It’s Time to Get Serious About Your Dog’s Dental Health



February is National Pet Dental Health Month and the perfect time to schedule your dog’s annual dental exam and professional cleaning. Even though dogs can develop many of the same oral health issues that we do, many pet owners don’t realize that their dog needs to receive regular cleanings. “And that’s unfortunate because it is estimated that over 80 percent have significant oral pathology.“ ( Scheduling an appointment is an important first step, but there are things you can do at home to improve and maintain your pup’s dental health.


Brush Those Teeth

If you only make one change, the most important thing you can do is to brush your dog’s teeth. Speak with your vet for recommendations on a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste as well as proper techniques. Ideally, you would brush your dog’s teeth everyday, but up to four times a week has been shown to be adequate. You may also consider integrating treats intended to help clean the teeth. If you haven’t been brushing your dog’s teeth, don’t jump all in at once. Begin slowly until your dog gets comfortable with the process.


Know the Signs

Knowledge is power and, in this case, the key to prevention. Regular dental checkups are key to monitoring your dog’s dental health journey, but a little knowledge about symptoms can go a long way if your next visit is months away. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms, you may want to schedule an appointment with your vet: red or inflamed gums, offensive breath, loose or broken teeth, or excessive drooling. Your dog may also avoid eating or paw at his mouth excessively. Periodically monitoring changes in your dog’s behavior and oral health, could save you and your pup heartache (and a toothache) down the road.


Prevention is Key

Dog toys are more than just fun, they give your pup a chance to strengthen his teeth. This can go a long way to prevent breakage and loosening teeth. Reach out to your vet for recommendations on preferred chew toys. Another way to help prevent dental health issues is to evaluate your dog’s diet. Look for foods and treats that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval and focus on providing a nutritionally balanced diet for your dog. “Avoid foods made with by-products, meals, and cereal grains as they are more apt to stick to your dog’s teeth. Instead, look for a food made from meats, vegetables, and fruits.” (


Pet dental health is about much more than just avoiding smelly breath. Poor dental health can have a serious effect on your dog’s overall quality of life – from pain and discomfort to malnutrition. Call Ashburn Veterinary Hospital today to schedule a dental check up for your pup!



Give Your Dog Something to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

Dog in front dish on table and looking piece chicken

‘Tis the season for giving! As you gather round your Thanksgiving Day feast, don’t forget about you very best friend! If you’re like many people in the US, you consider your dog to be part of the family. We ask that when you slip table scraps under the table to your pup, you remember that not everything at your Thanksgiving meal is good for his tummy. If you’re unsure about what ingredients you should look out for, we’ve included resources to learn more.

So how do you treat your pup to the Thanksgiving meal of his dreams without worrying about tummy troubles? The best, and easiest way to ensure a trouble-free Thanksgiving is to cook a separate meal for your dog. We may love seasonings, but many of our favorite seasonings are toxic dogs. For this reason, you’ll want to keep it plain.

Turkey, sweet potatoes, and green beans are fabulous choices for your pet’s holiday meal. What you’ll want to avoid is adding butter, garlic, onions, and excess fat. Steer clear of any sweet recipe. While the excess sugar may turn your pup’s tummy, popular alternative sweeteners like xylitol are also very toxic.

Though we spend the day indulging in large amounts of food, too much food can have possibly fatal results for a pet. If you decide to create a mini-Thanksgiving plate for your dog, be mindful of the portions and be sure to discourage your guests from slipping table scraps during dinner.

Make sure every member of the family has a Thanksgiving to remember with Thanksgiving treats that keep your pup healthy and happy! If you believe that your dog may have ingested a bone or something toxic, please reach out to your vet or emergency vet as soon as possible.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Ashburn Veterinary Hospital

Tricks and Treats You Dog Should Avoid this Halloween

‘Tis the season for tricks and treats! To keep this day of costumed guests, parties, and sweet treats festive and fun take a few precautions to keep your pup safe. Whether your dog is skittish, curious, or eats everything in sight, there are plenty of ways for him to get himself into trouble. Just use your senses!

Halloween puppy dog safety tips

With so many trick-or-treaters passing by, it’s the perfect opportunity for your pup to make his great escape! Before the throng of costumes parade by, make sure your dog has its collar and identification tags on, just in case he makes it past the door. If you have a dog that loves to spend time outside in the crisp, cool weather be sure to keep a close watch or keep them indoors for the night. Some use Halloween as an excuse for mischief and, unfortunately, your dog might find himself involved in the shenanigans.

Even the most well-tempered dog might get nervous with the sounds of strangers at the door and the constant doorbell ringing. Keep your pup calm and let him know he’s safe throughout the night. For anxiety prone dogs, it may be best to keep someone by his side with dog approved treats.

Though chocolate is the biggest offender, it’s a good idea to keep your candy stash tucked away from your dog. Don’t forget about the wrappers! Ambitious dogs may try to snatch up the remnants of your sweet treats by inhaling the wrappers, but these candy wrappers may cause a blockage that’s potentially dangerous for your dog.

Who doesn’t love decorations? Curious canines sure do! Shining lights, electrical cords, tassels, and ribbons. With so much to discover, it could be easy for your dog to get caught up playing with all of the new “toys’. If your dog ingests these stringy decorations, it could possibly cause serious complications.

Halloween should be a time of lighthearted tricks and oh-so-sweet treats but with so much fun to be had, there’s a lot of room for your dog to get himself in trouble. You can keep your pup safe and sound with these tips so Halloween stays fun for all.

By With a Little Help from Friends: Donating to a Shelter

mixed rotweiler puppy

As animal lovers, many of us would love to take home the entire shelter if only we were able. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic for most people. There are, however, things you can do to make sure the doe eyed pups of all ages are comfortable and happy during their time in the shelter. Shelters and humane societies often rely on the donation of money, goods, and time to provide for the animals. Many shelters have specific rules or preferences about what can be accepted as a donation so it’s always best to call ahead or check the shelter’s website to take a look at their wish list. Thanks to technology, some shelters even allow you donate directly online through an Amazon Wish List that they’ve set up with their most needed items.


You may think that food is first on an animal shelter’s wish list and that is, indeed, the case most of the time. However, many shelters ask for a specific type or brand of food. For example, Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART) in Fairfax Station, prefers to receive Kirkland Costco brand food and the SPCA of Northern Virginia requests Avo brand food for dogs. While it may seem strange that shelters that are in need may request specific foods, it’s important to keep in mind that sudden, and potentially, drastic changes in food can cause dietary distress for dogs. It’s also important to note that shelters cannot accept open or expired foods. There are still many shelters that are happy to take any brand of unopened dog food, soft treats, and even canned chicken. Your best bet is to check with the shelter ahead of time.


Though shelter staff goes above and beyond to make sure every animal is comfortable and happy, the reality is that abandoned and surrendered pets may get a little blue. Just because you can’t cuddle all of the puppies doesn’t mean that you can’t make them feel cozy and loved. Many shelters accept beds, blankets, towels, squeaky toys, indestructible toys such as Kongs, and crates. Some shelters, such as Loudoun County Animal Shelter, even accept puzzles for dogs! Of course, not all shelters accept the same creature comforts so please check their list before you drop off your goodies. A touch of home can make all the difference in a dog’s day.


When you’re considering what to donate to your shelter, you may not think of donating the supplies it takes to support day-to-day operations. Many shelters welcome items like office supplies, paper towels, disinfectant and cleaners, food scales, batteries, food and water bowls, nylon slip leads, and flea and tick preventative. Some shelters may even be in need of a car donation or gift cards for gas. These donations can go a long way to help the staff cut down on little costs that add up quickly.

Shelters rely on your love, donation, and volunteering to keep things running smoothly. When donating food to a shelter, it’s important to remember that they cannot accept any open or expired foods and that any goods donated should be clean and in good condition. No money to spare? No problem! As with most things, time is the most precious commodity and shelters are always looking for enthusiastic animal lovers to help care for pups. Check with your local animal shelter or humane society to see where their most pressing donation needs lie.




New Rules and Regulations for Prescriptions

old labrador retriever in front of white background


Virginia has updated their regulations in regards to controlled medication and opioid prescriptions.  If your pet is taking one of the following medications: Tramadol, Lomotil or Buprenex, please note the following changes in procedure.

  • Patients who are prescribed a controlled drug will require an exam every 6 months.
  • For acute pain (post-surgical or trauma) prescription cannot exceed 7 days.  Additional medication can be prescribed but only after a follow-up examination.
  • For chronic conditions opioids may be prescribed beyond 14 days (excluding Buprenex) but cannot exceed a 30 day supply and the patient must be re-examined every 6 months.  Buprenex can only be prescribed for up to 7 days without a follow-up examination.
  • Proper disposal of controlled drugs:  Improper disposal of prescribed opioids and other medications is harmful to humans and animals. To learn more about safe disposal of medications, visit
  • We recommend controlled drugs be stored securely in a locked cabinet or container to help avoid accidental exposure or unauthorized use.

Are you noticing pain in your senior pup for the first time? Schedule an appointment with us today to discuss ways to help your dog age gracefully and comfortably. Did you know that the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends vet visits every 6 months for your senior pet? Some medications that help your dog with pain and joint issues occasionally need to be adjusted and recheck appointments are important to ensure your dog is still benefiting from treatment.

We thank you for your understanding as we uphold these new Virginia laws. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.


The Team at Ashburn Vet

Celebrate AAHA Day 2017!

In honor of AAHA Accredited Hospital Day on July 22nd we will be giving away complimentary gift bags for patients with an appointment during the week of July 17th through the 22nd!

Ashburn Veterinary Hospital is an American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited member and has been since 1999. In order to be an accredited hospital, we are evaluated on approximately 900 standards of veterinary excellence and are recognized among the finest in the industry. Only 12-15% of animal hospitals in the U.S. are accredited. We pride ourselves on consistently remaining at the forefront of advanced veterinary medicine and will continue to provide only the best for our clients and patients.

If you’ve been putting off your pet’s flea & tick medication this summer or need to pick up a prescription during the week of the 17th you will receive a FREE bag of Lean Treats and an AAHA pen!

Pets are our passion and keeping them healthy is our #1 priority!
Join us in celebrating American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Day!

The Team at Ashburn Veterinary Hospital

How Much is Enough? Keeping Your Dog Hydrated in the Summer


Just like us, dogs are made of up to 80% water. When the temperature soars during the long summer days, it’s especially important to make sure you keep your furry friend hydrated. Water is one of the most important aspects of a dog’s diet but is often taken for granted. In fact, the ASPCA suggests that a good general rule is one ounce of water for every pound of your dog’s weight per day. Adjustments may be made for hotter days and high activity pups. If you have any question about how much water your dog should be getting, please don’t hesitate to ask your vet.

To ensure that your dog is drinking enough water, the easiest thing you can do is to make sure that he always has plenty of cool, clean water available. That’s not limited to the home. There’s nothing like having your main dog taking on the world with you while you’re traveling. If you take your fluffy friend with you on errands or to “yappy hour”, bring a collapsible bowl and water with you to keep him hydrated on the go.


There are a few reasons your dog may not be drinking his water. Some dogs are more finicky than others and won’t drink water that is dirty or has been sitting too long. Make sure his water bowl is clean and the water is clear of debris. It’s also good to choose an appropriately sized bowl for your dog. If the bowl is too deep, he may not be able to reach the water if it gets too low. If the bowl seems to be in good shape, check your dog’s mouth. There may be a sore or foreign object causing him pain or discomfort.

At your next vet appointment, ask to learn more about the signs of dehydration. Some breeds are more susceptible to dehydration, especially during hot weather. Knowing the signs of dehydration and what to do about it can help you act quickly in a situation where seconds count. Armed with the right tools and knowledge you and your pup can enjoy a happy, healthy summer in the sun.


Dog-Friendly Virginia Spring Festivals

Festival Dog


Spring is here and with sunshiney days and moderate temperatures, it’s the perfect time of year to spend time with your pup outside. If your dog loves long walks and lots of new people and things to sniff, the festival life might be barking your name! Virginia is home to many fun pet-friendly festivals and celebrations, but always check festival guidelines to be sure. Also, remember to keep your pup leashed while you’re walking around so he or she doesn’t wander off to explore all of the new sights, smells, and sounds.

For The Daredevils

Dominion Riverrock is more than just a festival. It’s an all-out celebration of the Richmond riverfront complete with outdoor sports and fun musical acts. Put your pup’s athletic prowess to the test with the Ultimate Air Dogs competition or get some bonding time in with the SUP with your Pup event.

For The Clever Pups

If you love a good challenge and you own a “My corgi is smarter than your honor roll child.” bumper sticker then the Third Annual Dog Scavenger Hunt in Old Town Winchester, VA may be for you. Not quite a festival, but still a blast for you and your fur baby. Join other dog owners and their pet detectives on a quest to collect doggy treats around the town. Bring the whole family, there’s no additional admission charge for extra two-legged explorers.

For The Social Butterflies

Looking for a place to commune with fellow dog lovers while your pup makes new friends? Pet Fiesta at Reston Town Center is the place to be on Saturday, May 6th! This all day event is jam-packed with special dog events and awesome vendors. Bring the whole family and spend your Spring Saturday walking your dog along the W&OD trail, getting your faces painted, or taking in the Dog House of Style Fashion Show. Who knows, you may even leave with a new member of your happy family.

With so many pet-friendly events there’s no need to look into your dog’s pleading eyes as you whisk away to have fun or leave the fun early to race back to a lonely pup. Many Virginia, DC, and Maryland festivals and events are pet-friendly but always check the guidelines or FAQs. Finally, make sure you pack a leash, plenty of water, and snacks for you big spring festival adventure.


National Animal Poison Prevention Week: An Ounce of Prevention

Poison Control


Every third week of March is Poison Prevention Week for pets. During this time, take the time to educate yourself and the members of your family on potential poisons for your furry friend. Animals are naturally curious and it’s our job to make sure our pup’s adventures around the house are pleasant.

A little knowledge can go a long way to keep everyone in your house safe, especially those that can’t quite speak up for themselves. There are many online resources that can help you identify hazards around your house so you can keep them tucked away from your curious dog. It’s also a good idea to have the number of an emergency vet or the Pet Poison Helpline in a convenient place just in case your emergency is on a weekend or after office hours.

As you poison proof your home, keep in mind just how ambitious your pup is. Some dogs are content with keeping out of trouble while others may open closed doors, paw at cabinets, or even counter surf to get to something. Depending on your pet, you may want to approach the situation like having a precocious toddler in the house and invest in cabinet locks and door knob covers.

Many substances poisonous to dogs are common sense. Keep household cleaners, rodent and weed killers, and all medicines, even dog-safe medications, locked up tight. Other hazards lying around the house may not be as well known. Glue, electronics, and fertilizers are all potentially dangerous. Chocolate is actually the most popular candidate for pup poison and can be lethal in large doses. It is estimated that pet poison control centers get more calls about chocolate than other substance.

Another practice that can go a long way to keep your dog out of harm is to keep your garbage pails behind closed doors. Spilled trash is more than just a nuisance. Your puppy has a full access to poisons that may include: alcohol, cigarette butts, household cleaners, coffee grounds, bones, and a veritable buffet of foods that are potentially toxic. Another good idea is to keep purses, backpacks, and suitcases out of reach. The average purse often could contain a hodgepodge of potential hazards including xylitol gum, chocolate, cigarettes, battery powered devices, perfumes and more.

As the weather warms and we begin to turn our attention and adventures outside, it’s important to take note potential poisons outside of the home as well. Many plants may prove to be poisonous if ingested around the house or on a hike. Insecticides, herbicides, and rodenticides can be fatal even in low doses. Be sure to read the warning label carefully and keep pets off the lawn until the any applied treatments have dried completely.

It’s important to take swift action if you think that your dog has ingested something potentially harmful. Call your vet, emergency vet, or the Pet Poison Helpline to guide you through the best course of action for your pet. It’s true what they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preparation is key to keep your best friend safe and happy through his household exploration.