Archive for July, 2015

For Tips 6-10, click here.


5. Provide your pet with fresh water at all times, cleaning the bowl daily.

4. Feed a pet food that is appropriate for your pet’s age, nutritional requirements, activity level, and special health needs.

3. Choose a pet wisely based on your schedule, budget, and living environment. Consider the pet’s physical and behavioral needs.

2. Establish a preventative health care program with your veterinarian, including regular checkups, dental care, vaccinations, parasite control, and reproductive options.

1. Discuss the responsibility of pet ownership with your veterinarian before you obtain a pet or as soon as possible after bringing a pet home.

Bonus Tip 1: Ask your veterinarian to microchip your pet as a way of providing proof of ownership and permanent pet ID.

Bonus Tip 2: Enroll your pet with a pet insurance company, like Pet’s Best, as soon as possible, to keep premiums low and to avoid pre-existing conditions denials.

Tips borrowed from Purina’s The Pet Owner’s Checklist.

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10. Be a responsible pet owner by obeying local ordinances and leash laws. Be a good pet neighbor.

 9. Learn how to detect early signs of pet illness, and always follow the expert advice of your veterinarian.

 8. Begin your pet’s training early, starting with basic house training and proceeding to obedience training when your pet is ready.

 7. Spend time with your pet every day to develop a positive human/animal bond and to teach your pet “social skills.”

 6. Provide your pet with daily exercise according to your pet’s age and physical condition.


Tips borrowed from Purina’s The Pet Owner’s Checklist.

Next up: Tips 1-5 for Responsible Pet Care, on Thursday, July 30th.

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The heat and humidity are on everyone’s mind this summer. We’ve warned of the dangers of heat stroke in pets and most pet owners are keeping their dogs and cats indoors, where it’s safe. But suppose the A/C goes out? Or you just want to give your pet a little something extra to keep it cool? 

We’ve scoured the Internet to find products that are designed to help keep pets cool.* Click the links to learn more about each product and where they can be purchased.

Dog Cooling Paddog-cooling-pad

Dog Cooling Jacketdog-cooling-jacket

Crate Fan
Crate fanCooling Scarf


Hydro Bone Freezable ToyHydroBone

Remember, pets are safest kept indoors in an air-conditioned environment during the hot summer months. Heat stroke can occur under the right circumstances, even to pets using the above products. Pug-nosed, elderly, overweight, and infirm pets are especially at risk.

*These products have not been used or tested by the doctor or staff at our clinic, and we therefore make no warranties or guarantees as to the safety or efficacy of any product. Be sure any product you purchase is specifically designed for your pet’s species, breed, size, and age.  

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Have you seen this cat?

Have you seen this cat?

Moxie has been missing from her home in the East Beach section of Norfolk since Tuesday, July 14th. She may have been injured during her escape and taken to a veterinarian for treatment.

If you know of Moxie’s whereabouts, please contact her owners at 443-929-2848.

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Let’s begin with a partial list of the things pet owners may be embarrassed to admit to their veterinarian:

  • how much “people” food their pet eats
  • how little exercise their pet receives
  • how rarely the pet’s ears are cleaned
  • how difficult the pet is to medicate


All of the items listed above can be cause for concern, but difficulty administering at-home medication can cut across all medical issues.

Compliance with doctors’ recommendations is a hot-button issue in veterinary (as well as human) healthcare. Some of the top reasons for lack of compliance in following a doctor’s instructions are:

  • the owner’s forgetfulness
  • worry of side effects
  • inability to understand instructions
  • inability to administer medicine due to physical limitations
  • inability to administer medicine due to scheduling conflicts
  • inability to administer medicine due to pet’s character
  • the pet’s refusal to accept medication due to size of tablet or objectionable flavor
  • the pet’s apparent improvement before the course of treatment has been completed

The list goes on. The real problem arises when an owner does not immediately reveal to the veterinarian that they have been unable or unwilling to give the medication as instructed.  

What can happen? Well, two things, at least. 

1) The pet’s condition worsens, the doctor is made aware of the dosing problems, and the patient possibly faces more strenuous treatment the second time around, since the disease condition has progressed.


2) The pet’s condition worsens, the doctor is not made aware of the dosing problems and subsequently goes on a wild-goose chase to figure out why the pet is not responding to treatment. The doctor may end up trying new drugs that the client is also unable to give. No one is helped.

Admitting you are unable to follow the doctor’s orders may be embarrassing to you, but watching your pet grow sicker without treatment is likely to be worse.

Our advice:

  • Make sure you understand all instructions given to you, including dosage amount, frequency of administration, what to do if you forget to give a dose, whether it’s okay to combine different drugs, and whether to give the medication with food or on an empty stomach.
  • Ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you get home and realize you have a question, call the vet ASAP.
  • Request easy-open (non-childproof) containers when needed.
  • Ask for a typed copy of instructions not already included on the pill container.
  • If you cannot give your pet its medication at all (especially if you fear being bitten), tell us! While this may limit our treatment choices, it will also save you time and expense. In most cases, once a drug has been dispensed, it is non-returnable. And medicine that sits in a cabinet, never to see the light of day (or the inside of your pet’s body) does no good at all.

Not every complication can be foreseen. Sometimes, the appropriate course of treatment is financially out of reach. Or perhaps your own health and life issues prevent you from doing all you would like to for your pets. It happens. In the meantime…

Let us know how we can better serve you when we dispense medications.

  • Do you need a large-print version of all instructions?
  • If a choice is available, would you prefer liquid or tablet medications?
  • Would you like a dosing demonstration?
  • Would you like a written timetable to coordinate administering multiple drugs?
  • Would smaller quantities help? It can be budget-friendly.
  • Would you like recommendations on flavorful pill concealers or other tricks* to improve the taste of medications?

It’s a team effort: the better we understand your lifestyle and capabilities, the better we can plan a treatment you can work with.

*Some pharmacies offer to compound drugs with a more palatable flavor. Though costlier, this may be the key to success for some pets.

We found this pet pilling demo on YouTube:  How to Give Your Pet a Pill.

What are your concerns about administering medications to your pets?

This article was originally posted on July 20, 2012.

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With daily high temperatures in the 80s and 90s,
it’s time for a reminder on how to prevent deadly heat stroke in pets.

Let your dog chill out this summer!

Let your dog chill out this summer!

Heat Stroke in Pets

Do you know how to protect your pets from heat stroke during the muggy days of summer?  This goes beyond the usual caveat of “never leave your pet in a car while you go shopping, babysit, attend a sporting event, spy on your girlfriend, etc.  Here are some tips to keep your pet safe in the yard or out and about:

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible, especially if they are sluggish or panting soon after going outdoors.
  • Limit exercise to brief walks in the coolest parts of the day.  Keep in mind that hot pavement and sand can burn pets’ paws.
  • Provide plenty of cool water.  Check water throughout the day, as it can become hot if left outdoors. 
  • Kennels and pens should have good ventilation and air circulation and should be kept in shaded areas.

Here’s a super-cool idea: Check your dog into Happy Tails Resort
in Norfolk and let her enjoy the indoor swimming pool and play area!

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke or Heat Stress

Your pet may need emergency assistance if it exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Bright red gums
  • Balance problems
  • Lethargy
  • Staring or anxious expression
  • Labored breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Failure to respond to commands
  • High fever
  • Collapse

What To Do

Lower your pet’s body temperature by easing him into a cool (not freezing) bath.  Water from the outdoor hose may be hot, so that may not be your best option.  

Bring your pet indoors and place him in a tub, taking care to keep his mouth and nose above water [we use stacks of towels to accomplish this.] 

Apply ice packs to his head and neck. 

Call your veterinarian for further instructions.  In most cases, your pet will be hospitalized for treatment and observation.  By necessity, this sort of care may take place at the 24-hour emergency hospital.

Who Is At Risk of Heat Stroke?

Any pet can have heat stroke, but some are more susceptible than others. All pets need to be protected on hot days.  However, these pets are more likely than others to have a problem:

  • Very young and older pets
  • Short-nosed/pug-nosed breeds
  • Overweight pets
  • Pets with cardiovascular or respiratory disorders
  • Pets with a previous history of heat stress

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency.  If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, we recommend taking him to the nearest emergency hospital for comprehensive care.

[Information borrowed from “Summer Pet Tips” by Ralston Purina Company and “Summer Safety Tips” by Firstline magazine.]

This article was originally published on July 28, 2010.

Photo credit: By Leif Skoogfors (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Take in a special summer show at The Little Theatre of Norfolk!

Barrymore Ad 5x8


by William Luce
July 10, 11, 17, 18
Friday/Saturday at 8:00 PM
William Armstrong stars in Christopher Plummer’s Tony Award-winning role of John Barrymore in the acclaimed Broadway production of this work by the master of one character biographies for the stage. Each act begins with a stunning entrance onto a stage that the 60 year old legendary actor has rented to prepare for a comeback performance of Richard III. Barrymore jokes with the audience, spars with an offstage prompter, reminisces about better times and does delicious imitations of his siblings Lionel and Ethel.
Barrymore is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

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