Category: Pet Care

Tips for 4th of July Weekend

The 4th of July holiday is typically the number one week of the year for stray pets to arrive at local shelters.


A fear of fireworks—and of loud noises in general—is common in dogs. The flash of light or the strong smell of sulfur may contribute to the fear.   Some dogs trying to escape from the noise have jumped through glass windows or climbed over fences.   Other behaviors include trembling, panting, constantly seeking owner’s attention, excessive salivation, barking, pacing, hiding, or soiling in the house.


Keeping your dog calm during fireworks may require a menu of strategies.  Here are 9 tips:


1.       Make sure your pet has identification. Collar i.d. tags as well as microchipping.

2.       Keep an eye on your pet.  Be present, but don’t give your pet too much attention because this can reinforce and encourage fearful behavior. 

3.       Make your home a sanctuary for your pet.  Have an interior room where you pet can stay.  For example, a bathroom or basement with no windows. If you dog considers its crate a refuge, bring the crate to the interior room.

4.       Allow your pet to hide.  It’s your pet’s way of coping and dragging them out of a safe spot can increase their anxiety level.

5.       Drown out the noise.  Turn on the TV or play music, purchase a white noise machine or a fan.

6.       Never leave your pet outside.  Do not leave your dog tethered it will find the combination of the noise and restraint traumatic and can easily be injured.

7.       Consider a ThunderShirt. This product, available at pet supply stores, applies gentle pressure to a dog and helps to calm them. It’s a little bit like babies feeling calmer when they are tightly wrapped in a baby blanket.

8.       Give your dog a special treat reserved for stressful situations. The treat will help divert your dog’s attention from the noise.

9.       Medication.  Your veterinarian can recommend over-the-counter calming products or prescribe mild sedatives or tranquilizers keeping in mind that some medications require administering weeks in advance. Your veterinarian can also provide you with guidance regarding desensitization techniques.

Winterize Your Pets

As the winter months rapidly approach, we would like to help keep your family pets healthy and happy. The safest place for pets to be during the colder moths is inside. However, this is often not possible for all pets. We have put together a few helpful winter hints to keep the entire family warm and safe this season!

  • If temperatures drop below freezing, please bring any outdoor pets inside (or at least into the garage). Use plenty of thick beds or bedding so they can stay warm. If you use any type of heater in your garage, be sure it is in a safe place where your pet cannot knock it over.
  • Add extra bedding to your outdoor dog houses to help keep your dog warm and comfortable in colder weather.
  • Be sure all outdoor animals have fresh water and food daily. Water freezes very quickly in cold weather so check daily to be sure their water supply isn’t frozen.
  • Keep all animals away from antifreeze. It is sweet so it tastes good to pets but it is DEADLY for dogs and cats. If you think your pet has been exposed, contact us immediately!
  • If your pet is outside, be sure to remove any snow or ice from their paws. Animals can develop frostbite due to extreme cold or ice stuck to their paws. Monitor your pet for any signs of discomfort (swelling or excessive licking of paws).
  • If your walk you pet outside, please avoid areas where chemicals have been used to melt the snow or ice. They can be very irritating to your pet’s paws.
  • On cold mornings, honk your horn or slap the hood of your car to scare away any sleeping animals. Animals will often crawl under cars or into engines seeking warmth.
  • One of the best ways to keep the entire family warm is to snuggle together!!!
Snuggles Winterize

Thanks Dr. Jennifer!


Fall leaves

OCTOBER! It’s Fall in beautiful East Tennessee! Autumn, if you prefer, brings a welcome change from the hottest summer on record. And with the cooling temperatures and changing of the leaves comes some new concerns for our pets. Now is the time when many people start to winterize. If you are adding or changing coolant in your vehicle be extra careful to avoid spills or leaks as antifreeze is highly toxic to dogs and cats. It’s reportedly sweet taste is appealing to them. Signs of ingestion include a drunken appearance within hours, rapidly progressing to kidney failure. So take extra precautions to avoid exposing your pet to it.

And with Fall comes Halloween, and with Halloween comes candy! When the little Trick-or-Treaters come home with all the goodies make sure your furry friends don’t get any. Chocolate is toxic to them! So avoid the temptation to share it and stash the treats where your pet can’t get to them.

This time of year also brings on seasonal allergies for many pets. Here are a few tips for relief.

  • Wipe feet and tummy with baby wipes when coming in from the grass and leaves
  • Use non-soap/oatmeal based shampoo
  • Avoid very warm water as this can make itching worse so use tepid water for bathing
  • Some pets can get relief from Antihistamines
  • Some really itchy pets will get relief by spritzing cool water on the skin

With Thanksgiving just around the corner we would also like to remind you to not share the dinner with your pets. We typically see lots of stomach upsets in pets who eat things they shouldn’t. More serious cases can include pancreatitis from eating turkey skin, ham trimmings, and other fatty foods. So resist the temptation when those big brown eyes look at you pleadingly!

We hope you and your pets enjoy this beautiful season! And be safe.

Thanks Dr. Hall for this wonderful blog!



Cat Nutrition (Feeding For Fit Felines)

 By Dr. Jennifer

Felines have a much different metabolism and dietary requirement than many domesticated animals.  Unfortunately, most cat diets are meant to be convenient and appeal to humans, not cats.  There are many steps we can take to try to help them eat a more appropriate natural and healthy diet.  The better we feed our feline family members, the better their lives will be.  Dr. Jennifer is a certified Purina Weight Coach for animals and our Cat Advocate, so if you have questions please contact us for a consultation!

 Cats are “true carnivores”   

  • They require meat to obtain their nutrient requirements
  • They do not require carbohydrates in their diet

 Cats often do not drink water as well as they should

  • Domesticated cats are descendants of desert cats
  • They may require encouragement to drink water                
  • Many cats like different types of water stations so several options should be available

 Most veterinary nutritionists and feline specialists recommend feeding canned food             

  • Canned food helps cats to keep a good body condition
  • It increases metabolism and is easier to digest
  • It contains extra moisture to help cats get more water into their diet
  • Canned food and dry food  (kibble) combined
  • Great combination effect
  • Helps with tartar and better for metabolism
  • Dry food should be low in carbohydrate content
  • Learn to read labels!

 Domestic cat lifestyle has changed

  • Historically hunted and ate many small meals a day
  • Now obesity is a problem due to overfeeding and decreased need for activity
  • Simulating normal feeding behavior can increase activity and decrease boredom
  •  Hiding kibble throughout house to encourage natural hunting behavior
  •  Puzzle feeders to encourage problem solving and activity
  •  Toss kibble to encourage chasing behavior
  • “Free choice” feeding is strongly discouraged
  • Leaving access to food all day leads bored cats to overeat
  • One of the primary causes of obesity in cats
  • Feeding multiple small meals daily is the best for a cat’s health and metabolism

Cat Nutrition

 There are many high quality foods (both dry and wet) available for your cat.  If you feel overwhelmed by all the choices, we are happy to provide you a list of our favorite foods.


Furry Friends Need Fun Too

Pets Exercising


Keeping Your Pet Happy and Active

“Furry Friends Need Fun Too”

By Dr. Jennifer

  All of us know our pets need food, water, medical care and lots of love. But our dogs and cats have other needs, too. They need physical exercise and mental stimulation to have full and happy lives.

 Our pets need some type of “job” or environmental enrichment to keep them busy and engaged.  Without these our pets can become excessively bored and lazy.  This can lead to physical diseases like obesity and joint problems and behavioral issues like destructive behaviors and excessive barking or meowing.  At Pellissippi Veterinary Hospital we want to help you keep your pet happy and active.

To help prevent behavior and health issues, we recommend physical and mental workouts for your furry friends.

•Healthy adult dogs need at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. Jogging, swimming and playing at the dog park are all great ways to burn excess energy and help keep your dog calmer and happy.

•Engage in structured games, like fetch, Frisbee games and find-the-treat —they’re great exercise and teaches your pet impulse control and strengthens the bond between you. 

•Keep your dog occupied when he’s home alone with food-stuffed puzzle toy or chew toys.  Cats also enjoy food puzzle toys and treat balls.

•Cats also need plenty of aerobic exercise. Get kitty fit with stimulating play sessions, such as chase and fetch with furry toys, small balls or toy mice. 

•Keep your cat engaged when home alone with activities like bird watching, exploring paper bags and boxes, or watching cat videos. 

•Teach your cat tricks! They are quick studies and can learn practical skills like coming when called, sitting up, rolling over and even fetch! 


You are ultimately responsible for physically and mentally enriching your pet’s life. Activities that exercise your cat or dog’s mind and body will keep them (and your relationship) healthy and happy.