When the air warms up, dogs and their people head to the dog park for exercise and socializing. Let’s keep it fun for everyone!

Here are seven steps you can take to help your pet have a safe, happy season at the dog park:

  1. Keep your dog current on its vaccinations. Bacterial and viral diseases can be spread through direct contact with other dogs; through contact with contaminated objects; and through contact with other dogs’ feces.
  2. Protect your pet against fleas, ticks, and heartworms with easy-to-give monthly preventatives. Just because another dog brings fleas to the park, that doesn’t mean your dog has to bring them home!
  3. Get your pet’s stool tested for intestinal parasites several extra times a year. Monthly preventatives protect against many kinds of intestinal parasites, but no single product provides complete protection against everything out there.
  4. Know how to recognize signs of aggression — whether in your dog or another — and be sure to remove your pet before things get dangerous. Check out these body language cues that warn of impending trouble: https://littlecreekvet.com/2014/05/20/dog-bite-prevention-2014/
  5. Train your pet to respond to your commands, such as Come, Sit, Stay, and Leave It. Knowing these basic commands can help your pet get out of a danger zone when you call him.
  6. Check the posted dog park rules. Some parks segregate dogs by size or have other rules. These rules are for the safety of all dogs using the park — including your own.
  7. If your dog is fearful and does not wish to socialize, don’t force it. She may be happiest just hanging out with you — and that’s perfectly fine!

BONUS — Learn more about dog park safety on Little Creek Veterinary Clinic’s blog: https://littlecreekvet.com/2016/06/28/dog-park-mishaps/

Little Creek Veterinary Clinic is closed
from noon on Friday, April 19th
through Sunday, April 21st.

We will return to the office
on Monday, April 22nd.

Emergencies can be handled
by BluePearl in Virginia Beach,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call BluePearl at 757-499-5463.


Image courtesy of webweaver.nu

From my inbox to yours:

This Saturday, April 20th, celebrate Earth Day and the animals that share our planet at the Virginia Zoo! Enjoy animal presentations on the ZooLive! stage, chat with Zoo staff while learning about eco-friendly enrichment for the animals and learn how you can support conservation here and abroad. 

This year, the Zoo welcomes Brian Badger from the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Brian’s aim is to enlighten people from around the world on the workings and goals of front line conservation. Hear his about his holistic approach to conservation in an exciting 30-minute presentation at the ZooLive! Stage at 11 am.

[Sorry, no pets allowed at the zoo.]

Other Enrichment, Chats and ZooLive! Stage Presentations:
  • 10:30 am: Zebra & Watusi
  • 11 am: Brian Badger of the Cheetah Conservation Fund at the ZooLive! Stage
  • 11:15 am: Sun Bear
  • 11:30 am: White Rhino
  • NOON: Rhino hornbill
  • 12:30 pm: Aldabra Tortoise
  • 1 pm: ZooLive! Stage Presentation
  • 1:30 pm: ZooFarm Animals
  • 2 pm: Red Panda

More events and information at VirginiaZoo.org. 

If you have bottles of expired or unwanted medications — whether they are human or pet medications — do NOT flush them down the toilet. Flushing drugs may contaminate the water system and the environment. But you need to safely dispose of the medications — so what should you do?

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 27th, the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (10 AM to 2 PM.)

“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.
“The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Find a collection site near you by following this link and scrolling to Collection Site Locator: https://takebackday.dea.gov

On Take Back Day, most collection sites will be at designated police stations.

The Take Back Day website also lists alternate collection sites, should you miss the official Take Back Day.

Don’t let expired drugs end up in the wrong hands — take advantage of Take Back Day!

Your cat has a good life — no doubt about it! Here are two things you can do today to make your cat’s life even better:

Find the perfect scratching post. Cats are naturally wired to scratch objects in their environment — even declawed cats exhibit this behavior.

Scratching serves several purposes, according to feline practitioner Dr. Elizabeth Colleran: “visual signaling [to other cats], conditioning of claws, scent signaling with sebaceous glands of the feet, and stretching.” In short: cats scratch objects because it is good for them. But it’s not so good for your furniture, so finding the right scratching post will help keep the peace.

Look for a scratching post that is taller than your cat when she is stretched to full height, for vertical scratching and stretching; also look for a post that has “scratchable” material as the base, since some cats scratch horizontally. Be sure to either secure the post or look for one that your cat can’t pull over. Place the post (or multiple posts) in your cat’s favorite areas of the house. Reward your cat for using the scratching post (or lure him to it) with treats. [Hint: some cats respond very well to catnip.]

Make feeding time a challenge. Cats are predators that benefit from the mental and physical stimulation of hunting and catching their prey (i.e., food.) Placing a bowl of food in front of a cat short-circuits the hunting instinct, which can lead to boredom. A bored cat can become overweight or exhibit behavior problems.

Food puzzles (also known as foraging toys) can satisfy your cat’s need to “work” for its meal. You can find more information about food puzzles for cats here, and be sure to check out their How To Guide which explains how to successfully introduce food puzzles.

April 7-13, 2019 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Have you ever uttered these words? “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.”

Those five little words can come back to haunt you!

The truth is that any dog, any breed, any age, any size can bite if provoked.

In fact, Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, likes to say, “If it has a mouth, it can bite!”

Here are five steps you can take to prevent dog bites:

Since many dogs bite out of fear, to protect themselves, it is important to consider your pet’s well-being in each situation.

Removing a perceived threat — or removing your pet from the perceived threat —  can reduce or eliminate dog bites.

Learn more ways to protect yourself and your family from dog bites.

April is Heartworm Awareness Month, so at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, we’re making sure you have the information you need to keep your pet protected year-round.

Here are the Top Six Heartworm Tall Tails — read the myths, then click the infographic to get the facts.

Myth #1: Dogs catch heartworms from other dogs.

Myth #2: Heartworms are only transmitted in the summer.

Myth #3: Cats don’t get heartworm disease.

Myth #4: My indoor cat doesn’t need heartworm prevention.

Myth #5: My dog is on heartworm preventive, so he doesn’t need to be tested.

Myth #6: Heartworm prevention isn’t worth it.

Now, double-click the image to learn the truth!

Brought to you by PennVet and the American Heartworm Society.