As hoards of Americans celebrate one of this nation's most important holidays, National Hairball Awareness Day, on April 26, 2013, cat owners are already grossly aware of the issues these chunks of fur can cause. It can be quite disturbing to watch, and hear, a cat cough up a hairball, but luckily there are some small changes pet parents can make to help prevent the gag reflex. Simply follow these tips from Petco™ to keep pets physically healthy and hair-free.
Hairballs form naturally thanks to a cat's regular grooming routine, but it can still be quite nauseating watching a cat hack, gag and vomit the tiny ball of hair out into the world. Most hair a cat swallows while grooming is passed naturally through the digestive tract, but when it gets caught in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Long-haired cats are more likely to get hairballs, especially in the spring and summer when warming temperatures equate to more shedding. However, removing excess hair by brushing and grooming a cat regularly, as part of their complete health, can help limit the amount of loose hair that can ultimately get caught inside the kitty. Using a product like the FURminator deShedding Tool for cats to quickly and easily remove the loose, dead undercoat of cat hair can help remove this source of hairballs and shedding. Plus, petting and brushing a cat regularly will keep them emotionally happy by creating an everlasting bond between pet and pet parent.
Proper nutrition is also vital in helping a pet's physical health and preventing these wet balls from appearing on the floor. There are certain types of cat food that can reduce shedding and help hair move safely and naturally through the cat's digestive track. For example, Hill's Science Diet makes a hairball control cat food that contains natural vegetable fibers to help aid this process. If changing a pet's food isn't ideal, try a treat like Petco's Complete Pet Care Chicken Hairball Relief Cat Chews that prevent hairballs from forming. In addition, ensuring a cat has enough fiber in their diet and drinks plenty of water will also help their physical health and diminish hairballs. For cats with a more persistent problem, try a hairball lubricant that helps the cat pass the problem more easily.
If frequent hairballs continue, a veterinarian can recommend a supplement that can prevent hair from clumping. If a cat has an overly matted coat, is lethargic, has a swollen stomach or is constipated, these may all be signs it's time to see the vet about the hairball problem.
For more information about hairball prevention or about caring for a cat's whole health visit: http://www.petco.com/wholepets.
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