Tag Archives: pet care tips

Your Pet’s Nutrition

Everyone knows that nutrition is essential for a healthy life. That’s as true for your pet as it is for you. As it turns out, the kind of nutrients that your pet needs are largely the same as the ones you do! Below, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian elaborates on the basic elements of your pet’s nutritional needs.

Protein

Protein is extremely important for your dog or cat because it’s the basic building block for every bodily tissue. Diets made for puppies and kittens tend to be very high in protein, since young pets need a lot of protein as their muscles and tissues develop. Pregnant mother pets are also sometimes prescribed a high-protein diet, as the extra boost of protein can help them deliver their litters safely.

Carbs

Your pet’s digestive system breaks down carbohydrates from food into glucose, a simple sugar that acts as the fuel for your pet’s body. So, carbohydrates provide energy for just about everything your pet does. That’s why most pet foods contain things like potatoes and rice—these kind of high-carbohydrate foods are great for providing energy and keeping your pet going.

It’s also worth noting that fiber, a type of carbohydrate, is another important nutrient that your pet needs. It slows the absorption level of sugar into your pet’s bloodstream, thereby regulating glucose levels. Fiber also helps your pet to feel full after they’ve eaten, which is why many weight-loss diets contain a lot of fiber.

Fats

It’s easy to think of fat as exclusively a bad thing, but that’s not true. In fact, your pet needs the right amount of healthy fats in their diet, just like you do. Fat provides your pet with energy. Plus, the fat that your pet’s body doesn’t use right away is stored as a reserve and used when your pet needs it. Pets that are more high-activity, such as a working farm dog, will need more fat in the diet than pets who are low-key by comparison.

Vitamins and Minerals

Don’t forget that your pet also needs the right vitamins and minerals, plus fatty acids and amino acids, for good health. Make sure that your pet’s diet contains the right vitamins and minerals for their needs—check with your veterinarian about your pet’s current food to make sure it’s up to par.

Do you have questions about your pet’s nutrition? Contact your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic.

Pet Dental Health Month

February is officially Pet Dental Health Month! Of course, your pet’s oral health is important all year long. Dental problems are very painful for pets, and can severely impact their quality of life. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses caring for your pet’s teeth.

Common Problems

Some of the statistics about pet dental issues are quite staggering. For example, as many as 80 percent of adult dogs have periodontal disease. Kitties aren’t far behind: roughly 70 percent of cats aged three or over are afflicted. Periodontal disease—or gum disease, as it is also called, is very dangerous, as the bacteria and plaque can travel through Fido’s bloodstream, contributing to some very dangerous health issues. Cats are also susceptible to tooth resorption and feline stomatitis, which are both very painful conditions. Dogs, on the other hand, sometimes crack or break their teeth on hard objects. Some pooches—especially smaller breeds—are also prone to overcrowding. Abscesses and misalignments are also not uncommon.

Home Care

The best thing you can do at home is brush your pet’s teeth. Be sure to only use products made for pets. Human toothbrushes and toothpastes are neither safe nor suitable for our furry companions. If your pet won’t tolerate having their choppers brushed, look into other options. Dental flakes, dental-formula treats and chews, and oral rinses can all help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. You’ll also want to make sure that your pet always has fresh water. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Warning Signs

Keep a close eye out for signs of dental troubles. Bad breath is a very common one. You may also notice visible swelling and/or tartar buildup, or see bloody smears on your furry pal’s toys or dishes. Dental issues can also cause your pet to change their eating habits. They may dribble food, chew on one side of their mouth, or start preferring softer foods. Other warning signs include crankiness, withdrawal, and a reduced interest in play.

Veterinary Care

We recommend having your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year. This should start around age one. In between visits, keep an eye out for the symptoms we’ve listed above. If you notice any of those red flags, contact your vet right away.

Do you know or suspect that your pet has dental issues? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!

Everything You Need to Know About Pet Microchips

Is your pet properly identified? For many years, ID tags on the collar worked well—and they still do. Now, though, another type of pet identification is extremely helpful for your pet: the microchip.

Learn more about microchips in this article from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian.

What is a Microchip, and How Does it Work?

A microchip is a tiny computer chip. A unique identification number is implanted electronically on this chip, and that number corresponds to the chip manufacturer’s database where your pet’s name and contact information is stored. The chip itself is implanted under your pet’s skin, and specialized scanning devices at veterinary offices and shelters can read the chip’s number when a lost pet is relinquished to these facilities. That allows the professionals to quickly find out exactly who the lost pet belongs to!

Why Should I Get My Pet Microchipped?

The benefits of microchips are numerous. For one, they’re secure—there’s no need to worry about your pet removing it, either accidentally or on purpose. The chip remains secure under your pet’s skin, so even if he escapes unexpectedly without a collar on, you don’t have to worry.

Another benefit of the microchip is that it’s cost-effective for pet owners. You only have to purchase it once, and then your pet can continue to wear it for their entire lifetime. Even if you change addresses or get a new phone number, all you’ll have to do is contact the chip manufacturer to have your contact information updated. Your pet keeps the same chip the whole time!

What’s the Implant Procedure Like? Is There Any Risk?

The microchip itself is housed in a small glass capsule. This capsule is inserted under your pet’s skin using a specialized hypodermic needle-like device, and it only takes a few minutes. All your pet feels is a momentary pinch, just like a regular vaccination.

The microchipping procedure is virtually risk-free. Some pets develop minor swelling or irritation around the injection site, but it usually subsides on its own after only a day or two. If your pet has recently been microchipped and you think they’re reacting poorly, let your veterinarian know.

How Do I Get Started?

Do you want to know more about pet microchips? Ready to have your pet outfitted with a chip for a lifetime of quality identification? Contact your Roanoke, VA vet clinic to set up an appointment.

Getting Your Pet Back to a Healthy Weight

Take a glance at your pet—are they looking a bit pudgy? Nearly half of all domesticated cats and dogs are overweight! If your pet could stand to shed a few pounds, use these tips from a Roanoke, VA veterinarian to return them to a healthy weight:

See the Vet

First, set up an appointment to have your pet examined at the vet’s office. You don’t want to start adjusting your pet’s portion size or changing their diet without consulting the professionals first! Your veterinarian can tell you whether or not your pet is, in fact, obese. Then, you’ll work together to create a tailored weight-loss plan.

Adjust Portion Size

Many times, all it takes for a pet to start losing weight is some control over their portion size. A huge number of pets become obese simply from over-eating! Never free-feed your pet, which means leaving food out at all times for your pet to munch on as they wish; instead, ask your veterinarian about a portion measurement that suits your pet’s needs. Give your pet that amount of food at mealtimes, and remove any uneaten kibble after about 20 minutes.

Feed a Great Diet

Is your pet’s food itself up to par? If your companion is receiving a budget food that contains a lot of empty calories, they’re probably packing on the pounds. It’s time to upgrade your pet’s diet to a premium food that suits their age, size, and breed. This way, they’ll receive all of the essential nutrients for good health without consuming too many calories and becoming overweight.

Exercise Regularly

Of course, no weight-loss plan comes without exercise. You’ll have to get your pet moving on a regular basis in order to help them burn off that excess body fat and return to a healthy weight. Go on brisk walks through your neighborhood, or romp around inside with a favorite toy. However you do it, make sure your pet gets several minutes of physical activity per day, several times a day.

Tips on Treats

Don’t give your pet a lot of fatty table scraps, and don’t overdo it when it comes to pet treats. Use treats as rewards for good behavior, or as training tools—giving your pet treats for no real reason isn’t healthy.

Does your pet need a veterinary exam? We’re here to help. Contact your Roanoke, VA animal hospital to schedule an appointment.

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.