Going on now through July 15 – The small rescue groups need our help more than just during the holidays so we’re launching this event by donating over 1,000 pounds of Acana kibble! That’s almost a ton of chow for the pets at Caring For Creatures, an independent rescue group in Palmyra, and one of our favorite charities. Want to help? Just purchase a few cans of food or a bag of treats in any quantity and we’ll add them to their delivery. Thanks in advance for your generosity.


Caring for Creatures Food Drive, Going on now through July 15 – The small rescue groups need our help more than just during the holidays so we’re launching this event by donating over 1,000 pounds of Acana kibble! That’s almost a ton of chow for the pets at Caring For Creatures, an independent rescue group in Palmyra, and one of our favorite charities. Want to help? Just purchase a few cans of food or a bag of treats in any quantity and we’ll add them to their delivery. Thanks in advance for your generosity.

vet checking on a dog for heartworm

Natural Heartworm Prevention

It’s important to protect your dog against potentially deadly heartworm infestation. Conventional prevention generally involves using a powerful dewormer or other medications available only by prescription to kill microfilaria – baby heartworms – in the animal’s bloodstream. These drugs have potential side effects.

However, there are alternative, natural ways to prevent heartworm disease, recommended by holistic veterinarians. Using a natural mosquito repellent in conjunction with a raw diet might preclude the need for monthly heartworm medication.


Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, infestation in dogs has been documented in all 50 states. Affected dogs may have dozens of heartworms in their bodies, with some of them reaching several feet in length. Heartworms congregate not only in the heart, but also in the lungs and blood vessels. The more worms in the body, the greater the risk.

Heartworm Transmission

Mosquitoes are the primary method of heartworm transmission in dogs. Female heartworms living in another member of the canine family’s bloodstream – whether a domestic dog, fox, coyote or wolf – produce microfilaria. When a mosquito bites an infected canine and consumes a blood meal, it also picks up the heartworm larvae. The microfilaria remain infective for the next two weeks, so any dog or cat bitten by the mosquito in that time may have heartworm larvae transmitted to them via the bite wound. In six months, the microfilaria matures into adult heartworms.

Heartworms can live in dogs for up to seven years, and in a cat for up to three years, according to the American Heartworm Society. If you effectively repel mosquitoes from your pet, theoretically, heartworm larvae aren’t transmissible.


Wondercide protects pets naturally against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, and it’s effective for treating the house and yard against pests. It is safe to use on dogs and cats. Wondercide contains only food-grade ingredients, and all of its products contain cedar oil. The odor of cedar cause insects to flee – no pun intended. Wondercide also contains silica, which kills pests via suffocation. Just a minute amount of silica is enough to close insect breathing pores.  

Choose from three natural Wondercide fragrances for your pet’s pest protection:

  • cedar
  • cedar and rosemary
  • cedar and lemongrass

Raw Diet

A raw diet strengthens a dog’s immune system, which helps keep parasites at bay. Canines naturally evolved eating raw meat and some herbs, and cooking foods remove many essential nutrients. Many holistic practitioners recommend a diet consisting of raw meat, including bones and organs. A raw diet helps keep the dog’s digestive tract clear so parasites are not attracted.  A healthy immune system may kill off heartworm larvae on its own. Keeping your dog’s heart muscles strong also involves giving him plenty of exercise.

If the dog on a raw diet does develop heartworm disease, his strong immune system helps him stay well during heartworm treatment, which is a difficult process.

Heartworm Disease Symptoms

Dogs in the early stages of heartworm infestation often show few symptoms. As the heartworms grow, so do the signs of infestation. These include:

  • persistent cough
  • exercise intolerance
  • appetite loss
  • weight loss.

Dogs with a high heartworm load may develop a swollen abdomen, heart failure, or even die suddenly. Heartworm disease symptoms in cats are often more subtle with sudden death being far more common.

Heartworm Treatment

If your dog shows any signs of heartworm infestation, they require immediate treatment. You will require the services of an emergency pet care professional for diagnosis and eradication of canine heartworms.






Insects are out in full force – are you prepared? Our all-natural, chemical-free products will keep your pets and your family safe! Choose from Wholistic Pet diatomaceous earth, Wondercide sprays (citronella, lavender/rosemary or cedar), Earth Animal herbal shampoos/sprays, Pops Organics product and more. We’ve even got a stock of Young Living Essential Oils should you wish to make your own combinations. And, for those who are looking for easy to use monthly applications, we offer Natural Defense Spot On. Wondercide also makes a great mosquito repellents that are safe to use for your pets and for your family. And for heartworm, we do have several options for internal cleansing to create an environment where they won’t want to live. But if you are in a wetland area, please check with your holistic vet for the best options for prevention.


Our new in-store grooming salon is bigger and better than ever before! And we have a new mobile grooming trailer, now available to travel to your neighborhood! Whether you choose in-house or mobile services, all full grooms include: Hydro Bath with all natural shampoo, Turbo Dry (no cage drying ever!), Clipping or Scissoring (or Terrier Stripping), Ear Cleaning, Nail Trimming & Shaping, De-Shedding, and Teeth Brushing. Flea/Tick Treatments are available at an extra charge – no chemicals and they are very effective. Our “Summer Special” offers all these services plus a “Yes we live in Virginia and it’s hot and humid” Skin Treatment – a refreshing Green Tea/Aloe bath, perfect for scratchy itchy skin or dogs who tend to have hot spots. For cats, we offer de-matting, bath/dry, nail trimming and lion clips for long haired breeds.


Join us for family fun with your dog at the Keswick Horse Show! Enjoy classes like Beginner’s Agility, Musical Chairs, Best Costume, the ever-popular Family Class and Best Rescue! Registration begins 5pm at the Upper Ring and the show begins at 6pm, rain or shine. All winners receive great prizes and vie for “Best In Show.” Refreshments available on the grounds. All dogs must be good with other dogs and must be on a leash.


“HOP ON IN” SATURDAY, MARCH 26 from 1:00 – 4:00 FOR A SPECIAL EASTER EVENT! Join the hunt for colored eggs all over the store… they’ll be filled with treats and coupons! Find the special “golden egg” and you can win over $100 in cool stuff for pets! Prizes will be awarded for the most original Easter bonnet and we’ll announce the big winner on our Facebook page.

Dog Boarding – What to Look for in a Care Provider

Cute Happy Havanese Puppy Dog Is Sitting Before A Pet Crate

Leaving your dog in another’s care is naturally nerve-racking. A good care provider, whether that’s a boarding kennel or in-home care, enables you to relax and not worry when going away.

When looking for a care provider, consider your dog’s special needs. That’s not just their physical needs, but also their emotional makeup. Outgoing, exuberant dogs usually fare well in a boarding situation. Shy, nervous canines are another story. It’s important to find the right situation for your dog.

Prior to bringing your dog to a boarding kennel, ensure that they are current on all his vaccinations. They will need a bordetella – better known as kennel cough – inoculation, and a canine influenza shot. Any boarding situation that does not require proof that your dog is fully vaccinated is one to avoid.  


Boarding Kennels

First impressions count. When visiting a potential kennel, make use of your senses. How it looks, smells and sounds tell you a lot about the place. Kennels are not the quietest places in the world, but excessive barking usually means bored, attention-starved canines. Speak with the manager and available kennel staff. Consider their attitude, professionalism, and the questions they ask you about your dog when making a boarding decision. Good kennels want to know about your dog’s temperament, behavior, health, and any special requirements.

The management should inquire about whether your dog is currently on a flea and tick preventive and the type of flea/tick control you use. Reputable kennels do not want boarders bringing parasites onto the premises.

Kennel Inspection

Make sure the kennel allows you to thoroughly inspect the facility. You want a clean, well-lit, well-ventilated, inviting place for your dog to stay. Check the outdoor runs to see if they are protected from the elements. If the kennel only offers indoor runs, find out how often and for how long dogs are taken for walks each day. Inside, kennels should offer air conditioning in hot weather and heat when the temperatures drop. Because dogs in a strange place may try to escape, look around the perimeter of the facility. It should have strong, well-maintained fencing to ensure that an escapee can’t get very far.

Each individual run should always have fresh, clean water available. The dog’s sleeping area should be comfortable. Some kennels allow you to bring your own dog bed.

Feeding Policy

Most kennels will allow you to provide your own food for your dog, if that’s what you want or need to do. Otherwise, kennels generally feed one specific type of food to all dogs, or have several types available and the client chooses a brand for their pet. If your dog has special dietary requirements – even if it consists of foods they mustn’t eat – let the kennel management know and confirm they can accommodate their needs.

Ask Questions

It’s important to understand the kennel’s schedule and practices. Find out beforehand about:

  • individual socialization time, the one-on-one attention your dog receives daily
  • staff to dog ratio – at least one person for every 10 dogs
  • feeding and exercise schedule
  • night staffing
  • separation by size for any group living or playtime
  • veterinary care for emergencies, and whether the dog can be transported to your own vet
  • additional services, such as dispensing medication, grooming or training
  • facility insurance

You don’t want any unfortunate situations or surprises because you didn’t ask.

In-home Boarding

You might prefer that your dog stay in a home environment, especially if you’re going away for a considerable length of time. While many people do informal pet-sitting, your best bet is a person who belongs to a national pet-sitting organization and is certified by that agency. These at-home pet sitters are bonded and insured. Always ask an in-home boarding provider for client references.

The criteria for in-home boarding are similar to that of boarding kennels, including vaccination and parasite control. You’ll want to know whether your pet has the run of the house or is confined to certain spaces. Inspect the fencing in the dog’s yard area for any holes or evidence of digging out.  Find out how often the pet sitter is out of the house every day, and where your dog will stay during that period. If no one is home for much of the day, you’re probably better off with a different boarding situation.

It’s imperative for you and your dog to have a meet-and-greet with the pet sitter and their family members, both two-and four-legged. Even the best pet sitters may have animals that simply don’t get along with your dog, or your dog might not feel comfortable around children. Ask the pet sitter whether any other boarding dogs or other animals will stay in the home during your dog’s time there. If possible, ask to have a meet-and-greet at the sitter’s home with those pets to see if they get along.

Get Recommendations

Ask your veterinarian and friends about good boarding options in your area. If you have a dog trainer or belong to a dog club, that’s another good source of advice. A community website or Facebook page is another place to ask questions and get feedback. It never hurts to contact the Better Business Bureau and find out if complaints have been filed against the kennel.

Stock Up on High Visibility Apparel!

When the days are getting shorter, your dogs should wear reflective vests, leads and collars for their early morning and after work walks. Cats too should have high visibility collars to be seen in the dark. We have reflective wear in stock, including rechargeable LED options. Also, if you are in an rural area where hunting is allowed, please make sure all your pets (as well as horses and people) wear blaze orange gear so they’ll be safe.