Tag Archives: dog care tips

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.

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!