Animal Pain Awareness Month - 09/13/2018
We all stub our toes, bang our elbows, or lift a heavy box the wrong way and twist our backs. But what about our furry friends? Your pet may cry out if he or she experiences sudden or acute pain; however, what if she or he doesn’t, or what if your pet is suffering from chronic pain, as is common with dental disease or arthritis? How do you know your pet is in pain?
Pets feel pain the same way we do, but they can’t tell us about it in the same way. Since they can’t use words, how do you know your pet is in pain? There are many signs that may indicate your pet is uncomfortable.
Signs of acute pain may be more obvious. For example, your pet may try to bite you or scratch you if you go near or touch the area that is painful. Signs of chronic pain may be less obvious.
Be sure to take your pet to the veterinarian if you notice any of the following changes or signs in your pet:
~ Decreased thirst or appetite
~ Decreased activity or reluctance to play
~ Reluctance to go for walks
~ Reluctance to go up and down stairs
~ Reluctance to jump on surfaces such as couches, chairs, or beds
~ Reluctance to lie down and/or difficulty rising
~ Lameness or holding a paw in the air when sitting
~ Difficulty finding a comfortable position, restlessness
~ Difficulty using the litter box or lapses in house training
~ Unusual body posture
~ Shaking or trembling
~ Sleeping more or less than usual
~ Squinting, blinking, or rubbing the eyes
~ Licking (over-grooming) a particular area, such as a paw or the hind quarters
~ Fast and shallow breathing or panting for no apparent reason
~ Purring (purring can be related to pain)
~ Unusual vocalizing (including whining, howling, yelping, groaning, growling, and whimpering in dogs; and purring, hissing, meowing, and growling in cats)
Don’t try to treat your pet’s pain on your own. Your pet may be experiencing what is called “referred pain” (pain felt in a part of the body other than its actual source). Your veterinarian will need to determine where the pain is originating from and treat it accordingly. Treatment may need to address more than just pain relief. For example, if your pet has a scratch on its cornea, this is what needs to be treated – pain medication will not correct the problem. Finally, many pain relievers that are safe for us humans to use are toxic and even fatal to dogs and cats.
Untreated pain is not something that any pet should experience. By paying attention to your pet’s behavior, you will be the first to notice the changes that may indicate that your pet is in pain. Know the signs, pay attention, and call your veterinarian if you notice any signs of possible pain. Your pet will thank you for taking good care of him or her.
Back To School Pet Tips - 08/29/2018
Whether you’re a full-time student yourself, a teacher, a parent of school-age children, or completing courses while working, the relatively relaxed summer schedule has likely gone out the window now that the fall semester has started.
It’s important not to forget about the furry members of your family that will be left home after the family departs. It’s an adjustment for your pets.
It’s easy to overlook your pets when your days are filled with early departures for work and school, carpooling, homework, and late returns from all of the after-school activities.
Here are some back to school pet tips that will take care of your pet’s needs and allow you to enjoy the time you spend together.
Start your day with a loving greeting. It only takes a minute to give your pet a quick stroke, scratch behind the ears, or hug, and it will help you both start the day off on the right foot (paw).
Set your alarm clock 15 minutes early so that you will have time to take your dog for an early morning walk. This allow both of you to get some fresh air and exercise. It’s a great way to begin the day and allows some quiet time before the hustle and bustle of your day begins.
Enjoy breakfast together. When you and your family have breakfast, feed your pet at the same time.
Chat to your pet while you prepare lunches for school or work. play fetch with your dog or play chase games with your cat while you complete your morning routine.
Don’t make a big deal of leaving. Extended departures can increase separation anxiety. Instead, encourage your family to give your pet a quick, friendly “See you later! We will be back!” without prolonging the goodbye.
Consider giving your pet a toy filled with treats or kibble to encourage some interactive play while you are preparing to leave, especially for those pets that become distressed when everyone leaves. This will distract your pet and provide her/him with some entertainment while you’re away.
When you return home, take your dog outside to play or for a walk. This will help you wind down from the busy day while providing your pet with some much needed exercise. Chat to your dog while walking or playing and praise him/her.
Allow your pet to rest beside you or your children during homework. Any contact with you is good for your pet.
Set aside time to play. You both deserve some fun every day!
Spend some time petting and/or brushing your dog or cat. Quality time and loving care will help both of you relax for the night.
Be sure to include all of your family members in caring for your pets. Assign each person a task (i.e. feeding, refreshing the water bowl, cleaning the litter box, playing, brushing). Enjoy each other!
Have a great school year!
August 22nd is Take Your Cat To The Vet Day! - 08/18/2018
Many of us consider our annual check-ups with the dentist, doctor, and optometrist the norm. These visits allow our healthcare providers to monitor our health and identify any issues that may impact our long-term well-being.
The same applies to your cat. Making time to take your cat to the veterinarian every year is just as important as scheduling your own health check-ups. Taking your cat for an annual physical examination, dental check-up and professional cleaning, rather than only seeing the veterinarian when your cat is sick or having a problem, is a step in the right direction for preventive care. Cats are masters at hiding illnesses and pain; therefore, routine exams can identify signs of disease before it becomes more serious or severe.
Cats age significantly faster than humans. cats can reach the “human age” of 15 by the end of their first year and about 24 by the end of their second year. Each subsequent calendar year, a cat ages about 4 years. That makes a 5 year-old cat about 36 in human years. Think of your own health – a lot can happen in four years. if your cat is seeing the veterinarian only every 2 or 3 years, this translates into 8 to 12 ‘cat years”.
It is crucial to have an annual examination so that your veterinarian can catch early signs of disease. prevention and early treatment is often less costly than waiting until your cat is ill or requires dental treatment.
Some common conditions that veterinarians may identify in cats are:
~ cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)
~ dental disease
~ heart murmur
~ feline upper respiratory infection
At an annual visit, any concerns or behavior changes (weight gain/loss, eating patterns, activity level, other behaviors) that you may have noticed with your cat can be discussed and addressed with your veterinarian. These subtle changes may help your veterinarian uncover hidden issues that may not pose problems now, but could down the road.
Many people avoid taking their cat to the veterinarian because it is stressful (for both the cat and the owner). Taking a few steps prior to your appointment may reduce the stress your cat experiences. Leave the cat carrier our as an alternative sleeping spot, and make it as comfy as possible with familiar smelling blankets. If your cat only goes in the car to see the veterinarian, consider going on random car rides with your cat to reduce the association of the car with the veterinary clinic.
Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be an advocate for your cat’s health and well-being and make an appointment with your veterinarian today for an annual wellness exam for your cat.
Check The Chip Day Is Coming! - 08/08/2018
Check the Chip Day is Coming up on August 15th! Many pets are microchipped for identification purposes just in case the pet becomes lost. However, the microchip is only as good as the information it carries. Therefore, it’s important to make certain you keep the information updated.
A microchip is a tiny computer chip that has a unique number. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice. The unique number on the chip is entered into an international database. Ideally, this number has been registered with the owner’s name and accurate contact information. However, if your pet was already microchipped when he or she came to live with you, the number may have been registered with the kennel club, or breeder from which the pet was purchased.
Once a microchip is implanted in your pet, it cannot be damaged or lost; however, very rarely a microchip will migrate. Microchipping is a permanent method of identification.
It is very important to update your information with the international database if your phone number, address, or email address changes. This is important because correct information will reunite you with your pet should he or she become lost. If information isn’t updated, animal shelters and clinics may not be able to locate the owner.
It is the pet’s owner’s responsibility to keep the registry informed of any change in contact information and to ensure the microchip is registered with the current owner.
Check the Chip Day reminds owners to contact their veterinarian and make an appointment to have their pets’ microchips scanned. This ensures that the chip is where it is supposed to be; and allows the pet owner or veterinarian to check to ensure the chip is registered to the correct person and associated with the correct information.
If the pet owner already knows the microchip number, there is a free on-line tool available that allows owners to enter the number and find out which database the microchip is associated with. By visiting the corresponding database website, a pet owner can check the registered contact information and update, if necessary. The website for North American microchip registries is: http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org
If your pet isn’t already microchipped or you aren’t sure if she or her is microchipped, consider making an appointment with us to have a microchip implanted today!
Dog Swim Safety - 07/19/2018
Summer is in full swing here in Arizona! Maybe you’re planning a trip to the river, lake or the beach to beat the heat for your family, including your pets. Or perhaps your backyard pool beckons your dog on our hot summer days.
Wherever you spend time cooling off and swimming with your dog this summer, remember these safety tips to prevent a drowning tragedy.
~ Check the water for hazards. Look for blue-green algae and skip the swim if there are any signs of this toxic bacteria in the water. Your dog can become very ill if he or she drinks water contaminated by blue-green algae. Also, be sure to check for fast moving water, debris, and/or rocks that could injure your dog.
~ Be especially cautious when young puppies and older dogs are near the water. Puppies may not have the required swimming skills yet. Older dogs may not realize that they are not as strong as they used to be.
~ No dog should be left unsupervised near the water, whether it be at your backyard pool, the river, lake or the beach. Your dog may suddenly tire and be unable to reach the pool exit or the shore, get into trouble in strong currents or riptides, or get caught up in debris, fishing lines, or other unseen hazards. It only takes a moment of unsupervised swimming for a dog to run into trouble.
~ Pay attention to your dog’s condition as the day goes on. If she or he appears to be getting tired, call it a day.
~ Not all dogs like water and some don’t have the natural instinct to do the “doggie paddle”. Do not force your dog to swim. Forcing him or her will only make your dog fearful of water and could have more serious consequences. If your dog panics, she or he may not be able to keep his or her head up and can quickly go under and down.
~ Teach your dog to swim if she or he doesn’t know how. If you don’t know how to start the process, consider enlisting the help of a dog trainer. We can recommend several for you. Use a dog life vest until your dog has learned the swimming skills he or she needs, or for the dogs who just don’t seem to “get it”. Supervision is still required, even when your dog is wearing a life vest.
~ If you are swimming in your pool, your dog may not be able to get out on his or her own. train your dog to use the stairs and/or lift him or her out when he or she swims to the edge.
~ If you are at the ocean, watch for jelly fish. Your dog doesn’t know that she or he should avoid these stinging creatures. Don’t allow your dog to eat fish or other sea creatures that have washed up on the shore – they can make your dog sick.
~ If the water is cold and you’re starting to feel cold, so is your dog. It’s time to call the swim over. Your dog won’t understand that it’s the water making him or her cold, and hypothermia is possible if the dog stays in the water.
~ Make sure you offer your dog fresh water all day. Swimming is exercise and your dog will need to replenish lost water. It is not ideal for your dog to drink water from the ocean (it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration), the river (it may contain bacteria and parasites that can cause illnesses such as Giardiosis, Cryptosporidiosis, Pseudomonas infections, and Leptospirosis, or the pool (high chlorine levels can cause gastrointestinal upset).
~ Be sure to rinse your dog off after swimming, whether he or she was in your pool, the river, a lake, a pond, or the ocean. Salt water, chlorine, algae, and contaminates can irritate your dog’s skin. Also, give her or him a good rub down to help her or him dry off. Spend some extra time drying your dog’s ears to help prevent ear infections.
~ Take a pet CPR course and/or consult our website for CPR tips just in case you need the knowledge. It’s good to be prepared.
Enjoy splashing with your dog! Have a good rest of your summer
Canine Overheating - 06/27/2018
Arizona summer temperatures are soaring! Even a short walk in the early morning or evening is enough to make us hot and in need of a cool drink and a dip in the pool. Imagine how your dog feels if she or he has to stay outdoors for extended periods of time in the heat, especially during the extremely hot daylight hours.
Overheating goes by many different names: heat stroke, heat prostration, or heat exhaustion. it doesn’t matter what you call it – overheating spells trouble for dogs. Our extreme Arizona heat can quickly cause more than just discomfort. It can make pets quite ill. Indeed, elevated body temperatures can be fatal.
Overheating is more likely to occur when both temperature and humidity are high, so monsoon season is especially dangerous. However, our summer temperature are so hot the danger for dogs is very present even when humidity is low. When the humidity is higher it makes it difficult for the body to cool itself.
When a dog experiences heat exhaustion, his or her body temperature may rise rapidly from about 101.5 degrees F to 104-105 degrees F. When the dog’s body reaches these temperatures, the dog is unable to regulate her or his body temperature, which continues to rise. At these temperatures, internal organs can be damaged and, without a quick cool down, major organs may become irreversibly damaged.
One of the most common causes of death due to heat exhaustion is dogs being left in a hot car with the windows closed (even for just a couple of minutes). Never leave your dog in the car, not even to run a “quick errand”.
Dogs are more prone to overheating because they don’t regulate their body temperature the same way people do. When we humans become overheated, we perspire. The perspiration evaporates and helps to cool the body.
Dogs don’t perspire. Dogs lose excess body heat by panting. However, panting doesn’t work as well as perspiring. Furthermore, dogs have a fur coat that they can’t remove. They can’t turn down the temperature on the thermostat, turn on a fan to sit in front of, or pour a tall, cold glass of water.
While all dogs can experience heat exhaustion, some are more prone to overheating than others. The very young or very old tend to have more difficulties with overheating. Overweight dogs are also more prone to overheating. Breeds with short noses, such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, and Bulldogs don’t dissipate heat as well as long-nosed breeds. Additionally, dogs with thick, heavy coats, such as Huskies and Saint Bernards, can overheat much more quickly than other dogs. These breeds require extra care and caution during hot weather.
It’s our responsibility to provide protection from the het for our dogs, especially those that spend a lot of time outdoors, or those more prone to overheating. It is important to make sure there is plenty of shade in the yard throughout the day. train your dog to rest in the shade by placing her or his water bowl and toys in the shade. Provide a constant supply of fresh, cool water. It doesn’t take long for water to heat up in our temperatures. Keep the water cool by adding ice cubes to the bowl.
Some dogs find a dip in the water very refreshing. A plastic kiddie pool works well. If you have a swimming pool, train your dog to swim and how to use the steps to exit the pool. Dogs can’t climb ladders. Accidental drownings occur all too frequently as dogs exhaust themselves when they can’t find a way out of the pool. if your pool only has a ladder, don’t allow your dog to go in the pool unless you can lift him or her out and you are supervising the swim.
Don’t exercise your dog during the day here in Arizona, especially the hottest part of the day. Sidewalks are far too hot to be walking your dog after 7 AM during our summer. Take your dogs for walks early in the morning before the concrete and air temperatures get too warm. Take shorter walks than usual. Bring a dog water bottle or collapsible water dish with lots of water and stop frequently for drink breaks. Find shaded areas to exercise. Give your dog a spray down with a hose when you finish exercising or your walk; however, let the water flow a few minutes before spraying your dog as water left sitting in the hose will be hot enough to burn your dog.
Signs of Over Heating
It’s important for you to recognize the warning signs of heat exhaustion. Pets that suffer from over heating may show the following signs:
Increased heart rate
Drooling thick, ropey saliva
With extreme heat exhaustion, dogs experience breathing difficulties and may become disoriented or non-responsive. They may collapse and be unable to move. In the most severe cases, dogs become comatose and die.
What To Do
if you notice any of these signs in your dog, provide emergency care and get to your veterinarian as quickly as possible. Immediately move your dog to a cooler area inside an air-conditioned house, under a shade tree, or in front of a fan. Wet your dog with cool (NOT ice cold) water. Gently wet her or him with a hose or immerse her or him in a tub of cool water DO NOT force your dog to drink water. Place wet towels on him or her and drive to your veterinary clinic with the air conditioner running in your car.
Your veterinarian will begin other life-saving measures in the hospital to avoid organ damage. This may include an IV with rehydrating fluids, medications to stabilize respiration and shock, and may include a hospital stay for further treatment and laboratory tests to assess organ function.
Summer is a great time to be outdoors!
Enjoy the summer while you take care to prevent over heating in both your dog and yourself.
June Is National Pet Preparedness Month - 06/07/2018
June is National Pet Preparedness Month. It’s a time to ensure that you are prepared for an emergency – not only for you, but also for your pets. The safety and survival of our pets lies with us, as pet owners, so take some time to make sure you have all of the supplies you need for your pet in the event of an emergency.
The following are items you should have packed in a “pet emergency kit.” Have this kit ready to take with you in case of evacuation.
~ Bottled water. In many emergency situations, water becomes contaminated and tap water is not safe to drink. You should have at least a 72 hour water supply for both yourself and your pet. How much water is a 72 hour supply?
A normal active person needs about 3/4 of a gallon (about 3 liters) of water (or other fluids) daily. In other words, for 72 hours, each person in your home needs about 2 1/2 gallons (9 liters) of water.
For pets, this amount varies depending on the size of the animal. Generally, a dog will drink between 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of weight per day. In other words, a 65-pound dog will drink between 1/4 to 1/2 gallon (1-2 liters) of water daily. For 72 hours, this sized dog would need about 3/4-1 1/2 gallons (3-6 liters) of water.
A cat’s daily water requirement is about 5-10 ounces of water per day. Therefore, a cat would need about 15-30 ounces of water for 72 hours.
In extreme heat, these water needs would be higher.
~ Food supply. Be sure to have a 72 hour food supply, including food and water bowls and a can opener, if you use canned pet food. Be sure to swap out food every few months to ensure that it stays fresh.
~ Pet medication. Keep a supply of your pet’s medication in your pet emergency kit. This is extremely important if your pet’s life depends on the medication. Swap out medication frequently, so that you always have fresh medicine in your kit.
~ Medical records and identification. Keep a copy of your pet’s medical records, along with your veterinarian’s contact information in your emergency kit. It’s also wise to keep a photo of your pet in the kit in case you are separated from him or her. If your pet is microchipped, keep a copy of the microchip number in the kit.
~ Toys, blankets, towels. These familiar items will help reduce the stress your pet will experience if you must evacuate your home. Consider rotating these items in the kit so that they remain familiar to your pet.
~ Brush and comb. Pack a brush and comb in your pet’s emergency kit. If your pet gets wet, you should towel her or him off and brush her or him well to avoid mats or hot spots.
~ Leash, collar, harness, crate. A carrying crate is essential when evacuating a cat. A sturdy leash and harness will help keep your dog safe and under control. Your pets may sense the distress in the situation and not respond to your commands as they normally would. Be patient with them.
~ Waste bags and hand wipes. Be sure to pack plenty of waste collection bags and hand wipes for quick hand cleaning.
ALWAYS take your pet with you. Never leave your pets behind, thinking you can return and get them later. Situations change and conditions can deteriorate quickly and you may not be able to return to your home.
ALWAYS have a back-up plan. Be sure that a friend or neighbor has access to your home to retrieve your pet and emergency kit if you are unable to get home.
Take some time and prepare or update your pet’s emergency kit with all of the important necessities and develop an emergency plan with your family that includes your pets. Hopefully, you will never need the kit, but it is better to be prepared. Your pet is depending on you to take care of him or her!
Separation Anxiety - 05/24/2018
Separation anxiety occurs when dogs are separated from their owners and become distressed, unable to relax while alone. Dogs are social creatures. They bond closely to their humans. When dogs are stressed, they will often attach to the person with whom they spend the most time and with whom they feel most comfortable. Often, dogs with separation anxiety will follow their owner from room to room when at home, and rarely spend time alone. Anxiety, defined as a feeling of uneasiness, worry or nervousness, often with a sense of impending doom, can be the cause of many behavior issues and affects about 20% of dogs.
Separation anxiety manifests itself when, as the owner makes their cues to leave (i.e. gathering keys, putting on shoes or coat, etc.), the dog associates those cues with the impending absence of their human, which then invokes the dog’s panic response. A dog’s panic response can be barking, pacing, crying, whining, urination or defecation, digging, destructive behaviors, and even depression. These behaviors continue when the dog is left alone, and when the owner returns, the dog often shows exaggerated welcoming behaviors.
Dogs can experience anxiety for a variety of reasons. Dogs that have been in shelters or recently been taken into a new home are much more likely to experience separation anxiety. The stress of being in a shelter, or of being taken from one home and brought into another, can cause a dog to strongly attach to their new owner for security. Dogs can also experience anxiety when changes occur within the household that are distressing to the dog, if they experience something while at home alone that is stressful, or as dogs mature and become increasingly attached to their owners. It is also more common in single-owner households.
How you can help your dog.
In order to help your dog deal with her or his separation anxiety, it’s important to understand that punishing your dog for any actions or behaviors that are the results of anxiety will only reinforce to the dog that she or he had reason to be afraid or nervous. Separation anxiety is a physiological response to fear, and working with your dog to modify his or her behavior should help him or her overcome the anxiety.
Training tips to help your dog:
Don’t pay attention to your dog when she or he follows you around the house.This helps the dog learn that following you around isn’t an effective way to get your attention.
Have your dog sit and wait before you interact with him or her. This sets up a predictable, structured relationship and helps your dog understand the proper way to get attention from you.
Make sure that you’re meeting your dog’s needs for social interactions. Be sure you are spending enough time playing, walking, and exercising with your dog, so that he or she isn’t feeling neglected or left out.
Spread feeding, caring, and play responsibilities between family members, so the dog doesn’t become overly attached to a single individual.
Train your dog to lie down and stay in a designated area for relaxation (I.e. bed, rug), placed in a busy area of the house, and accept periods of inattention while you are at home. Your dog will learn to relax and be content with seeing members of the household as they go about their activities, without having to be directly involved. Reward this quiet, relaxed behavior, so your dog learns that this is what will attract your attention. Gradually lengthen the periods of inattention, and your dog will become increasingly independent.
Train your dog that the departure cues that he or she associates with your leaving don’t always lead to your departure. Do these behaviors randomly, when you aren’t planning to leave, and your dog is relaxed and quiet. Repeat those actions several times a day, always when your dog is lying quietly. Your dog may respond initially to the cues with anxious behaviors, but seeing you put the items away without leaving will reduce the reaction these behaviors bring out in your dog. Eventually, your dog should disassociate those actions with your departures and the actions will no longer invoke an anxious reaction.
Before your departure, provide rigorous play or exercise. Then, when you leave, the dog is ready to settle down.
Keep your dog busy and distracted when leaving, preferably out of sight of the exit point. One helpful distraction is a treat. This also helps your dog associate your leaving with something good.
If you decide to confine your dog in a crate or kennel while you’re away, you can also confine your dog to his or her crate when you are home, with toys or a treat, so that he or she learns crate time is relaxing and pleasant rather than a punishment.
When you return, if your dog is overly excited to see you, ignore him or her until he or she settles down. Your dog will learn that the fastest way to get your attention is to settle down.
Remember, separation anxiety is based in fear. Consistently working with your dog in a patient and loving manner to change his or her behavior should help your dog overcome her or his anxiety. If you don’t feel your efforts are successful, speak with your veterinarian about alternative training and/or treatments to help your dog.
Your Pet’s Dental Health Is Important - 03/01/2018
Consistent, quality dental care is just as important for your pet’s health as it is for yours. You most likely brush your teeth daily, floss, and see the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. You take care of cavities or other dental issues as needed. You are proactive about your dental health, because you realize dental issues can worsen if neglected. They can also be more difficult to treat and more costly to address later on.
The same is true for your pets. The key to good overall health is regular, preventive dental care. Regular dental care also helps maintain a full set of healthy, pain-free teeth and gums.Periodontal disease, or more commonly, dental disease, is the gradual destruction of the teeth’s support structures, i.e. the gums and jawbone, over time. Periodontal disease begins with the accumulation of plaque that hardens into tartar, both above and below the gum line. Plaque and tartar above the gum line can usually be easily seen and removed, but accumulations below the gum line are much more damaging and challenging to treat.
Periodontal disease affects as many as 80% of dogs and 7-% of cats as early as 3 years of age. It can lead to swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth and tooth loss, pain and discomfort, difficulty eating, and infection and disease in other parts of the body, such as the liver and kidneys. Dental disease is the most common condition in pets, and it’s completely preventable. Improving your pet’s dental health is one of the best ways to prolong their life.
We are currently offering a dental special at our hospital, so, now is a great time to think about your pet’s oral healthcare routine. Although it’s something we should all be doing for our pets all year round, when life gets busy things tend to fall by the wayside. Or perhaps, like many pet owners, you are unaware of what you should be doing for your pet or unsure how to care for your pet’s teeth. The good news is that it’s easy to get started.
Bad breath is one of the first and most recognizable signs of dental disease in pets. If your pet’s breath smells strong or foul, he or she probably has dental disease. Check your pet’s teeth for plaque or tartar build-up, or red or inflamed gums. If you see any of these signs, your pet may have dental disease. Bring your pet into the veterinarian for a dental examination. Regular exams can help to identify dental disease early and treat signs before they become irreversible. Your veterinarian will also be able to recommend an appropriate treatment plan for any dental issues diagnosed as well as a home dental care routine for your pet.
To take care of your pet’s teeth at home, there are a number of products available and things you can do to maintain good oral care for your pets.Look for products that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal fo acceptance when considering dental health products for your pet. These products have been proven to slow development of plaque and/or tartar in pets.
Brush your pet’s teeth daily. This may seem difficult or even daunting; however, with a consistent, gentle approach most pets will become agreeable to daily teeth brushing. Training by your veterinarian and/or technician on proper technique, patience, and consistency are key. Be sure to use a toothbrush especially formulated for your type of pet and their size, as well as toothpaste formulated specifically for animals. Human toothpaste has ingredients in it that can make pets sick of swallowed.
Use oral rinses or gels designed for dogs. They usually contain chlorhexidine, an effective anti-plaque agent that is safe for dogs to swallow.
There are specially formulated diets and chew treats that usually have specific anti-tartar ingredients in them to help remove plaque from the teeth and reduce the formation of tartar.
Chew toys can help with plaque control; however, they must be chewed frequently and for extended periods of time to be effective. Further, water additives can be added to your dog’s drinking water, and are designed to reduce plaque and tartar as the additive coats his or her teeth.
Regular annual dental checkups and professional cleanings are recommended for all dogs and cats three years of age and older. In fact, senior pets should be seen twice a year for dental exams and possible cleanings. This not only helps maintain a healthy, pain-free mouth, it also helps prevent other more serious health issues and prolongs your pet’s life.
With patience and persistence, and the help of your veterinarian, it’s possible to take good care of your pet’s dental health. Committing to providing quality and consistent dental care for your pet will help him or her live a longer, healthier, and pain-free life.
It’s National Pet dental Health Month - 02/02/2018
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. If you don’t already brush your pet’s teeth and/or bring them to us for a regular cleaning, here are some important reasons you and your pet should participate in this important pet health month:
Prevent Periodontal Disease
Lack of regular dental care results in plaque build-up on your pet’s teeth. This plaque leads to tartar and gingivitis, which can develop into periodontal disease. Studies have shown that by the time a pet reaches the age of 3 years, 80% of cats and dogs have some form of periodontal disease. If it isn’t treated and/or managed, this disease can cause bleeding. eating difficulties, and lead to more serious health and dental problems.
Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent discomfort and pain. periodontal disease and loose teeth are painful. Our pets are remarkably good at hiding when they are experiencing pain. This is an instinctual behavior. However, just because they don’t appear to you to be experiencing pain, doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling discomfort and pain. Make sure your pet isn’t in pain or having any difficulty eating or chewing because of poor dental health.
Prevent Loose Teeth and Tooth Loss
If you’ve ever had a loose tooth, you’ll know it was uncomfortable, perhaps even painful. The progression of periodontal disease can cause loose teeth and even tooth loss. Loose teeth make activities like eating and chewing difficult for your furry friend. However, with regular care, you make sure your pet’s teeth remain healthy and prevent tooth loss.
Improve Your Pet’s Breath
Providing regular dental care can prevent bad breath. If your pet’s breath sends you running in the opposite direction, a good cleaning may be needed.
Maintain Whiter Teeth
A regular annual professional checkup and cleaning as well as daily dental routine can keep your pet’s pearly whites looking nice and white.
Increase Your Pet’s Lifespan
Gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, and periodontal disease can lead to other health problems outside of the mouth. The bacteria that develops around your pet’s teeth can enter his or her blood stream and cause more serious medical conditions, including heart, kidney, or liver disease or diabetes.
Save on Your Veterinary Bills
Although annual dental cleanings will cost you some money, they can end up saving you big bucks down the road. By maintaining your pet’s teeth – keeping them clean and free of disease, you could be saving yourself from expensive medical procedures in the future, including tooth removal, surgery, or the cost of dealing with other health conditions that could arise from periodontal disease.
These are all great reasons to schedule your pet for his or her annual dental checkup and cleaning this month. However, there’s another reason, too – you love your pet! Be sure to check out the sections on our website that talk in more detail about dental care and what is involved in a professional dental cleaning. Check out the before and after pictures, too.
Contact us today about getting started on the path to good dental care for your pet. We are running a special this month, so call to schedule your pet’s professional cleaning 480-893-0533.