All posts by ryann

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!

Celebrating The Peruvian Hairless Dog

Our canine pals come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They’re also sporting a variety of hairstyles. Of course, a few pooches have no fur at all. One of the most beloved bald dogs has to be the Peruvian Hairless Dog. Once kept by the Incas, this lovable pooch is now a cherished Peruvian icon. A local Roanoke, VA vet offers some information about this unique pup below.

Temperament

Dogs without fur tend to give off a lot of body heat. Therefore, Fido often doubles as a living, tail wagging hot-water bottle, keeping his humans warm at night. (This can also be helpful for people with chronic pain.) These pups tend to be very smart and lively. They are very loving with their families, and are known to be protective of women and children. However, they can be a bit aloof with strangers. They prefer to be with their humans and/or other dogs, and don’t much care for being alone. The Inca Orchid is also very smart, and needs lots of playtime and mental stimulation to thrive.

Care

Hairless dogs do have a few specific care needs. They are very sensitive to temperature extremes. When it’s sunny out, Fido is at risk of getting sunburned. When it’s cold, he’ll get chilly quickly, and will need a sweater or jacket to keep him warm. You will also need to keep your canine pal’s skin clean. You may find it best to use a pure oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, as your not-furry friend will be quite sensitive to chemicals. You may also need to care for your pup’s ears, as they may get dry and cracked.

Advantages

There are a few distinct advantages to having a hairless dog. First and foremost, you don’t need to worry about fleas. They also tend to be good matches for people with allergies. Another bonus? You won’t need to worry about finding fur everywhere. Fido also looks pretty adorable in his little wardrobe!

Health

Like any other breed, Fido may be prone to developing certain issues. Some common problems we see in these dogs would include skin lesions, strokes, seizures, and gastrointestinal issues, particularly inflammatory bowel disease. Do some research, and ask your vet for care tips.

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

Protecting Your Pet From Ticks

You’ve probably noticed that the tick population has increased dramatically in recent years. As the numbers of ticks have gone up, so have cases of the diseases they can spread. Many of these, such as Lyme, can affect both people and pets. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet offers some information on keeping your pet safe from ticks.

Parasite Control

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that your furry buddy is current on their preventative care. There are several options to choose from, such as topical drops, collars, and sprays. Talk to your vet to make sure you’re picking the one that is best for you. Also, be sure to get these from your animal clinic or an approved retailer. Avoid buying them at box stores or through discount sellers.

Lawn Maintenance

Keeping up with your property maintenance can also go a long way here. Ticks like to lurk in tall grasses, so regularly mowing your yard will help. You’ll also want to keep shrubs trimmed back so they don’t touch your house.

Vacuuming

Vacuuming regularly isn’t going to hurt, either. This is very helpful if you are fighting fleas. It’s also a good way to keep the pet fur under control. We recommend doing high-traffic areas daily, and more thorough cleanings about once a week.

Gardening

Do you have a garden? You may want to address a few things there as well. Keep fallen produce picked up, as it can attract wild animals that carry ticks. It’s also best to keep birdfeeders away from your house a bit.

Sun

It’s worth mentioning that ticks are not big on bright lights. Putting a three-foot gravel border around your property will help quite a bit, particularly in areas that border woods or fields. Ticks often turn back at these borders, as they don’t like being exposed.

Pet Checks

Get into the habit of checking your canine pal for ticks, especially after he’s been in fields or wooded areas. Look between his toes and beneath his collar. If you do find a tick, use tweezers or a tick popper to remove it. You need to be sure to get the whole thing; if any pieces break off, they could cause infections.

Do you have questions about your pet’s flea and tick medication? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA animal clinic, anytime.

7 Ways To Help Rescue Dogs

May 20th is a pretty special day for our canine companions: it’s Rescue Dog Day. If you love animals, you probably have a soft spot for rescue dogs, as we do. There are still far too many rescue dogs out there who have been saved, but have not yet found their forever homes. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of pups who still need to be rescued. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some of the things you can do to help them in this article.

Adopt

The best thing you can do to help rescue dogs? Adopt one! Many people insist that the pups they rescued are the best pets ever. We’re inclined to agree! Just be sure that you’re ready to commit.

Speak Up

Do you know of a pooch that needs help? Contact local authorities or animal rescues. Many places allow you to make such reports anonymously. This can help eradicate the fear of reprisal.

Support Legislation

We’re happy to see more laws going on the books that make animal cruelty felony. For instance, here in Virginia, animal cruelty towards dogs and cats are now felonies, as of July 2019. Supporting pro-animal welfare legislation is a small task that can have big repercussions.

Foster

Another thing you can do is foster rescue dogs. Many of them need training and/or socialization before being put up for adoption. Fostering isn’t for everyone, of course: it can be difficult to say goodbye to a pooch you’ve cared for and grown fond of. Think things over carefully. It never hurts to learn more!

Volunteer

Animal shelters and charities are doing great work, and there certainly is plenty of it. Consider giving up a bit of your free time to help our canine pals.

Donate

Many animal rescues rely on donations to care for their furry wards. Monetary donations are great, of course, but you may also be able to drop off food, toys, or supplies. Anything helps!

Spread The Word

Social media has transformed the world in many ways. One of the best things about it is the fact that it makes sharing information very easy. Share posts about pups that are in need of good homes. Who knows? You may change a rescue dog’s world with a few keystrokes!

As your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, we’re devoted to providing top-notch veterinary care. Contact us anytime!

Dogs And Toddlers

rmaDo you have a toddler on your hands? They definitely don’t call them the terrible twos for nothing. This can be a very fun age for parents, but it can also be a little overwhelming. If you have a pet, you’ll also need to take some precautions to help ensure that the interactions between Fido and his tiny human go smoothly. A local Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on this below.

Supervise

The number one thing is to never leave your canine pal and your little one unattended together. Toddlers can be clumsy, and can fall or trip over pets. They also have loud, high-pitched voices, which can make Fido uneasy. Even the sweetest dog can snap if they feel frightened or threatened!

Get Baby Gates

Baby gates can be a wonderful tool during this stage, as they can create a barrier that lets Fido and your little one see each other and interact safely.

Give Fido Room

Your pup should always have a spot where he can go to for privacy. A crate is a great option for this. You can leave the door open, so your furry friend can come and go as he likes. Teach your toddler that Fido’s ‘room’ is off-limits.

Teach Proper Manners

It’s never too young for children to learn to be gentle with animals! Teach your little one to be kind and considerate of Fido, and never pull his tail.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can go a long way. Give your canine pal treats and praise with your toddler!

Petproofing

Petproofing and childproofing are typically very similar. Keep anything potentially dangerous out of the way, preferably in secure cabinets.

Separate Belongings

This is one area where kids and pets can have conflicts. That stuffed teddy bear may appeal to both your child and your pet. Try to keep everyone’s toys in separate areas.

Food

Kids sometimes try to share foods with their canine pals. This can be very dangerous, as your youngster could give him something that is bad for him. Keep a close eye on your child when he’s snacking!

Exercise

Dogs are always calmer once they have burned off their zoomies. Make sure Fido is getting enough activity, and that he has plenty of toys to occupy himself with.

Do you have questions about caring for your canine friend? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today!

Adopting A Shelter Dog

April 30th is Adopt A Shelter Pet Day! That’s one cause we are more than happy to support! Every year, as many as 3 million dogs enter American shelters. Sadly, many only have a very short time to find themselves forever homes. If you are considering adopting a shelter dog, you definitely have our support! A Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on adopting Fido in this article.

Choosing Fido

It’s easy to fall in love with a furry face, but don’t only go by how cute Fido is. Our canine companions all have their own personalities and care needs. Do some research, and find out what you can about your potential pet’s breed, background, and character. It’s important to choose a pup that will integrate well with your family and lifestyle. Huskies, for instance, are very high-energy. Bulldogs? Not so much.

Things To Consider

Before you sign the paperwork, spend some time with your four-legged friend. If you have another pup, let them meet as well. While many dogs love having buddies, there’s always a chance of conflict. Better safe than sorry!

Shopping

You’ll need to hit the pet store. Fido will need food, toys, treats, a bed, a leash, a collar or harness, dishes, a pet first-aid kit, and grooming supplies. If he has thin fur, he may also need a sweater or jacket for winter. It’s a good idea to put these things in a quiet back room, especially if you have other pets.

Petproofing

Petproofing is definitely in order. Address potential dangers, such as toxic plants; plastic bags and ties; wires and cords; chemicals; medication; lawn garden products; and any small/sharp objects. Ask your vet for advice.

Veterinary Care

One of the first things you’ll want to do is schedule a veterinary appointment. Fido will most likely already be fixed, but a nose-to-tail exam is definitely in order. This is a great time to get some specific advice on your canine pal’s health and care needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Settling In

It may take Fido some time to adjust to his new home, and really feel safe there. Don’t rush things. Offer great care, and be patient. You’ll be getting tail wags and happy dances in no time!

Do you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today.

Fascinating Facts About Greyhounds

April is Adopt A Greyhound Month! Greyhounds are wonderful dogs! They’re also very unique and interesting. A local Roanoke, VA vet goes over some things you may not have known about Fido in this article.

A Pawsitive Verse

There are written descriptions of Greyhounds that date all the way back to 1486, where their ideal appearance is described as being “headed like a snake and necked like a drake, backed like a beam, sided like a bream, footed like a cat and tailed like a rat.”

Fastest Pup Ever

The Greyhound is actually the fastest of our canine companions. Fido has been clocked as speeds up to 44mph!
They Have Two Speeds: Slow and GO
This one surprises many people. Despite their speed, Greyhounds actually aren’t the most active pups around. In fact, they tend to be couch potatoes once they have burned off their zoomies.

An Ode To Fido

Greyhounds had some fans in ancient Rome: the poet Ovid wrote about them. They are also shown in tapestries from about the 9th century CE.

Leash Laws

Another ancient reference to the greyhound dates back to 1016. This one states that “no meane person may keepe any greihounds, but freemen may keepe greihounds.” Freemen with greyhounds had to live at least 10 miles from the forest or maim their dogs so they wouldn’t hunt the king’s game.

A Queen’s Dog

Greyhounds were beloved by both Cleopatra and Elizabeth I of England. This is why Greyhound racing is sometimes called the sport of queens!

They’re Very Smart

Although Greyhounds are known for speed, they are also very intelligent, and are highly trainable. In fact, they can make great therapy and service dogs.

They Need Special Collars

Fido can easily slip out of regular collars. He needs special ones, which are known as martingale collars.

They Have Unique Blood

Another interesting thing about the Greyhound? Their body chemistry is quite unique. For instance, they have low platelet counts. Their bloodwork will always read a little differently than that of other dogs. That’s why it’s important to have a vet that is experienced with them.

Low Tolerance

If you have a Greyhound, you’ll need to be very careful when using things like pesticides and rodenticides. Fido is very sensitive to chemicals!

Do you have questions about Greyhound care? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic. We’re here to help!

Raising A Cuddly Kitten

Cuddly Kitten Day is March 23rd! Kittens are ridiculously cute, so it’s almost instinctive to want to cuddle them. If your feline pal is still a baby, then it actually is quite important for you to cuddle her. This will help build and strengthen that special love and friendship between you, and can help her grow up to be polite and friendly. Here, a Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on raising little Fluffy to be cuddly and affectionate.

Positive Reinforcement

Kittens are almost as mischievous as they are cute. Little Fluffy will be very focused on mastering the use of all those claws and teeth. Sooner or later, she’s going to try them out on you. This may be cute with a tiny ball of fur, but it definitely is not cute in a full grown cat. When your feisty pet attacks you, tell her ‘No’ in a stern tone of voice. You can also squirt her with water or clap your hands. Then, just walk away and let her ponder things for a bit. You don’t want to hurt or scare her: the idea is to startle her enough to get the point across.

Be Furniture

Cats think of their humans almost as second parents. They also think of us as furniture. Let your furry little friend sleep on your lap or in your arms! This will help her feel safe and loved, which will strengthen the bond between you.

Interact With Your Pet

The more you interact with your pint-sized pet, the more interactive she’ll become. Talk to Fluffy, pet her, and play with her. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with talking to your feline buddy. Kitties are great listeners!

Avoid Punishment

Sooner or later, little Fluffy is going to misbehave. She may scratch your sofa, jump onto a counter, or knock your glass over. When she does, don’t yell at her or hit her. Focus on rewarding good behavior instead!

Socialize

Socialization will play a huge role in how your adorable pet’s purrsonality develops. Kitties that weren’t properly socialized are much more likely to be wary or aggressive to humans. Have some friends over to pet and play with little Fluffy. You probably won’t have too much trouble finding volunteers!

Please reach out with questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care. As your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!

Dog Care Mistakes

Have you just adopted a puppy? Congratulations! We all know that Fido needs good food, proper veterinary care, and a comfy habitat, as well as lots of love. However, good dog care goes a lot further than that. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some key dog care mistakes below.

Improper/Incomplete Training

Fido is a very good boy, but he isn’t born with perfect manners. Dogs need training to understand the ins and outs of being a well-behaved pet. You don’t need to teach your pooch advanced commands, but he should know the basics, such as Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. Consistency is very important here!

Negative Reinforcement

Dogs are very cute, but they aren’t perfect. Sooner or later, Fido’s going to do something a bit naughty, whether it’s chewing your shoes, getting into the garbage, or chasing the cat across the room. Don’t punish your furry friend for these mishaps. After all, he’s just being a dog! Focus on training and rewarding good behavior instead.

Poor Socialization

Socialization is crucial to your canine buddy’s personality. Dogs that haven’t been socialized are much more likely to be fearful and/or aggressive. This must be done while Fido is still a puppy, ideally before he reaches that three-month mark.

Overfeeding

We know, dogs look super cute when they’re begging for snacks. Don’t be fooled, though: Man’s Best Friend has had thousands of years to perfect that sad-puppy look that is guaranteed to make you feel terribly guilty for not immediately forking over that cheeseburger. Let your Fido’s doctor, not his theatrics, determine his menu.

Letting Fido Roam

Dogs are very loyal, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to let them run around. Your four-legged friend should always be on a leash anytime he’s not in a fenced area. Better safe than sorry!

Lack Of Research

Ok, we may be cheating a little here, as we can definitely lump all sorts of things into this category. But … that’s kind of the point! Take time to learn about how our canine pals think and act, their exercise and care needs, and the do’s and don’ts of being a good pet owner. That includes breed specific research, and even information on giving Fido toys and treats.

Do you have questions about your dog’s care needs? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Poison Control For Pets

Poisoning is a big concern for our animal companions. Here in the US, there are about 232,000 cases of pet poisoning each year. Don’t let your furry friend join those statistics! Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses poison.

Common Poisons

It’s important to know what dangers are lurking in your household. Any kind of chemical is a concern. With lawn/garden products, for instance, your pet could ingest toxins just by walking through that patch of lawn you just sprayed and then licking their paws or fur. Antifreeze is also highly toxic to pets. Unfortunately, many brands have a sweet taste pets like. Many foods are also dangerous to pets. (Grapes, currants, and raisins bear particular mention, as they can cause organ failure in very small doses.) Certain plants are also toxic to Fluffy and Fido. Lilies, for example, can be deadly to cats, while Sago palms are very dangerous to dogs. Medicine is another danger.

Symptoms

Although different types of poisons affect pets differently, many of them do cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, disorientation, trembling, elevated heart rate, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Your pet may seem restless and agitated or weak and lethargic. Severe or progressed cases can cause seizures or convulsions. Don’t wait to see how your pet fares. Immediate treatment is crucial! Contact your vet right away.

Precautions

Fortunately, taking some common sense precautions will greatly reduce the risk of your pet ingesting poison. First and foremost, keep pets away from areas where you have used chemicals or set out rodenticides or pesticides, and clean up any spilled antifreeze or chemicals right away. Be sure to only buy safe, non toxic plants. (The ASPCA has a full directory online here.) For dogs, we also recommend teaching the commands to Leave It or Drop It. Finally, keep medicines and foods safely out of paws’ reach.

Worst Case Scenario

If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested poison, you’ll need to act immediately. Contact the Pet Poison Hotline. There are several different ones: the ASPCA number is (888) 426-4435. (Note: charges may apply.) Your furry pal will need immediate veterinary care, but you may be instructed to perform first aid, such as administering hydrogen peroxide. Follow the instructions to the letter!

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today!