You’ve heard about the human obesity epidemic and it’s time to talk about feline obesity.  Indoor cats are much more likely to be overweight than their outdoor cousins, and with most of our patients living in small apartments, we see A LOT of fat cats.

We also live with them–and know just how hard it can be to  get them to slim down!  Below are our top tips for helping get your chubby kitty down to a healthy weight.

  • Choose the right food — choosing a food with the right calorie density and enough fiber to keep your cat full will make portioning much easier, and allow for the occasional treat, too.  This is the same as if we chose to eat salads instead of cookies when on a diet.
    • Many food brands offer a “weight management”, “healthy weight”, or “reduced calorie” option for cats; try switching to this version to reduce calorie intake
    • Some cats benefit from a prescription weight loss diet, with more restricted calories than over the counter options . The benefits of these diets include being able to feed larger portions without increasing calories (especially helpful for destructive cats!)
    • Try canned food instead of  dry — the same calories come in a larger volume in canned food, helping keep your cat satiated longer


  • Feed the right portion — an appropriate portion for the average indoor cat would be 1/4 cup dry food or 3 oz canned food, fed twice a day.  Obviously there is a range around this number, but it’s a good starting point
    • Be sure to make any  portion reductions GRADUALLY.  Cats don’t do well on a crash diet (it can cause liver disease), so don’t cut back by more than 10% per week
    • If your cat free feeds over the day, measure how much food you add to the bowl over 4 days.  Then measure how much is left at the end of this time, and divide the difference by the 4.  This will give you the average amount your cat eats each day.  Divide this amount into a breakfast and dinner portion, and go from there


  • Keep your cat busy — lower activity is the source of many indoor cat’s obesity, and a cat with time on her hands and an empty belly on her new diet is going to make her complaints heard.
    • Play time — dedicate 5 minutes twice a day to play with you cat.  Have her chase a toy or string, or provide toys she likes to wrestle with.
    • Add a bird feeder to your window — there are lots of clear bird feeders you can place on the outside of apartment windows to create a “cat TV” sure to keep you tabby occupied!
    • Place food in food-dispensing toys instead of into a bowl.  This will slow down eating AND increase activity to double the benefit!


  • Seek help — it’s not easy to get your cat to lose weight!  If you are doing the things above and your cat just isn’t losing weight, or if you feel like he is losing too much, ask for help!  We’re always happy to help our patients on the road to healthy weights.


Uptown Vets   –   295 West 112th St, New York, NY

(212) 222-1221   –   info@uptownvetsnyc.com

My Pet Had a Vaccine and Now…


You were at the vet this morning, or yesterday, your pet did great for her annual exam, and received one (or a few) vaccinations.  You came home, and things seemed pretty normal.  Now, your pet is hiding, quiet, and doesn’t want to eat.  What’s going on?

This may be a completely normal reaction to a vaccination.  Vaccines work by activating the immune system in order to build antibodies which allow the body to fight off infection if it is encountered in the real world.  This short period of immune system activation can make your pet feel sleepy, a little achy, and may decrease appetite for one to two days.  My own cat had vaccine boosters last week, and for the next 36 hours he was not quite himself.  He was much quieter than normal, tender where he had the vaccines, and only ate half his normal portions.  By 48 hours after the vaccine, he was back to knocking our valuables onto the floor and teasing the dogs.

Think about when you receive vaccines — after a tetanus booster, our arms are sore for a few days, and after an influenza vaccine we tend to feel under the weather for a day.

There ARE some pets (and people) who have ABNORMAL reactions to vaccines.  These can range from grossly exaggerated versions of the above to true anaphylactic allergic reactions, and need to be treated.  Below are a list of normal and abnormal signs your pet may exhibit.  If you see abnormal signs, call us immediately. If you think your pet is having an anaphylactic reaction, seek immediate medical attention, either with us or at the local emergency veterinarian.

  • Mild lethargy (quiet, low energy, not interacting like normal) — NORMAL
  • Decreased appetite, ranging to complete loss of appetite for up to 24 hours after the vaccine was administered — NORMAL
  • Tenderness at the site of injection — NORMAL
  • Mild limp on the leg(s) where injections were given — NORMAL for 1-2 days; if the lameness persists beyond this, call our office for advice
  • Small bump at the site of injection — NORMAL
  • Large, very painful swelling at the site of injection — ABNORMAL, call our office!
  • Vomiting multiple times within a few hours of the vaccine — ABNORMAL, seek immediate medical attention, this may be an anaphylactic reaction!
  • Facial swelling within a few hours of the vaccine — ABNORMAL, seek immediate medical attention, this may be an anaphylactic reaction!
  • Soft stool for 1-2 days after vaccines and/or deworming administered — NORMAL
  • Diarrhea (liquid stool) within a few hours of the vaccine — ABNORMAL, seek immediate medical attention, this may be an anaphylactic reaction!

Pets having immediate, severe reactions to vaccines need to be treated by a veterinarian.  These reactions are very rare, but can be life-threatening.  For pets who have experienced these reactions, we will discuss options for providing disease protection in the future and plan how to keep your pet safe.

Let us know how your pet reacted to vaccines when we check in — we may adjust how we vaccinate your pet in the future, even if the reaction fell into the normal range.  Our goal is always to provide maximum disease protection, while keeping your pet happy and healthy.


If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s vaccination status, previous reactions, or need to bring your pet in, please contact us at (212)222-1221 or via our website at www.uptownvetsnyc.com.


Uptown Vets   –   295 West 112th St, New York, NY

(212) 222-1221   –   info@uptownvetsnyc.com

Alphabet Soup — Decoding Dog Training Certifications


You’ve decided to hire a dog trainer — congrats!  This is going to be enormously helpful for you and your dog.  As you talk to friends and get recommendations, then look online, you are probably noticing an enormous array of titles and certifications (and lots and lots of letters!).  Not all certifications are created equal, so we’ve tried to break them down for you below.


There are four titles you are likely to see in your search.  They have specific definitions you should be aware of, and are not always linked to certification:

(1) Trainer — anyone who works training dogs in any capacity may call him or herself a trainer.  There are some excellent certifications available, but not all trainers will have them.  Experience is extremely important, but most skilled and knowledgeable trainers will maintain high level certifications, and we recommend only working with certified trainers.

(2) Behavior consultants —  individuals with this title have completed coursework and had their knowledge (and sometimes skills) assessed by a certification body.  They often work with dogs with problem behaviors and are a critical part of any behavior modification plan.

(3) Behaviorists — individuals with degrees (Masters or PhD) in animal behavior.  They may or may not have specific training in applied behavior modification for pets.

(4) Veterinary Behaviorist — board certified veterinary specialists, the equivalent of a psychiatrist in humane medicine.

Certifications (please note — there are TONS of certifications; below is a list of the ones we see most often in NYC, with brief descriptions of when this certification may be appropriate for your needs)

Training (i.e. teaching manners and appropriate behavior)

  • CDTCertified Dog Trainer
    • Basic level certification; appropriate for basic obedience training.
  • CDTACertified Dog Trainer, Advanced
    • Builds upon the CDT, requires 5 years experience
  • CPDT – KACertified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed
    • Indicates that a dog trainer has passed a comprehensive exam and has at least 300 hours of dog training experience
  • CPDT – KSACertified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge and Skills Assessed
    • Indicates that a dog trainer has passed a comprehensive exam and an objective skills-based assessment along with at least 300 hours of dog training experience

High Level Training and Behavior Modification (i.e. addressing problem behaviors, anxiety, aggression, etc.)

  • CBCC – KACertified Behavior Consultant Canine
    • Indicates that a dog behavior consultant has passed a comprehensive exam on behavior modification and has at least 500 hours of of dog behavior consulting experience
    • This is a good base level of certification for anyone you work with to address problem behaviors
  • CDBCCertified Dog Behavior Consultant
    • Individuals who have completed 150 hours of coursework on animal behavior and modification, 500 hours of experience dealing with problem behaviors, demonstrated knowledge of scientific and practical knowledge, and maintain continuing education in the field
    • ACDBC is the Associate version, and is a step for many trainers on the path to full certification
    • This is an excellent certification for an individual you intend to work with on problem behaviors
  • DVM (or VMD, BVMS):
    • General practice veterinarian (e.g. Uptown Vets’ own Dr. Obernesser and Sullivan-Wolff), will assess your pet for medical conditions that may be linked to problem behaviors, offer recommendations, liaise with trainers, and prescribe medications for some conditions.
    • Working with a general practitioner veterinarian will not replace the need for behavior modification training, but may be a helpful addition
  • DACVB:
    • Highest level of certification — indicates a board certified veterinary specialist who has completed veterinary school and a residency, passed board exams, and practices exclusively working with behavior issues; these individuals are the veterinary equivalent of psychiatrist, and able to prescribe both behavior modification programs and medications.
    • Ideal for dogs facing severe behavior problems.

Ultimately, there are lots of approaches to training, and there is no one-size-fits-all option.  However, the more education, training, and experience a professional has, the more likely he or she is to quickly assess what WILL work for your dog and adapt programs.  Spending months working with someone unqualified to address your pet’s needs will be both frustrating and expensive.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your pet’s behavior or training needs, don’t hesitate to contact us.  Between our own pets and those of our wonderful clients, we have worked with lots of trainers, consultants, and specialists in NYC and can help you find the right fit.

Uptown Vets   –   295 West 112th St, New York, NY

(212) 222-1221   –   info@uptownvetsnyc.com