Pet Health FAQs

We have answers to the most common questions we receive about pet health.

Answers to Your Important Pet Questions

We know that having a pet that doesn’t feel well can be stressful. Education and knowing the questions to ask your veterinary team are key in taking proper care of your pet.

What is canine influenza, and how do I protect my dog?

Click here for answers to your questions on this new respiratory disease of dogs.

What's new for preventing fleas and ticks on my dog?

We recommend Nexgard. This once-a-month chewable treat protects your dog from fleas and ticks. Many pet owners will love the ease of feeding this tablet rather than applying topical liquids to the skin.

How should I care for my pet's teeth?

The best way to properly care for your pet’s oral hygiene is to brush their teeth daily. Like us, our pets develop plaque on their teeth, which can lead to oral health problems if not removed.

There are bones and special treats that can promote oral health, but the best way to clean your pet’s teeth is by brushing them. It may take some time for your dog or cat to get used to the idea of having their teeth brushed, but they can be eased into it. You can start by letting them taste the toothpaste from your finger. There is special veterinary toothpaste made in flavors like chicken that appeal to animals. Once they get used to the toothpaste, you can begin by brushing 1 – 2 teeth to introduce them to the sensation. After a few cleanings, your pet will probably start to enjoy the brushing and will be happy to let you do it.

Along with the special toothpaste, a special toothbrush should be used with soft bristles and a long handle so you can reach the teeth in the back of your pet’s mouth.

What are some common dental problems in pets?

A high percentage of cats and dogs will experience periodontal disease during their lives, and the risk increases as they get older. Periodontal disease affects the gum and supporting structures of the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw. Periodontal disease is also related to other health issues, such as heart disease. It is important to have regularly scheduled teeth and gum cleanings for your pet.

What causes my pet's bad breath?

Many people think it is normal for a dog to have bad breath, but that is not the case. Bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth that create byproducts that contain sulfur. Regular home cleanings accompanied by scheduled professional cleanings will prevent bad breath and the bacteria that cause it.

How can I help my pet lose weight?

If you have noticed that your pet has gained weight recently, you should schedule an appointment with your vet. Changes in your pet’s weight can be a sign of disease. Once sickness is ruled out, your vet can help you develop a diet and exercise plan for your pet to help manage their weight. There are specially made pet foods for pets that are overweight. You also need to make sure you are regularly walking your dog or taking time to play with your cat, so they are getting the exercise and activity they need daily.

What are heartworms, and how can they be prevented?

Heartworms are a parasite that attacks your pet’s heart. A bite usually transmits them from an insect that is carrying the parasite. If heartworms are left untreated, they can cause serious heart problems. There are preventative medicines available, given once a month, to keep your pet from being infected with heartworms.

We are going away on vacation and the kennel requires that our dog has a kennel cough vaccine. What is that?

Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria and viruses. It can cause a harsh dry cough in your dog that can last for a few weeks. It is very contagious and is commonly transmitted in environments where there are many dogs in one place, like kennels, dog parks, training facilities, or groomers. While most kennels require that your dog be vaccinated for Bordetella (the “kennel cough shot”), be aware that the list of possible causes of this syndrome is quite long, and even vaccinated dogs may break with the disease if directly exposed.

When should my pet be spayed or neutered?

Our recommendation for cats is “Fix at Five,” meaning spay or neuter cats at 5 months of age.

The “best” age for spaying or neutering our dogs can vary with breed, conformation, health issues, and concerns of the owner. Please talk to us about this at your new puppy’s initial visits!

How often does my pet need a rabies vaccine?

The first rabies shot your dog or cat receives is good for one year, and each booster shot will last 3 years.

How do I know if my pet is in pain?

Obviously, our pets can’t tell us where they hurt, but there are some signs to look for. If you notice a change in your pet’s behavior (fatigue, depression, change in appetite, increased aggression, etc.), your pet might be in pain or have another physical problem. Your pet may also favor a certain part of their body or limp if they are injured. You should consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs so that they can determine the source of your pet’s pain.