How to Add Years to Your Pet’s Life

By Lorie Huston, DVM

Anyone who has ever had a dog or cat wishes just one thing — that he or she has a healthy and long life. Here are five tips that can help your pet do just that.

 

1. FEED A HIGH QUALITY DIET.

Pets fed a high quality diet have a shiny hair coat, healthy skin, and bright eyes. A good diet can help strengthen your pet’s immune system, help maintain his or her intestinal health, help increase his or her mental acuity, help keep joints and muscles healthy, and much more.

2. KEEP YOUR PET LEAN.

Pets that are overweight are at risk for a myriad of health issues. Obesity is the number one nutritional disease seen in pets currently and studies have shown that being overweight or obese can shorten a dog or cat’s life span by as much as two years. Why? Being overweight or obese puts your pet at risk for joint disease, heart disease and diabetes, among other things.

3. TAKE YOUR PET TO THE VETERINARIAN REGULARLY.

All pets, including both dogs and cats, require regular veterinary care. However, veterinary care goes far beyond routine vaccinations, even though those are important. A routine examination by your veterinarian can uncover health issues of which you are unaware. In many cases, an early diagnosis improves the chances of successful treatment. Early diagnosis is also likely to be less costly for you than waiting until your pet’s illness has become advanced and serious before attempting treatment.

4. KEEP YOUR PET’S MOUTH CLEAN.

A common problem among dogs and cats, dental disease and oral health issues can cause your pet pain, making it difficult for him or her to eat. If left untreated, oral health issues may even lead to heart and kidney disease. In addition to regular dental checkups, the most effective means of caring for your pet’s mouth at home is to brush his or her teeth at home. If your pet isn’t a big fan of toothbrushes there are other alternatives as well, including dental diets, treats, and toys. Ask your veterinarian for some recommendations.

5. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PET TO ROAM UNSUPERVISED.

Allowing your dog or cat to roam free may seem like you’re doing your pet a favor. However, pets that roam are susceptible to a number of dangers, including automobile accidents, predation, exposure to contagious diseases, exposure to poisons, and more. Additionally, allowing your pet to roam unsupervised may alienate your neighbors should your pet ever “relieve” him- or herself in their lawn or dig up their garden.

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital
3827 Hite St. SW
Roanoke, VA 24014-2377
540-343-4155
Southern Hills Animal Hospital

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Does your dog have fleas? Some dogs are allergic to flea bites and just one can cause them to itch for days. Never fear. Before turning to the big guns, try some borax powder. The standard stuff at the store will work wonders on fleas by poking holes in their crunchy insect exoskeletons. A good way to make sure those parasitic suckers get annihilated is to sprinkle the borax on your floor, and then sweep or vacuum up the excess. The invisible borax crystals left behind will kill the fleas and you won’t even have to lift a finger. It’s inexpensive and practically non-toxic compared to an appointment with the exterminator, just make sure that your dog does not ingest any borax

Vitamin E for Dogs with Dry Skin

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Have you ever wondered how to treat dry skin on dogs? Vitamin E is good for preventing those pesky age lines on your face, and it’s also great for your dog’s dry skin. You can give your pup a doggy massage by applying vitamin E oil directly to the skin, a soaking bath with vitamin E added to the water, or you can go all “Hollywood” and pop your dog a pill (of vitamin E, that is). If you give the vitamin orally, check with your vet on the recommended dosage for your specific dog breed.

How to Travel with a Cat

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The very first rule of traveling with your cat is to have an ID tag or other means of identification securely affixed to the kitty. Thousands of dogs and cats end up in shelters simply because the owners never dreamed the pet would get loose or become lost while on a trip. There are few disasters in a person’s life that are worse than having to drive off without a pet because all means of locating and recovery have failed.  This kind of tragedy will haunt you for the rest of your life; don’t let it happen. Get an ID tag, or at the very least microchip your cat!

Before you leave make sure you consider the option of leaving your cat in a hometown boarding facility  Many are just for cats and do not board dogs. Others have the cats well away from any sight, sound or smell of a canine. In fact, go and visit your local boarding facility and see what goes on there. Continue reading

10 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Kitten

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Getting a new kitten is one of the best things in the world. They’re cute, soft as down, and as cuddly as, well, kittens. Nearly irresistible, kittens melt even the toughest of hearts.

It’s good to get things started off on the right paw, and the food and care you choose can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your growing kitten. Here are 10 starter tips for you and your “mew” companion. Continue reading

8 Tips For Caring For Your Pet This Winter

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1. In or Out?

Does your pet spend most of the time in the backyard? You might want to keep her indoors during the freezing months, especially if you live in bitterly cold areas. No one wants an icicle for a pet — they’re simply not that cuddly.

2. Bare Naked Truth

If you must keep your pet outdoors, consider this: Would a fur coat alone (even if it is faux mink) keep you warm against the elements? No? Well, your pet’s fur coat isn’t enough protection for your pet during winter, either. Be a pal and provide your dog with a warm, dry, and draft free shelter outside; the shelter should also comply with any state laws that apply.

3. No More Frozen Dinners!

Because it takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold, outdoor animals eat more during the winter. Likewise, fresh, running water is vital for maintaining your pet’s health. Keep an eye on the water bowls and make sure they haven’t turned into little skating rinks for fleas (boo, fleas!). While ice pops might be a fun treat, your pet really doesn’t want to have to lick a frozen lump of ice to get his water. Continue reading