A few weeks ago we hosted a live question and answer session with Dr. Peter Brown, Chief Medical Officer of Wagly. There were a lot of great questions asked, and we thought it was important to share them!

Question: When it comes to feeding cats, is it better to do free feeding or feed at specific times?

Answer: For most cats it’s better to do meal feeding. It’s easier to control their weight, they tend to overeat if they’re allowed to graze all day long.

Question: What should I look for or avoid when I consider boarding options for my dogs? They’re very close so ideally they would stay together.

Answer:  I would look for 24/7 staffing, ideally associated with a veterinary hospital or service. Make sure to take time beforehand to take a tour and see where they would be staying. I recommended bonded pets stay together as they will feel more secure during their stay. If they’re social dogs, it’s great for them to be at a place where they can play during the day with other dogs.

Question: My dog has had an upset stomach for a couple of days. I read online that it’s okay to give dogs Pepto Bismol. How much would you recommend? When is it time to take my dog to the veterinarian?

Answer: For I dog I wouldn’t give more than 20-30 milliliters every 8-12 hours. If your dog hasn’t been eating and/or has been vomiting for 24 hours then it’s time to see you veterinarian.

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Question: What’s the best way to socialize my puppy?

Answer: Getting your puppy involved in a puppy play group once they’re between 3 and 5 months old is a great way to start. Once your pup has finishing vaccinations, I recommend daycamp and obedience training. It’s also important to take them along on your daily activities, like going to the store or the office (assuming both permit pets). Treat your puppy like a part of your family and they’ll socialize like part of the family!

Question: I have two cats, the younger one is very relaxed and doesn’t seem to get upset when I travel. However, the older one is very attached to me and seems to get distressed when I leave for long periods of time, no matter how much time my pet sitter spends with her. Is there anything I can do to help her feel more at ease when I travel?

Answer: There are a few things you can do to make both cats more comfortable when you travel. It’s important that your cat meet the sitter prior to your leaving, ideally with you present so she knows she’s safe. You can also you a pheromone spray called Feliway that decreases anxiety in cats. If that doesn’t help, it’s time to consult with your veterinarian and see if it’s necessary to prescribe feline anxiety medications. If pet sitting continues to be stressed, boarding in a cat oriented facility with 24/7 veterinary care may be the best option.

Question: What is the biggest thing people miss when planning to get a kitten? I’m considering adding a cat to my life and want to make sure I don’t miss something important.

Answer: When adding a family member, furry or otherwise, it’s always important to think ahead. Many new pet parents don’t think about all of the vaccine requirements necessary to maintain their kitten’s health. The other thing to consider is picking out the right toys for the kitten to play with. Foreign object ingestion is common in kittens, I’ve removed many a foam dart from their intestines. But the most important thing is that you give the kitten lots of love!

Question: My dog has terrible separation anxiety, is there anything I can do to mitigate it?

Answer: I would find a toy or treat that your dog really loves and make sure to give it to them when you leave.

Question: It’s fairly common knowledge that chocolate is poisonous to pets, are there any other human foods that can be dangerous?

Answer: Some of the lesser known poisonous foods are: onions, garlic, leek, chives, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, currants, certain sugar substitues (Xylitol), alcohol, and unbaked doughs.

Question: I have a 12 week old terrier who is teething. No matter how many teething and chew toys I give him he goes straight for my shoes, toys, and furniture. What can I do to keep him from destroying things and use the toys I’ve given him?

Answer: Teething can be tough. During this phase I recommend limiting him to no more than three toys, any more than that can confuse them on what’s okay to play with. Something I like to do for teething is filling a Kong with something edible (dog food or peanut butter both do great) and putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours. As with any toy, you should observe your dog when you first give it to him so you’re sure there are no complications. Just remember: peanut butter can make a real mess in the house.

Question: My dogs will be spending a lot of time in the water this summer, is there anything I need to do to keep them healthy?

Answer: It’s important to keep their ears clean so they don’t get an infection. I recommend using a veterinarian approved ear cleaner. My personal favorites are Epiotic and Douxo. Make sure to put them as soon as they get out of the water!

Question: What is the best way to socialize and maintain a peaceful coexistence between a cat and a dog?

Answer: In general, cats and dogs get along great in the house. The most important thing is to not make a big deal out of them getting along. With time and patience they’ll figure things out for themselves. Beyond that, there are three very important things you should do:

  • Make sure the original pet in the household is getting plenty of love and attention so they don’t feel like they’re being replaced.
  • Keep their food separate so they don’t have a chance to clash over stolen meals.
  • Provide your cat with safe space that is dog free. It’s important that cats have a haven and a sense of security.
  • If after a month or so there is still trouble, it’s time to speak with your veterinarian about what else can be done.

Question: Nutritionally, does my cat need to eat a combination of wet and dry food, or is dry food sufficient?

Answer: For most cats, dry food is perfectly sufficient. There are certain medical conditions where I recommend you feed your cat wet food or a combination of wet and dry food. But if your cat doesn’t have any medical conditions and is happy with a dry diet, there is no problem.

Question: How frequently should I have my dog’s teeth cleaned?

Answer: Every dog is different, some dogs require a cleaning every 4-6 months, while others may only need a teeth cleaning every 2-3 years. The best way to know is to take your dog to your veterinarian and get their advice.