All posts by Natasha

5 Ways to Keep Your Senior Pet Healthy This Year

Happy New Year! 2019 is a great time to make a resolution for your senior pet: to keep them healthy and happy all year long! Below, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian shares five tips to make sure your older companion stays in tip-top shape throughout 2019.

Feed a Great Diet

A great diet is one of the best ways to make sure your senior companion stays healthy. Choose a food that is formulated specifically for the nutritional needs of aging pets—your companion’s dietary needs have changed drastically since they were a puppy or kitten! Consult your veterinarian for help choosing the proper diet, and be sure to ask about the right portion size.

Provide Regular Exercise

Exercising your senior pet on a regular basis is another key part of maintaining a healthy body, not to mention a stimulated mind. Don’t allow your pet to fall prey to obesity in their later years—it can quickly lead to other serious health problems. Give your companion light exercise via walks around the neighborhood or gentle play sessions at home.

Practice Dental Care

Did you know that dental health issues are some of the most common problems that veterinarians treat in pets? It’s all too easy to overlook your pet’s dental health, and oral issues can sideline a senior pet very easily. Provide your pet with plenty of chew toys, which help work out the teeth and gums and scrape away loose plaque; brush the teeth at home using a canine- or feline-formulated toothpaste and a pet toothbrush.

Keep Up With Preventatives

A pest infestation or a serious disease can wreak havoc on an aging pet, especially if their immune system isn’t as strong as it used to be. That’s why keeping up with preventative medications is so important! Make sure your senior pet stays up-to-date with vaccinations against distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, rabies, and others. Have them wear year-round preventative medications to fend off fleas, ticks, and worms. If your pet is in need of these medications, call your vet’s office today.

See the Vet

There’s just no substitute for regular examinations at the vet’s office. When your vet sees Fido or Fluffy several times per year, their health can be monitored and any concerns can be addressed right away.

Is your pet due for their next veterinary appointment? Contact your Roanoke, VA animal hospital. We’re here to help throughout 2019 and beyond!

Winter Pet Toxins

When winter weather hits, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind. There are several toxins that present a real hazard this time of year! Here, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian tells you about the most common winter pet poisons and how to have your pet avoid them.

Ice Melt

Most ice melt products are made with sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt. You don’t want your pet ingesting it! Small amounts of salt can lead to an upset stomach and skin irritation, while large amounts can result in a serious case of poisoning. Don’t allow pets to track ice melt indoors on the paws; avoid ice patches when outdoors, and store ice melt carefully where pets can’t reach.

Antifreeze

Episodes of antifreeze poisoning rise in the wintertime, as car owners use the substance to keep their engines running smoothly. Antifreeze is often made with ethylene glycol, an alcoholic substance that can poison pets in very small amounts. It even smells and tastes sweet, which could attract pets! Don’t use antifreeze with your pet nearby, and clean up any spills right away.

Holiday Plants

Holly and mistletoe, common around the holidays, can poison a pet who ingests too much. Poinsettia plants aren’t likely to cause serious poisoning, but they can upset your pet’s stomach and cause mouth and throat irritation. Other common wintertime plants like lilies, Autumn crocus, and Amaryllis also present a hazard. Make sure your pet stays far away from harmful plant life!

Pesticides

Small rodents and insects like to invade our homes in the winter in an effort to seek shelter from the cold weather outside. You might use pesticide or rodenticide products to ward them off. Remember that these products are poisons, designed to kill! Place pesticides very carefully, or choose non-toxic alternatives like traps, so that your pet stays safe.

Medicine

Cold and flu season will be upon us before you know it. Remember that a variety of human medications—cough syrup, aspirin, prescription drugs, and much more—can poison your pet! NSAIDs like ibuprofen are an especially common pet poison, and can cause reduced blood flow to your pet’s kidneys and damage to the intestinal lining. Keep the medicine cabinet shut tightly so that your pet can’t reach any harmful pills!

Want more tips for keeping your pet safe as the winter weather rolls on? We’re here for you. Call your Roanoke, VA vet.

Adorable Things Your Cat Will Do Over the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! Many of us enjoy partaking in special seasonal traditions at this time of year. For instance, you may watch a certain movie, play your favorite carols, or go to some annual holiday gatherings. As it turns out, our feline buddies also have a few holiday customs. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some of them below.

Play With The Tree

At this time of year, many of our feline patients turn their attention to those beautifully decorated trees. Kitty-proof your tree by hanging only sturdy, unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches. Put fragile decorations on the higher part of the tree, where Fluffy can’t reach them. You may also want to secure the treetop to the wall or ceiling with fishing line. If you have a super-frisky cat, opt for an artificial tree. (Note: ribbons, tinsels, pine needles, electric lights, and ornament hooks are all hazardous to kitties. Keep these things out of paws’ reach.)

Nap Under The Tree

Once your furball has tired herself out batting at holiday ornaments, she may curl up under the tree for a nap. This makes purrfect sense: cats are precious gifts!

Supervise The Humans

Cats are fairly nosy little furballs, and like to keep a close eye on their humans. Fluffy will monitor you as you are cooking, cleaning, and getting ready for holiday festivities. Your thoughtful pet may even lend a helping paw with giftwrapping and changing sheets!

Sleep On Guest Coats

Are you having company over in the next few weeks? If you ask your visitors to put their coats on a spare bed, you may want to close the door to that room. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll find Fluffy snoozing on someone’s jacket!

Play With A New Toy

Your kitty definitely deserves a special present. After all, Fluffy is part of the family! Offer your pet a few new playthings. Classic options, like catnip mice, are always a good option. You can also try something more modern, like an automated laser pointer or a mechanical ‘swimming’ fish.

Try New Boxes

After everyone has finished opening their presents, set a few boxes aside for Fluffy. As we all know, cats absolutely love boxes!

Season’s Greetings from all of us here at Old Dominion Veterinary Clinic. Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime.

6 Things Your Dog Probably Isn’t Thankful For, But Should Be

Thanksgiving is coming up fast. At this time of year, it’s important to think about the things we are grateful for. Pets are definitely on that list! But what about Fido? While there’s no doubt that your canine pal is thankful for bacon, belly rubs, and car rides, there may be some things he may not appreciate as much as he should. A local Roanoke, VA vet lists some of them below.

Baths

Fido isn’t generally a big fan of being bathed. In fact, he may actually run and hide at the mere mention of the dreaded B-word. However, we suspect that our furry pals do enjoy that salon-fresh feeling of being soft and clean!

Us

We know, visiting the veterinary clinic can be unsettling to dogs. There are a lot of strange faces and smells, plus the presence and scents of other nervous pets, some of whom aren’t feeling very well. We do all we can to make appointments easy on our canine patients. That said, we’re pretty sure that most of them would rather be napping or playing Fetch.

Leashes

Leashes are very important to your four-legged friend’s safety. You don’t want your pup dashing off every time he sees a squirrel. That could be very dangerous! Fido, however, probably sees them as more of a nuisance.

Fences

Fences also make the list of things Man’s Best Friend would happily go without. Your furry friend doesn’t necessarily understand how many dangers are waiting beyond his yard. He just wants to explore and chase squirrels!

Parasite Control

There are quite a few options for parasite control available now, from topical drops to pills to shampoos and collars. No matter what product you choose, your furry buddy probably won’t be very enthusiastic about his regimen. However, he will definitely be both healthier and more comfortable if he’s safe from dangerous parasites like fleas and heartworms.

Vaccinations

When Fido gets vaccinated, he doesn’t know that he’s being protected from deadly diseases, such as rabies. He just feels that little pinch. (That accusing look pooches sometimes give us after they get a vaccine will never stop being adorable.) Sorry, Fido: it’s for your own good!

Happy Thanksgiving! Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs … even the ones he isn’t grateful for.

Doggy Dental Woes

Do your dog’s affectionate puppy kisses make you cringe? If so, your canine buddy may need his choppers checked. Bad breath is often a sign of doggy dental trouble! Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet discusses dental problems in dogs.

Common Issues

Fido can develop a wide variety of dental issues. Gum disease is a common one. In fact, over 80 percent of adult dogs have some form of this disease! This is quite concerning, because gum disease can cause or contribute to many different health troubles, such as heart disease. Your pooch can also suffer from cracked, broken, or misaligned teeth; abscesses; infections; and other dental problems.

Symptoms

Fido can’t tell you if his teeth are bothering him, so it’s up to you to watch for warning signs. As mentioned above, bad breath is a common one. Some other red flags are tartar buildup; swelling; bleeding gums; and stringy, bloody, or excessive drool. There are also some behavioral cues to watch for, such as grumpiness, reduced interest in play, and lack of appetite. Fido may also take longer eating, and may shy away if you try to touch his mouth.

Doggy Dental Care

As with many things pet-related, when it comes to caring for your pup’s teeth, an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure. One of the best things you can do is get your canine pal accustomed to getting his teeth brushed. At first, just rub Fido’s teeth and gums with your finger. Next, add some doggy toothpaste. (We know, this is kinda icky, but it’s just for training purposes.) The next step is to start using a pet toothbrush. If your furry buddy won’t sit still long enough to get his teeth cleaned, you can still help keep his mouth healthy by offering him dental-formula treats and chews. Making sure your pooch always has clean water and suitable chew toys is also important.

Treating Dental Problems

We recommend getting your canine companion’s teeth checked at least once a year. In between appointments, watch for potential symptoms. Contact your vet immediately if you notice anything amiss. Doggy dental woes are always handled on a case-by-case basis, once a diagnosis has been made. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you know or suspect that your dog has dental issues? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA pet clinic, today. We’re happy to help!

4 Cute Ways to Spoil Your Cat

Kitties are very popular pets, and with good reason. Fluffy is not only super cute, she’s also very lovable and cuddly, not to mention entertaining. She’s also quite an easy keeper! Giving your feline buddy good food, a clean litterbox, and regular veterinary care will see to her most essential needs. But what does it take to really pamper a cat? Read on as a Troutville, VA vet lists some super cute ways to spoil your feline friend.

Kitty Garden

We recommend that cats live indoors, as they are both safer and healthier as indoor pets. However, you can still give your furball a taste of nature. Set out some pet-safe plants for Fluffy, so she can peek out at you from behind green leaves and pretend she is a ferocious predator. Just be sure to only choose non-toxic plants. You can find a full list at the ASPCA website here.

Vertical Space

Kitties can’t see very much from floor level, so they often like to climb to higher vantage points to get a better look at their kingdoms. Consider getting Fluffy a cat tower, so she can peer down at her domain. This will also provide Fluffy with a napping spot, a jungle gym, and a manicure station. Your furry friend may also enjoy some wall-mounted furniture, like kitty shelves or a catwalk.

Playthings

Playing is very important to your kitty’s health and well-being. A fun play session will not only get Fluffy off the couch and moving, it will also provide her with beneficial mental stimulation. Classic pet toys, like catnip mice, are fine, but you can also offer your furball a cute modern toy, like a robotic mouse. Offer Fluffy a variety of playthings, and see what she likes best. We also recommend playing with your cat regularly. It will be fun for you both!

Love and Cuddles

We may like to joke about how Fluffy is cold and calculating, but the truth is, kitties are really very emotional, and form very strong bonds with their human pals. Spend time with your feline buddy every day, and pay lots of attention to her. Purrs and kitty kisses are both truly precious gifts in our book!

Please contact us, your Troutville, VA veterinary clinic, with any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care. We’re dedicated to providing excellent care!

Fluffy’s Scratching Habit

Do you sometimes find your cat using your sofa as a nail-care station? Is your kitty slowly shredding your carpets and furniture? Kitties have many adorable habits, but their nail-care routines aren’t always very popular with their human buddies. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses Fluffy’s scratching habit.

Why Kitties Scratch

Even if your feline friend looks tremendously pleased with herself after scratching your sofa, she isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your things. Cats have a strong, instinctive urge to take care of their claws, and with good reason. In the wild, kitties need their claws for survival. Although your pampered pet may never need to hunt for her dinner, climb a tree to escape a predator, or defend herself against anything but the vacuum cleaner, she’ll still feel driven to sharpen her claws.

Choosing A Peticure Station

If you want your furry little diva to stop scratching your things, you’ll need to provide her with a suitable nail-care station. Choose something that is tall enough to allow Fluffy to stretch out to her full length. Make sure it doesn’t wobble: if your furball’s scratching post isn’t sturdy, she may become wary of it and stop using it.

Teaching Good Habits

If you just tell Fluffy not to scratch your couch, you’ll probably just get a yawn and a meow in reply. What you’ll need to do is get your cat to form a bad association with improper scratching and a good association with her scratching post. When you see your kitty scratching improperly, do something that will startle and/or annoy her: make a loud noise, squirt her with water, or stamp your foot. Your furball will probably bolt for a quieter spot. When you see Fluffy using her scratching post, reward her with toys, treats, praise, and ear scritches.

Last Resorts

If you aren’t having any luck, contact your vet to set up a nail-trim appointment for Fluffy. This is painless and temporary, just like a human manicure. Claw caps are another option. These cute fake nails for kitties come in many bright colors. Like nail trims, they are also painless and temporary. (Note: we don’t recommend these options for cats that go outdoors, as they need their claws for defense.)

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

Senior Dog Care Tips

Did you know that big dogs age more quickly than small dogs? Large breeds can become seniors as early as age six, while little pooches may not enter their golden years until age nine or even older. However, no matter what type of dog you have, his needs will change a bit as he ages. Read on as a Troutville, VA vet lists some great senior dog care tips.

Senior-Friendly Products

We strongly recommend getting your canine buddy a good, high-quality doggy bed, so he can sleep comfortably at night. Fido may also appreciate elevated doggy dishes, which will be easier for him to eat from than bowls on the floor.

Good Food

Proper nutrition is always important, but it’s particularly crucial to older pets. Be sure to feed your pooch a high-quality senior pet food. Snacks are fine, but don’t go overboard with fatty treats.

Proper Exercise

While your four-legged buddy will definitely slow down as he ages, he will still need regular activity. You may find that taking a slow, relaxing walk with your furry best friend is a great way to wind down after a long day at work!

Regular Veterinary Care

One of the best things you can do for Fido in his old age is to make sure he sees the vet regularly. Follow your vet’s recommended appointment schedule. At home, watch for signs of illness, and contact your vet immediately if you notice anything unusual.

Pet Ramps

As your canine friend grows older, he may have a hard time climbing on and off the couch, or getting in and out of the car. Pet ramps or stairs will help Fido get around more easily.

Pain Management

It isn’t uncommon for dogs to develop medical issues, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, in their senior years. Ask your vet for specific advice on your furry pal’s care needs. For instance, Fido may really benefit from certain supplements, pet massage, or pain management treatments.

Nail Care

Overgrown nails are very uncomfortable for Man’s Best Friend! Fido may change his stride to compensate. Over time, this will strain your pup’s bones and joints, and can contribute to painful bone/joint issues, such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Keep your furry friend’s claws trimmed!

Please reach out to us, your Troutville, VA pet hospital, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!