Bark, Bang, Boom! Keeping Your Pet Comfortable This Summer

Fireworks can send your pet into a panic. If your best friend has an extreme reaction to the noise such as heavy panting, drooling, shaking, hiding, or trying to escape, If your pet reacts negatively when loud noise is happening, you’re not alone: it’s estimated 40-50% of dogs suffer from this phobia.

And, with Fourth of July approaching, the noise level is only going to go up. Fireworks, whether they’re at a distance or going off next door, can send your pet into a panic. The good news is there are a number of effective strategies you can adopt to minimize the impact of big bangs on your best friend, including:

· Putting your pet in a room and turning on white noise or soft music to dull the sounds
· distracting your pet with games and toys
· avoiding comforting or punishment—both reinforce the fear reaction
· consider getting your pet a Thundershirt

If any of the above approaches don’t work, we’re happy to consult with you about possible sedative medications and therapeutic treatments that are good for both short-term anxiety and long-term care.

Want to schedule a consultation or need more advice about how to minimize the impact of loud noises on your furry family member? Call (703) 348-9462 today!

Ticks Really Suck. We Can Help!

In our part of the country, ticks are an ever-growing problem—which means tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are as well. We’ve already seen several patients come in with tick infestations, and that’s only going to get worse as the weather continues to warm up.

In dogs, Lyme disease typically causes recurrent lameness, itself a result of joint inflammation, and general malaise. Other symptoms include depression, lack of appetite, enlarged lymph nodes, an arched-back stiff walk, difficulty breathing, and extreme sensitivity to being touched.

Cats aren’t as impacted by Lyme disease as dogs are, but they, too, can experience joint pain, lameness, and lethargy.

The good news is that Lyme disease is preventable, both by vaccine and with easy-to-administer preventatives that we sell both in our clinic and our online store. The same applies to the illnesses carried by fleas and parasitic worms. Fleas, heartworm, and other parasites love the warm summer weather and treat your pet like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Contrary to popular opinion, these pests aren’t just annoying. Fleas can transmit tapeworm and cause anemia, while heartworm constrict blood flow, damaging internal organs and causing lung disease and heart failure.

If you need to stock up on tick, flea, or heartworm preventative, or if you’d like to schedule a Lyme disease vaccine, give us a call at (703) 348-9462!

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

We are pleased to share we are opening up our grooming services again, starting on May 10th.

We will continue to offer curbside care for all services.

We continue to be diligent in our handling and hygiene protocols to ensure as minimal exposure as possible. You will see our staff wearing cloth masks. Due to Personal Protection Equipment shortages, the use of surgical masks and gloves must be conserved for surgical cases. Our staff wipe down items coming in and out of the hospital and handwashing is still the most recommended way of the CDC to stop the spread of pathogens.

The news has recently reported on 2 cases of positive COVID results in animals, both in cats from New York. Routine testing of pets is still not recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Current expert understanding is that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted person-to-person. There is no evidence that animals can transmit this virus to people. In rare instances, people have spread the virus to certain animals.

If you are concerned that your pet is exhibiting symptoms of an upper respiratory disease, please contact us. We are happy to discuss concerns and recommendations with you.

Informational resources that are available include:

COVID-19 and Pets: FAQ from the International
Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases (ISCAID)

COVID-19 and Pets: FAQ from the American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA)

Parasites Suck at Social Distancing

It’s crucial that while we’re spending more time outdoors than ever that your pet is protected from pests like fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Fleas can transmit tapeworm and cause anemia, while ticks are well-known carriers of many harmful conditions, including Lyme disease. 

Heartworm is another – and even graver – threat, particularly in our corner of Virginia. Mosquitos can transmit deadly worms to pets through just one bite. As the name suggests, heartworms live in the heart, and they can also thrive in the lungs and blood vessels. Because they constrict blood flow, they can damage internal organs and cause lung disease and heart failure.

Sadly, many animals don’t show symptoms until the disease is advanced, if at all. While there is a treatment for canines, it is expensive and can be very hard on your pet. (There is no heartworm cure for cats.)

At Aldie Veterinary Hospital, we know how important it is to protect your pet from parasites of all kinds. That’s why we are having a spring promotion on a wide array of preventatives purchased from our in-house pharmacy and delivered to you, curbside.  Give us a call at (703) 348-9462 and place your order today. For home delivery, please visit our online pharmacy. 

The Whole Nine Yards: How to Keep Your Pet Safe Outside

Pets who roam around on recently treated lawns or in landscaping that’s just been sprayed can bring those chemicals back inside on their fur and their paws, which they often then lick clean. That means that, in addition to skin irritation, pesticides and herbicides can cause gastrointestinal upset. Some signs that your pet has ingested harmful lawn chemicals include vomiting and diarrhea.

Long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides can damage your pet’s respiratory system and has been linked to lymphoma as well.

So, if you must use herbicides and pesticides, be careful when allowing your pet outside and make sure that the chemicals have fully dried before allowing your pets on treated surfaces. After your animal companions have spent time romping around the yard, clean their paws and fur.

When it comes to your pet’s safety, what you plant in your yard is just as important as what you spray it with. Common staples of suburban landscaping like lily of the valley, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, foxglove, yew, holly, crocus, tulip (the bulbs, in particular), and delphinium are all poisonous to pets and can cause varying levels of damage to their health. Particularly toxic to cats are lilies. It only takes eating a couple leaves or petals of a lily to send a cat into kidney failure.

And finally, a bit of buzz about bees. It’s worth noting that a perfect green lawn, as pretty as it might be, has nothing to offer a honeybee in search of food. Bees depend on diverse plants and flowers to survive, and we depend on bees to pollinate our food supply, so you might even consider letting your yard go a little wild for a change – your pets & the honeybees will thank you!

In the event your pet comes in contact with a toxic substance or encounters a bee sting, please give us a call at (703) 327-0909 to speak with one of our veterinarians. For emergency situations, please call Dulles South Animal Emergency & Referral Hospital at 703) 327-0871.

Update on COVID19

To Our Valued Clients,

With COVID 19 in the news and uncertainty in the air, we would like to let you know a few facts as it relates to your pets and our hospital. Aldie Veterinary Hospital is open for our patients during our regularly scheduled hours of operation. Nothing in the care of our patients has changed. Dulles South Animal Emergency is available 24/7 as always for the care of your furry family members. By understanding the current situation, making a few modifications for safety reasons, we hope to be able to continue that as we have for the past 20 years.  

  • First, according to the CDC( and WHO(, pets do not get this virus. Because the virus can live on wet surfaces, it is advised to minimize face licking and to wash your hands after playing with or petting your pets (this should be done for good hygiene even without the fear of Coronavirus).
  • At Dulles South Veterinary Center, we take the health and safety of you and your pets very seriously and have always disinfected exam room tables between every appointment and have disinfected rooms and floors multiple times during every day. Within these guidelines, all of our cleaning supplies are hospital grade and have been shown to kill bacteria and viruses including corona. We have added additional cleaning steps to our already rigorous procedures by including high touch areas being cleaned more frequently including chairs, counters, and doorknobs.
  • The staff has been instructed to monitor their personal health and are not permitted to come to work if they have a fever or feel ill, have been around the same or have been traveling. We ask the same of our clients. This virus can be spread for up to 14 days potentially in otherwise healthy individuals.
  •  For everyone’s safety, if you have a fever or respiratory illness, please do not come into the office (this includes “healthy” people who have known or potential exposure for which self-quarantine has been advised). 
  • If you are ill and If your pet has an appointment for a routine service, please call and reschedule. If you are ill and your pet is ill or injured, please find someone to bring them in for you. We can discuss our findings over the phone with you and arrange to pick up or drop off where necessary.
  • If you are healthy and have a routine preventative appointment for your pet, we will adjust our check out procedures to the rooms so that we minimize any contact unnecessarily.

By following these guidelines, we hope to keep you and your families healthy and safe. As always, we appreciate your support of our practice. Feel free to call us should you have any questions.

News on COVID19

With coronavirus, or COVID19, dominating the headlines, you might be wondering, “How does this affect me and my pet?” The truth is, there is still a great deal we don’t know about this novel virus. Its origin is still under investigation, and whether pets can actually contract it is still a matter of debate. (There was a case in Hong Kong of a weak positive test in a dog, but, according to numerous news sources, pets can carry but are not susceptible to the disease.)

Now that cases of COVID 19 are being reported in the U.S., the main objective is to prevent the disease’s spread, and there are several steps you can take to minimize its impact on your family.Our advice to our pet parent clients is very similar to that of what your primary physician might recommend and follows closely the guidelines put forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

Wash your hands often and thoroughly, particularly after touching animals.
If at all possible, avoid people who are displaying symptoms of COVID 19. These include coughing, sneezing, and trouble breathing.
If you’re sick, stay home, and try to avoid close contact with your pet while you’re symptomatic.

Stock up on your pet’s medication. As the disease progresses around the globe, pharmaceuticals might be hard to come by. And in the event of a home quarantine situation, you don’t want to run out.

Skip the face masks. They don’t really protect you from the virus, and it’s crucial that protective gear be reserved people who really need it, like healthcare workers who regularly come in direct contact with the sick.

Bottom line? Plan ahead, be responsible, and don’t panic. If you’d like more information about COVID 19 and pets, check out this article from the American Medical Veterinary Association.

Additional link from AMVA:


Halloween Pet Safety (Candy & Food)

Halloween’s No Treat for Pets!

Halloween is a fun, spooky and often tasty time for us—but many treats associated with Halloween can put your pet’s health at risk. Here’s seasonal food (and drink) that you should definitely keep out of paw’s reach:

Chocolate can cause upset stomachs, heart arrhythmia, panting, abnormal heart rhythm, kidney failure, seizures, and even death if large amounts are consumed. Dark and baking chocolate are the most dangerous, as they contain the largest amounts of methylxanthines, substances toxic to dogs and cats. Caffeine and coffee contain these same substances and should be kept away from your pet.

Xylitol—a sweetener often found in peanut butter and chewing gum—is extremely toxic to dogs and cats, as it can cause extremely low blood sugar, seizures, and liver failure.

Grapes and raisins may be healthy treats for people, but not for our canine
companions. Eating them can result in sudden kidney failure.

Nuts contain high amounts of oils and fats that cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.

Alcohol at adult Halloween gatherings might be enjoyable for us, but vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, and respiratory problems could be the result if your dog or cat ingests alcohol of any kind.

It’s also important to remind little trick-or-treaters not to feed candy to pets and to tuck their goodies safely away from their animal friends. If you think your pet may have eaten something toxic, don’t hesitate to call our emergency department at 703-327-0871 or the ASPCA Poison Control Center immediately.

So what can you share with your pets? Check out this amazingly simple Pumpkin treat recipe that only requires 4 ingredients!


  • 1 cup greek nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup canned PURE pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • Water as needed

Time Required

  • 15 minutes of prep time + freeze time

This recipe makes 16 treats if using a standard ice cube tray. Double the recipe if you want more.


  1. Mix the yogurt, pumpkin, and cinnamon, together. Add a few drops of water as needed if the mixture is too thick.
  2. Blend everything together in the NutriBullet or a blender. Blend until you get a liquid consistency.
  3. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours or until frozen solid.
  4. Freeze for 3-4 hours or leave them in the freezer overnight.
    • TIP: For an easier pouring technique, spoon the pumpkin mixture into a plastic bag and cut a small piece off the corner for a DIY frosting bag!
Pippin looking for treats!

Moving into Adulthood

Skipper is now almost 8 months old! Time flies by with little puppies turning into rambunctious adolescents.  We’re still continuing training at home, a task that never really truly ends with any dog.  In case you were wondering how things are going, here’s a recent recap:

Potty training: we still have our hits and misses at this stage. If you’re running into the occasional accident, you’re not alone! Now that the weather is nice, it’s hard to tell when Skipper just wants to go play outside versus really needs to pee, so I think some of these failures are on us. We’ll be working on re-training the humans to recognize his signs!

Commands/socialization: In the beginning, I was pretty good about teaching Skipper new commands weekly or even daily. That’s kind of waned away at this point, and I think his brain would enjoy some new tasks. He LOVES to go new places and meet new dogs, although admittedly he went running through a winery unattended after pulling away last weekend.  No one is perfect, and everyone got a good laugh- this little guy is so fast!  We also went through a period of time where he would bark when seeing new dogs on walks. Fortunately, this was pretty easily corrected by redirecting his brain to commands and treats. Remember to always keep some motivational snacks in your pocket!

Teething/thieving:  Considering that just moments ago he stole a lip balm from my bag… I guess we’re still working on this, too! All in all, the incidents are much less frequent. He still seems to have some weird obsession with pillows… not sure where that came from!  Teething, thankfully, has pretty well ended, and we’re so glad that his adult teeth came in correctly, after the baby tooth mishap. I still make sure to keep some appropriate chew items around; those Busy Buddy toys are essential favorites in our house!

Healthcare:  Since Skipper is a well behaved, larger breed dog, I’ve elected to schedule his neuter for around one year of age, so we haven’t experienced the cone just yet!  He’s all up to date on vaccinations, and we’re doubling up on tick prevention with a Seresto collar AND oral preventives, because the ticks really seem to like his favorite hang outs in the yard.  So, what happens now? What kind of vet care do we have to look forward to?

  • Annual Examinations: Make sure to schedule an appointment for your puppy’s veterinarian to ensure he’s continuing to develop correctly, discuss nutrition, and behavior at home.
  • Vaccinations: All those puppy vaccines your puppy was given when he was just a few months old will need to be boostered at the 1 year mark. Some of those vaccines, like rabies and distemper won’t need to be given again for another 3 years, while lyme, leptospirosis, canine influenza, and Bordetella vaccines must be boostered yearly to maintain efficacy.
  • Heartworm Test: At 1 year, we also start performing annual heart worm tests. Remember, this test not only looks for heartworm disease, but also three of the most common tick borne diseases. Even if a dog is kept on monthly prevention year round, this test should always be completed once annually, as some sneaky bugs can slip by the preventives.  There is also some concern for the development of heartworm resistance, so we need to make sure that all dogs stay negative, and can safely continue taking their monthly preventive.
  • Deworming/Fecal: all that sniffing around in the yard puts dogs at risk for picking up intestinal parasites. Once a year, we recommend giving a dose of dewormer, and checking a fecal sample to ensure there are no unwanted parasites hanging out in the intestines.
  • Dental Care: daily dental care is the most effective way to slow tartar build-up.  If your canine companion is of a smaller breed, like a terrier, Chihuahua, or Dachshund, this becomes even more important. Your dog’s veterinarian will do a full oral examination each year, and discuss whether he or she will need a full dental prophylaxis under anesthesia with one of our skilled technicians.

The Skipper blog is signing off for now, keep checking our Facebook and Instagram for updates and cute Skipper pictures! We’ll be sure to share his journey through his neuter procedure with everyone this fall!  I hope that our trials, tribulations, and tips from raising Skipper have been helpful to some readers, and wish you all the enjoyment and amusement that having Skipper in our lives brings us! 

Have a great summer!

-Dr. Conroy & Skipper

#FollowFriday #FF #SkipperAndConroy

Puppy Eating

How, When, and Where to Feed

Our last blog covered a few things on how to select the right food for your puppy.  Choosing the right dog food can be almost as challenging as keeping all those fun extracurricular items out his mouth! If your puppy is anything like our Skipper, he’s equally as interested in the rubber and plastic bits of toys as he is puppy kibble. Once you settle on the right food to give your puppy, the next step is deciding how and when, and where to feed him. 


There are two main feeding styles for pets: free feeding, or allowing the pet to have unlimited access to food at all times, and meal feeding, where an allotted amount of food is given at specific times of the day. I always recommend meal feeding, for both cats and dogs, for several reasons. First, it allows for monitoring of an individual’s appetite and feeding habits. Change in appetite is often one of the first signs that a pet is feeling unwell.  Second, it allows for appropriate metering of a pet’s intake.  Dogs often eat way too much, way too quickly, and in their later years, this can lead to obesity. And finally, some types of food can spoil, or minimally become less appetizing, if left uneaten for several hours.

In either feeding option, you’ll need something to set the food out in.  There are many bowl options aside from the standard dog food dish. Skipper currently enjoys his meals from a puzzle bowl, as does his sister, Lily. We even use feeding toys for Whisper, the feline sibling as well! These bowls cause the pet to take a lot longer to finish meals and prevent them from eating their food too quickly.  There are many options on the market, and changing up the puzzles can keep feeding time fun and stimulating.  Always make sure to select a bowl or puzzle that can be easily and thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.


When your puppy is young, his belly will be quite small.  He should be fed three to four times a day for the first few months to ensure that his stomach doesn’t become uncomfortably distended from being overly full.  For toy breed puppies, like baby Yorkies and Chihuahuas, regular feeding every 4-6 hours is also important to ensure that they have a constant source of energy, as these little guys can experience low blood sugar levels more easily than some larger breed puppies. Skipper was fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner until he was about 4-5 months old. As he got older and bigger, we started weaning him from three to two meals daily, by decreasing the size of his lunch meal, and increasing his breakfast and dinner meals.  At 7 months of age, sometimes he forgets and still thinks he should get a lunch, but otherwise he’s adjusted pretty well!


Historically, most families have fed the household dog in the kitchen. This may work well for some dogs, but it’s important to make sure that your puppy eats in a location where he feels safe.  Large, open spaces can seem vulnerable, and make a dog feel the urge to guard their food or eat it too quickly for fear of someone else stealing it. Always make sure to allocate a safe, quiet space for the puppy to finish his meals on his terms. This may mean separating other pets into other rooms for a short time to prevent any altercations from occurring. Keeping a bowl of fresh water full near the food bowl can also encourage appropriate hydration following a meal. 

We know that feeding your puppy is a huge part of your relationship, and there are lots of conflicting sources of information out on the internet. The staff and veterinarians at Aldie Veterinary Hospital are more than happy to discuss your puppy’s individual feeding program and ensure it is right for both of you!

Buen provecho!

Skipper & Dr. Conroy

#SkipperAndConroy #FF #FollowFriday #VetsRus