All posts by James

How To Brush Fluffy’s Teeth Without Ending Up In The ER

Did you know that many cats get dental issues, just like people? Dental problems can be very painful for kitties. One of the best things you can do to keep Fluffy’s teeth healthy is to brush them. We know, that sounds a bit dangerous. However, you can teach a cat to accept the toothbrush without ending up covered in scratches. A Roanoke, VA vet offers some pointers on this below.

Start Early

If your pet is a kitten, you definitely have the upper paw. It’s much easier to teach Fluffy that having her teeth cleaned is just part of being pampered if you start when she’s still little.

Don’t Rush Things

Fluffy will need to get used to having her teeth handled. She may not be particularly enthusiastic about it at first. Start slow! At first, just gently rub her teeth and gums.

Purr Activation

Alternate petting your furball with strokes of the toothbrush. Also, incorporate treats, praise, and lots of ear scritches. This will help Fluffy think of getting her teeth brushed as a good thing.

Tire The Kitty Out

Before brushing Fluffy’s choppers, give her a good dinner. Then, tire her out with a fun play session. Cats are naturally a bit calmer after they’ve burned off their kitty zoomies. 

Products

Speaking of toothbrushes, you may find it easier to wrap your finger in gauze. Or, use a finger toothbrush. Also, choose a yummy flavored toothpaste.

Timing

You won’t have much luck brushing Fluffy’s teeth when she’s feeling frisky or grumpy. Choose a time when she’s feeling relaxed and affectionate.

Make It Routine

Cats are very much creatures of habit. Make kitty dental care time part of Fluffy’s daily schedule.

Rotate

You don’t need to do Fluffy’s whole mouth every day. Just do one section at a time, and keep rotating.

Know When To Say When

Your cat will decide when she’s had enough. It’s best not to press the issue. Just let her go, and try again another day. Trying to hold Fluffy down and forcefully brush her teeth is a good way to get scratched!

Last Resorts

No luck? Ask your vet about other options. Dental-formula kibble and treats, oral rinses, and dental flakes are all helpful.

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for your kitty’s dental care needs. We’re here to help!

5 Purrfect Reasons to Cuddle Your Cat

Did you know that March 23rd is Cuddly Kitten Day? If there is one thing kitties excel at—aside from napping, it may very well be snuggling their humans. As it turns out, cuddling your pet is good for both of you! Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers tips on cuddling cats.

Make Fluffy Feel Loved

Cats have tried very hard to make us think of them as cold, aloof killers, but we aren’t entirely convinced. Many of these little furballs are very emotional, and can get quite anxious if they feel isolated or ignored. By cuddling your cat, you’re also helping reassure Fluffy that she is loved and safe, which will only strengthen the bond between you.

Respect

Our feline overlords all have their own opinions on how and when they want to be petted, and for how long. Let Fluffy decide when cuddle time stops and starts. This will help your kitty feel safer, and can also help her learn to trust you more. This is particularly important if you have just recently adopted your cat, or is she is naturally timid and/or wary.

Health Benefits

There are actually some very tangible benefits to cuddling cats. Studies show that hugging a kitty can lower blood pressure, and help people cope with loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress. There are also some specific benefits for children. As it turns out, kids that grow up with pets are less likely to have allergies than those without animal companions.

Relaxation

Life can get quite stressful and hectic these days. Sometimes just taking a few minutes to relax and unwind with your furry friend can help you shake off a bad day and just reset. Sometimes it really is the little things in life that matter most! Of course, purring cats also make great sleep aids.

Purrs

There may just be a bit of magic in Fluffy’s purr. Research indicates that kitties vibrate at frequencies between 25 and 150 Hertz. These same frequencies have been shown to be beneficial in healing tissue. Keep your feline buddy’s little motor going by offering her lots of attention. Even giving your furball a quick forehead scratch as you pass by will help keep her happy.

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

Caring for an Aging Cat

Did you know that cats are officially considered seniors by the time they are 11? Our feline friends usually age slowly and gracefully, so you probably won’t’ notice major changes happening very quickly. However, as your furry buddy grows older, you will want to make some changes to her care routine. Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on caring for an aging kitty.

Grooming

Older kitties sometimes have trouble reaching their entire bodies to groom themselves. Brushing Fluffy gently will help keep her fur from getting matted or tangled. This is a good time to check your pet for bumps, bruises, or other signs of trouble.

Playing

Playing is actually great for your kitty! Running and jumping keep her in shape physically, while timing those pounces offers her mental stimulation. Try to play with your feline pal every day. Don’t worry about overdoing it: if Fluffy gets tired, she’ll just walk away and find her next napping spot.

Kitty Luxuries

Fluffy will spend most of her retirement napping and relaxing. Make sure your home has plenty of comfy kitty napping spots. Store-bought beds are fine, but your furball will also enjoy sleeping on an ottoman or chair with soft blankets.

Safety

We recommend that all cats stay indoors. This is especially important for older kitties! Fluffy won’t be as quick or agile as she once was, and may not be able to escape predators. She may also forget how to get home, and will be at higher risk of getting lost.

Confusion

Just like people, cats can get a bit confused and forgetful in their golden years. Fluffy may forget where her water dish is, or get lost on the way to her litterbox. She may meow loudly to vocalize her angst. Just try to soothe her.

Litterboxes

Speaking of litterboxes, you may want to get one with low sides. We also recommend keeping litterboxes on every floor of your home. That way, your cat won’t have to navigate the stairs as much.

Purrs

The most important thing you can do for your feline buddy is just pay attention to her, and make her feel loved. Just be very gentle when picking Fluffy up or putting her down!

Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all of your senior pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Creating a Catio

Do you have a screened porch or patio? If so, you’ve got a perfect spot for a catio! Our feline friends are definitely much safer staying indoors, where they are protected from hazards like weather, predators, traffic, and chemicals. However, they do enjoy getting some fresh air and watching butterflies, birds, and squirrels. Why not give Fluffy the best of both worlds? Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers some great tips on making your furry buddy a catio.

Plants

Many of our feline pals love to nibble on plants. Just be sure to choose pet-safe options. If you like potted trees, you can get an Areca palm, a Ponytail palm, a rubber tree, or a money tree. Ferns are also safe, and look great. If you have a brown thumb, you may want to get something hardy, like a spider plant or cast iron plant. African violets and hibiscus are good for pops of color. You can also add some herbs, like thyme, rosemary, and basil. (Bonus: you’ll also have fresh ingredients for cooking.) Catnip is also a must, of course. Check the ASPCA website here for a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Furniture

No catio is complete without some kitty furniture. A cat tower is a great option here! Your cute pet will gain a napping spot, a jungle gym, and a nail-care station, as well as a place to sunbathe and spy on local wildlife. You can also get Fluffy some soft beds, scratching posts, or even a kitty fountain. For extra purrs, plant some cat grass in a shallow storage tote or an old litterbox. Once it’s grown in, your feline buddy will have her own little ‘lawn’ to look smug on. Don’t forget to add a few pieces for yourself! You may find that your kitty’s catio is a great spot for reading, chatting on the phone, or drinking coffee.

Toys

Don’t forget to add a few toys for Fluffy! You may want to opt for plastic or rubber playthings, though. Catnip mice and other fuzzy/fluffy toys will soon get dusty and rained on. You can also try a mechanical ‘swimming’ fish, or a remote-controlled mouse. This is also a good spot to keep a laser pointer on hand.

Is your furry friend due for an exam, vaccinations, or parasite control? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!

4 Things to Teach Your Dog

February is Dog Training Education Month! All dogs should know basic obedience commands. This is important for both petiquette and safety reasons. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet lists some that things your canine companion should know.

Basic Doggy Obedience

All of our canine buddies should obey basic commands. The five most important ones are Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. It’s usually best to start with Sit, as it’s the easiest for dogs to pick up. Teach Fido one of these at a time. Make sure your pooch has each one down before moving on. Dogs don’t have very long attention spans except when bacon is involved. Keep classes short and sweet. We recommend working with your pup every day, for about 15 minutes at a time.

Crate Training

Even if you don’t plan to crate your dog every day, you should make sure that he is familiar and comfortable with being crated. After all, Fido will need to be crated sooner or later, either for travel or when visiting his vet or groomer. The key is to make the crate comfortable for your furry friend. Put some toys and soft bedding inside it, and give him treats and praise in and near it.

At Least One Trick

Many dogs like learning new things. Once Fido has the basics down, why not show him a cute trick? Classic dog tricks, like Roll Over, Beg, and Shake Paw, are always adorable. You can also teach your pup to Gimme Five, Smile, Hide Your Eyes, or Play Dead.

You Are Loved

Last but not least, make sure that your furry pal knows he is loved and cared for. Training is a great way to spend time with Fido, and keep that tail wagging! Man’s Best Friend strives to please his humans, and loves being called a good boy!

Tips

When training dogs, patience and consistency are key. It’s also important to make the experience fun for Fido. How do you do that? Incorporate some of his favorite things: treats, praise, and ear scritches. For treats, you’ll want to choose small portions, so you don’t overfeed your pooch. Cut up hot dogs are good options. Pieces of kibble also work well.

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

Pet Dental Health Month

February is officially Pet Dental Health Month! Of course, your pet’s oral health is important all year long. Dental problems are very painful for pets, and can severely impact their quality of life. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses caring for your pet’s teeth.

Common Problems

Some of the statistics about pet dental issues are quite staggering. For example, as many as 80 percent of adult dogs have periodontal disease. Kitties aren’t far behind: roughly 70 percent of cats aged three or over are afflicted. Periodontal disease—or gum disease, as it is also called, is very dangerous, as the bacteria and plaque can travel through Fido’s bloodstream, contributing to some very dangerous health issues. Cats are also susceptible to tooth resorption and feline stomatitis, which are both very painful conditions. Dogs, on the other hand, sometimes crack or break their teeth on hard objects. Some pooches—especially smaller breeds—are also prone to overcrowding. Abscesses and misalignments are also not uncommon.

Home Care

The best thing you can do at home is brush your pet’s teeth. Be sure to only use products made for pets. Human toothbrushes and toothpastes are neither safe nor suitable for our furry companions. If your pet won’t tolerate having their choppers brushed, look into other options. Dental flakes, dental-formula treats and chews, and oral rinses can all help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. You’ll also want to make sure that your pet always has fresh water. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Warning Signs

Keep a close eye out for signs of dental troubles. Bad breath is a very common one. You may also notice visible swelling and/or tartar buildup, or see bloody smears on your furry pal’s toys or dishes. Dental issues can also cause your pet to change their eating habits. They may dribble food, chew on one side of their mouth, or start preferring softer foods. Other warning signs include crankiness, withdrawal, and a reduced interest in play.

Veterinary Care

We recommend having your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year. This should start around age one. In between visits, keep an eye out for the symptoms we’ve listed above. If you notice any of those red flags, contact your vet right away.

Do you know or suspect that your pet has dental issues? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!

Fluffy’s Goals for 2020

Happy New Year! Are you making resolutions for 2020? If so, your feline buddy will no doubt monitor you closely as you strive to make your new goals. Kitties certainly do like to keep a close eye on their owners! In fact, if Fluffy could make resolutions of her own, she may very well vow to supervise you more carefully. What else do you think your pet would want to achieve? A Roanoke, VA vet lists some options in this article.

Sleep More

Sleeping, as you may know, is Fluffy’s favorite pastime. Some of our feline pals can spend as much as 20 hours a day snoozing! Your drowsy furball may try to improve her napping times this year. Or, she may just want to experiment with dozing off in new places or positions.

Catch That Red Dot

Kitties are always super cute when they’re feeling playful. Interactive play is great fun for Fluffy. If you are controlling that red dot or feather toy, your frisky pet won’t know what her prey is going to do next. Try to play with your cat every day.

Help Around The House

Fluffy is very grateful for the love, food, and care you offer her. Your thoughtful pet may try to reciprocate by giving you a helping paw. Don’t be surprised if your furry friend tries to ‘assist’ as you change the sheets, wrap gifts, or fold laundry!

Distribute Fur More Evenly

Our feline friends have beautiful coats, and they thoughtfully try to share them with us. Fluffy may want to spread her fur around a bit more evenly this year.

World Domination

You may have heard the quote about how cats have never forgotten the fact that the ancient Egyptians considered them divine. Kitties certainly do have a very smug, superior look at times. Have you ever wondered why there are so many cat memes and videos on the internet? Is Fluffy actually trying to take over the world? 2020 may be the year we find out!

Spend Time With The Humans

Kitties are very emotional little furballs, and are always happiest when they feel loved. Fluffy may want to squeeze in more cuddle and lap time this year.

All of us here at Old Dominion Veterinary Clinic, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, want to wish you and your pets a wonderful new year. Please contact us anytime!

Keep Your Pet Safe from Holiday Hazards

The holidays are in full swing! Make sure your pet stays safe this time of year, because there are several holiday hazards to be aware of. Learn more in this article from your Roanoke, VA veterinary professional.

Ornaments and Decorations

Pets sometimes see those shiny holiday decorations—ornaments, tinsel, candles, etc.—as fun toys. But they can cause harm if a pet were to play with them. Tinsel can actually wrap itself around a pet’s intestines when swallowed, causing serious problems, and tree ornaments could break into sharp pieces and cut your pet’s mouth. Monitor your pet closely to make sure they don’t play with ornaments and decorations.

Holiday Plants

There are plenty of holiday plants that can hurt your dog or cat. The danger of poinsettias is somewhat overblown, but they can cause mouth or stomach irritation if enough is swallowed. Holly and mistletoe are actually more dangerous—these common holiday plants both contain toxins that can cause serious symptoms in animals. Lilies, common this time of year in bouquets and floral arrangements, are also very dangerous for cats, in particular. Don’t let your pet get too close!

Toxic Foods

All sorts of foods on your holiday dinner table could cause harm if your pet gets their paws on them. The list includes onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, chives, leeks, chocolate, candy, grapes and raisins, buttery or rich foods, macadamia nuts, and salty snacks, among others. Keep your far away from the dinner table, and make sure to put harmful foods inside closed containers or cabinets where pets can’t gain access.

Alcohol

Alcohol is very dangerous for pets. It actually affects cats and dogs in the same way it affects us! The difference is that it only takes small amounts to result in alcohol poisoning. This rule goes for liquor, wine, beer, and champagne, as well as foods cooked with alcohol, like rum cakes. Don’t let your pet sip alcoholic beverages of any kind, and never give your pet alcohol purposely.

Stress and Anxiety

The holiday season’s hustle and bustle can put undue stress on pets, especially if you’re hosting a party or family gathering this season. Set up a “safe zone” of sorts for your pet, complete with a bed and a few favorite toys, in a quiet, low-key area.

Want to know more about keeping your pet safe this holiday season? Call your Roanoke, VA veterinarian for help.

Why is Spaying and Neutering So Important?

Did you know that your pet might be able to spayed or neutered at as young as eight weeks of age? It’s a critical procedure for your pet, but do you know why? Learn more about the many benefits of spaying and neutering as your Roanoke, VA veterinarian elaborates below.

It Eliminates Health Risks

First of all, spaying and neutering is a great thing for your pet’s health. It virtually eliminates the risk of genital cancers, and also makes other cancer types like prostate and breast cancer far less likely to occur. Even other reproductive- and urinary-system problems, such as urinary tract infections, aren’t as likely to happen in pets who have had the procedure performed. All in all, it’s one of the best things you’ll ever do for your pet’s health.

It Improves Behavior

Pets who have had the spay or neuter procedure done tend to behave far better than those who haven’t. Without those pesky hormones coursing through their system, a spayed or neutered pet isn’t as likely to exhibit bad behaviors like urine spraying and house soiling, loud vocalization, aggression toward owners or other pets, chewing, scratching, or digging, and more. The procedure certainly won’t make your animal friend a perfectly behaved pet, but it goes a long way toward keeping your companion mild-mannered and under control.

There’s a Lower Risk of Escape

When intact pets reach the age of sexual maturity, they’ll start to feel an insatiable desire to seek a mate. It’s particularly a problem for dogs, who have been known to escape by whatever means necessary—even chewing through entire doors or digging under fencing in your yard. It’s just not worth the risk of dealing with a lost pet! Having your companion spayed or neutered early on in life means that they won’t feel the desire to escape when mating season arrives.

There’s a Broader Benefit

Spaying or neutering your pet has another much bigger benefit: the greater good. Millions of pets go homeless or must be euthanized every year, simply because of overpopulation. Don’t let your pet to contribute to the problem by breeding in an unrestricted way—you’re not only saving yourself a litter of unexpected puppies or kittens, you’re benefiting the homeless pet population.

Does your pet need spayed or neutered? Contact your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic right away to set up an office visit. We’re always here to help!

6 Ways To Keep Your Cat’s Coat Healthy

One of the many things we love about cats is the fact that they are so clean. Fluffy is very dedicated to her beauty routine, and will groom herself every day. However, there are also things you can do to keep her fur healthy. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some key ones below.

Brushing

Fluffy is pretty good about taking care of her coat, but she will still benefit from being brushed regularly. Brushing will remove dead hair and dander from her coat. This will reduce the amount that she swallows, which in turn means less hairballs. It’s also a great way to spend time with your pet!

Good Food

Proper nutrition will go a long way towards keeping your kitty’s coat soft and shiny. If Fluffy isn’t getting enough nourishment, her fur will soon show the effects, and will start to look dry and dull. Supplements may also help. Omega 3 and 6 oils, for instance, contain essential fatty acids that help keep your pet’s fur healthy. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Parasite Control

Fleas can wreak havoc on your cat’s fur. Kitties often over-groom themselves trying to find relief, which will leave their coats looking a bit unkempt. Plus, fleas will make your beloved pet miserably itchy. They can also spread dangerous diseases and/or transmit other parasites. Keep up with Fluffy’s parasite control!

Avoid Overbathing

You don’t have to bathe your furball, though you can if you want to, assuming your vet gives the green light. Use warm—not hot—water and shampoos made specifically for cats. Also, don’t overbathe Fluffy. This can strip the oils from her fur, which will dry out her coat and make her look, well, a bit frizzy.

Keep Kitty Happy

Cats are very emotional. If Fluffy feels stressed, lonely, or scared, she may stop cleaning herself. Or, she may go the other way and over-groom herself, which can result in hair loss and bald patches. Keep your kitty purring by making sure she always has a clean litterbox, fresh water, good food, toys, and, of course, comfy beds.

Veterinary Care

If you notice any skin or coat problems, such as flaking, redness, or thinning fur, contact your vet immediately. The sooner an issue is treated, the better!

Please feel free to contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime. We’re happy to help!