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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!

3 Simple Ways to Keep Fleas Away

Has your pet been scratching a lot lately? If so, fleas may very well be the culprit. These disgusting parasites aren’t just an itchy nuisance: they can carry disease and other parasites. Severe infestations can also make our furry pals very sick, and can even be fatal! Here, a Roanoke, VA vet offers advice on making fleas flee.

Parasite Control

The best thing you can do to keep your furry friend flea-free is to keep up with his or her parasite control products. There are quite a few different products to choose from, from topical drops to collars to sprays to oral medications. Ask your vet for specific recommendations. No matter what you choose, it’s important to follow the package instructions carefully. Also, never double up on products. This can expose your beloved pet to dangerous levels of pesticides!

Vacuuming

Your vacuum cleaner is also a great tool when it comes to fighting fleas. We recommend doing high-traffic areas and your furry buddy’s favorite lounging spots every day. It only takes a few minutes! Follow up with more thorough cleanings every week. When you are finished vacuuming, empty the canister into a plastic bag, then seal the bag and take it outside for disposal. That way, if you vacuumed up any eggs, they won’t hatch in the house. If you like to take your dog on car rides, you’ll need to vacuum your vehicle out as well.

Landscaping

Keeping up with your property is also very important in the fight against fleas. Fleas love to lurk in tall grasses, so just keeping your grass neatly mowed can help quite a lot. Picking up debris, such as fallen leaves and branches, is also important. These things make very tempting habitats for unwanted guests like fleas and ticks. Birds often carry fleas, so if you have a bird feeder, set it back from your house a bit. Fallen fruit and produce can also be problematic, as it can attract wild animals, who may very well have fleas. Last but not least, if you have shrubs or hedges around your house, keep them trimmed back so the branches don’t touch your walls. This can provide fleas an easy access to your home.

Please reach out to us, your local Roanoke, VA pet hospital, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Keeping Your Pet Safe on the Fourth of July

In just a few days, we’ll be celebrating Independence Day with family and friends. Are you planning on including your animal companion in the festivities? Remember: the Fourth presents a few pet hazards to be aware of! Learn more below from a vet in Roanoke, VA.

Fireworks

Tempting as it may be, don’t bring your dog to the local fireworks display. Each year, thousands of pets are frightened into running off thanks to the deafening booms of fireworks. You don’t want to search for a lost pet in the dead of night! Keep your animal friend safely secured at home in an escape-proof area. If you plan on setting off smaller pyrotechnics at home—firecrackers, sparklers, and the like—it’s always best to keep your pet indoors.

Toxic Foods

Plenty of common party and picnic foods can prove harmful for pets. The list includes onions, garlic, chocolate and candies, avocado, salty foods like chips or pretzels, grapes and raisins, fatty foods, and much more. Alcohol is another big pet no-no. If your celebration will include adult beverages, make sure your animal companion doesn’t have a chance to sneak a sip! To be safe, keep your pet far away from the treat table; give them their own meal instead to keep them satisfied.

Heat and Humidity

The Fourth of July means heat and humidity, and that can be a dangerous combination for your four-legged companion. Make sure that your pet doesn’t stay outside for too long this holiday; allow them back indoors, where it’s comfortable and air-conditioned, on a frequent basis. Also make sure that there is a dish of cool, fresh water for your pet to drink from as they please. This is the best way to avoid deadly dehydration!

Outdoor Pests

When your pet does venture outdoors, summertime pests like fleas, ticks, heartworms, roundworms, flatworms, and much more present a real danger. If your pet isn’t set up to fend off these pests, infestations and infections can result that will cause serious health trouble! Keep your pet on high-quality pest preventatives to ward off fleas, ticks, and worms—talk to your vet if your pet is in need. You can also reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard by removing sources of standing water, trimming back tall shrubbery and grasses, and getting rid of any garbage lying about.

For more tips, call your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic today.

Coat Care Tips for Your Dog

Our canine companions aren’t quite as good at grooming themselves as our feline friends are. It’s up to you to make sure your dog’s coat of fur stays in tip-top shape! To keep your dog’s coat healthy and pristine, use these tips from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

High-Quality Diet

One of the easiest but most effective ways to keep your dog’s coat in top form is by feeding them a high-quality, well-balanced diet. Your dog’s skin and fur will remain healthy and moisturized when he receives the proper nutrients through food, and shedding will be kept to a minimum. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on a diet choice that suits your dog’s age, weight, and breed.

Brushing

At home, brushing your dog on a daily basis is one of the best ways to ensure that the coat stays healthy; it’s particularly important for dogs with longer hair. Brushing does many things: for one, it removes loose and dead fur from the coat, and it helps to pick up grime from the skin. Plus, brushing spreads natural skin oils through your dog’s fur, effectively moisturizing it and cutting down on shedding in the long run. Choose a brush and bristle type that will work best on your dog’s coat; ask your vet if you need help.

Bathing

The occasional bath is also effective for maintaining your dog’s coat quality. Plus, it helps your dog smell their absolute best! Always use a canine-formulated shampoo, as human shampoo isn’t made for use on your dog’s sensitive skin. Additionally, be sure not to bathe Fido too frequently. Bathing too often can actually backfire, drying out the skin and fur and resulting in an increase in shedding.
If you would like to know how often your beloved pet could use a bath, contact your vet’s office to learn more.

Pest Prevention Tips

Pests like fleas and ticks can wreak havoc on your dog’s coat of fur, even resulting in hair loss, bald patches, and painful scabs under the hair. Keep your dog on high-quality pest preventatives to avoid the issue entirely. Most dogs will do well with a flea-and-tick medication and a heartworm preventative to keep all pesky critters at bay. If your dog isn’t already set up with these medications, contact your vet’s office.

Would you like even more great tips for keeping your dog’s coat healthy? Call your Roanoke, VA animal hospital!