SkipperConroy

New Puppy Life

As veterinarians, we tend to be pretty good at remaining somewhat objective towards our patients and their parents.  Every so often, I have an experience with one of my own fur babies that reminds me how challenging some pet experiences can be, veterinarian or not!

Enter my most recent eye opener: Skipper, 9.6 lbs of German Shorthair Pointer cuteness. At some point, my husband and I said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to have a puppy?”  Have you ever had that thought? And then immediately wondered what in the world you were thinking, 24 hours after bringing said puppy home?  Yup.  I’m with you.  Let me tell you, nature made these things cute for a reason! Skipper, named after the cannon which Virginia Tech fires following each touchdown, happens to be the first puppy my husband and I have (attempted) to raise in our adult lives. I’ll be keeping you up to date on the latest triumphs and tribulations via the Skipper blog, and offering some tips and tricks along our journey.

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The first days with your puppy are stressful to you both.  His whole world just changed: new surroundings, new humans, new dogs, new food, and maybe even a new furry chase-able thing equipped with daggers (aka cat).  This is like dropping a kid off at college, on steroids. The most important thing is to establish consistency and positivity in all aspects of this new world.

Allow your puppy some time to settle before expecting him to learn commands/tricks.  You’ll both need to get to know each other a bit before you’ll know the signs your pup is ready to pay attention and learn during training sessions. There are some things, however, which you should start instilling immediately. Puppies are learning every second. Even in the absence of teaching, his brain is learning, so set expectations early.  This may include potty training (stay tuned for the next blog!), off limits areas, and refraining from nibbling the humans’ appendages. For example, I don’t particularly look forward to 65 lbs of canine on a new leather sofa.  Therefore, 9.6 lbs of tiny Skipper isn’t allowed on it, either. No matter how cute and cuddly he is when he’s sleeping.

If you haven’t noticed, those puppy teeth are SHARP. When the puppy goes to bite, loudly say, “OUCH!” The fun stops abruptly, and briefly. Just enough for the puppy to figure out bite=no play, then give him something he CAN bite.   This same “remove and replace” concept applies to all other objects: curtains, couch cushions, shoes, your underwear, leaves on the ground, you name it.  Use “Leave it” instead of “Ouch,” for objects.  Puppies do better when you preemptively occupy their mind, so replace “Don’t do that,” with “Hey, try this!”  This means you should always keep a toy or two in your pocket, and treats as well! If you take the puppy outside, to a friend’s house, etc., the toy goes with!  As an added bonus, during play time and snuggle sessions, take some time to touch his toes, tap on the toenails, put fingers in his ears, and lift his lips.  This will set you up for success for nail trims, ear cleanings, and teeth brushings! Veterinarians reserve a special place in our hearts for owners like you who teach these things early!

Now is also a time to instill independence and confidence in your pup.  When he is playing alone, with HIS toys (not to be confused with your shoes or the cat’s tail), admire, adore, and take all the photos you want, from afar.  Allow him to sleep alone in his bed without constant snuggles or interruptions. If you have tiny humans in the house, they’ll need to be instructed to respect his time and space as well.  As your puppy’s parent, it’s your responsibility to guide everyone else in how to interact with him.  It takes a village to raise a puppy, and it’s ok to recruit others to that cause.

In summary- be consistent and positive! Everyone involved in puppy raising should be on the same page, and use the same processes and commands, to help the puppy learn. If I say, “Leave it” and my husband says, “Drop it,” poor Skipper basically needs to learn English and Spanish all at the same time!  You are not alone with all the challenges and joys that go along with puppy parenthood.  In fact, Skipper has been home a week now, and brought me at least 5 different shoes this morning, attempted to eat a frozen/petrified frog from the pond, and had 3 accidents on the floor through the day.  Apparently, no one told him that his mom is a veterinarian and he should make her look good.  Lucky for you, we’re putting all this on the blog for your entertainment, and hopefully some helpful tips!

Much love and puppy kisses,

Dr. Conroy & Skipper

#FF #PuppyLife #Vetsrus

Quality Veterinary Care that is Pet Centered

Quality Veterinary Care Centered Around Your Pet

Yes, we practice comprehensive quality veterinary care. But, also as important, it matters to us how this care is delivered to your pet. From the moment you enter our veterinary hospital, you will notice the difference and see why we have a pet-centered versus vet-centered practice; the difference is because we:

• Assess – your pet by providing a comprehensive physical exam;
• Engage – in conversation with you about your pets history, symptoms and lifestyle;
• Discuss – findings and thoughts regarding your pet’s medical condition;
• Recommend – veterinary services needed to help maintain or improve your pet’s health;
• Listen – to your thoughts regarding the recommended services and answer questions;
• Collaborate – with open & honest communication regarding your pet. This allows us to identify a treatment plan that benefits your pet but works with your lifestyle;
• Take Action – by providing the veterinary services you have authorized.

Our team approach to your pet’s care is vital to providing the services your pet requires.

 

 

 

Heartworm medicine prevents heartworms in dogs and cats

Heartworm Preventative – Once a Month!

Aldie Veterinary Hospital recommends giving your pet dog or cat its heartworm preventative monthly. Whether the preventive you choose is given as a pill, a spot-on topical medication or as an injection, all approved heartworm medications work by eliminating the immature (larval) stages of the heartworm parasite. This includes the infective heartworm larvae deposited by the mosquito as well as the following larval stage that develops inside the animal. Unfortunately, in as little as 51 days, immature heartworm larvae can molt into an adult stage, which cannot be effectively eliminated by preventives. Because heartworms must be eliminated before they reach this adult stage, it is extremely important that heartworm preventives be administered strictly on schedule (monthly for oral and topical products and every 6 months for the injectable). Administering prevention late can allow immature larvae to molt into the adult stage, which is poorly prevented.

Giving it on the 1st of the month is probably the easiest to remember. Also, don’t forget to apply your flea and tick preventative monthly.

Sad doberman dog, not a lost pet though

How To Avoid A Lost Pet

Unfortunately, pets get lost on a daily basis.  Microchipping your pet is the easiest and most likely way to ensure he will be returned to you.  While identification via a tag on your pet’s collar is great, most pets get lost due to an ill-fitting collar.  According to a study by the ASPCA; 50% of dogs and 75% of cats are not wearing a collar when they are found and brought into a shelter.  Other means of permanent identification would be a tattoo, these are usually done inside the ear or inside of a hind leg.  This allows for easy identification without specialized equipment.

Microchipping is a safe and easy way for your pet to be identified if it ever gets lost.  Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are injected with a needle under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades.  They are encased in biocompatible material and have an anti-migration cap to help prevent movement in the pet’s body.  Once a microchip is registered that information will remain attached to that chip.  If you ever move or change your contact information it will be important to update your microchip information.  According to Home Again Microchips, only 10% of microchips are actually registered after they are implanted.  Remember it doesn’t do you any good to microchip your pet if you don’t register the chip!

Another great way to ensure your dog is safe and by your side when outdoors is to make sure you have a properly fitted collar and leash.  Collars should fit snugly, you should be able to get two fingers under the collar comfortably, but not be able to pull it over your dogs head.  We also don’t recommend walking your dog with a flexi-lead.  While these allow great freedom if you are out playing ball, for most walks they allow your dog to get too far from you.  It’s not uncommon for a dog to take off after something (a squirrel or another dog) and when they hit the end of the flexi-lead it is yanked from the owner’s hand.  A short 6-10’ nylon leash with a handle is preferred because it will be harder for your dog to get away from you.

The last defense you have to prevent your dog from getting away from you is good obedience.  Even a well-trained dog could be tempted not to listen if they are hot on the heels of an elusive squirrel.  You should practice having your dog come, stay, and sit in all types of situations while they are on a leash and safe.  If your dog will listen to you during the most hectic situations, he will most likely listen to you in an emergency situation.  It’s not enough for your dog to come and stay in a quiet home environment.  It’s important to practice these skills in all types of situations; it will also increase your dog’s confidence in himself and your bond together as a team.

The best defense against your dog getting lost is to prevent it from happening.  Practice safe walking technique and good obedience.  But always be prepared just in case with clear ID tags and a registered, current microchip.

Winter Tips to Keep Your Pet Warm

Winter Tips to Keep Your Pet Warm

As the mercury starts to dip, we’ve put together some helpful tips on keeping your companion pets safe and warm this winter.

While your cat may look longingly at the door the safest place for him is inside.  Cats that are allowed to stray can become lost, freeze, be hit by a car, and are far more likely to be exposed to infectious feline disease.  During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt.  If you are concerned that there are outdoor cats in your area, loudly bang on the hood of your car prior to starting the engine.  This should give any sleepy cats a chance to escape.

Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

Chemicals used to melt ice in the winter can be very dangerous to your dog.  Make sure you wipe down their legs, paws and belly after they have been out in the snow and ice.  Some of the ice melting chemicals and antifreeze can be poisonous if ingested, so make sure to clean your dog off thoroughly.

It’s important to keep your dog warm during the winter months.  Longer haired dogs should avoid being shaved down in the winter as their coat helps provide warmth.  When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this fashion statement is regulation winter wear.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

Make sure that all of your pets are micro-chipped and that their microchip registration is kept up to date.  Found animals are brought into the hospital regularly, an up to date microchip registration helps facilitate a fast reunion with their owners.

Keep Your Pets Cool & Safe When It Is Hot Outside

Keep Your Pets Cool & Safe When It Is Hot Outside

Walking/Running with Your Pet 
When the temperatures are high, do not over-exercise your pet and keep walks to a minimum. Don’t let your pet linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, their body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.

A Shady Spot
Pets can get dehydrated quickly. Give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors and make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun. If it is extremely hot, it is best to just keep them indoors in the cool air-conditioned.

Zero Minutes in a Parked Vehicle
Never leave your pet in a vehicle on warm days. Even on milder days, the temperature inside a car can rise very quickly to dangerous levels. Pets can succumb to heatstroke very easily and must be treated very quickly to give them the best chance of survival.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion 
Pet may be panting excessively or have difficulty breathing, have an increased heart and respiratory rate, drool, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also have seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Pets with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Heat Exhaustion Tips 
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, call our hospital as soon as possible. In the meantime,

  • Move your pet to a shaded area and out of direct sunlight or inside.
  • Place a cool or cold, wet towel around your pet’s neck and head (do not cover your pet’s eyes, nose or mouth).
  • Remove the towel, wring it out, rewet and rewrap every few minutes to cool him/her down.
  • Keep cool water running over your pet’s body (especially the abdomen and between the hind legs) using a hose or bucket. Use your hands to massage his/her legs and sweep the water away as the water heats up by the body temperature.