Author Archives DeniseDVC

Fall Safety Tips

Posted by DeniseDVC on October 30, 2018  /   Posted in blog

Ah, fall—there’s nothing like crisp, cool air, the first months of school and luscious foliage to get you excited for the changing seasons. Your pet, too, is probably welcoming the break from hot, sticky weather. But pet parents, beware—fall is also a time of lurking dangers for our furry friends. From household poisons to cold weather hazards, the season is a minefield! Here are some tips to keep your pet snug and healthy during the autumn months.

  • The use of rodenticides increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets—if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets.
  • It’s back-to-school time, and those of you with young children know that means stocking up on fun items like glue sticks, pencils and magic markers. These items are considered “low toxicity” to pets, which means they’re unlikely to cause serious problems unless large amounts are ingested. However, since gastrointestinal upset and blockages certainly are possible, be sure your children keep their school supplies out of paw’s reach.
  • Training tip: If you and your pooch haven’t been active outdoors in a while because of the summer heat, do some remedial recall training. Dogs, like people, get rusty on their skills if they aren’t using them.
  • Fall and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.
  • In order to generate body heat, pets who exercise heavily outdoors, or who live outdoors, should be given more food during colder seasons. Make sure horses and other outdoor animals have access to clean, fresh water that is not frozen.
  • Autumn is the season when snakes who are preparing for hibernation may be particularly “grumpy,” increasing the possibility of severe bites to those unlucky pups who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pet owners should know what kinds of venomous snakes may be in their environment—and where these snakes are most likely to be found—so they can keep pets out of those areas.
  • Many people choose fall as the time to change their car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren’t completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.

-adapted from the website of the ASPCA

Canine Influenza Update

Posted by DeniseDVC on July 05, 2018  /   Posted in blog

There are currently two viral strains primarily responsible for causing influenza (flu) in dogs. These Canine Influenza Viruses (CIVs) are H3N8 and H3N2.

Updated 7/5/18


H3N8 is a previously-known strain of CIV that was first identified in 2004, and caused outbreaks of dog flu in the NoVa region in 2009. It is a variant on an equine (horse) strain of flu that gained the ability to infect dogs. A vaccine for this strain has been on the market for several years, and is currently offered here at Deepwood. For more information about H3N8, you can visit this Veterinary Partner website.

The “new” CIV is H3N2; you may have seen newspaper articles or TV reports about it over the last couple of years. H3N2 is an avian (bird) strain that has gained the ability to infect dogs and to transmit between dogs. It was also diagnosed in cats with respiratory disease in a shelter in the Midwest.

There have been multiple outbreaks of H3N2 in the United States; the first began in Chicago in March, 2015, following the transport of an infected dog from South Korea to Chicago via O’Hare Airport. The majority of the outbreak was been confined to the Chicago area, but some spread has been seen. Smaller pockets of infection have been seen in California (also caused by the transport of infected South Korean dogs) and New York City, as well as in other locations. According to the CIV Surveillance Networks, dogs have tested positive in over half of the states in the USA. As of June 2018, no animals have yet tested positive in Virginia or Washington, D.C. Four dogs have tested positive in Maryland, 36 in North Carolina, and 30 in Pennsylvania. The most up-to-date information is available via this link to the Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine.


H3N2 cases, 3/15-6/18


Transmission and Symptoms

CIV is primarily transmitted through close contact with a dog who is infected. This usually occurs in confined spaces such as animal shelters, boarding kennels, grooming facilities, training classes, dog shows, or doggie day care centers. Infected dogs do not shed large quantities of virus, so casual contact is less likely to spread the disease, but dogs frequently exposed to other dogs at dog parks are at higher risk than those who do not socialize regularly.  However, the virus can survive for 24-48 hours in the environment, and can be transmitted via food and water bowls, clothing, and human hands from one dog to another. Age and breed have not been shown to affect the odds of infection. As most dogs have never been exposed to CIV before, they do not have immunity to it and are likely to become infected if exposed to the virus. Dogs with suppressed immune symptoms due to age, medical condition, or treatment with immunosuppressive medications (steroids, cyclosporine, chemotherapy, etc.) are at increased risk of infection.

Clinical symptoms typically appear 2-3 days after infection, although some dogs take longer to develop signs. Peak virus shedding occurs 3-4 days post-infection, meaning that dogs who are not yet showing symptoms of illness could still potentially be shedding virus particles. Dogs may continue to be contagious for up to 2-3 weeks after initial appearance of symptoms.

There are two clinical categories that have been seen in dogs infected with CIV: a mild form of disease, and a more severe illness, often accompanied by pneumonia.

  • Mild form – May be asymptomatic. Other possibilities include a cough that persists for 10-30 days (usually soft and moist but may be harsh and hacking), lethargy, decreased appetite, clear ocular / nasal discharge, and mild to moderate fever. Thick nasal discharge from secondary bacterial infection may also be present. Medical treatment may be needed depending upon symptoms.
  • Severe form – High fever, cough, lethargy, lack of appetite, increased respiratory rate and effort. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. Secondary bacterial infection may cause pneumonia. Prompt medical care is warranted, and some pets may require hospitalization and intensive veterinary care. Fatal cases have been reported, but the mortality rate is less than 10% and most dogs will recover in 2-3 weeks.


Testing and Treatment

PCR testing is available for CIV, but it should be performed within one or two days of the onset of symptoms for maximum accuracy.

As with all upper respiratory infections, treatment for mild cases is generally supportive, and may include expectorants/cough suppressants if needed. These pets will typically recover fine on their own without significant intervention. Treatment for more serious cases generally involves hospitalization with IV fluid therapy, broad-spectrum antibiotics for secondary infection, and respiratory/oxygen support if needed.


Risk Prevention

There are two vaccines (under conditional license from the USDA) currently available for the H3N2 strain of CIV. At this time it is believed that vaccination against the previous CIV stain (H3N8) will not provide protection from the new strain, and vice-versa. If you are trying to decide whether vaccinating your dog against the new strain is right for you, please let us know.

Our region is not currently experiencing an H3N2 outbreak. However, should one occur, the best prevention will be to minimize contact with other dogs. This entails avoiding places such as dog parks,boarding facilities, dog day care, group get-togethers, grooming facilities, and training classes. Walking your dog by his or herself should be fine.

If your dog develops respiratory signs, such as coughing, hacking, gagging or difficulty breathing, please promptly schedule an appointment. When calling to schedule, let us know that your dog has respiratory signs, so that we can take appropriate precautions to minimize the possibility of contaminating the hospital. When you get to the clinic, please stay in the car with your dog and call us from your cell phone – we’ll take it from there!


Other Species

At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that either CIV strain (the new H3N8 or the old H3N2) is infectious to people.  Data from studies done in Asia does indicate that transmission of H3N8 from dogs to cats is possible (though limited), but as of this time no cases in cats have been diagnosed in the U.S.


Written by Danielle Lafave, DVM – Deepwood Veterinary Clinic

East Asian Tick in Virginia

Posted by DeniseDVC on June 16, 2018  /   Posted in blog

05/16/2018 Release from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:

On May 14, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding of the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick (otherwise known as the East Asian or Longhorned tick) in Virginia. The tick appeared on an orphaned calf on a beef farm in Albemarle County.

In late 2017 H. longicornis was found initially in New Jersey. No known direct link exists from the Virginia farm to the area in New Jersey where the first ticks appeared on a sheep farm.

Virginia state veterinary officials will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal and industry partners to determine the extent and significance of this finding.

Livestock producers and owners should notify VDACS if they notice any unusual ticks that have not been seen before or that occur in large numbers on an individual animal. The site below contains images and descriptions of the common Virginia ticks. Typically, ticks are seen in the greatest numbers in spring and fall, but can persist through all four seasons, especially in warmer weather.

Livestock producers should work with their herd veterinarians to develop a tick prevention and control program. Livestock owners also may contact VDACS’ Office of Veterinary Services at 804.786.2483.

Keeping Pets Safe in Hot Weather

Posted by DeniseDVC on June 01, 2018  /   Posted in blog

While most of us are enjoying the lovely seasonal weather, warm spring and summer temperatures can be dangerous for our pets. Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe and cool throughout the warmer months!


Practice basic summer safety
  1. Never, ever leave your pets in a parked car
    Not even for a minute.  Please, don’t do it.  On a warm day, the temperature inside an automobile can quickly rise to dangerous, even lethal levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes.  After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At such temperatures your pet can easily suffer irreversible organ damage or die.  Even if it feels only pleasantly warm outside to you, it isn’t worth the risk to your pet. Well-known animal advocate and veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward spent half an hour in a parked car with the windows cracked on a warm summer day to find out what it really feels like, and filmed the process.
  2. Keep an eye on the humidity.
    According to Dr. Barry Kellogg, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, “It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”
  3. Limit exercise on hot days
    Use caution when exercising your pet, and adjust the intensity and duration of said exercise in accordance with the temperature. Just because your dog wants to come with you doesn’t mean they necessarily should – some animals will walk or run well past the point when they should do so. On very hot days, exercise should be limited to the early morning or evening hours, when it is cooler outside. Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets (such as Boxers, Pugs and Bulldogs), who are prone to breathing difficulty in warmer weather. Asphalt paving gets very hot, and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from becoming dehydrated.
  4. Don’t rely on a fan
    Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. For example, dogs sweat primarily through their feet. The simple fact is that fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
  5. Provide ample shade and water
    Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. Please be aware that a doghouse will not provide relief from the heat, and in fact, will likely make it worse.
  6. Cool your pet inside and out
    Whether your pets are outside or indoors, always provide plenty of fresh water. For a tasty cooling treat, try this recipe for easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs. (You can use peanut butter or another favorite food.)You can also keep your pet from overheating with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat. Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days.
Watch for signs of heatstroke

A dog’s temperature should never be allowed to rise over 104. Extreme indoor or outdoor temperatures can cause heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, lethargy and/or dizziness, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, fever, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

Dogs who are very young or very old are at increased risk for heat stroke, as are overweight animals. An animal who has not been properly conditioned to exercise is also at risk, as are animals with heart or respiratory disease. As mentioned above, breeds with shorter muzzles and narrow nostrils are also significantly predisposed to heat stroke.


How to treat a pet suffering from heatstroke

Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply cool towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. You should also take any pet you suspect to be suffering from heat stroke immediately to a veterinarian.


Power outages

Summer storms have been known to knock out power, including air condition. Think of the derecho that hit D.C. in June of 2012 – some neighborhoods had power outages lasting for days. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.


Tips and tricks adapted from this article by the Humane Society.

Food for Thought

Posted by DeniseDVC on June 01, 2018  /   Posted in blog

If you or someone you love has food allergies, we urge you to read this article by Dr. Amy Goulart, written for the Veterinary Information Network News Service. Dr. Goulart describes how ingredients that are common antigens for children and/or adults are increasingly being found in pet foods and treats. Even ingredients that we would not necessarily associate with pet food, like dairy products, are sometimes incorporated into pet foods in the form of casein or whey. Dog treats often contain peanut butter, a common childhood allergen. We all know that dogs many love licking kids’ faces, but for some children this may not simply be unsanitary, it could be downright dangerous.

Full article: Hidden Dangers in Pet Food

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Posted by DeniseDVC on December 06, 2017  /   Posted in blog

Now that winter has finally arrived in the Northern Virginia area, it’s time to make sure your pets are protected from potential seasonal dangers. Here is an excellent guide, courtesy of the ASPCA:


Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Holiday Safety Tips

Posted by DeniseDVC on December 05, 2017  /   Posted in blog

Brought to you by the ASPCA


The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.


Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.


Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
  • Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.
  • Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.


Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

  • House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
  • Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
  • A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
  • New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Springtime Safety Tips

Posted by DeniseDVC on February 08, 2017  /   Posted in blog

The sky is blue and the flowers are blooming  – spring has arrived! With that in mind, we suggest that you take a look at these springtime safety tips, courtesy of the ASPCA:


Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, our thoughts inevitably turn to Easter celebrations, spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects. But the new balmy weather can prove not-so-sunny for curious pets—or their unwitting parents. Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of potential springtime hazards for your delicate, furry friend. To help you out, our ASPCA experts have come up with a few seasonal tips that will help prevent mishaps or misfortunes.

  • Easter Treats and Decorations
    Keep Easter lilies and candy bunnies in check—chocolate goodies are toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets, and lilies can be fatal if ingested by our furry friends. And be mindful, kitties love to nibble on colorful plastic grass, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration. Moreover, while bunnies, chicks and other festive animals are adorable, resist the urge to buy—these cute babies grow up fast and often require specialized care!
  • Screen Yourself
    Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows. Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.
  • Buckle Up!
    While every pet parent knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.
  • Spring Cleaning 
    Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.
  • Home Improvement 101
    Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.
  • Let Your Garden Grow—With Care 
    Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Check out our full list of garden care tips.
  • Poisonous Plants
    Time to let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.
  • Ah-Ah-Achoo!
    Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Pesky Little Critters 
    April showers bring May flowers—and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program. Ask your doctor to recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet.
  • Out and About
    Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.

If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Posted by DeniseDVC on November 01, 2016  /   Posted in blog

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also a time for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.

Check out the following tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too:


  • Talkin’ Turkey: If you decide to feed your pet a small bite of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. Do not give your pet the left over carcass–the bones can be problematic for the digestive tract.
  • No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.
  • Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.
  • A Feast Fit for a King: While your family enjoys a special meal, give your cat and dog a small feast of their own. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays. Please visit the ASPCA’s People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

-adapted from the website of the ASPCA



Halloween Safety Tips

Posted by DeniseDVC on October 01, 2016  /   Posted in blog

Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but keeping your pets safe doesn’t have to be tricky. The ASPCA recommends taking these simple, common sense precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy all the way to November 1.

Stash the Treats
The candy bowl is for trick-or-treaters, not Scruffy or Fluffy. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems in pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Watch the Decorations and Keep Wires Out of Reach
While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic, but can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them.

Be Careful with Costumes
For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or don a festive bandana instead.

Keep Pets Calm and Easily Identifiable
Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors arriving at the door, and too many strangers can often be scary and stressful for pets. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. While opening the door for guests, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside. And always make sure your pet it wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.

  • Deepwood Veterinary Clinic

    Deepwood Veterinary Clinic
    7300 Ordway Rd.
    Centreville, VA 20121
    (703) 631-9133
  • Office Hours

    Open 7 Days a Week, 8am - 8pm
    Monday - Saturday by Appointment
    Sunday for urgent/emergency care

  • Map and Directions

^ Back to Top
Top of Page