All posts by James

Springtime Hazards for Cats and Dogs

Your pet is probably looking forward to the warmer weather of spring just as much as you are. Now that it’s officially here, it’s important to keep in mind some seasonal pet hazards! Below, your Roanoke, VA vet tells you about common springtime dangers for cats and dogs and how to keep your companion safe.

Parasites

Spring is prime-time for outdoor pests like fleas, ticks, and parasitic worms to start wreaking havoc on our pets’ health. If your pet isn’t protected with preventative medications, they’ll be at risk of a dangerous infestation or infection! Make sure your pet wears a flea-and-tick preventative and is taking a heartworm medication; these measures keep most pets pest-free throughout the season. Talk to your vet right away if your pet needs these preventatives.

Cleaning Supplies

Doing a little spring cleaning this time of year? Remember to keep your pet elsewhere. A variety of cleaning products can harm pets; everything from household disinfectants and toilet-bowl cleaner to carpet shampoo and air fresheners poses a threat. It’s safest to move your pet to another room if you’re using something that gives off strong chemicals. Also, be sure to store cleaning products safely inside a locket supply closet where pets can’t reach.

Toxic Plant Life

Did you know that there are hundreds of potentially harmful plants and flowers out there for pets? Some of the most common include dieffenbachia, rhododendron (also called azalea), philodendron, amaryllis, lilies, tulips, daffodils, ivy, chrysanthemums, elephant ear, oleander, the sago palm, and various types of aloe plants. Check your home, garden, and landscaping to make sure you haven’t planted something harmful for your pet.

Allergies

Humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from springtime allergies. Pets, too, might be sniffling and sneezing more than usual this time of year! In addition to tree pollen, pets can experience allergies to dirt, dust, mold, and a variety of other substances. If you think your pet might be suffering from springtime allergies, contact your vet’s office for help.

Escape

You’re probably looking forward to opening a few windows around the house to let in the comfortable breezes of spring. Just make sure your pet can’t escape—outfit all windows with sturdy mesh screens, and identify your pet properly with a microchip, ID tags, or both to be safe.

For more tips on keeping your pet safe this spring, call your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic.

Getting Your Pet Back to a Healthy Weight

Take a glance at your pet—are they looking a bit pudgy? Nearly half of all domesticated cats and dogs are overweight! If your pet could stand to shed a few pounds, use these tips from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian to return them to a healthy weight:

See the Vet

First, set up an appointment to have your pet examined at the vet’s office. You don’t want to start adjusting your pet’s portion size or changing their diet without consulting the professionals first! Your veterinarian can tell you whether or not your pet is, in fact, obese. Then, you’ll work together to create a tailored weight-loss plan.

Adjust Portion Size

Many times, all it takes for a pet to start losing weight is some control over their portion size. A huge number of pets become obese simply from over-eating! Never free-feed your pet, which means leaving food out at all times for your pet to munch on as they wish; instead, ask your veterinarian about a portion measurement that suits your pet’s needs. Give your pet that amount of food at mealtimes, and remove any uneaten kibble after about 20 minutes.

Feed a Great Diet

Is your pet’s food itself up to par? If your companion is receiving a budget food that contains a lot of empty calories, they’re probably packing on the pounds. It’s time to upgrade your pet’s diet to a premium food that suits their age, size, and breed. This way, they’ll receive all of the essential nutrients for good health without consuming too many calories and becoming overweight.

Exercise Regularly

Of course, no weight-loss plan comes without exercise. You’ll have to get your pet moving on a regular basis in order to help them burn off that excess body fat and return to a healthy weight. Go on brisk walks through your neighborhood, or romp around inside with a favorite toy. However you do it, make sure your pet gets several minutes of physical activity per day, several times a day.

Tips on Treats

Don’t give your pet a lot of fatty table scraps, and don’t overdo it when it comes to pet treats. Use treats as rewards for good behavior, or as training tools—giving your pet treats for no real reason isn’t healthy.

Does your pet need a veterinary exam? We’re here to help. Contact your Roanoke, VA animal hospital to schedule an appointment.

Caring For A Dog With Allergies

If you’ve ever had allergies, or know someone who has, you know they aren’t much fun. Our canine companions can also develop allergies. In fact, Fido can become allergic to a wide variety of things. These allergies can develop at any point in a dog’s life, and often come on unexpectedly. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet offers tips on caring for a pooch with allergies.

Veterinary Care

First things first: if you know or suspect that your canine buddy has allergies, take him to the vet for some testing. Once your vet has pinpointed what Fido is reacting to, he or she will be able to offer specific treatment options. This may consist of medication, a special diet, and/or home care instructions.

Pollen Counts

You may want to download an app for tracking pollen counts, or monitor levels online. When pollen counts are high, limit your furry pal’s outdoor time.

Products

Whenever you bathe Fido, or wash his clothes, toys, or bedding, use hypoallergenic, unscented soaps and shampoos. If you take your furry buddy to the groomer’s, make sure they know not to use scented products on him. We also recommend washing your pet’s things every week or so. Use the hot cycle and then tumble dry. This will help sanitize Fido’s things.

Paws For Thought

When you bring your canine pal in from outside, wipe his paws and belly down with a damp cloth. This will remove dust and pollen from his feet and coat. This can actually be quite helpful. For instance, if Fido runs through a lawn filled with weeds he is allergic to, he may become further irritated if he licks his paws afterwards.

Cleaning

Vacuuming frequently will help reduce the amount of allergens in your home. It will also help keep your place smelling better! You don’t have to do your whole house every day. Just quickly go over high-traffic areas and your furry friend’s favorite lounging spots daily. Follow up with more thorough cleanings every week.

Air Quality

It may be a good idea to invest in a quality air purifier. This will help remove dust and dander from the air. Remember to change the filters regularly!

Do you know or suspect that your canine friend has allergies? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today! We are dedicated to offering great veterinary care!

What You Need to Know About Your Cat and Dairy

Cats and milk seem to go together like two peas in a pod. You might be surprised to learn that the two don’t actually mix very well! Learn more here from your Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

Why is Milk Bad for Cats?

It turns out that most adult cats are actually lactose-intolerant, just like many humans are. This means that they don’t possess enough of the enzyme lactase in their digestive systems to properly digest lactose, the main enzyme found in milk. While a small bit of milk might not do your cat any real harm, too much isn’t a good idea. It’s likely that a cat will experience an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea if they drink too much milk!

Don’t Kittens Require Milk?

You might be wondering about kittens, who do indeed require their mother’s milk—or a synthetic substitute if the mother’s milk isn’t available—in the early stages of life. During this time, milk is necessary for proper growth, but it won’t remain so as a cat grows older. Typically, a cat starts producing less and less lactase as they age, becoming entirely lactose-intolerant by the time they’re a full-grown adult.

If you’re raising a kitten, they may need to be bottle-fed with the mother’s milk or a commercial milk substitute. Ask your veterinarian for help, and also be sure to ask about transitioning your kitten from milk to wet food.

Is Any Dairy Safe for My Cat?

Other dairy foods like cheese and yogurt don’t contain as much lactose as pure milk does, so they might be a bit safer for your cat to eat. Keep in mind, though, that no dairy is a nutritional necessity for your cat and that too much of any foreign food can cause problems. If you insist on having your cat try cheese, yogurt, or other forms of dairy, keep the portion size extremely small.

A better idea for your cat is a “cat milk,” a relatively new product that can be found in many pet supply shops. It’s a special milk made just for cats that has had all lactose removed, meaning that it’s completely safe for your feline friend.

What Does My Cat Need to Drink?

Your cat only needs one liquid to drink: fresh water. Provide a full dish at all times!

To learn more about your cat’s nutritional needs, call your Roanoke, VA vet clinic today.

5 Dental Health Tips for Dogs

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Did you know that dental care is one of the most important aspects of your canine companion’s overall health? It’s up to you to keep your dog’s pearly whites in good shape! Learn how below from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

Check the Teeth

One of the best ways to maintain your dog’s oral health is to check on the teeth and gums regularly. Sit down with Fido once a week or so, and gently draw back the lips to reveal the teeth and gums. Look for redness, swelling and/or inflammation, cracked or misaligned teeth, bleeding, excessive brown-colored plaque build-up, and anything else that looks unusual. Let your vet know if you find something concerning.

Chew Toys

Provide your dog with plenty of fun chew toys; not only does this entrain your pooch for hours on end, it promotes great dental health! Chew toys give your dog’s teeth and gums a solid workout, and the action of chewing itself helps to scrape away much of the loose plaque on your dog’s outer tooth surfaces.

Brushing Sessions

There’s no better way to keep your dog’s teeth and gums in peak condition in the comfort of your own home than by brushing the teeth on a regular basis. Pick up a canine-formulated toothpaste and a pet toothbrush at your local pet supply store. Before starting to brush, simply massage your dog’s teeth and gums with your finger to acclimate him to the sensation. Now, introduce the paste so he can get used to the smell and taste. With a little patience, you’ll be able to brush the entire mouth, effectively keeping the teeth clean and the breath fresh.

Quality Diet and Fresh Water

You might not have considered your dog’s diet as a great benefit to dental health, but it is just that. When your pooch receives all of the necessary nutrients through his food, the teeth and gums stay healthy! A steady supply of fresh water is also important; it helps to flush out the mouth, removing food particles and other grime, and ultimately keeps your dog’s entire mouth healthy.

Veterinary Cleanings

Of course, there’s no substitute for professional dental cleanings by your local veterinarian. This procedure is the ultimate way to keep your dog’s teeth and gums in tip-top shape!

Is your dog due for a dental cleaning? Call your Roanoke, VA animal hospital.

7 Reasons to Brush Your Cat

Cats have many wonderful qualities, but one of the best things about them is the fact that they are so clean. Fluffy will carefully groom herself every day. However, your furry little diva will still benefit from being brushed. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet lists some great reasons to brush your feline pal regularly in this article.

Hairball Prevention

One benefit of brushing Fluffy regularly is that you’ll be capturing that fur with a brush before she can swallow it. (We all know what happens when cats swallow too much fur. Suffice it to say, this is not the best part of having a kitty.)

Circulation

Grooming is also good for your feline pal’s circulation. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to brush Fluffy for this reason, it certainly isn’t going to hurt.

Kitty Comfort

Some of our feline friends—such as senior cats, obese kitties, and pets with chronic pain—have a hard time reaching their whole bodies to groom themselves, and may need a helping hand. Brushing Fluffy will help her stay more comfortable, since, as one can imagine, dirty hair feels matted and itchy.

Insulation

Did you know that your four-legged pal’s fur has insulating qualities that not only help her stay warm in winter, but keep her cool in summer? Dead fur and dander interfere with the insulating abilities of your cat’s fur coat. Therefore, brushing Fluffy will help keep her comfortable temperature-wise.

Health Checks

While brushing should never replace veterinary appointments, it does give you a good chance to check your kitty for signs of injury or illness, such as lumps, bumps, cuts, or lesions. Call your vet right away if you notice anything unusual.

Less Fur Everywhere

This one’s a definite bonus! The more of Fluffy’s fur you can capture with a brush, the less you’ll find stuck to your sofas, chairs, carpets, and clothing. (Tip: use a squeegee, rubber dish glove, or a damp sponge to remove dead fur from upholstered surfaces.)

Purr Activation

Last but not least, brushing your cat is a great way for you to spend some quality time with her and keep that little motor going. Kitties are always happiest when they feel loved and safe and purrhaps just a little bit pampered.

Please reach out to us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime. We are always happy to help!

Tips for Playing With Your Dog

Did you know that playing with your dog is one of the best things you can do for him? Regular play sessions will benefit Fido both mentally and physically. Read on for some great tips from a Roanoke, VA on playing with your canine buddy.

Supervise Puppy Playtime

Dogs and kids can make great playmates, but it’s important to supervise these play sessions, especially with young children. Toddlers can be, well, a bit clumsy, and may not understand that not all dogs will tolerate roughhousing. Games like Tug-O-War can also get Fido riled up, which can trigger aggressive responses in some dogs. If you notice puppy playtime seems to be getting a bit too heated, stop the play session immediately.

Games

Playing games like Tag with Fido can be really fun! They’re also a great way for both you and your four-legged friend to get a great workout in. However, some games just aren’t right for every pooch. For instance, some of our canine pals may nip if they get too excited playing Tag. Hide and Seek may be a better option for rowdy dogs. If you want to work on your pup’s petucation, try a doggy version of ‘Red Light, Green Light’ by replacing the traffic signal phrases with obedience commands like ‘Stay’ and ‘Come.’

Toys

Toys are great fun for our canine friends. They’re also a wonderful way for you to make playtime interactive. Just be sure to pick only safe, suitable toys. One thing that is very important is choosing products that are the right size for your pup. A German Shepherd can easily choke on a toy that was made for a smaller dog! You’ll also need to keep Fido’s personality in mind. If your pet tends to immediately rip open stuffed animals, these may not be the best toys for him, as the stuffing and squeakers can be choking hazards. Ask your vet for more information on choosing Fido’s playthings.

Schedule

Regular play sessions help keep Fido active and entertained, which is great for his health and well-being. Try to play with your canine companion every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This will be fun for both of you!

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today! We are dedicated to offering great veterinary care.

5 Things You Learn When You Adopt a Senior Cat

November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month! This is a wonderful cause, and one that we are happy to support. Older cats have many wonderful qualities, but they often have a very hard time finding forever homes. That’s really sad, because there are some great benefits to adopting a senior furball. Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet lists some things you find out when you bring home a kitty in her golden years.

No Surprises

When you get a kitten, it isn’t always easy to know what your furry buddy will look like as an adult, or what sort of purrsonality she’ll develop. With older cats, however, what you see is what you get. If Fluffy is cuddly at the shelter, she’ll likely be just as snuggly when you get her home.

Senior Cats Are Very Calm

When you adopt a kitten, you’re basically bringing a tiny, four-legged bundle of mischief into your home. Kittens are adorable, but they need lots of supervision and training. Older cats, however, are more interested in snoozing on your lap than in pouncing on your toes or climbing the counters. There is a lot to be said for having a sleepy, relaxed pet!

Small Touches Make Kitties Happy

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that really make us happy. This is also true for cats! Keep Fluffy comfy and cozy by offering kitty luxuries like soft beds, pet stairs, and thermal blankets. Your pet will also appreciate having a litterbox with low walls. Leaving a nightlight on for your feline pal is another small touch that can make a difference.

Older Cats Are Adorable

There’s no denying that kittens are almost impossibly cute. However, our feline buddies are just as charming as adults as they are when they are little. Older kitties are also very cute and lovable, and are often extremely affectionate. Purrs from senior cats are truly precious!

Helping A Kitty In Need Feels Great

Giving a sweet older furball a home is a beautiful act of kindness, and something to really feel proud of. You’ll also be helping other cats, both by promoting great animal welfare and by freeing up space at the shelter.

Please call us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your senior cat. We love keeping older kitties healthy and purring!

Choosing the Right Dog Bed

Does your canine pal have his own bed? While Fido may be perfectly happy to snooze on the couch or on your bed, it is good for him to have a spot of his own to curl up in. There are actually quite a few things to consider when picking out a bed for your pup. A Roanoke, VA vet lists discusses buying doggy beds in this article.

Senior Dogs

Many old dogs suffer from arthritis and/or hip dysplasia. If Fido is a senior, getting him a comfy bed is one of the best things you can do for him. We recommend orthopedic beds for older dogs, because of the extra support they offer. Your pooch may also enjoy a heated bed, or a thermal blanket.

Large Dogs

Orthopedic beds are also a good option for large breeds. Another thing you can do is use a child’s mattress. Add a mattress topper if you want to make your pup’s bed extra comfy.

Dogs That Stomp Their Beds Down

Does Fido sometimes turns in circles before lying down? This may be a throwback to the time when dogs were wild, as they often made themselves little nests or dens by stamping down grass or brush. A beanbag may be a good option for your canine buddy.

Pooches That Sprawl Out

Does your furry pal like to stretch out when he sleeps? If Fido is a ‘sprawler,’ a regular doggy bed may be the best choice for him. These beds, which often look like oversized pillows, sometimes do get worn down quickly, so you may want to get two, or add a soft pad beneath it.

Pups That Like Pillows

Does your four-legged buddy like to use something as a pillow? A bolstered bed, which has raised sides, is a great option for Fido!

Small Breeds

Is your pooch a pint-sized pet? Little dogs also often like beds with high sides, as they feel safe and secure in enclosed spaces.

Tips

Shape and size aren’t the only things to consider when purchasing dog beds. You’ll also want to look at the material. Ideally, you want something washable, or at least something with a washable cover. We also recommend opting for beds with nontoxic stuffing.

Please reach out to us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Beware of Autumn Pet Dangers

Autumn has officially arrived. Like the other seasons, fall time brings with it a few pet hazards to be aware of! Learn more below from a vet in Roanoke, VA.

Pesticide Products

It’s not uncommon for insects, small rodents, roaches, and other pests to begin invading our homes in the autumn, seeking warmth and shelter from the cooling weather outside. You may set up pesticides, rodenticides, and similar products around your home to ward off these pesky critters. Remember: pesticides are poisons, made specifically to kill the creatures who come in contact with them! Place pesticides with extreme caution, and always use pet-safe products or non-toxic options.

Wild Animals

Wild animals like raccoons and opossums can be more active in the fall, and they may harm an unsuspecting pet who disturbs them. Snakes are another wild-animal hazard in the fall; since they’re preparing for hibernation and are extra grumpy, they may bite a pet who comes across them! Supervise your pet closely while outdoors, and keep them away from tall grasses and heavy shrubbery.

Autumn Plants

Several plants and flowers that flourish in the fall—chrysanthemums, Autumn Crocus, certain lilies, and more—can prove toxic to pets! Additionally, common fall decorations like gourds, pumpkins, and autumn corn can harm a pet. These plants aren’t toxic, per say, but they can cause choking or upset stomach if a pet manages to ingest too much. Always keep a close eye on your pet to make sure they don’t try to chow down on any autumnal plants.

Wild Mushrooms

Autumn is peak season for mushrooms. While the vast majority of wild mushrooms aren’t toxic, a small number are—it’s just not worth the risk for your beloved companion. Plus, even mushrooms that aren’t toxic may be sprayed with weed-killing chemicals or lawn fertilizers, which you don’t want your pet to ingest. When your pet is outdoors, keep them away from any and all mushrooms!

Chilly Weather

Of course, with autumn comes cooler weather. Don’t leave your pet outdoors for long periods of time, where they may get cold. (This is especially true at night, when temperatures can drop to near freezing later in the season!) Your pet will be safest and happiest indoors with you and your family.

These aren’t the only fall-time hazards out there for our four-legged friends. Call your Roanoke, VA veterinarian today to learn about more great safety tips!