All posts by James

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!

Water Safety for Your Dog

Are you planning on taking your canine companion swimming in the near future? It’s great fun to have your dog swim, and it’s wonderful exercise for him, too! Whether Fido will be swimming in a backyard pool or a public lake, use these tips from a Roanoke, VA vet to make sure he stays safe.

Swimming Ability

Before taking your dog to go swimming, ask yourself a simple question: can your pooch swim? It’s a common misconception that all dogs are great swimmers! Some canines—especially those with short, stout statures—aren’t great swimmers and won’t be comfortable in the water at all. To be safe, have a “test run” in a kiddie pool or the bathtub before taking your dog to swim in a larger body of water.

Providing Support

It’s always best to provide support for your dog while he’s swimming, even if he’s comfortable in the water. Remember: your pet can’t touch the bottom in most areas of a pool, lake, pond, or the ocean! For safety, venture into the water with your dog. This is particularly important in the ocean, where currents can easily sweep your dog far out from shore; a dog can exhaust themselves trying to swim back!

No Drinking

You don’t want your dog to drink salty ocean water or heavily chlorinated pool water, as it can dry out the mouth, irritate the throat and stomach, and even make your pet sick. The same goes for swimming in ponds, lakes, rivers, or streams—these water sources can be contaminated with bacteria, microorganisms, and other things that you don’t want your dog swallowing. Don’t allow your pet to drink while he’s swimming, and bring along a thermos of cool, fresh water just for Fido to drink from.

Floatation Devices

If your dog could use a little help in the water, try floatation devices. They’re available at many pet supply stores and certain retail outlets, and they’ll help your pooch stay afloat. Floatation devices are perfect for puppies or dogs learning how to swim!

Rinse Out the Coat

After your dog’s swimming session has ended, make sure to rinse out the coat thoroughly with fresh water from the garden hose or bathtub. Leaving salt water, chlorine, or sand in the coat will dry out and irritate the skin.

Want to learn more about water and swimming safety for dogs? Contact your Roanoke, VA animal hospital.

Lengthen Your Pet’s Life With These 5 Tips

Who wouldn’t want to spend as many joyful years as possible with their beloved pet? By following a few basic healthcare essentials, you’ll be able to lengthen your companion’s life and enjoy their company for as long as possible. Below, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian offers five tips for lengthening your pet’s lifespan.

Practice Preventative Care

Preventative medicine is one of the best ways to keep your pet healthy long-term and avoid dangerous diseases, infections, infestations, and other problems. Keep your pet up-to-date on essential vaccinations to ward off diseases like parvovirus, distemper, rabies, hepatitis, and others. Make sure they’re wearing seasonal or year-round preventative medicines to get rid of fleas, ticks, and worms.

Feed a Great Diet

Feeding your dog or cat a high-quality, well-balanced diet in the proper portion size is one of the easiest ways to make sure they stay healthy and happy for a lifetime. This way, they receive all the essential nutrients that they require for good health and weight. If your pet’s diet could use an upgrade, talk to your veterinarian to get a recommendation that suits your pet’s needs.

Exercise Regularly

Coupled with a great diet, regular exercise is essential to your pet’s lifelong health and fitness. Set aside time on a daily basis to get your pet moving—jog around the backyard, go on a brisk walk around the block, or romp around at home with a favorite toy. This will allow your pet to burn off excess calories and get a good workout every day.

Spay and Neuter

Having your companion spayed or neutered early on in life will set them up for a lifetime of good health. Spaying and neutering doesn’t just prevent unplanned litters; it eliminates various cancer risks and even makes relatively common ailments like urinary tract infections far less likely. It’s a cost-effective way to avoid major health problems in the future, and it’s sure to help lengthen your pet’s lifespan!

See Your Veterinarian

Don’t forget: regular veterinary check-ups are another essential part of keeping your pet healthy for years to come. When your vet examines your companion regularly, any health concerns can be caught early and treated as necessary. Your vet can also monitor your pet’s health over time and make recommendations for the future.

Does your pet need spayed or neutered? Have questions about vaccinations, pest-control products, or diet choice? Contact your Roanoke, VA veterinarian today!

Are These Pet Toxins Already in Your Home?

Believe it or not, you most likely already have a variety of potential pet toxins inside your home. Don’t worry, though—with a few simple precautions, you can keep your animal companion safe and sound! Learn more here from your vet in Roanoke, VA.

Pesticides

Do you use pesticides or rodenticides around your home to ward off pesky intruders? Remember that pesticide products are poisons, designed to kill the critters that come in contact with them. That’s why it’s important to choose pet-proof pesticides or go with alternative pest-control options that aren’t toxic to pets, like traps. Ask your vet for further advice.

Dangerous Foods

A great many human foods can prove harmful to a pet. The list includes grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, chives, leeks, scallions, shallots, avocado, chocolate, candy, salty items like chips and pretzels, fatty or rich foods, and alcoholic beverages, among others. To protect your pet, don’t leave foods out on the kitchen table or countertops where pets may be able to reach them. Instead, store foods in cabinets or the refrigerator where they belong.

Human Medication

Various human medicines—standard painkillers like Advil or Motrin, antidepressants, cough syrup, all sorts of prescription drugs, and more—can prove toxic to a pet who manages to get their paws on them! A determined pet may even be able to chew right through a child-proof plastic bottle cap. Store all medicines inside a closed cabinet or drawer where your pet won’t be able to reach, and store your pet’s own medicine in a separate area from human medications so the two don’t get mixed up.

Poisonous Plant Life

Plenty of plants and flowers can harm a pet who ingests them. Oleander, dieffenbachia, elephant ear, philodendron, rhododendron (also called azalea), lilies, tulips, the sago palm, a variety of aloe plants, and ivy are just a few examples. Inside and outside your home, make sure you’re not harboring a harmful plant variety. Ask your vet what kinds of toxic plants are most common in the area where you live.

Cleaning Products

While a pet isn’t likely to seek out a cleaning solution to ingest, you’ll want to play it safe. Everything from household disinfectants and air fresheners to bleach-based products and carpet cleaner could cause serious problems! Keep the supply closet shut tightly at all times.

To learn more about pet toxins at home, call your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic.

DIY Cat Toys

Did you know that playing is beneficial to your cat, both mentally and physically? Kitties can get bored and unhappy with nothing to do all day. Making sure Fluffy has plenty of toys is very important! You don’t have to break the bank buying cat toys, however. There are lots of great playthings you can make your feline buddy. Making cat toys is also a great rainy-day project for kids. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some cute DIY kitty toys below.

Catnip Mice

For the easy version of this, just take some baby socks, stuff them with catnip, and sew the openings shut. Voila! If you want something a bit more involved, you can use patterns to create specific shapes. Add felt ears and pipe-cleaner whiskers if you like!

Toilet Paper Roll

You can do quite a bit with the cardboard tubes from toilet paper or paper towels. Cut them into rings, and assemble them into small balls. Then, put some catnip in the middle. Or, put some treats inside the roll, and then fold the corners into an ‘envelope.’ You can also just cut narrow strips into the ends, then fold them back. Look online for more options.

Cardboard Mouse

In just a few minutes, you can turn a piece of cardboard into a little ‘mouse’ for your kitty to bat around. Trace an outline of a mouse shape, and cut it out. To add depth, glue two together, or make a little ‘fin’ section out of another piece of cardboard.

Puzzle Toy

Take the tube from a can of potato chips. You can peel off the label or cover the can with contact paper. Another option is to glue thick wrapping or parcel paper onto it. Be sure to make the edges neat, so the lid still fits! Then, use a round object to trace circles onto the tube. Cut the circles out with an X-acto knife. Drop a catnip mouse into the tube, close the lid, and tell your feline pal not to use it. She’ll immediately start playing with it!

Pipe Cleaner Kitty Toy

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Take two pipe cleaners, and twist them into a little ball shape. Just be sure there are no sharp parts sticking out! Presto!

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA pet hospital, for all your cat’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!