4197-A3 Winchester Road, Marshall, Virginia 20115
Phone:540-364-7855      Fax: 540-364-7859

Dog Care Tips

Tick control

Removing ticks - When removing ticks from your dogs (and cats) use tweezers and pull the tick straight out in one move. Ticks excrete the organisms that cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichia through their saliva and the more the tick is manipulated the more of these organisms it will secrete in a short period of time.

  • Don't manipulate the tick or attempt to coat it with anything.

  • Don't touch the tick with your bare hands. You are just as susceptible to the organisms in the tick saliva as your pet.

  • Flush the tick down the toilet.

  • Leaving the "head" behind is not a huge problem. Getting the tick off eliminated the source of the saliva. If the mouthparts or head of the tick are left behind it will create a sore spot on the skin for a few days to weeks but this will heal. Trying to dig this out can often cause more of a sore than leaving it behind.

Apply a topical tick repellant year round. Ticks are a problem even in the winter. Talk to your veterinarian about the most appropriate product to use. Many of the easily available over the counter products are not very effective and have more adverse effects than the products available through a veterinarian.

Diet tips

When choosing a food for your dog read the ingredients carefully. There are many good quality foods available out there and some are even in the grocery store. It only takes a few minutes of your time to find a good food for your pet.

  • You want to get a food that has a first ingredient of meat followed by whatever grain is used in the diet and not vice versa.
  • Look for foods that actually list meat rather than meat by products as the main ingredient. Avoid foods with a lot of fillers such as gluten and grain husks.
  • Stay away from foods that list corn as a main ingredient. Corn has a higher likelihood of causing food allergies. Rice is good; barley and wheat are also ok.
  • Avoid foods with food coloring added. Most good quality foods have a generic brown color or shades of brown. Red, green and yellow are all added colors. These can also cause allergies and can create more work on the body to eliminate them.
  • Chemical preservatives - if you have trouble reading the names on the labels or if they clearly say that these products are preservatives that is a food you want to stay away from. Again, these chemicals have to be processed and eliminated by the body and that makes extra work for your pet's organs to do since the liver and kidneys have to extract and eliminate these chemicals. Try to find a food that is all natural.

Quantity - most dogs need to be fed 1 cup (8 ounce measuring cup) per 20 pounds of weight per day. Divide this into 2 meals so your dog will not get as hungry between meals. This means a 20-pound dog should be fed 1/2 cup in the morning and evening. A 40-pound dog will be fed 1 cup in the morning and evening and so forth. Keep snacks to a minimum and try baby carrots instead.

  • Ask your veterinarian about your dog's Body Condition Score (BCS). This should be 5 out of a scale of 1-9. Some dogs are naturally lean and will be a 4 and still be healthy.
  • There are easy criteria to tell how your pet measures at home. You should be able to feel the individual ribs with minimal pressure. You should be able to count the backbone. You should be able to see a "waist" between the rib cage and the hips. In a long hair dog you need to get down and feel your dog. A short hair dog is easier to score visually. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to score your dog. Weighing your dog regularly (every 3-4 months) is also a good idea.