Tag Archives: dog care tips

Cold Weather Dog Care

Winter officially starts next week. We know that some of you love the cold, while others are already crossing off the days until spring. This also applies to dogs! Some pups, like huskies and other snow dogs, absolutely love to run and play in the snow. Others will spend the next few months snuggled up in their doggy beds. No matter which camp your furry pal falls into, he will benefit from some extra TLC. Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on keeping your canine buddy happy and healthy in cold weather.

Beds

Fido will need a good bed to curl up in! Make sure that your pet’s doggy bed is thick enough to offer good support and insulation. It also shouldn’t be in a drafty area, or too close to a heater or fireplace. If your pooch has thin fur, he may appreciate a thermal bed or blanket, or even a heated one.

Grooming

Did you know that Fido’s fur will protect him from the cold? However, dust, dead fur, and dander can interfere with its insulating properties. Keep up with your canine pal’s grooming needs!

Paw Care

As you can imagine, going barefoot on snow and ice isn’t much fun. Snow, salt, sand, and ice are all rough on Fido’s furry feet. Get some pet-safe de-icing products. We also recommend keeping your canine companion’s toenails clipped. If your pup has toe fur tufts, cut these as well: they can collect ice balls which, as you can imagine, aren’t very comfortable for dogs.

Dehydration

Many dogs don’t care to drink cold water. Dehydration can become an issue in winter. Don’t put Fido’s bowls in a chilly place. 

Coats

Does your furry bff have a thin coat? If so, Fido will need a doggy sweater or jacket to keep him warm on those frigid winter days. Make sure that your pup’s things fit him well, and are not tight, hot, itchy, or restricting.

Food

Some pooches need to eat more in winter, as they will burn extra calories just staying warm. Your furry friend may also benefit from certain supplements. This can be especially helpful for older dogs, as well as for pups with bone/joint disorders. Ask your vet for more information.

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

Adopting a Shelter Dog

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. If you’re ready to bring a new pet into your life, please consider going through a shelter. This is a great way to find Fido! Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on adopting a shelter dog.

Benefits

There are some truly great reasons to get your canine companion from a shelter. First and foremost, you’ll be saving a life, and giving Fido another chance at happiness. That’s a beautiful thing, and an experience many people find very rewarding. You’ll also be able to choose your pet from a variety of adorable pooches. Another thing to feel great about? You’ll be promoting good animal welfare and helping the shelter provide care for other homeless pets. Last but not least, you may also find that going through a shelter is easy on the wallet, at least in comparison to going through a pet store or breeder.

Finding Fido

Choosing a pet is a huge decision. After all, you’re making a commitment to caring for Fido for the rest of his life. While sometimes you only need to glance at a pup to know you’ve found your new pet, at other times, it can be tough choosing the right dog. Spend some time with your canine pal, and make sure it’s a good fit.

Preparation

Before you bring Fido home, you’ll need to do some shopping. Your list should include bedding, toys, treats, dishes, grooming supplies, waste baggies, leashes, a collar, and a pet first-aid kit. You’ll also want to go through your house, and make sure that everything is safe for your pooch. Remove or secure anything that could be dangerous. This includes things like toxic plants, chemicals, medication, and anything small or sharp. If you have a yard, make sure that the fencing is secure.

Tail Wags

It’s always heartwarming to see how happy and excited dogs get when they realize they’ve been adopted. However, it can take time for them to really realize that they are safe, and that things will be okay. Give Fido time to settle in. Talk to him, play with him, and offer toys and treats, but don’t force attention on him. You’ll be getting tail wags and affectionate smooches in no time!

Do you have questions about adopting a shelter pup? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!

Taking Your Dog to Work… At Home

June 26th  is Take Your Dog To Work Day. Of course, with more people than ever working from home, many of us are finding that every day is Take Your Dog To Work Day … or perhaps, Take Work To Your Dog Day. Fido can be a great coworker! However, you may need to take a few steps to keep things running smoothly. A Roanoke, VA vet discusses working from home with dogs in this article.

Schedule

Pets tend to thrive when they are on a set schedule. Try to get Fido onto a regular routine while you are working. We also recommend walking and playing with your furry friend before getting started on the day’s work. If possible, try to tire your canine companion out a bit. That way, he’ll sleep through a chunk of your workday. Walking your pup at lunch is also a great way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and exercise, which will be good for you both.

Doggy Inspiration

Man’s Best Friend can actually be quite an inspiration. After all, Fido already has several jobs, which are all very important! He’s a counselor, philosopher, therapist, cuddle buddy, cheerleader, personal trainer, and, of course, an entertainer. Of course, your pup may also spend a chunk of the day sleeping. While we definitely don’t advise sleeping on the job, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough rest.

Work Station

Dogs are very loyal, and often try to spend as much time with their humans as they can. Fido will probably spend a lot of time at your feet. Put a bed there for him, and perhaps a few toys. If you have a chair on wheels, take care not to roll over your pet!

Breaks

It’s probably safe to say that at some point, Fido will interrupt you, perhaps by bringing you his favorite toy and hoping you’ll play with him. If your schedule allows, indulge these adorable requests! Spending time with your furry buddy is a great stress reliever, and a wonderful way to brighten up your day. Dogs are truly precious, and their tail wags and smooches make any day better. Dole out plenty of ear scritches and belly rubs!

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

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!

Hot Weather Care Tips for Your Dog

The dog days of summer are upon us! Remember: your dog is wearing a fur coat that he can’t take off, so it’s up to you to make sure Fido stays safe and cool as summer rolls on. Here are a few tips for doing just that from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian:

Keep Fido Indoors

The first rule of thumb to follow is a simple one: don’t leave your dog outdoors for long periods of time when it’s hot. Dogs are susceptible to dehydration and heatstroke when they remain in the high temperatures and hot sun for long stretches, and this can cause serious health trouble. Try exercising your pooch outside during the cooler morning or evening hours, and let him come indoors and relax in the air conditioning through the middle part of the day.

Provide Fresh Water

It’s important to provide your dog with fresh water to drink all year round, but it’s especially essential in the deep summer months. Your pooch needs plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated and keep the body temperature regulated. Keep Fido’s bowl filled at all times, and consider adding a few ice cubes on extremely hot days for that extra chill.

Keep Up With Preventatives

Summer is prime-time for pests, so it’s important that you keep up with your dog’s preventative medications this time of year. Worms like heartworm, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and even tapeworms present a threat during the summer, and into the autumn months. Plus, fleas and ticks are waiting to latch on to your dog and start causing problems. Ask your veterinarian about a worm preventative and a flea-and-tick control medicine for your dog if he isn’t already set up with these medications.

Watch the Asphalt

When you take your dog for walks outdoors, pay special attention to asphalt surfaces like driveways and parking lots. These surfaces can heat up quickly when the summer sun beats down on them all day, and they retain heat. It’s possible for your dog’s sensitive paw pads to get burned if he lingers on asphalt surfaces for too long!

Car Travel Tips

Never leave your dog in a car parked in the sun on a hot summer’s day. The temperature inside can skyrocket to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes! It’s best to keep Fido at home.

For more summer safety tips, contact your Roanoke, VA vet clinic.

Pool Safety For Dogs

Do you enjoy swimming? Many of our canine patients love going for a dip on hot days. Pools can be dangerous for Man’s Best Friend, though, so you’ll want to take some precautions to keep Fido safe. A Roanoke, VA vet discusses pool safety for dogs in this article.

Swim Lessons

If your dog can’t swim, take some time to teach him. Gently support your four-legged pal as he is learning, and encourage him with praise and compliments. It’s a good idea to put a doggy lifejacket on Fido, at least at first. If you know someone with a dog that swims well, enlist them to help. Your pooch may learn more quickly by observing another pup!

Steps

The first thing you want to do whenever you take Fido to a pool is show him where the stairs are. We can’t overstate the importance of this! Even dogs that are great swimmers can panic if they fall in and don’t know how to get out. Take time with this training, and make sure your canine buddy really retains the knowledge. It’s also a good idea to get pet pool stairs, especially if you have an above-ground pool.

Other Precautions

In general, follow the same pool safety rules as you would with a toddler. First and foremost: never leave Fido unattended near water. Also, don’t let him swim immediately after eating. We also recommend fencing your pool off when it isn’t in use. This is especially important if your dog can’t swim well, is a small dog or senior, and/or has health issues that affect his sight or mobility. Pool covers can also be dangerous, as dogs sometimes mistake them for solid surfaces, and try to walk on them.

Water

This may be easier said than done, but try not to let Fido drink from the pool. The best way to avoid this is to make sure he always has fresh water available.

Fur

Did you know that dogs can get sunburns? Pooches with pale and/or thin fur are most vulnerable. Ask your vet about putting sunscreen on Fido.

Paws

Dogs’ paw pads are very sensitive, and are extremely delicate when they’re wet. Keep Fido on soft ground after he gets out of the water.

Enjoy your summer! Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care.

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.

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!

Allergies in Dogs

Spring is a peak time for allergens, both for people and pets. Just like people, dogs can have allergic reactions to many different substances. Allergies can make your cute pet quite uncomfortable! A local Roanoke, VA vet discusses doggy allergies in this article.

Common Allergens

Man’s Best Friend can be allergic to many of the same things people can. As mentioned above, mold, mildew, plants, and pollen are common ones. Some dogs also react to ingredients in their food or treats. Your canine pal may also be allergic to strong fumes, like cigarette smoke or perfume, or specific types of fiber. Dogs can also be allergic to ingredients in their pet shampoo.

Symptoms

The signs of allergies vary from pup to pup, depending on what the allergen is. Sneezing, snoring, burping, and flatulence can all be indicative of allergies. Allergies can also cause red, runny eyes and stubborn ear infections, and can be the cause of many skin problems. Vomiting and diarrhea are more possible symptoms. Though fortunately this is rare, allergies can cause Fido to have more serious reactions, such as fainting, seizures, or swelling. In extreme cases, they can cause comas or even death.

Treatment

There are some treatment options available for allergies. These may range from medication to specific diets to home care regimens. Before treatment options can be discussed, your vet will need to run some tests to find out exactly what is disagreeing with your pooch. If food allergies are suspected, this may mean a dietary change. Fido may need to be put on a very basic, bland diet for a while. Items will be reintroduced slowly, to see what causes him to react. Ask your vet for more information.

Home Care Tips

There are a few simple things you can do to help keep your canine buddy comfortable. Vacuum and dust regularly, and change your air filters out frequently. Keeping an eye on pollen counts can also be helpful. Limit your pet’s outdoor time when they are high. You may also want to get some doggy wipes, and wipe down Fido’s paws and belly when you bring him back in. This will remove pollen from his fur. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Do you know or suspect that your pet has allergies? Call us, your local Roanoke, VA pet hospital, anytime. We are dedicated to keeping your beloved pet healthy!

Tips for Brushing Fido’s Teeth

Have you looked at your dog’s teeth lately? Just like people, dogs can develop a wide variety of dental issues, ranging from gum disease to cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. We recommend having Fido’s teeth checked by a vet every year. However, home care is also important. One of the best things you can do is brush your canine pal’s teeth. A local Roanoke, VA vet offers tips on how to do that in this article.

Start Young

If possible, start brushing your furry pal’s choppers while he is still young. It’s much easier to teach a puppy about dental care than to try and get a wary adult dog to accept a toothbrush!

Choose Products Wisely

You’ll need to get doggy dental products for your pet. Never use human toothpastes on Fido: things made for us aren’t safe or suitable for our canine companions. When choosing pet toothpaste, opt for a yummy flavor, like beef or chicken, to make the experience more enjoyable for your pooch.

Training

It’s may take Fido some time to get used to the idea of getting his teeth brushed. Start by just gently rubbing your pup’s gums and teeth with your finger. Offer your pooch treats, praise and ear scritches, so he forms a positive opinion about the process. The next step is to put some pet toothpaste on your finger. (We know, this is a bit yucky, but it’s just for training.) Once your canine buddy has accepted this, you can start incorporating a doggy toothbrush. Keep up the rewards as well!

Scheduling

You don’t necessarily have to brush your pup’s entire mouth every day. Just do one quarter at a time, and keep rotating. Your furry friend will still benefit!

Tips

While you are brushing your four-legged buddy’s choppers, keep a close eye out for signs of dental issues. Bad breath is a common one. Swelling, tartar buildup, and bleeding gums are more red flags, as are bloody, stringy, or excessive drool. You’ll also want to watch for behavioral clues, such as grumpiness, reduced interest in play, and lack of appetite. Call your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs.

Do you have questions about doggy dental woes? Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA pet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to providing excellent veterinary care.