Tag Archives: veterinarians Troutville VA

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.

Your Cat’s Aversion to the Litterbox

Has your cat been eliminating outside of the litterbox, creating messes on your carpets and floors? About one in every 10 cats will experience a litterbox aversion at some point in their life! Here, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian tells you what to do if your feline friend has shunned her bathroom.

See the Vet

First things first—schedule an appointment to have your cat examined at the veterinarian’s office. There is a chance that medical issues, including infection, injury, or disease, could be the cause of your cat’s behavior! You’ll want to have any medical problems taken care of so that your cat doesn’t suffer further.

Many of our older feline companions suffer from arthritis, which can make it difficult for your cat to hoist themselves into the box. Try using a litterbox with low sides if you have an arthritic cat.

Placement

One of the main reasons that cats decide not to use their litterbox is because of where it’s located. Our feline friends are picky about this sort of thing; they don’t want to be disturbed while doing their business. Put the litterbox in a quiet, low-key area of the house where your cat won’t be interrupted by human family members or other pets. In most homes, a basement or laundry room works well.

Cleanliness

Who wants to do their business in a dirty bathroom? Not your cat! If you don’t clean Fluffy’s litterbox often enough, she may decide to go elsewhere. We recommend scooping out your cat’s waste on a daily basis, and changing all litter about once a week. This will ensure that the litterbox stays fresh and will further entice your cat into using it regularly.

Litter Preference

There is a wide variety of litter types out there, and different cats like different ones. There are scented versions, different granule sizes, different base materials… the list goes on and on! You may have to do some experimenting to find a litter type that your cat enjoys using. Ask your veterinarian for help.

Negative Association

If your cat was startled or injured while using a litterbox early on in life, she may associate negative things with the litterbox now. This kind of issue might take the help of a professional animal behaviorist or trainer to correct; ask your vet to put you in touch.

For help with your cat’s bathroom habits, call your Roanoke, VA vet.

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!