immagine Come aiutare il cane e il gatto a superare la paura del veterinario

How to help your dog overcome the fear of going to the vet

 Let's face it, even today many of us continue to be afraid of dentists. So why shouldn't our pet  feel the same? The fact that the sight of the entrance door of the surgery already intimidates them is absolutely normal, but this can be a problem if apprehension turns into fear or anxiety.

When does the situation becomes worrying

No matter how friendly a veterinarian tries to appear towards animals, in their perspective they will always remain as a person armed with syringes and other very annoying tools. The fear of the vet is an absolutely normal and understandable aspect, but within certain limits. As long as the problem remains confined within the limits of the attempt to purr or the vocalization, we can try to tolerate it.

gatto paura terrore veterinario

We must begin to worry, however, when the tension becomes as strong as to lead to anxiety and real panic attacks, which manifest themselves with:

  • Very accelerated breathing
  • Tachycardia
  • Aggressiveness
  • meows or constant barking
  • Very strong tremors
  • Breath with open mouth in the cat
  • Temperature increase
  • Urinary and faecal incontinence

What can we do to help our pet?

When a simple visit to the vet becomes a source of strong stress for the dog and the cat, we just have to put into practice some strategies to help them relieve tension. Fortunately, the options available to us are quite numerous:

  • Don't freak out: this is the first, fundamental advice. We are the guide for our pet, so if we are agitated, he will automatically think that something is wrong;

  • Make transportation pleasant: we have already talked about the transportation of dogs and cats. In summary, we should try to encourage the association of travel by car with a pleasant event, such as a nice walk in the company. As for the pet carrier, however, the ideal is not to use it only for travel, but it would be preferable to always leave it available to our friend at home, perhaps as an alternative kennel;

  • Let's get him used to being manipulated: it is good to start right from puppies, gently stroking them even in the most difficult places to touch, such as the muzzle, the ears, the eyes, the belly and the fingertips. The pleasure of the caresses, perhaps combined with some appetizing snacks, will help our friend to be less suspicious towards strangers, such as the veterinarian. In addition, this advice will come in handy in case of therapies to be administered alone or for normal cleaning of the ears or teeth;

  • Often pass in front of the vet's surgery: when we are in the car or walking with our dog, we should also try to travel the path that leads to the vet, without stopping by. This way he won't be immediately alarmed every time he sees the road. We can also enter the waiting room for a few minutes, rewarding him or asking the veterinarian to greet him calmly and maybe even give him a few snacks, and then continue the rest of the walk





    cane paura veterinario

  • Stay as close to him as possible: unless it is a surgical procedure, avoid leaving only the dog or cat in the examination room. Our presence will be a comfort to our friend;

  • Give them a few snacks while we wait: cats hardly accept food when they are frightened, but often for dogs appetite represents an excellent distraction. We use snacks and caresses to prevent him from thinking incessantly about what awaits him;

  • If he can't stand the company of other animals, we leave the waiting room: the presence of other dogs or cats in the surgery, especially if our friend is not particularly sociable, can increase anxiety and stress levels. To avoid this problem, we ask the veterinarian or those present to notify us when our shift comes and wait outside or in the car;

  • We use synthetic pheromones: we talked about this excellent solution in a specific article. Both for dogs and cats there are collars and sprays on the market that are particularly useful for relieving tension, without resorting to any medication. We can ask the veterinarian for advice on which product is most suitable for our situation;

  • We plan a home visit: in the most extreme cases it may be necessary to resort to a home visit, and ask our veterinarian if he is willing to do it;

  • We ask the veterinarian to administer a sedative: if the stress levels become too high, to the point of panic, the veterinarian may be forced to administer a sedative;

  • Let's rely on natural remedies: Bach flowers can be a valuable aid in emergency situations. To know which one to choose, read the article dedicated to this natural remedy.

If these useful tips dont managed to calm your pet, you could talk to a behavioural veterinarian.

Ostruzione urinaria nel gatto: come intervenire

Urinary obstruction: how do we intervene

The urinary tract of cats is extremely sensitive. One of the most frequent situations that owners find themselves facing is urinary obstruction, which is the cat's inability to "pee". What not everyone knows, however, is that it is a common, but dangerous, condition that requires timely intervention before the kidneys health is permanently compromised. Let's see what are the causes of this problem and how we can intervene.

How urinary obstruction occurs

It is unlikely that the owner will not notice such a situation, since the cat often manifests rather obvious suffering. However, in the days or hours before the actual obstruction, alterations may appear, such as:

  • Meows and complains
  • He stays still for a long time before he can pee
  • He licks his genitals
  • Produces few urine, often only drops, but more frequently
  • There may be traces of blood in the urine
  • He is nervous or aggressive
  • Tends to urinate outside the litter box

On the other hand, when there is a total obstruction, no matter how hard the cat tries to urinate, it cannot even emit a drop of pee. He also maintains this position for several minutes, rhythmically contracting the abdominal muscles, but to no avail. If action is not taken promptly, the situation worsens fairly quickly: the cat vomits, is very weak and neurological symptoms may appear.

gatto flutd cistite lettiera alimentazione

FLUTD: the true responsible 

As we have already explained in the article entirely dedicated to cat's urinary tract problems, FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) is the term used to encompass all possible conditions affecting the lower urinary tract of felines, i.e. bladder and urethra. Before analysing it in detail, we need to do a little anatomy review: the kidneys, conveyed through the two ureters towards the bladder, produce the urine and from there it is eliminated outwards through a thin tube, which is the urethra.

In cats, these two structures easily face different types of problems. In particular, among the most frequent we find

  • Bladder stones: just like in humans, the cat can also face this problem, which appears when two possible substances, struvite and oxalates, accumulate and join together inside the bladder. These are crystals of various sizes, which can remain inside the bladder, scratching the walls and thus creating inflammation. In most cases, the reason for this problem is food-related, for example, when the cat drinks too little or his diet involves an excess of magnesium (the main component of struvite stones). In addition, the pH of the urine plays a fundamental role in the appearance of the stones: when the urine is acidic enough (in the cat they should remain within a value of 6-6.5), any deposits of struvite are easily dissolve, which does not happen when, at the on the contrary, they are more alkaline. Normally stones are formed in the bladder, where they can scratch the walls, generating inflammation. An even more serious case occurs when the stones get stuck in the urethra, thus preventing the pee from flowing normally outwards;

    calcoli urinari gatto

  •  Urethral plug: this is undoubtedly the most frequent condition, particularly in male cats, whose urethra is narrower. The cells that line the walls of the bladder undergo a periodic flaking, which serves to eliminate the old tissue, which will be replaced by the new one. However, this flaking may increase significantly and other debris may also be added, such as protein substances, blood cells and other types of cells produced by the kidneys and bladder, which may or may not mix with any struvite or oxalate crystals present in the urinary tract . All this material might compact and can get stuck in the urethra, preventing urine from escaping. This situation can occur following various factors, such as stress, an unbalanced diet, the presence of infections or tumours;

  •  Idiopathic obstructive cystitis: the term "idiopathic" is used in medicine for all those disorders that are clinically ascertained, but for which a cause cannot be identified or only hypotheses are still underway. In the case of feline idiopathic cystitis, there are no bacteria or wounds underlying inflammation of the bladder, but instead other factors, often neurological in nature. In particular, stress is able to stimulate the cat's brain to send signals to the bladder, which responds by producing numerous substances that stimulate inflammation. According to another hypothesis, however, the cause of this problem would be a reduction of glycosaminoglycans, substances that normally cover the walls of the bladder to protect it from the attack of bacteria. Generally, idiopathic cystitis does not lead to an obstructive nature, but in some circumstances it can lead to occlusions that prevent urine from coming out;

  • Malformations of the urethra: some cats may present, from birth, defects in the development of the urinary tract. In particular, if the urethra is too narrow or has small narrowing in some parts (stenosis), debris (possibly present in the urine) are more likely create obstructions.

All included FLUTD disorders occur especially in the presence of particular situations, such as:

  • Stress: cats can easily stress out and this will mainly affects the health of the urinary tract. Among the most frequent situations that the owners reported are: changing house, cohabitation with other cats or dogs, arrival of guests or a child;

  • Litter: it will seem strange, but often cats do not accept the fact that the litter box is moved from the usual place or that their usual sand is changed. In these cases they can become stressed, refusing to make needs in the litter box or blocking themselves completely;

  • Age and gender: urinary obstruction is more frequent in young or adult male cats;

  • Lifestyle: sedentary lifestyle, boredom and obesity are among the predisposing factors;

  • Nutrition: an unbalanced diet that does not take into account specific nutritional needs for different situations (sterilized, sedentary, overweight cat, etc.) can favour the appearance of stones.

gatto collare elisabettiano

How do we intervene

We must first clarify a fundamental concept: urinary obstruction is a very serious problem and must be treated promptly, because it can have serious consequences, like death. What happens, in fact, is that urine continues to be produced by the kidneys and constantly accumulates in the bladder, without being eliminated. In this way, the bladder dilates more and more, until it loses the ability to contract to expel the urine, and with the passing of the hours it can even burst or cause serious damage to the kidneys.

In addition, all substances that are normally eliminated in the urine - especially nitrogen - will accumulate in the blood, leading to the cat's death. All this process does not escalate within days or weeks, but within 24-48 hours, so you have to take the cat immediately to the nearest clinic without wasting too much time.

The protocol advised in these circumstances is based primarily on the clinical examination, with an X-ray to identify and locate any stones or other conditions. The cat is generally sedated to proceed with unclogging through catheterization: a thin tube is inserted into the urethra to push any plugs present in the urethra into the bladder, thus promoting the escape of urine. The vet will then be able to perform bladder washes to stimulate the bladder to expel the urine again. If the situation does not improve, surgery is needed to remove the cause of the obstruction.

The entire procedure is carried out under sedation, associating painkillers, so the animal will not feel any pain during the unclogging manoeuvre.

It is also very important to proceed with the collection of a urine sample to be analysed, which will be used by the veterinarian to identify the source of the problem (presence of struvite or oxalate crystals, bacteria), associating the most precise therapy.

Once the cat has been unclogged, we will keep him under observation for 48-72 hours, in order to monitor urine production and any impairment of kidney function. In any case, the veterinarian will then be able to provide a more detailed therapy to be administered at home and on the most suitable diet to prevent new episodes. In particular, the specific diet for urinary tract disorders can represent a real life-saver for cats that tend to produce urine rich in crystals or struvite stones.

These foods, in fact, have a composition designed to increase the sense of thirst in the cat and to make their urine more acidic, in order to dissolve the struvite crystals. Sometimes it may be necessary to adopt specific diets for long periods or even for life.

Finally, if stress is identified among the causes of the problem, the veterinarian could propose a consultation by a behavioural expert, who will be able to analyse every potentially stressful aspect of the cat's life.

immagine Come pulire gli occhi al cane e al gatto

How to clean our pets eyes

What a nuisance those dark spots under the eyes of our four-legged friend! Not to mention how unsightly white furred dogs and cats look like with these spots. Moreover, you will have to perform a thorough cleaning of the eyelids in association with specific therapies. This is why it is important to be familiar with the manoeuvres to get our animals used to letting their eyes be cleaned, with the right products and techniques.

When should the eyes be cleaned?

Speaking from a purely aesthetic point of view, we must consider brachycephalic dogs and cats, that is, all those breeds that have a rather flattened muzzle. Among cats, Persian represents the typical example, whilst in dogs we can mention, for example, Poodles, Maltese, Shi Tzu, Bichon frisè. The particular shape of the head, with a very short nose and large eyes, makes it difficult to hold back tears, which come out more frequently. In the long run, the tear fluid, often reddish or brownish, accumulates on the hair around the eyes, crusting and making it rather difficult to remove.

For cats, the situation may change slightly compared to the dog, considering their proverbial attention to personal hygiene. It is no coincidence they spend  time washing thoroughly every inch of their body until they have removed all traces of dirt. However, it may happen that some cats are unable to clean their eyes with as much care, so it is up to us owners to clean them in the right way.

On the contrary, eye and eyelid hygiene may require greater attention of non-aesthetic purposes. For example, the most frequent situations can include:

  • Irritation caused by dust, soil and sand
  • Discomfort caused by detergents, perfumes and aggressive substances
  • Conjunctivitis, which involves the production of thick tears, with mucus and crusting
  • Dry keratoconjunctivitis, which causes little or no watery eyes, facilitating eye irritation

What products can we use?

On the market, you may find many specific products for cleaning the eyes of our animals, available in any pet shop. If, on the other hand, the dog and the cat have particular problems, such as conjunctivitis, it will be our veterinarian to indicate which product to combine with the drug therapy.

One factor that we must always keep in mind when we talk about our four-legged friends, is that in some respects they are different from us. In particular, their skin has a different pH from ours and is also much more sensitive, (although all that hair can make us believe otherwise). This is why it is important to avoid using products chosen at random or taken from our medicine cabinet, without considering any contraindications for dogs and cats.

If we are undecided about the product to choose, we can safely use other practical and economic solutions, such as:

  • Warm water
  • Physiological water
  • Boric water
  • Chamomile infusion

The only controversial aspect related to these products is that they are often not used in full attention to sterility. Physiological and boric water, if stored properly, should not create problems. On the contrary, plain water or chamomile should be boiled before using them, after letting them cool. All this, of course, as long as you apply them with sterile, possibly soft gauze.

An equally valid alternative is represented by the solutions on the market, specific for all needs, such as wipes and cleansing gels, often also equipped with disinfectant, decongestant or soothing properties.

The correct manoeuvres

We must consider that the eyes, as well as the ears, are a very sensitive area for dogs and cats, who often try to escape our touch. For this reason, it is very important to be able to get our animals used to being manipulated since they are puppies, making sure that they associate the moment of cleaning with something very pleasant without running away.

pulire occhi al cane

If, on the other hand, we approach these delicate areas of our friend only to “tinker” with cotton balls or other unpleasant tools, every time we try to touch his eyes, he will think that we have something different in mind instead of caresses. What we should do, however, is to make sure that he gets used to the contact, often stroking his head, without forgetting to pass his hand over his face too.

Here is how we should proceed:

  1. Let's wash our hands with soap and water, to prevent the germs from reaching the cat's eyes;
  2. We take soft gauze or cotton balls;
  3. We apply the product we have chosen on the gauze;
  4. Gently pass the gauze or cotton ball over the eye, starting from the inside corner and going outwards. Let's avoid putting too much pressure; if there is a strong incrustation, we proceed with a single pass, let the liquid soften the dirt and then repeat, changing gauze                                                                                                                                                                                        It is very important to avoid using the same gauze for both eyes, because in the presence of infections we could transfer the germs from one eye to another.

    One aspect that can be annoying, especially if we refer to the cat, is that it can run away or attack us. For this reason, we must learn to with precaution since the beginning. Cats hate feeling forced, so it is unthinkable to grab them without receiving at least a couple of scratches. Since the area that interests us is that of the face, we must simply position ourselves behind him, without grasping him, but slowly starting to show him what we are holding.


immagine Come usare i feromoni sintetici per cani e gatti

How to use synthetic pheromones

Most of the behavioural problems of our animals can find a valid solution thanks to the use of synthetic pheromones. What are pheromones? How are these products used in dogs and cats?

What are they

Synthetic pheromones are nothing more than copies of the pheromones that are produced by our animals. These are chemicals that have the task of communicating a specific message to other animals of the same species.

Both the dog and the cat, in fact, like many other species of animals, are able to produce a large number of pheromones, thanks to the presence of specific glands, located in several parts of the body.

These glands are found mainly around the animal's face, in the ears, between the fingertips, in the area of ​​the anus and genitals and even in the breasts.

Each of these glands is capable of producing a different type of pheromone, which "hides" a specific message. In fact, there are several categories of pheromones, which can be grouped:

  • Sex pheromones: they have a dual function. On the one hand, they are used to communicate messages for reproductive purposes (females release this pheromone to communicate its availability for mating). At the same time, they can also be produced to attract sexual partners and to recognize hierarchies among multiple animals;
  • Emotional pheromones: they are used to modulate the animal's emotions, for example to induce relaxation when he feels too agitated;
  • Territorial pheromones: we find them mainly in the genital, perianal glands and between the fingertips. They are released to mark the territory, especially in the presence of other animals. Not surprisingly, one of the main functions of cat scratching is precisely to signal its presence to other cats;
  • Social pheromones: they stimulate socialization with other animals and group recognition;
  • Alarm pheromones: they are used to signal the presence of a danger to other animals. The typical example is the vet's table. When a dog or cat is placed on the table, it is easy to notice persistent footprints, which do not come off easily, precisely because they will have to communicate the dangerous situation to the animals that will be visited later;
  • Fulfilment pheromones: released by the mother to stimulate bonding with the offspring.

Among these types of pheromones, the synthetic ones recreated in the laboratory and used to make environmental diffusers and sprays for cats are the fractions F3 and F4, which are used respectively for the neutralization of fear and for socialization purposes. In dogs, on the other hand, apaisin is contained, an analogue of the contentment pheromones produced by the mother.

How do they work

Synthetic pheromones can be used to alleviate and solve a large number of behavioral problems in our animals. The most important are:

  • Scratching: cats can scratch furniture and upholstery to mark the territory;
  • Urinary markings: both the dog and the cat, when they are stressed or feel threatened by the presence of other animals, can begin to urinate in the most inappropriate places or, as in the case of male cats, to "spray" traces of urine on the walls;
  • Stress, anxiety and phobias: these problems can represent real discomfort for the animal, with important consequences for both the mind and the body;
  • Relocations: a move, a trip or a short visit to the veterinarian can put a strain on the animal's emotional resistance, which can feel confused or frightened;
  • Presence of other animals: dogs and cats are territorial animals. When they can no longer perceive their own smell as the predominant one in the house, they can feel threatened. For this reason, the arrival of other animals in the house can trigger territorial reactions such as aggression or frustration;
  • Arrival of guests or children: some animals just cannot accept the arrival of new people to disrupt their daily rhythms and their spaces, so they can react aggressively or by hiding;
  • Adoption of a kitten or puppy: the newcomer will have to face both the separation from his mother and the introduction into an unknown environment;
  • Catteries and kennels: forced coexistence with other animals can often create serious emotional distress in dogs and cats, with problems such as anxiety, stress or depression.

    gatto graffia divano


By using products which contain synthetic pheromones, it is possible to recreate an environment for the animal that is compatible with its emotional and territorial needs.

Synthetic pheromones, in fact, replace those normally produced by animals, so they manage to interfere with the altered communication of messages.

To give an example, if you were to adopt a new cat, thanks to the use of synthetic pheromones you will be able to deceive our "old" friend, making him believe that he still has full control over the marking of the territory. Otherwise, we may find ourselves with the wallpaper completely destroyed and two cats perpetually fighting each other.

Synthetic pheromones can also be used to introduce a kitten or new puppy into the home. Thanks to the presence of contentment pheromones, it will be possible to reduce the sense of loss associated with the detachment from one's mother, while at the same time stimulating attachment to the new owners and the new environment.

How to use them

Synthetic pheromones are readily available commercially both in the form of room diffusers, sprays and dog collars.

The synthetic pheromone diffuser is simply plugged into a power outlet, possibly in the room where the animal spends most of its time. It must be left there 24 hours a day, without ever detaching it, because its effectiveness increases over time.

cane con collare feromoni

Diffusers need at least 2-3 days to start making an effect, so if you have to use them to introduce a new pet into your home, you should activate them a few days before their arrival.

The spray, on the other hand, is particularly indicated above all to prevent behavioural manifestations related to transport and all situations outside the home, such as a visit to the vet or encounters with other animals in the park. It can be sprayed in the car or in the pet carrier, at least 15 minutes before taking off.

The synthetic pheromone-based dog collar, on the other hand, is excellent both indoors and outdoors, and is able to release a constant dose of pheromones throughout the day.

Synthetic pheromones have no contraindications and can be used for animals of all ages. In case of coexistence between dogs and cats, it will be necessary to resort to two types of synthetic pheromones, one for dogs and one for cats, because these substances are species-specific, i.e. they are recognized only by animals of the same species as those who produced them.