Alarmed at the general oral health of companion animals, the American Veterinary Medical Association started National Pet Dental Health Month in February several years ago. The number of pets with periodontal disease is just one reason the AMVA started this awareness campaign. By age agree, 70 percent of cats and 80 percent of dogs have this oral health condition. Left untreated, periodontal disease can spread to other areas of a dog or cat’s body and cause an infection. Your pet can also lose teeth to periodontal disease, which makes eating and getting proper nutrients more challenging.
 
Prevention is Easier Than Treatment
Brushing your pet’s teeth daily or at least several times a week is the most important thing you can do for her oral health. Many pet owners feel so intimidated by the thought of their pet biting them during toothbrushing that they never attempt it. It might surprise you to learn that most dogs and cats will come to accept having their teeth brushed when you make it a consistent part of their daily routine. We recommend following these steps:
  • Approach your pet when he’s in a calm mood and begin massaging his cheeks for several seconds
  • Place a small dab of toothpaste on something she can lick off, such as a treat or your finger
  • Once your pet has tasted the toothpaste, put a small amount of it on a species-appropriate toothbrush and put it in his mouth
  • Allow your pet to get comfortable with the toothbrush in her mouth before you start brushing
  • Brush one tooth at a time for as long as your pet tolerates the process
  • Try to concentrate on the outer and upper molars first if your pet will only cooperative for a short time
  • Brush your pet’s teeth around the same time and in the same place each day to get him accustomed to a routine
  • Offer a lot of praise and attention for the behavior you desire and ignore unwanted behavior
  • Make it a goal to go from a few seconds to two full minutes of toothbrushing
 
Good nutrition is another important aspect of caring for your pet’s oral health. Make sure the food you buy contains few, if any, artificial fillers. Limit treats and avoid giving your pet people food, especially snack foods with high sugar content. You can give your dog a dental chew, but it shouldn’t take the place of regular brushing.
 
Symptoms of an Oral Health Problem
The symptoms listed below indicate that your pet could have an oral health issue that requires immediate attention. Please contact Battletown Animal Clinic to schedule an evaluation if you notice any of them.
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath despite your toothbrushing efforts
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Stains on the teeth that appear yellow or brown
 
Our veterinarians check your pet’s teeth, gums, and jaws at every preventive care appointment. We also recommend scheduling an appointment for at least one professional cleaning per year. Just let us know if you think your pet will be highly anxious or agitated and we can provide calming medication during the procedure.
 
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While you look forward to going on vacation, you might feel anxious about leaving your dog or cat in a boarding facility. This is especially true when your pet has never been in a group care situation. You can feel confident in your choice when you take the time to research and visit at least a few facilities.
 
Boarding Kennels Can Be a Great Choice for Substitute Care
Finding a hotel that accepts pets can be difficult. Even if you do, many pets don’t enjoy travel and let you know it through problem behavior. Leaving your dog or cat in professional care is often the best solution. Boarding kennel staff provide round-the-clock supervision and are trained to administer medication and first aid. Your pet gets plenty of time out of her kennel to socialize and exercise. Facilities that accept both dogs and cats should have separate quarters for them. 
What to Look for Before Leaving Your Pet 
 
If possible, avoid leaving your dog or cat in a boarding facility without touring it first and interviewing the staff. Be sure to observe and ask about the following when you do visit: 
  • Whether they have a regular cleaning schedule 
  • Feeding schedule your pet would follow 
  • The size of your pet’s kennel and how many other animals would be nearby 
  • Staff qualifications 
  • Whether you can bring toys or treats from home to make your pet more comfortable 
  • Whether you need to pay extra for services such as grooming 
  • How often your pet will exercise 
  • Whether the staff seems to enjoy interacting with the animals or tends to ignore them

Be sure to take notes so you can compare facilities later.
 
Preparing Your Pet to Stay at a Boarding Facility
Boarding kennels require owners to show proof of current vaccinations when booking a stay. Please contact Battletown Animal Clinic several days before you leave if your pet is behind on shots. If you plan to be gone more than a week, consider leaving your pet for an overnight stay to help prepare him for the longer duration. 
 
Pets can often sense something is happening when they see you packing your luggage. Leaving it out for a few days before your trip gives your dog or cat the chance to get more comfortable with the upcoming change in their routine. Leaving your pet with a t-shirt or something else containing your scent can help him feel more comfortable in your absence. Favorite toys can help to ease anxiety as well. Enjoy your vacation! 
 
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It’s hard to imagine life without antifreeze. It keeps your car running on cold winter days, acts as a deicing agent for windshields, and is a primary ingredient in hydraulic brake fluid. Antifreeze can also be found in things unrelated to vehicles, such as paint solvent and developing solutions for photography. As helpful as it is, antifreeze is also toxic or deadly to dogs and cats because it contains ethylene glycol. Ingesting less than a teaspoon of antifreeze can cause severe acute kidney failure in cats. For dogs, a tablespoon has the same effect.

Preventing Antifreeze Poisoning

To a thirsty dog or cat, antifreeze on the driveway looks just like water. Since you can’t always stop your car from dripping the fluid, be certain to clean up spills immediately. Also, keep your pet in the house or secured in another part of the yard if you’re going to be working on your car. You should store paint solvents and other commercial products containing ethylene glycol high on a garage shelf out of your pet’s reach.

Symptoms and Stages of Antifreeze Poisoning
Sometimes pets get into things they shouldn’t despite your best efforts. If you know or suspect that your pet drank antifreeze, look for the following symptoms and stages: 

  • Stage 1: This can occur anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours after your pet ingested ethylene glycol. His or her behavior may resemble a human with alcohol poisoning. Symptoms to watch for include excessive thirst, excessive urination, drooling, vomiting, and seizures. 
  • Stage 2: Dogs and cats who have ingested antifreeze progress to this stage within 12 to 24 hours. It may appear that your pet’s symptoms have resolved when they are getting worse instead. 
  • Stage 3: This occurs in cats within 12-24 hours and dogs within 36-72 hours. In addition to Stage 1 and Stage 2 symptoms, look for lethargy, lack of appetite, bad breath, coma, and depression.
 
Immediate Treatment is Essential
Please contact Battletown Animal Clinic at 540-955-2171 immediately during business hours. We must administer treatment within the first several hours to ensure your pet’s survival. When our clinic is closed, call Valley Veterinary Emergency and Referral Service at 540-662-7811. Valley Veterinary treats pets on an emergency basis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is located in Winchester, Virginia. 

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You worked all day, made dinner, and washed dishes before you noticed that your dog’s food supply or your cat’s medication was getting low. You feel panic set in as your schedule for the next few days runs through your mind. There just isn’t time to make a run to our clinic or the pet store to get what you need.
When you sign up for a My Vet Store Online account, you don’t have to take time out of an already busy schedule to shop for pet supplies. Products are available in 15 different categories and your order arrives at any address you specify. Current product categories include:

• Cat Food
• Dental
• Dog Food
• Easy Dose It! These are individual doses of pet medication that you can have delivered to your home each month.
• Eye and Ear
• Flea and Tick
• Gifts
• Heartworm
• Horses
• Joint
• Medications
• Skin and Coat
• Small Mammals
• Supplements
• Supplies

Registering for an Account with My Vet Store Online
Signing up for an account is easy. Just click here to go to the registration page where you will be prompted to enter your name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number. You can also list your pet’s name and species. Once you’re registered, just navigate to the All Products tab to find the product category tabs listed above. Most categories have sub-categories across the top of the page as well.
When you find the products you need, just add them to your shopping cart and check out. That is all there is to it. Instead of adding another errand to your schedule, you can register and place your order in less than five minutes.

Shipping Expectations
After you place your order, it goes to Dr. Henke for approval. My Vet Store Online ships Monday to Friday via UPS or FedEx. Orders for Royal Canin and Purina ship from their respective warehouses. Standard delivery time is three to five business days after receiving approval from Dr. Henke. You receive free shipping for orders over $38.  Next Day Air is also available for an additional charge. My Vet Store Online ships items requiring refrigeration by Next Day Air. 

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The sights, sounds, and smells of the winter holiday season are bound to make your pet curious and cause her to explore things that could hurt her. The tips below will help keep her safe so you can both enjoy the holidays.
 
Christmas Trees, Decorations, and Ornaments
Dangling tinsel, wires, and ornaments hanging from a tree may offer more temptation than your cat can resist. Batting at these items are one thing, but chewing and swallowing on them present real choking hazards. Be sure to secure all wires with tape and place dangling ornaments out of your cat's reach. Tinsel is especially dangerous if it enters an animal's digestive tract, so it's best to keep that off the tree altogether.
 
If you have a live tree, keep in mind that dogs may attempt to drink its water. Be sure to keep skirting around its bottom since insecticide from the tree could be present in the water. Avoid putting wrapped gifts of food under the tree since your dog's sense of smell may get the better of him and cause him to destroy the gift to get to what's inside of it.
 
Hanukkah Candles
Your pet will naturally want to check out the bright lights of Hanukkah candles or other holiday candles. Unfortunately, it only takes a second for her to get seriously hurt or even start a fire in your home. It's essential to supervise your pet around all open flame candles to avoid a tragic situation. A better solution for people with small children or curious pets would be to use candles with battery-powered flames instead.
 
Food and Treats

Although your dog or cat may look at you with sad eyes, avoid the temptation to share your holiday food and treats with her. Anything containing chocolate or alcohol is especially bad for pets. If you do choose to share small pieces of meat, make sure that it doesn't contain any bones or special seasoning. Additionally, your pet will be on the lookout for people to drop food in wrappers or foil. Since these present a choking hazard, try to keep your pet out of the kitchen until everyone has finished his or her holiday meal.
 
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
While you probably enjoy hosting extended family or traveling to spend time with them, your pet may become anxious at the disruption in his routine. If he senses that you're busy and stressed, he may act out more to get your attention. Try to set aside extra time each day during the holiday season to spend quality time with your pet if possible. 
 
It's also important to provide him with a safe retreat when the noise and commotion of extra visitors gets to be too much. If you're traveling and bringing your pet along, stick to normal routines as much as you can. Bringing along his toys and bedding from home can also help him to relax and enjoy the adventure. 
 
If you need emergency care when Battletown Animal Clinic is closed, please contact Valley Veterinary Emergency and Referral Service at 540-662-7811 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661. 

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