Tag Archives: pet clinic Roanoke VA

Playing With Senior Pets

Dogs and cats are very playful, which is one reason they’re so much fun. As Fido and Fluffy grow older, they’ll still have those frisky moments, and they’ll enjoy and benefit from unleashing their inner puppy and kitten. However, you’ll need to consider your four-legged pal’s age during playtime. A local Roanoke, VA vet lists some tips for playing with older pets below.

Opt For Mental Stimulation

Senior pets don’t need as much physical activity as young ones do, but they’ll never outgrow the need for mental stimulation. Opt for activities that challenge your furry pal’s mind, such as scavenger hunts, trick training, or puzzle toys.

Make The Area Safe

Always choose a safe area for your four-legged friend to play in. Avoid places with slippery surfaces or steeply-angled hills or ramps. It’s also best to stay away from pools, stairs, and fireplaces.

Choose Appropriate Toys

Older pets sometimes have different playtime preferences than their younger counterparts do. You may want to opt for toys that are brightly colored. If Fido or Fluffy has a hard time seeing or hearing, opt for playthings that light up or make noise. Change these out regularly to keep things interesting.

Don’t Overdo It

Older pets can get tired out quickly. They don’t have the strength or stamina younger animals do. Take care not to let your furry buddy overexert themselves. If you notice any signs of fatigue, call it a day.

Get Professional Advice

Senior pets are quite fragile, and are more prone to injuries, slips, and falls than younger animals. They also shouldn’t be encouraged to do certain things. For instance, an older dog with hip dysplasia shouldn’t be urged to jump or ‘stand’, while a senior kitty shouldn’t be expected to jump high or far. Ask your vet for specific advice on this.

Don’t Underdo It

While you don’t want to push a senior pet too hard, you don’t want to give up on playtime, either. The physical activity and mental stimulation are both great for them! Fido and Fluffy may tap out after just a few minutes, but that’s fine. Even a few minutes a day will be beneficial.

Have Fun

Our animal companions never stop being cute. In fact, many senior pets somehow become extra adorable. Enjoy these sweet and charming moments with your furry friend! The time we have with our pets passes much too quickly. 

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

Halloween With Anxious Pets

Halloween is now the second biggest holiday of the year here in America. Candy, costumes, and horror movies are more popular than ever! The autumn holiday can be rough on our furry pals, though. It’s particularly different for pets that are timid or anxious. A local Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on helping Fido and Fluffy cope in this article.

Parties

Are you planning on having people over? Pets with anxiety often get very frightened when strangers show up. Costumed trick or treaters can also frighten Fido and Fluffy. Consider setting your fuzzy friend up in a quiet back room with treats, toys, and comfy bedding. Leave a light and radio on to provide stimulation and background noise. Crates and kitty condos may also come in handy, as they provide secure spots for pets to retreat to.

Decorations

Keep your little buddy in mind as you’re decorating. Fido and Fluffy may be quite frightened of that talking skeleton or the singing Frankenstein on the porch! Let dogs sniff any large items and things that move or make noise. Hopefully, he’ll get used to it in time.

Safety

There may be increased traffic over the next few weeks. Nervous pets might get agitated by pedestrians passing by in costume. If you have a yard for your pooch to hang out in, you may need to limit Fido’s outdoor time. Bring him in before dark, and keep him on a sturdy leash during walks. As for Fluffy, keep her safe and sound inside. You’ll also want to consider your furry buddy when decorating. Small or sharp objects, items with strings or cords, candles, and candies are all unsafe for our four-legged companions.

Costumes

It can be cute seeing dogs dressed up in little outfits. Fido makes a super cute Tootsie Roll! However, this isn’t a great option for timid pets. Opt for something smaller, like a bow tie or bandana.

General

There are also some general rules that apply to caring for nervous pets in general. First and foremost? Make sure that Fido and Fluffy have lots of toys. Your furry friend will be calmer after taking their angst out on a small stuffed animal or chasing that laser pointer. Keeping your anxious pet on a steady routine can also be very helpful here. Calming products, such as pheromones, may soothe your nervous pal. In some cases, training and/or medication may help. Ask your vet for specific advice.

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

Hug Your Hound Day

September 10th is Hug Your Hound Day! Hounds have their own AKC group, which includes popular pups like the Beagle and Basset hounds, as well as lesser-known ones such as the Borzoi and Cirneco dell’Etna. We think they all deserve hugs! (And bacon … and belly rubs.) A Roanoke, VA vet offers some insight into hounds below.

Hound Dog Characteristics

There are over 30 types of hounds. While they vary in size, shape, and color, they do have one thing in common: they were all bred to hunt. The pooches are divided into three groups: Sighthounds, Scenthounds, and Other. Sight hounds, as the name suggests, track their prey visually, while scent hounds, such as the Bloodhound, follow trails. The ‘other’ pups typically use a combination of both.

Cryin All The Time

Elvis didn’t write the classic song Hound Dog. It was penned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952. The King did make the song popular, and even sang it to a Basset hound on The Steve Allen Show in July of 1956. One thing the songwriters got right? The ‘Cryin’ All The Time’ bit. Hound dogs are known for being vocal. Some even have their own unique vocalizations, known as baying.

Hugging Your Hound

If you have a hound, you definitely want to do something extra special for Fido. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean hugin. As it turns out, many dogs don’t really like being hugged. That isn’t because Fido doesn’t enjoy affection: he just prefers belly rubs. Hugs are actually a sign of dominance in doggy language. Your own pup may not mind if you hug him, but you should never hug a strange dog.

Hound Temperaments

Every type of hound is a bit different. However, these guys do have some common characteristics. They’re lovable, active, and energetic, and have a strong inclination to follow their noses or eyes after, well, anything. Scent hounds love sniffing out things, while sighthounds love chasing. A sturdy fence and leash are musts.

History

Hug Your Hound Day was started by Ami Moore, a renowned dog trainer and animal advocate. Moore wanted to honor and celebrate the special bond of friendship we share with our canine companions. She’s also known for her advocacy of using positive reinforcement in training. We can definitely get on board with that one!

Do you have questions about caring for your hound? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA pet hospital, anytime!

 

 

Caring For A Blind Dog

August 23rd is Blind Dog Day. This is a very important topic. Blindness isn’t the most common medical issue we see in our canine buddies, but it isn’t out of the ordinary, either. Roughly 300,000 American pups have impaired vision, according to data from 2010. Fido can still be as loyal, loving, and adorable as any other pooch, even if he can’t see well, though he will need some extra TLC. A local Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on caring for a blind dog in this article.  

Are Blind Dogs Hard To Care For?

Many pups that can’t see are just as happy and playful as those with perfect peepers. Dogs rely more on their ears and noses than they do their vision to begin with. Fido’s basic needs will be the same as those of any other dog: he’ll want food, walks, toys, belly rubs, bacon, and most of all, love. You may just need to do some things differently. For instance, you may want to get your furry pal a wearable bumper harness, which can keep him from running into things. Ask your vet for care tips.

How Do I Prepare My House For A Blind Dog?

Start with basic petproofing. Remove anything Fido shouldn’t eat or chew on, such as plastic bags, small or sharp objects, and toxic plants. Next, block off potential hazards, like pools, stairs, and fireplaces. Aside from that, it’s going to be about taking small steps to help your canine companion form a mental map of the house. Setting out carpet runners can help quite a bit. You may also want to get a running fountain your furry bff can hear, so he can find his bowls more easily. 

Is It Hard To Live With A Blind Dog?

Many people hesitate to adopt blind dogs, as they assume that Fido will need lots of extra care. However, once any wounds or infections are healed, your pet may not need any more appointments than any other pooch. In many cases, there are just small differences and accommodations to get used to. For instance, if you have children, make sure they understand not to leave bookbags or toys in the middle of the floor. (Ideally, you’d want to get your cat to stop sprawling out in the middle of the room, but that probably isn’t going to happen.) You may even find that caring for your perfectly-imperfect pet makes the bond between you even more special!

Do you suspect your canine friend has vision issues? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, today!

Camping With Your Dog

Summer is officially upon us! For many people, this time of year means lots of camping trips. Dogs can make great camping buddies. However, they can be prone to mischief. You’ll need to keep a close eye on Fido. A Troutville, VA vet discusses taking your furry pal camping in this article.

Check Pet Policies

Pet policies can vary wildly from state to state, city to city, and even among different campgrounds. Do your research! Keep in mind that even pet-friendly spots may have size or breed restrictions. (Note: most U.S. national parks are dog-friendly, but some only allow Fido in certain spots.) You’ll also need to check leash laws.

Supplies

You’ll need to bring some gear for your canine buddy. Fido will need food, treats, towels, dishes, and a pet-first aid kit. Bring a spare leash and tie-line as well. 

Waste

Remember to  pick up after your four-legged friend! Opt for biodegradable bags: these are a more eco-friendly option.

Vaccines

Fido should be current on vaccines and parasite control. Depending on where you’re going, you may want to add new vaccines, such as Lepto. Ask your vet for more information.

Leashes

It’s important to be aware of the possibility of your pup running into a wild animal. We recommend keeping dogs leashed at all times. If Fido always comes when called, you may be able to offer him some leeway, but it’s best to err on the side of caution here. Don’t let your furry best friend nose around in areas that could be unsafe. Riverbanks, steep cliffs, that patch of foxtail grass … these things all present dangers for a frisky, curious pooch! 

ID Tags

Your canine companion should be microchipped and wearing ID tags. Make sure your information is correct in the chipmaker’s database. (GPS tags are also a good option.) 

Water

Headed to a lake or river? Add a doggy lifejacket to your packing list. Also, be aware of the risks of blue-green algae, particularly in warm, shallow lakes. Check local resources, and stick to swimming spots you know are safe. You’ll need to plan for Fido’s drinking water as well. If you’re roughing it and camping in the woods, boil or treat your canine pal’s water, just as you would your own. 

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

Helping Your Shelter Cat Settle In

June is a pretty important month for kitties: it’s Adopt A Shelter Cat Month! Getting Fluffy from a shelter isn’t just a purrfect way to adopt your new kitty, it’s also something you can do to promote good animal welfare. Getting adopted is a big deal for our feline pals, though, so you’ll want to make sure to get your new buddy started out on the right paw in her new life. A Troutville, VA vet offers some advice on this below.

Petproofing

Kitties are playful and curious, which is both cute and, unfortunately, dangerous. You’ll need to address potential hazards. Basically, make sure that everything that could pose a danger to Fluffy is kept out of paws’ reach. That list includes toxic plants, chemicals, medication, small and sharp items, ropes and cords, and plastic bags and ties. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Shopping

Have all of the requisite kitty necessities ready and waiting before you bring your new pet home. You’ll need to pick up food, toys, treats, a litterbox and litter, a carrier, a comfy bed, and a good scratching post or board. Your feline buddy will also appreciate some purrniture, such as a cat tower. Hold off on buying food, litter, and a litterbox until you have chosen your furball, though, as these things should be purchased according to Fluffy’s age.

Safe Space

If you have a large place and/or other pets, keep your furball in a small area at first. This can be a spare room, extra bathroom, or utility room. This gives Fluffy a quiet spot where she can relax and get a feel for her new kingdom. Put all of her things in there, and leave a light and radio on for her. Introductions to other pets should happen slowly and in stages, over the course of several days, and only after you get the thumbs-up from your vet.  Ask your vet for specific advice.

Purr Starters

It may take Fluffy time to warm up to you. Don’t hold her or pet her if she seems uneasy: win her trust by talking to her and offering toys, treats, and, of course, catnip. Don’t be surprised if you melt the first time your kitty purrs when you touch her. Cats have a way of wrapping us around their paws! 

 

Have you recently adopted a shelter cat? Please contact us, your Troutville, VA pet hospital, for all of Fluffy’s veterinary care needs. 

5 Things To Do With Your Dog This Summer

Do you have big summer plans? It’s probably safe to say that our canine patients are looking forward to things like barbecues and possibly camping trips. Fido may also have a few things of his own planned for the warmer months. Here, a Roanoke, VA vet lists some things to do with your dog this summer.

Visit Somewhere New

Many of our canine pals love exploring new places. Take Fido to a new dog park. There are many great apps that make it easy to find new places, such as BringFido.There are some great ones in our local area, such as Salem Rotary Dog Park, Highland Dog Park, and Thrasher Dog Park. Just make sure your pooch is microchipped, wearing ID tags, and current on his vaccines and parasite control.

Yard Work

Whether you’re a bona-fide green thumb that loves gardening or more of a bare-bones type that just keeps the lawn in check, your four-legged helper will be happy to supervise your yard work. Make a few pupgrades to your yard. Get Fido a kiddie pool, pet fountain, or automated ball launcher. If Fido enjoys digging, get him a sandbox to play in.

Photo Shoot

Man’s Best Friend is always photogenic, but he takes extra cute pictures in summer, when the light is gold and bright. Snap your furry pal’s pictures against a background that contrasts with his fur. (Tip: you may find that you get better pictures from Fido’s eye level.)

Have A Cold Snack

Nothing beats a delicious frozen treat on a summer day. Make your furry friend some doggy ice cream. A simple version is to mix organic peanut butter and ripe bananas together with a little plain fat-free yogurt. You can find many more recipes online. Or, just make up your own! Just be sure to stick with ingredients you know are safe.  

Relax

Dogs aren’t just furry, four-legged roommates. They’re also adorable, barking mentors! Fido is great at reminding us to have fun, be loyal, and enjoy quality time with your loved ones. He’s also a big proponent of stopping to smell the roses. (He’ll also smell the grass, bushes, and trees, but that’s another topic.) Enjoy some downtime with your canine companion.

Do you have questions about your beloved pet’s health or care? Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA animal hospital, anytime!

Check The Chip Day

Today, August 15th, is Check The Chip Day! This is a pretty important topic. If your pet hasn’t been microchipped yet, we strongly urge that you get this done ASAP. A Roanoke, VA vet discusses microchips—and how to check them—below.

Basics

Microchips are very tiny devices that use radio waves to transmit information. Chips do not contain your contact information: instead, each chip has a unique ID number, which can be read with special scanners. Getting your pet microchipped will only take a moment, but it could save your furry friend’s life one day!

Checkups

Microchips do not need any maintenance, and they don’t get upgrades, the way computers do. However, we do recommend having your veterinarian check your pet’s chip during their regular appointments. Occasionally, a chip will move out of place. This is something to monitor, as if your four-legged pal is ever lost and turned in to a clinic or shelter, the chip may not show up on a scan if it’s in the wrong place. While this is rare, there is also a chance that a chip would malfunction.

Records Updates

In addition to making sure that the chip hasn’t moved or malfunctioned, it’s also important for you to keep your records up to date. When you get your pet chipped, you’ll need to fill out your records in the chipmaker’s database. This simple step is crucial! If your furry pal gets lost, and is found and scanned, that microchip will be useless if your records are missing or outdated. You can try using the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup tool here to check your records. This site works with most of the major chipmakers. Be sure to update your account if you ever move or change contact information.

ID

Chips are great, but they don’t negate the need for collar ID tags. Tags are not only required by law in many places, they are also just the simplest, easiest way for someone to be able to contact you if your furry best buddy shows up in their yard. If you’re concerned about your pet potentially getting stuck on something, get a breakaway collar. These detach under pressure. (Of course, that’s also why a chip is necessary, too.)

Do you want to learn more about microchips? Do you want to get your pet chipped? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, anytime!

 

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!

Cold Weather Dog Care

Winter officially starts next week. We know that some of you love the cold, while others are already crossing off the days until spring. This also applies to dogs! Some pups, like huskies and other snow dogs, absolutely love to run and play in the snow. Others will spend the next few months snuggled up in their doggy beds. No matter which camp your furry pal falls into, he will benefit from some extra TLC. Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers some advice on keeping your canine buddy happy and healthy in cold weather.

Beds

Fido will need a good bed to curl up in! Make sure that your pet’s doggy bed is thick enough to offer good support and insulation. It also shouldn’t be in a drafty area, or too close to a heater or fireplace. If your pooch has thin fur, he may appreciate a thermal bed or blanket, or even a heated one.

Grooming

Did you know that Fido’s fur will protect him from the cold? However, dust, dead fur, and dander can interfere with its insulating properties. Keep up with your canine pal’s grooming needs!

Paw Care

As you can imagine, going barefoot on snow and ice isn’t much fun. Snow, salt, sand, and ice are all rough on Fido’s furry feet. Get some pet-safe de-icing products. We also recommend keeping your canine companion’s toenails clipped. If your pup has toe fur tufts, cut these as well: they can collect ice balls which, as you can imagine, aren’t very comfortable for dogs.

Dehydration

Many dogs don’t care to drink cold water. Dehydration can become an issue in winter. Don’t put Fido’s bowls in a chilly place. 

Coats

Does your furry bff have a thin coat? If so, Fido will need a doggy sweater or jacket to keep him warm on those frigid winter days. Make sure that your pup’s things fit him well, and are not tight, hot, itchy, or restricting.

Food

Some pooches need to eat more in winter, as they will burn extra calories just staying warm. Your furry friend may also benefit from certain supplements. This can be especially helpful for older dogs, as well as for pups with bone/joint disorders. Ask your vet for more information.

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!