All posts by James

7 Signs That Your Cat is Plotting World Domination

There’s a pretty auspicious pet holiday coming up. June is Cat World Domination Day. Of course, if you have a feline overlord, it probably won’t be much of a shock to find that there’s a whole day dedicated to Fluffy’s dreams of becoming Supreme Leader. But is your cute pet planning something sinister? A local Roanoke, VA vet lists a few things to beware of below.

Laptop Lounging

Do you sometimes find your kitty snoozing on your book or magazine, or even on your computer? Fluffy may act like she just wants another nap, but she may be trying to absorb crucial information by osmosis.

Sudden Cattitude

Does your feline pal sometimes act sweet and cuddly one minute, only to hiss or scratch you the next? Kitties can be a bit temperamental at times. While sometimes these incidents can be a sign that Fluffy is stressed, sick, or unhappy, if your kitty is normally content and has a clean bill of health, she may be working on making herself appear more formidable.

Finicky Furball

Dogs will eat, well, pretty much anything, but kitties can be a bit purrticular about their food. If Fluffy sometimes turns her cute little nose up at what you put in her bowl, you may have a furry little diva on your hands. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Combat Training

Another sure sign that Fluffy is plotting something? Sudden ambushes. The next time your pet pounces on you, or runs out from behind the couch as you pass, pay close attention. Those playful tactics may also not be as innocent as they look.

Practice

Have you ever wondered why cats sometimes look so smug and self-assured? Fluffy’s expression may be her practicing the superior look she’ll wear after conquering the world.

Hunting

If you let your feline buddy go outdoors, there’s a good chance that she’s laid a few dead rodents on your porch. You may have assumed that Fluffy thought she was doing you a favor. However, she may actually be trying to strike fear into your heart.

Table Smack

Does your kitty sometimes clear things off your table or counter with a single swipe of her paw? Fluffy may be practicing showing displeasure at some inept minions.

Does your feline overlord need vaccinations or parasite control? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, today!

Checklist for Adopting a Shelter Cat

June is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month! If you’re ready to adopt a new feline friend, you definitely have our support! Getting a new kitty is a huge life event, and a pretty big deal for both you and Fluffy. It’s important to get things started out on the right paw with your new buddy. In this article, a local Roanoke, VA vet provides a kitty preparation checklist.

Food

Shelters often rely on donations, so Fluffy may have been eating a variety of different foods. You’ll want to get her started on a high-quality kitty food. Opt for something that is appropriate for your furball’s age, size, and health. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Vet

Speaking of veterinarians, one of the first things you’ll want to do is take Fluffy in to meet her new doctor. Your feline pal will likely already be fixed, but she’ll need microchipping, parasite control, and a full exam, as well as any recommended vaccines.

Litter

For the most part, you can get any litter you like. However, if your furry buddy is still a kitten, you’ll want to avoid clay and clumping litters for now. Baby cats can be a bit clumsy. This is adorable, but it can cause problems in the litterbox. Your feline friend could accidentally ingest litter, which, with these types, could cause dangerous intestinal blockages.

Toys

Cats are all unique purrsonalities, and they all have their own preferences. Some kitties like laser pointers, some like bouncy balls, and some like catnip mice. (Fluffy may ignore all of these and play with a bottlecap, but that’s another topic.) Pick up a variety of toys, and see what your pet likes best.

Furniture

Fluffy will feel more comfortable with some things that were made to suit her. Cat towers are great, but kitties also appreciate things like pet tents, window seats, and, of course, comfy beds.

Kittyproofing

Never underestimate Fluffy’s ability to get into mischief. Do some kittyproofing to make your home safe for her. Some things you’d want to address include toxic plants, wires and cords, medicine, chemicals, and small or sharp objects.

Camera Apps

You’ll want to take lots of photos of your new buddy. Make sure your phone or camera is ready to go!

Do you need to make an appointment for your kitty? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, today!

Frozen Doggy Treats

Does your dog get excited over the prospect of a yummy treat? If not, you may want to make him an appointment, as that is definitely unusual. Just like people, many pups enjoy cold snacks on sweltering days. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet lists a few ‘pawesome’ cold treats for dogs.

Cold Food

Combine some of Fido’s canned food with water and freeze that. Or, make it a slushie by combining it with ice in a blender.

Doggy Ice Cream

For this one, you’ll need to start with a base. This can be plain fat-free yogurt, natural peanut butter, pureed squash or pumpkin, ripe bananas, organic baby food, or sodium-free broth. For ‘toppings’ you can add things like cut-up hot dogs, shredded meat or cheese, bacon bits, or safe fruits and veggies.

Slice Of Happiness

Fido’s summer treats don’t have to be complicated or difficult to make. Get a roll of pre-cooked beef, chicken, or lamb. When you want to give your pooch a special treat, carefully slice off a thin piece.

PB/Banana Bites

Combine natural PB with some ripe bananas. Add some water to thin it out if you like. Divide the mixture into small servings, using an ice cube tray, freezer molds, or paper cups.

Apple Chicken Yums

You’ll need an ice cube tray for this one as well. Cut up some apple slices, and put the pieces in an ice cube tray. Add shredded cheese, and a bit of cooked, boneless chicken. Canned is fine. Pour sodium-free chicken broth over the mix and freeze.

Brr-Grrs

This one is similar to the apple chicken ones, except that you’ll use ground beef or turkey, bacon bits, and shredded cheese for the ‘base,’ and sodium-free beef instead of chicken broth as the liquid.

Pupsicles

Start by putting water or sodium-free broth into waxed paper cups. Pour some water or sodium-free broth over them, and pop into the freezer overnight. Voila!

Tips

These are just a few pawsible options. There are many more! You can also make something up yourself. Just don’t include anything that isn’t safe for Fido. Some dangerous foods include garlic and onions; avocado; chocolate; pitted fruits; nuts; grapes, currants, and raisins; and anything that contains xylitol. Ask your vet for more information.

As your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, we’re here to help! Please feel free to call us anytime!

Adopting a Specially Abled Pet

May 3rd is Adopt A Specially-Abled Pet Day! If you’re ready to bring a new pet into your home, please don’t overlook that cute blind dog or the kitty with one eye. These imperfect pets are just as loving and affectionate as any other dog or cat. A local Roanoke, VA vet discusses adopting one of these lovable pets below.

Get Your Home Ready

In many cases, setting your home up properly may be half the battle. If you’re adopting a blind dog or cat, pick up anything that your pet could trip over or hurt themselves on. You’d want to use baby gates near stairs, and put things like thorny plants and fragile vases in high, secure spots. If your new kitty is blind, setting out carpet runners and putting up scent markers, such as air fresheners, may help her navigate her new home.

Consult Your Vet

One reason that specially-abled pets often get overlooked is that people just assume that they need a lot of extra care. You may also assume that your new furry friend will need more veterinary appointments than other pets. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. As far as home care, you may just need to do some things differently. And while your pet certainly will need proper veterinary care, this doesn’t necessarily mean they need to come in more than other pets. If your new canine pal is missing an eye, there just may not be a need for extra medical care once he’s healed. That said, every pet is different, so you’ll need to consult both your pet’s current caretaker and your vet.

Do Some Research

Just learning a few tips and tricks can make a huge difference. For instance, you may be able to train a deaf dog to come when you wave a flashlight or laser pointer. Check different online groups and forums, and ask your vet for advice.

Pat Yourself On The Back

If you’re bringing home that unlucky, unwanted pet, you definitely have our support. Giving one of these cute dogs or cats a home is an extremely kind and selfless thing to do. You’ll be repaid with love, cuddles, and purrs or tail wags. What more could you want?

Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA animal clinic, for more information on caring for a specially-abled pet. We are always here to help!

Spring Grooming for Dogs

Spring has officially sprung! As the weather warms up, many of our canine patients are changing out of their winter clothes, and stripping down to a lighter coat of fur. You know what that means: pet fur everywhere! A local Roanoke, VA vet offers some tips on grooming your four-legged friend below.

Brushing

How often your pooch needs to be brushed will depend on the type of coat he has. However, many pups shed most heavily in spring. If your furry buddy is losing a thick winter coat, try to brush him daily. The shedding process will go more quickly, and you won’t find as much fur all over, well, everything. Take Fido outside for his beauty sessions when the weather is nice. That way, the extra fur will just blow away, instead of getting stuck to your sofa. And your chairs. And your rug. Plus, birds may even use it in their nests.

Bath

Most of our canine buddies don’t get bathed very much in winter. After all, you don’t want to take a wet dog out for a drying-off walk on a frigid day. By the time spring rolls around, Fido might be a bit stinky. Bathtime! Before getting started, gather everything you need in one spot. Some things that may come in handy are a rubber mat for your tub, towels, a pitcher for rinsing, and a washcloth for your furry pal’s face. You may also want to get a clear shower curtain with ‘arm holes’ cut into it. This works great as a splash guard. Use a shower caddy for storage, so you can store everything in once place. Don’t forget to give your pooch a yummy treat after!

Paws

Dogs’ paws often need some extra attention at this time of year. Winter’s dry air and cold temperatures can cause Fido’s paw pads to get rough, dry, and cracked. Running around on salt, sand, and ice doesn’t help matters any. Use paw balm or wax, olive oil, or coconut oil to soften your pet’s paw pads. As for your canine pal’s nails, give them a good trim too. You can use clippers or a grinder: just take care that you don’t cut into the quick, which is where your four-legged friend’s nerves and blood vessels end.

As your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, we are here to help. Please contact us anytime!

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Heartworms

April is Heartworm Awareness Month. Heartworms, as you may know, are very dangerous parasites that take up residence in dogs’ hearts, lungs, and arteries. Heartworm infestations can cause some very dangerous medical issues in dogs. They can even be fatal. A local Roanoke, VA vet goes over the basics of heartworm infestations below.

Life Cycle

Dogs don’t transmit heartworms directly to one another. Instead, heartworms are actually transmitted by everyone’s favorite insect: the mosquito. Mosquitos pick up infected blood from one dog, and then transmit it to another. The worms are in larval form at the time of transmission, but they grow rapidly. They reach maturity in about 6 or 7 months. At this point, they begin to multiply.

Hotspots

Since heartworms are carried by mosquitoes, that means that Fido can get infected anywhere there are mosquitoes … even inside your home. However, damp, marshy areas are particularly risky. Dog parks can also be hot zones. While many ordinances require dogs to be current on preventative care, this is hard to enforce. That’s why it’s so important to keep your canine pal on preventative care all year long.

Warning Signs

Usually, coughing will be the first indication of a heartworm infestation in dogs. Other symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, weight loss, and lethargy. Fido may not feel very playful, and he may get tired after even mild activity. Severe infestations cause more severe problems, such as fainting, seizures, and heart attacks.

Treatment

There is both good and bad news on this one. There are treatments available for heartworms. However, they are much more expensive than preventative care. Treatment also isn’t much fun for poor Fido, who may need to be restricted or even kenneled. Severe cases may even require surgery.

Preventative Care

Fortunately, it’s not hard to protect your canine buddy from these terrible worms. Just keep up with his parasite control regime. If Fido isn’t currently on parasite control, he’ll need to be tested before beginning a regime. This is because the products that prevent infestations don’t kill live worms. You’ll also need to have your dog tested regularly. Unfortunately, as often happens with bacteria and parasites, some worms seem to be developing a resistance to certain products. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you have questions about heartworm preventative? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, today!

Taking Fido to the Park

March 30th is a pretty special day for Man’s Best Friend: it’s Take A Walk In The Park Day! Fido would be more than happy to help you celebrate. Read on for some tips from a local Roanoke, VA vet on taking your canine friend to the park.

Preventative Care

Fido should be microchipped, fixed, and wearing current ID tags. Also, make sure your pooch is up to date on vaccinations and parasite control. Dog parks can be hotbeds for fleas, ticks, and heartworms, which are carried by mosquitoes.

Paperwork

Have copies of your furry pal’s registration and vaccinations with you. This is just a good thing to keep on hand anyway, in case of an emergency. Put an envelope with photocopies in your glove box, and you’ll always have them on you.

Gear

Always bring water along, for both you and Fido. You may also want to keep a bag for your pup in your car. Keep things that may come in handy, such as treats, pet wipes, a spare leash, waste baggies, and collapsible water bowls. It’s also a good idea to keep a pet first-aid kit on you, just in case. Add some tie-lines and food, and you also have a ready-to-go emergency doggy bag!

Choosing Parks

There are many parks to explore around our local area. Get into the spirit of the day, and try out a new one. Or, venture further away than you usually do. A one-tank trip with Fido and some friends or family members (and their dogs) can make for a wonderful afternoon.

Cleanup

Always pick up after your canine companion. As the saying says, leave nothing behind but pawprints and memories!

Timing

Heat shouldn’t be too much of an issue at this time of year, but it is something to keep in mind. In summer, don’t take Fido to the park in the middle of the day when it’s really hot out. Mornings and evenings are cooler.

Buddies

If you take your canine buddy to an off-leash park, check out the dogs that are already there before letting Fido go. Don’t release your four-legged friend if you see any pooches bullying other dogs or acting aggressive.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care. As your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, we are here to help!

Things That Are Toxic to Cats

March is Poison Prevention Month! Cats have a very inquisitive nature. Fluffy often investigates anything new she spots in her domain, and has been known to try and sample things by eating them. This can be very dangerous! A local Roanoke, VA veterinarian lists some things that are poisonous to kitties below.

Essential Oils

While some essential oils are more dangerous than others, it’s generally never a good idea to use these on or near your feline pal. The oils are much more concentrated, which can make them toxic. Some of the more dangerous types include oil of cinnamon, citrus, wintergreen, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), and ylang ylang.

Lilies

Those peace lilies may be pretty, but they are toxics to our feline friends, it is one of the ones that is most dangerous. Sago palms, tulips, daffodils, oleander, and rhododendrons are also unsafe. You can check the ASPCA site here for more information on safe and unsafe plants. 

Salt Lamps 

Those pretty Himalayan salt lamps can give any room a cozy, relaxing glow. However, keep these in spots Fluffy can’t reach. Some cats like the taste of salt, and will lick them. This can lead to salt poisoning, which can be fatal.

Antifreeze/Coolant 

Antifreeze is another big concern. It is very poisonous to Fluffy, and can even be deadly. Unfortunately, many brands have a sweet taste that cats enjoy. Be sure to mop up any spills right away. 

Certain Foods

While some cats are quite fussy, others will eat just about anything. That’s why it’s important to know what is and isn’t safe for Fluffy. The list of dangerous foods includes garlic, onions, scallions, and chives; grapes, currants, and raisins; chocolate; caffeine; alcohol; avocado; and xylitol.

Medicine

Any medication, whether prescription or OTC, should be considered a hazard to cats. Fortunately, Fluffy isn’t able to open bottles, so it’s unlikely that she’ll get into your medicine cabinet. The bigger concern is that people may try to give their pets medication, not realizing it isn’t safe.

Lawn/Garden Chemicals 

Pretty much anything that you would use around your home or yard should be considered toxic. This includes fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, cleaning agents, paints, to name a few. 

Please contact us with any concerns or questions about your cat. As your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, we are here to help!

Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day

Dog owners, put a pawprint on your calendar for February 23rd: it’s Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day! Fido has many cute habits, but one of the most adorable is the way he perks up when he knows or suspects that you have a treat for him. A local Roanoke, VA vet goes over some do’s and don’ts of giving your canine pal snacks below.

Choosing Treats

Man’s Best Friend has a pretty robust appetite. Fido would likely be more than happy to test drive any type of treat you bring home. However, some are definitely better than others. Get into the habit of reading labels, and try to stick with brands that use whole, healthy ingredients. Avoid things with long lists of ingredients you can neither pronounce nor identify.

Timing

Treats are actually very beneficial for Fido. However, you don’t want to go overboard here. Treats should make up about five percent of his daily caloric intake.

Homemade Goodies

If you enjoy cooking, you can try making your pup’s biscuits. There are some great recipes online. Cooking for Fido also has some benefits: you’ll be able to determine exactly what your furry friend is eating. This is really helpful if your pup has any sort of dietary restrictions. You can also customize treats to your pet’s taste.

Human Foods

Some of the things we eat are fine for dogs. Plain meat, fish, or poultry, without the skin, bones, or fat, is always a good bet. Just be sure to avoid unsafe foods, such as garlic, onions, chocolate, alcohol, and xylitol. Meat on the bone is also a no-no, as are pitted fruits, processed foods, and anything high in salt, sugar, or fat. Ask your vet for more information on safe and unsafe foods.

Begging

Fido is very, very good at convincing us to share our treats with him. That furry face can be hard to ignore! However, don’t let your pooch wrap you around his paws. If you spoil your pet, you may find him becoming pushy or even aggressive. 

Tricks For Treats

Our canine companions truly do strive to please their humans. Have Fido work for his snacks! This is a great way to reinforce his training. Plus, you can show your furry buddy some cute tricks.

Do you have questions about your dog’s diet or care? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, today!

Cat Health Month

February is a pretty important month for our feline friends: it’s Cat Health Month! Kitties are easy keepers, but they are still susceptible to illness and injury. And, contrary to that old wives’ tale, they don’t actually have nine lives! Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet lists some things you can do to keep Fluffy happy and healthy.

Petproofing

This one is particularly a concern with kittens, as they are basically tiny, adorable balls of chaos. Little Fluffy will be very interested in sorting out what she can fit into, what she can eat, and what’s most fun to play with. To make your home safe for your little furball, remove or secure anything that could be dangerous, such as toxic plants. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Menu Revision

Has it been a while since you revisited Fluffy’s menu? High-quality food can make a big difference in your cat’s overall health. It may be time to consider upgrading your pet’s food. You may also want to revisit your feline buddy’s portion sizes. If your furball is getting round, but melts down every time she spots the bottom of her bowl, you may need to trim her portions back a bit. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Playtime

Physical activity is just as important for pets as it is for people. Fluffy may race around the house when she’s a kitten, but as she ages she’ll become, well, a bit lazy. Keep your kitty moving by playing with her daily.

Veterinary Care

Making sure Fluffy sees her doctor regularly is very important! If she’s overdue, let this be a reminder to schedule an appointment. We recommend that all cats be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept current on exams, vaccinations, and parasite prevention. If your kitty hasn’t had her teeth examined in a while, she’s likely due for a dental checkup as well.

Water

Did you know that many cats prefer to drink running water? Consider getting your furry pal a kitty fountain. 

Purrs

Cats may like to pretend that they’re cold and aloof, but they’re actually quite emotional. Pay lots of attention to Fluffy, and keep that little motor going. Things like toys, treats, catnip, and pet furniture will also help keep your kitty content.

Do you have questions or concerns about caring for your feline pal? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, today!