Healthy Weight, Healthy Pet

"How much should my pet weigh?"

We get asked this question almost daily!

This can be a sensitive subject, but we are here to offer healthy tips, not judgement. ;)

Each pet is unique, and his or her healthy body composition depends on many factors, including: species, breed, gender, age, and activity level.

When assessing a patients' weight, it is important to get a current weight, as well as a weight and feeding history. In other words, how much are you feeding your pet and of what type of food? Is the food appropriate for your pets' age and lifestyle? As with human food, each pet food offers different nutritional values and each manufacturer will offer different feeding guidelines in order to achieve a certain weight. Examine these guidelines on the side of your food bag to see if you are over, or under, feeding your pet.

Source:, 2017

Next, an ideal Body Condition Score, or BCS, is determined for an individual pet. A veterinarian can asses this best, but, in the simplest terms, we would be able to feel the rib-cage on a pet of healthy weight and see a "waist-line," or a well proportioned lumbar waist. A visible rib-cage typically means a pet is underweight, while attempting to palpate the ribs with no luck signifies a pet is overweight.

                                        Gunner Sinclair showing off his svelte figure at the scale. 

                                        Gunner Sinclair showing off his svelte figure at the scale. 



When discussing patients who are truly underweight, typically diagnostic tests are recommended. Some systemic illnesses present with weight loss, and we want your critters healthy inside AND out. Speak with one of our veterinarians if you are concerned your pet is loosing unintentional weight.

For those pets that are on the opposite of the BCS spectrum, there are ways we can help to get some weight off!



Did you know that according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention over 50% of dogs and cats are considered obese or overweight?

If your pet is considered overweight, we worry about things like joint pain and mobility issues. We also are concerned about many life-threatening conditions overweight patients may be prone to that can reduce your pet's life expectancy and quality of life.

Getting the weight off can be hard, and we know that. We are here to help! What works for one pet may not necessarily work for another when it comes to weight loss. Believe it or not, we offer "diet" foods for our pets that help promote metabolism and weight loss. When needed, we offer measuring services and can put together a specific "healthy weight protocol" designed just for your pet. With a strict diet and feeding change, and a true commitment to increased activity, weight loss can be achieved and years can be added to your pets' life. We recommend giving food trials at least 3 months, and coming in for regular weight checks are encouraged!

Make it fun and set goals for you, your pet, and your entire family! 


Fun and healthy pet activities to incorporate in your every day:


  • When the weather allows, get outside! Going for regular walks is a bonding opportunity for you and your pet and a simple way to shed some pounds. 
  • If your dog plays well with others, dog parks are great places for your dog to release some energy, and  thus get some exercise. 
  • Do you have young children? Playing fetch is great for kids and dogs alike! 
  • Is your indoor cat lacking enough chance for exercise? Consider investing in toys or feline-friendly activity boards. Some toys make your cat work for the food, how creative is that?! A cheap laser-light can even provide your cat with endless chasing, and you with endless entertainment. 
  • If your cat is interested (and fully vaccinated and protected from parasites), get a feline harness and see if walks around your home can be a regular thing. You may be surprised! 
  • Stay positive, and don't give up on your pets' weight loss. Every little bit counts. 

Client Memo: Contagious Canine Influenza Identified in the Area

H3N2 Canine Influenza

Cases of a highly contagious Canine Influenza have recently been suspected and confirmed in some southern states. As of June 5th, this specific Influenza strain, known as the H3N2 Influenza, has been diagnosed in the Knoxville area. In a preventative effort, we would like to communicate what we know already and our plan to avoid a further outbreak.

What are the signs of this infection?

Dogs infected with H3N2 and showing clinical signs present with coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and fever. Left untreated, this can progress into pneumonia.

What pets are at risk?

The H3N2 Influenza strain was initially isolated and identified at a dog show in Georgia. Dogs from multiple states were in attendance at the show, so spread throughout the region is likely. Dogs spending time in close contact with other dogs are thought to be at the highest risk for exposure. This means pets being boarded, going to the groomer or dog park, and/or show dogs have a higher chance of contracting this particular virus. Elderly dogs, puppies, and those with other diseases are also more susceptible to Canine Influenza. Research does not indicate any cross-species transference to humans or cats. 

How is Canine Influenza spread?

Most strains of Canine Influenza are transmitted from dog-to-dog contact via coughing and sneezing. Precaution must be taken to avoid indirect transmission through clothing and fomites such as food and water bowls. Our sources indicate that proper cleaning and disinfection will easily kill the virus in the environment.

What should you do if your dog is showing flu-like symptoms?

If your dog is coughing or showing any signs of respiratory disease, please bring them in for a veterinarian check-up. Communicate with our staff that you are concerned about Canine Influenza. Keep your pet isolated from other dogs to prevent further transmission. The course for this infection is thought to last up to 3 weeks. We offer various tests to diagnose infection and disease, including one to determine if this specific Influenza strain is involved. If your pet tests positive for Canine Influenza, we will treat supportively and maintain healthy hydration.

How can Canine H3N2 Influenza be prevented?

We offer a vaccine to prevent this strain of flu. We will administer the H3N2 vaccine to any susceptible pet, and booster with a second administration 3 weeks later. If your pet is thought to be at risk for exposure to H3N2, please come to the hospital for vaccination. The vaccine distributor suggests to separate the administration of the H3N2 vaccine from other, routine shots. Ideally, we would continue to vaccinate against this flu yearly. If you plan on boarding your dog, having your dog groomed, or showing him or her in a competition, then vaccination is highly recommended.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call and speak with a staff member.

The Road to Recovery: Bandage Care Tips

Bandage Care Tips for Your Pet


In the veterinarian world, we utilize many different types of bandages, dressings, and splints. Your pet may need such protective covering(s) following a growth removal, an animal bite, or even a surgical repair. A bandage or splint may seem daunting, but when essential to your pets’ recovery we want you to have confidence in at-home care!


Keeping the Bandage Dry and Clean

The bandage or splint needs to stay dry! This is essential in preventing any potential secondary skin infections. If a dressing becomes damp or soiled, bring your pet back in for a bandage check and change.

 Tips for preventing wetness or moisture build-up:

  • Do not let your pet lick at the bandage! We know this may be easier said than done at times, but using a simple protective collar, or E-Collar, while you cannot monitor your pet closely is effective in deterring any potential licking. We also offer liquids and sprays designed specifically for direct application onto the bandage to deter your pet from wanting to lick. After all, our pets don’t realize that while licking may cause them some immediate relief, it could stall the healing process. 



  • Prevent moisture when going outdoors! Use of a temporary water resilient bandage cover is important when walking out for a potty break. Rain and morning dew have been known to dampen intact bandages and warrant a complete bandage change. Slip over a plastic baggie with a rubber band, and remove upon re-entry so no moisture can build up after being outdoors. 
  • We know life happens and even with your best efforts, a bandage may get damp or wet. If the bandage feels damp, it IS damp. That means it’s time for a bandage change!

  • If the bandage, sling, or splint becomes soiled in any other way, chances are the space between the material and skin has been compromised allowing the opportunity for bacteria to grow.

When in doubt, bring your pet in for a check and change.


Abnormalities to Look for at Home

If you’re successful with keeping your pets’ bandage clean and dry, here are some other things to be mindful of:

  • Is the bandage fully intact, and in its’ original positioning? Some dressings must be applied in places with great range of motion and may slip or slide with activity. Limiting activity is always ideal for pets during recovery. You may consider only leash-walking your pet or using a crate while you are not present. Often, limiting activity between your recovering pet and any other pets in the household is crucial, too. Allow regular playtime when all are healthy and healed!
  • From what you can see, does the area and skin around the bandage appear healthy? If you see any abnormal swelling, redness, or oozing we may need to change the bandage or splint. Feel the skin. Is it warm? Is there a foul odor? If so, we worry about potential infections. If at any time you are worried the bandage or splint has been compromised, bring in for a bandage check!


In an effort to promote the best recovery for your pet, we urge you to check the bandage daily!

Look and feel for differences or abnormalities.

A good rule of thumb is when in doubt, bring your pet in to have the bandage checked!


If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your pets’ healing process, don’t hesitate to ask us. Each case is different and we want our furry friends healing quickly and in the healthiest fashion possible.


Welcoming A New Pup Into Your Home

House Training Your Puppy

Congratulations on your new puppy! Below we have compiled a quick list of general puppy training tips! Please don't hesitate to reach out to one of our technicians or veterinarians with specific questions regarding the new member of your family. 

Contact is Key!

Introducing your puppy to physical contact from the beginning is an essential part in socialization. We recommend daily doses of cuddling and snuggling. The idea is to promote pleasant physical sensations for your dog to reduce fear and stress during handling later in life. Rubbing on paws, ears, around the muzzle, and everywhere in between is how to socialize your puppy to human touch. You will be grateful for the extra contact in the long run, as will your veterinarian and support staff! Simple things like physical examinations, nail trims, medicating ears, and administering oral medications can be associated with care instead of stress.

Potty-Training your Pooch!

A scheduled routine will be your best friend while potty-training your pup. It can seem daunting, but a few key strategies will help you get your pet on the right track to being a well-mannered member of the household!

In the early days with your new puppy, you want to avoid the chance for accidents to happen. This means you are going to be taking your puppy outside to potty a lot – we mean a lot. Puppies pass food and water extremely quickly, and any excitement or activity makes that happen even faster.

We recommend taking your young puppy out every hour, at the least, depending on size. For example, a larger Labrador puppy will be able to wait longer than a Chihuahua puppy.

Each trip outside:

  •  Go to the same spot or area in the yard.
  • Use a word you wish to attach to the idea of “going,” i.e.: potty, business, pee-pee, or even just go. Repeat the chosen word or phrase at each break.
  •  When relief is successful, praise! Positive verbal reinforcement and caring pats will encourage your puppy to repeat the action in the future.
  • Immediately return into your home. You want your puppy to learn that these trips are meant for “business.”

Feeding your puppy on a schedule is an important part of this routine. Feed at the same times each day, then walk your puppy within 15-20 minutes of eating, as described above. Don’t vary from your schedule if possible – your puppy will get into the groove very quickly.

Only correct your dog when you actually catch him or her in the act, and when you do, say "no" firmly but not angrily. Then take your puppy outside to take care of business. Never get upset or punish a puppy for an accident. Also,  reprimanding a puppy for something that happened more than a minute in the past will cause confusion.

As your puppy gets older, you can extend the time between trips outside. Again, the average time in between breaks will best be determined by age and size. For specific potty-training guidelines, feel free to chat with one of our veterinarians about what is best recommended. The idea is to not allow your puppy the chance to have an accident in the home. If your think your puppy is well-trained, and begins having an unusual number of accidents, it could be due to an underlying medical issue and you should talk to your veterinarian.

Crates are Crucial!

We highly recommend crate training. When you’re not around or during your sleep time, a crate is a great alternative to letting your puppy wander around and get into trouble. Beginning at a young age will allow your new puppy the opportunity to not only get used to being in the crate, but to also enjoy crate time. There may be some initial refusal, but eventually most young dogs benefit greatly from crate training!

We see that puppies who are crate trained…

  • Have less accidents in the home. If crated in an appropriate sized crate, a young pet will learn that having an accident in their own space is undesirable. Pulling up food and water an hour before crate time will also help unwanted accidents.
  •  Display less signs of separation anxiety. The crate can be your pups’ sanctuary and offers safety. Leaving a chew toy in the crate while you’re away can reduce potential boredom and destruction.
  • Travel better in the future. While in the car, the safest transport option is to crate your dog. If he or she is already used to the crate, the stress of traveling can be reduced.   


Enjoy time with your new puppy! And as always, please call us with any questions or concerns.