable in the kennels provided? Will my pet get adequate exercise?”

“You should be able to tour the facility before you decide to use their services,” Eckman said. “Some facilities offer outdoor play and exercise time, while some offer individual ‘suites’ for pets that offer more room.” Deciding what environment will be most comfortable will play a major part in deciding the best boarding kennel for your pet.

Although boarding kennels can make a great option for when you have to leave your pet behind, there are some potential drawbacks. Your pet may experience stress due to the environment and other pets may expose your pet to health problems. Additionally, if your pet gets sick from car travel and the facility is a long drive from your home, the drive to the boarding center can be a challenge.

Although there are some potential drawbacks to boarding facilities, they make a great option when your pet cannot stay in your home or with a sitter. Be sure to choose a clean, safe, and comfortable boarding facility. Most importantly, remember to tour the facility before handing over your pet.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu.

Caring for Older Pets

a senior dog laying in the grassPets are more than just our companions—they are a part of the family. As your pet ages, it is important to consult your veterinarian for help providing the proper care for your senior pet’s changing needs.

Every animal is different, so the senior life stage occurs at different ages in different pets. For instance, dogs are typically considered seniors at seven years old, but older dogs age quicker than smaller dogs. Cats can be considered mature at 7 years and seniors at 11 years old. Breed and species aside, your pet’s genetics, nutrition, health, and environment will ultimately determine when your pet is considered a senior.

One of the telltale signs of increasing age in pets is a decline in physical activity. For instance, previously active pets may not play as much and both dogs and cats may need assistance climbing on and off the bed or couch. Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), explained when pet owners can expect this transition into senior pet behavior. “A decrease in physical activity depends on the breed, size, and genetics of the pet,” she said. “However, some older pets are still quite active in their senior years.”

In addition to a decrease in physical activity, older cats and dogs tend to develop more degenerative health problems. “Chronic degenerative disorders like heart and kidney disease are common in older pets, and so is cancer,” Eckman said. “In cats, kidney, heart, and thyroid disease are the most common aging conditions. In dogs, different breeds are more prone to certain conditions. For example, some breeds are more likely to see a dramatic increase in cancers as they age.” A visit to the veterinarian every six months can help determine what is normal for your pet so that any changes in behavior or health can be detected early.

Aging cats and dogs are also prone to arthritis, dental disease, loss of sight and hearing, and a decrease in mobility. Just like humans, pets may need more assistance getting around and taking care of themselves. Despite this change in mobility and physical activity, it is important to keep your dog and cat active to slow the progression of joint pain and arthritis. In addition, a healthy diet that adequately nourishes your pet is also key in reducing your pet’s risk for obesity, which can also contribute to joint pain. “The single most important aspect in helping your pet stay as happy and healthy for as long as possible is maintaining a healthy weight throughout their lifetime,” Eckman said. “A healthy weight should be coupled with regular exercise and activity.”

Perhaps the hardest part about having an aging furry best friend is accepting when they are no longer happy in everyday life. It is never easy to let go of a pet, but in some cases, euthanasia is the most humane option. “Making the decision to euthanatize a pet is a personal and difficult decision,” Eckman said. “The decision is dependent on what signs and symptoms the pet is showing or what disorder the pet is experiencing. When owners are questioning if they should euthanize their pet, they should discuss it with their veterinarian to help guide the decision-making process. At the CVM, we typically have owners think of three to five specific characteristics of their pet, and when the pet stops doing these things, then it may be time to consider euthanasia. For example, my dog loves to play ball. When he stops playing or does not get joy out of this any longer, that would raise concerns for me.”

As much as we would love our pets to live forever, they grow old and need special care. To ensure your pet lives a long, healthy life, be sure to visit your veterinarian regularly to discuss your pet’s diet, exercise habits, and overall health.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to editor@cvm.tamu.edu .