All posts by ryann

Things Dogs Are Grateful For

Thanksgiving is almost here! While it’s great to enjoy some delicious holiday food with our loved ones, it’s also important to think about the things we’re grateful for. Dogs definitely make that list! But what about Fido? What do you think your canine buddy is most appreciative of? A Roanoke, VA makes a few ‘petucated’ guesses below.

Treats

No surprises here. Fido is super cute when he’s angling for a yummy snack! Treats are a fun way to brighten up your furry pal’s day. They also are good for training and bonding, and just making Fido feel loved and safe.

Toys

Dogs need enrichment and stimulation, just as people do. Toys and playtime help keep Fido occupied, help him blow off steam, beat boredom, and just keep him active.

Walks

Even if your pup has a yard to patrol, he still needs to be walked every day. Our furry friends need regular exercise, just as we do! The mental stimulation dogs get from sniffing things is also very important.

Beds

We can’t blame our canine pals for this one. Soft beds are one of those little luxuries that actually aren’t that little!

Belly Rubs

Does your pooch sometimes flip over so you can rub his belly? This is a huge sign of love and trust! That furry tummy is Fido’s most vulnerable point. He wouldn’t expose it if he didn’t feel safe doing so.

Us

We know, most of our clients would prefer to skip their appointments and just go for a walk, play Fetch, or enjoy any of the other things we’ve listed. However, Fido definitely feels better with proper veterinary care. Healthy pets are happy pets!

Training

This one may surprise people, but many dogs actually enjoy training. Fido really strives to please his humans, and he looks adorably proud of himself when he is getting praised for performing a command right. Training also helps you and your canine friend communicate, which can strengthen the bond between you.

You

At the end of the day, Fido’s world revolves around you, and the love and care you give him. All of these things we’ve mentioned help keep your cute pet happy and healthy, and keep that tail going. Love is definitely the secret ingredient in any good dog care regimen!

Happy Thanksgiving! Please reach out to us, your local Roanoke, VA animal clinic, anytime.

Doggy Playdates

Is your canine buddy an only pet? While many of our clients have two or more pooches, it’s also quite common for people to have just one. Fido can do just fine being an only pup, but he will enjoy and benefit from being able to spend time and interact with other dogs. A Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on setting up doggy playdates below.

Introductions

You’ll want to set Fido’s first playdate for a spot that is neutral ground, such as a park. This can be a great time to catch up with friends or family. Just don’t get too caught up in your own conversation. You’ll need to keep a close eye on things!

Considerations

Dogs are like people: some immediately click, and are friends for life after just a few minutes. Others? Not so much. Fido’s buddies’ temperaments should be fairly similar to his. And while your furry friend’s pals don’t have to be lookalikes, they should be somewhat close to him in age, size, and temperament. A Great Dane could seriously injure a feisty Chihuahua!

Choosing Fido’s Friends

Dogs really do benefit from hanging out with other pooches. Everybody needs friends! Plus, it’s good for Fido to be around others who speak his language. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure that your canine companion’s playmates are friendly, well-behaved and, ideally, spayed or neutered. Dogs with aggressive or reactive tendencies, such as food guarding, may not be good playmates. It’s also important that your pup’s pals be current on vaccines and parasite control. The last thing you want is for your beloved pet to contract heartworm on his play session!

Activities

If you have a fenced yard, then you can try hosting puppy parties. Invite some friends and their pets over for a potluck or grillout. Provide plenty of safe toys and treats for your furry guests. Just make sure there’s enough of everything to go around. (Tip: weather permitting, things like ball launchers and kiddie pools can also be a big hit.)

Services

There are services and even apps that help you set up playdates for your pet. Doggy daycare may also be an option. Just err on the side of caution. Check reviews, and vet potential matches carefully.

As your Roanoke, VA pet hospital, we’re dedicated to providing great care. Contact us anytime!

Caring For A Grouchy Cat

It’s Grouch Day! This occasion was made to honor the iconic Oscar the Grouch, but it turns out that many kitties also fit the bill. We certainly have had our fair share of grumpy cats! A Roanoke, VA vet discusses caring for a cranky furball below.

Get Fluffy Checked

If you aren’t sure why your kitty is a little ball of rage, take her to the vet for an exam. You want to rule out medical issues, as there is always a chance that Fluffy is acting out due to pain or illness caused by a health issue.

Offer Safe Targets

It’s important for Fluffy to have things that she can safely take her aggression out on. Make sure that your kitty has plenty of toys to bite, scratch, and kick. It’s also a good idea to play with your feline buddy regularly. Use toys that you can control from a safe distance, such as laser pointers and remote-controlled mice. Your furry friend will (hopefully) be calmer after she’s burned off her zoomies.

Causes

Cats can act up for many different reasons. Take a close look at Fluffy’s living situation, and see if you can find any clues. Does your feline pal have nothing to do but stare at the walls all day? Boredom or loneliness may be the source of her frustration. Have you recently adopted another pet? Jealousy and/or a territorial dispute could be the issue. Kitties that were neglected or abused may simply be acting out of fear. A protective furball may actually be enraged that the neighbor’s cat has once again intruded onto her yard, but is taking her anger out on you.

Don’t Punish Fluffy

Never punish your furry buddy for lashing out. We know, it’s never fun getting bitten or scratched. However, cats don’t understand the concept of punishment. Fluffy won’t know why you’re upset, and could feel threatened. That will only make matters worse! When she acts up, just leave her alone and let her cool down.

Don’t Force Attention

Cats often lash out when they feel threatened. Never corner your feisty feline, and don’t pick her or pet her against her wishes. Always let Fluffy decide when she wants to cuddle.

As your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, we’re dedicated to offering great care. Please reach out to us for all of your kitty’s veterinary care needs.

Fun Ways To Celebrate Poodle Day

Today, October 1st, is Poodle Day! Is your canine companion a Poodle, or perhaps one of the many different Poodle mixes, also called Doodle Dogs? A Dawsonville, GA vet lists some cute ways to celebrate with your four-legged friend in this article.

Poodle Books

Every breed has their own unique history, traits, appearance, and personalities. It’s always a good idea to do some breed research. There are plenty of great non-fiction books about Poodles out there. If you want something more fun for the kids, there’s even a family-friendly option: The Poodle Who Barked at the Wind by Charlotte Zolotow.

Poodle Skirts

If there was ever a pooch that was fashion forward, it’s the Poodle. Fido can wear 50 different hairstyles, and even has his very own clothing style! The Poodle skirt may not be in fashion these days, but it’s still a solid choice for today’s outfit. You can buy one, make one, wear one, or just use the design as your avatar temporarily.

Tail Wags

Fido needs some extra TLC on his special day, too. Toys, treats, and playtime are all great ways to brighten up your pet’s day. This is also a great time to snap some cute photos of your furry friend, and share them on social media. Remember the hashtag #poodleday!

Movies

What better way to wind down at the end of the day than by settling in with a great Poodle movie? At the top of this list is the adorable 100% Wolf. In this cute flick, a pup from a family of werewolves is disappointed when he turns into a poodle, rather than a vicious wolf. Then there’s Mr. Too Little, in which a poodle escapes from the circus with his buddy, a Bengal tiger. Last but not least, there’s Oliver & Company, a fun take on Oliver Twist that features a plucky poodle named Georgette.

Stretch Goal

If you really want to go all-in, you may want to head to Carmel, California, where the whole city celebrates our curly canine pals with an annual Poodle Day Festival. There are parades, parties, and all sorts of fun events for Fido and the family. Of course, it’s probably late for this year, but you can always plan for 2023!

As your Dawsonville, GA animal clinic, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care. Please feel free to contact us anytime!

Kitty DNA

There’s a new kitty holiday! Cat DNA day is September 19th. In the last few decades, scientists have made remarkable progress in cracking the mysteries of genetics and DNA, in both human beings and animals. That of course includes our feline overlords! A Roanoke, VA vet discusses Fluffy’s DNA below.

Fluffy’s Family Tree

One of the most extensive studies done on kitty DNA was a 2007 project headed by a zoologist from the National museums of Scotland, Dr. Andrew Kitchener. Kitchener studied 979 DNA samples, from both wild and domestic kitties. The study focused on mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mothers. The results showed that Fluffy didn’t come from ancient Egypt after all, but actually hailed from Mesopotamia. The study also showed that kitties have been around for longer than we thought. Another fun fact? The last feline ancestor of both wild and domestic cats lived over 100,000 years ago!

Testing Fluffy’s DNA

There are now several companies that will test your kitty’s DNA for you. You just rub Fluffy’s cheek with a cotton swab, and then send the sample out for testing. You can also send blood samples that were taken by your veterinarian. Usually results will come in about one or two months, depending on the company you use and the package you get.

Benefits Of Testing

Why should you get your kitty tested? For many, sheer curiosity is reason enough. You may be wondering if your cat is a purebred: DNA tests can confirm that. Howser, the more pragmatic reason would be to protect your feline buddy’s health. While these DNA tests are evolving continuously, they are already able to identify certain genetic markers. Some can determine whether your furry pal is susceptible to specific illness, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Testing may also determine if Fluffy would be resistant to Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

Coat Genetics

Kitties are full of fascinating quirks … and so are their genetics. There are some pretty interesting rules for how Fluffy can inherit and/or pass on certain traits. For instance, two longhaired cats cannot have short haired kittens. White furballs must always have at least one white parent, while bi-color kitties must have at least one bi-color parent. It will be fun to see what we learn next!

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal hospital!

Fall With Senior Cats

Is your feline friend a senior? If Fluffy is over the age of nine, then technically, the answer to that question is yes … even if she still acts like a kitten. Cats are generally pretty easy keepers, so you won’t need to make drastic changes to your kitty’s care regimen as she ages. However, she will become more vulnerable to certain dangers … including several seasonal hazards. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some autumn senior cat care tips below.

Grounding The Furball

We always recommend keeping kitties indoors. However, fall can be particularly treacherous. For one thing, it’s getting dark earlier and earlier. There’s also increased traffic, dropping temperatures, and wild animals, who can get quite aggressive in autumn. Plus, older cats just aren’t as lithe or agile as young kitties, and may not be able to escape certain hazards. Keep Fluffy inside!

Keep Kitty Warm

Senior pets are much more susceptible to temperature extremes than their younger counterparts. Fluffy will get quite chilly on those crisp mornings! Your feline buddy may appreciate a thermal or heated bed or perhaps some extra blankets.

Toxins

Poisons are a major concern at this time of year. Fluffy is at risk of ingesting dangerous substances such as antifreeze, lawn/garden chemicals, and/or molds and funguses. Toxic plants are another hazard. Keep potentially-dangerous plants, such as chrysanthemums, out of paws’ reach. (Tip: check the ASPCA site here for a list.)

Shedding

Did you know that indoor cats typically don’t shed as much as outdoor kitties? This is because they tend to stay at a more stable temperature, and are protected from the seasonal changes that trigger heavy shedding cycles. Shedding also increases the chance of hairballs, which can be quite dangerous. This is another reason to keep your adventurous furball safe and sound indoors.

Candles

We know, candles can add a wonderful cozy glow to your home. Just keep them in places where Fluffy can’t reach them. If you have a fireplace, put a grate in front of it, so your playful pet can’t accidentally get singed.

Food

Fluffy may benefit from taking certain supplements as she ages. Fish oil, for instance, can be quite helpful for kitties with bone/joint issues. Ask your vet for recommendations.

As your Roanoke, VA pet clinic, we love helping our feline patients age gracefully! Please feel free to contact us anytime!

Causes Of Hot Spots In Dogs

Have you ever discovered how frustrating it is to not be able to properly scratch an itch? This is an ongoing problem for dogs. One issue that can make Fido quite itchy is hot spots. These are basically itchy, inflamed sores. While they can happen any time, they are particularly common at this time of year. Hot spots are treatable, though the treatment course needed will depend on the underlying cause. Hot spots can be caused by many different things. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some common ones below.

Bug Bites

It’s probably no surprise to find flea bites at the top of this list. Fido can also be bitten by ants, flies, mosquitoes, and, well, any other biting insect. Keep up with your four-legged friend’s parasite control products!

Infections

Skin infections are another possible reason for hot spots. Ear infections can also lead to hot spots on the head and neck.

Anal Gland Issues

As you probably know, dogs have scent glands under their tails. Normally, these are expressed naturally as Fido relieves himself. However, sometimes issues do develop. This can be very uncomfortable for your canine buddy! Your vet may recommend anal gland expression, which must be done by a professional.

Allergies

Allergies are another common culprit. Your vet would need to run some tests to determine what your furry pal is reacting to: this could be anything from ingredients in his shampoo to pollen to something in his food.

Poor Grooming

If Fido’s fur is matted, dirty, and/or greasy, it will soon start causing problems with his skin. An unkempt coat can be very hot and itchy! This is particularly problematic with pooches that have very thick and/or long fur. Keep up with your canine buddy’s grooming needs.

Compulsive Behavior

Itching and hot spots can be a sort of chicken and egg which-came-first situation, in that sometimes pups cause hot spots by worrying at their skin. This is often, but not always, caused by medical issues. In some cases, dogs will lick or bite themselves as a compulsive, self-soothing behavior due to loneliness, boredom, stress, anxiety, or depression. A good diet, toys and playtime, comfy beds, and lots of love and attention are all important to Fido’s health and happiness.

Do you know or suspect that your pooch has hot spots? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today!

Fluffy’s Plans For International Cat Day

Did you know that there’s a special day coming up for Fluffy? The 8th is International Cat Day! Of course, if you tell your cat about this, she’ll probably just yawn and blink at you, then go back to her regularly scheduled naps. Then again, your furry friend may actually make an effort to celebrate her special day. A local San Antonio, TX vet lists a few of the things on your kitty’s agenda in this article.

Pounce (at least once)

Kitties are very, very good at getting us to pamper them. It’s probably safe to say that many of you would find at least a few cat toys under your sofa if you moved it. Get Fluffy a new toy to bat around!

Speech

Our feline overlords are very opinionated. It may be a good thing that they can’t actually express themselves verbally. Regardless, your furry little buddy may give you an earful … especially if you’re late with her dinner.

Show Affection …

Cats aren’t the easiest animals to understand. They can be cuddly one minute and playful the next, only to get angry at you … and then hop into your lap for a snooze. That said, Fluffy does have some pretty adorable ways of showing her love. Don’t be surprised if you get some affectionate purrs and kitty headbutts!

… Or Not

On the other end of the spectrum, Fluffy may take the opportunity to unleash all of that kitty angst. She may bat at your ankles, refuse to come when called, or smack something off your countertop or coffee table. She may also decide to attack your shoe, or leave a hairball in the middle of the floor.

Sleep

Being adorable is pretty exhausting. Fluffy may appreciate a new bed for all of those naps!

Beauty Routine

No matter what day it is, Fluffy will strive to keep up with her beauty ritual. Give your feline pal a hand with this by gently brushing her.

Enjoy A Special Treat

You can’t expect Fluffy to celebrate National Cat Day without a special meal. Your kitty can have some canned tuna in water, or perhaps some deli meat. Boneless, plain chicken, fish, or beef is also fine.

As your local San Antonio, TX pet clinic, we are dedicated to helping you keep your pet happy, healthy, and purring. Contact us anytime!

Signs That Your Pet Is Overheating

Summer is here! At this time of year, overheating is a big concern for those of us in the animal care industries. Fluffy and Fido are already wearing fur coats, and they can’t cool down by sweating. Pets can become dangerously hot in just a few minutes in scorching weather, so you’ll need to pay close attention to the potential warning signs. A local Roanoke, VA vet lists some of them below.

Panting

This is usually the first thing you’ll notice. It’s not unusual for Fido to pant a bit if it’s warm, or if he just chased a squirrel around the yard, but he shouldn’t continually be panting. This is also a red flag in kitties. With brachycephalic pets, who can easily go into respiratory distress, panting should be treated as an immediate concern.

Drool

While some pups are a bit slobbery, you should take note any time Fido is drooling heavily. Thick or ropy drool is also a cause for concern. Drooling in cats is also a red flag.

Reduced Urine Output

This is a sign of dehydration, as it clearly indicates that your pet needs more water. Dark urine is another warning sign.

Vomiting/Diarrhea

These things can be indicative of many different health conditions, but they are also potential indications that a pet is dehydrated or has heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Disorientation

If Fido seems to be dizzy, or is stumbling around, you’ll need to act quickly. This is a huge red flag!

Dehydration

Dehydration goes hand-in-paw with overheating in pets. Some things to look for would be dry eyes, fatigue, sunken eyes, and the dark or reduced urine output we mentioned earlier. Skin pinch tests can help with some animals, but it really depends on their skin and coat type.

Discolored Gums

Your fuzzy pal’s gums are an indication of their overall condition, and can signal heat exhaustion and dehydration. Dark, bright, gray, purple, or pale gums are all red flags.

Trembling

Heat exhaustion can also cause pets to have muscle tremors. This may just look like shivering or shaking, but is another sign that your furry friend is in trouble.

Lethargy

This is another serious indication that something is wrong. If your four-legged friend seems weak and/or listless, they need medical attention immediately.

As your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, we’re here for you. Call us anytime!

Kitten Care Mistakes

July 10th is Kitten Day! There are few things that bring as many smiles and joy into our lives as kittens. Fluffy is absolutely adorable as a baby. She’s also fragile, curious, and playful. That can be a dangerous mix! A Roanoke, VA vet lists some common kitten care mistakes below.

Not Petproofing

Little Fluffy didn’t get her reputation for mischief out of nowhere. As a rule of thumb, cats often beeline for things that aren’t safe for them to play with. You basically have a tiny, adorable bundle of chaos on your hands! Petproofing is a must during that adorable toddler phase. Some of the things you’d want to address include toxic plants, chemicals, medications, plastic bags and ties, and anything small or sharp. (You’ll also need to set down some ground rules about things like biting and scratching.)

Letting Fluffy Out

The Great Outdoors might be lots of fun for little Fluffy to explore, but it’s also very dangerous. As soon as your furball sets her little paws outside, she’s exposed to dangers such as cars, weather, and wild animals. Kittens are even more vulnerable than adult felines, because they are so small and fragile. Keep your tiny pet indoors!

Not Bonding

Cats think of their owners as secondary parents, and get extremely close to us. However, that love has to be nurtured. Now is the time to really bond with your kitty. Spend lots of time with little Fluffy, and make her feel loved and safe. It’s also important to pet her, play with her, and let her snooze on your lap if she likes.

Using Adult Litter

Once your furry pal is all grown up, you can use any litter you and/or she like best. For now, avoid clay and clumping litters. Baby cats tend to be a bit clumsy, and can ingest these by accident. That’s very dangerous, as it can lead to potentially-fatal intestinal blockages.

Delaying Veterinary Care

In order for little Fluffy to get started out on the right paw in life, you’ll need to introduce her to your vet and get her started out on veterinary care. Exams, vaccines, parasite control, microchipping, and spay/neuter surgery are all on the agenda! (We throw cuddles and purr checks in for free.)

As your local Roanoke, VA animal hospital, we are dedicated to offering top-notch veterinary care. Contact us today!