Your pets’ oral health is crucial to his/hers overall well-being. Keeping your pets’ mouth healthy will not only make them happy; but you as well! With all the confusing information on the internet, we have created a brief list of “Do’s and Don’ts” to keep in mind.
~ DO Brush Daily: Nothing can compare to a daily teeth brushing to keep a mouth healthy! Introduce the toothbrush as early as possible and slowly brush in a circular motion – making sure you reach every tooth.
~ DO Schedule Regular Vet Visits: Most veterinarians recommend an examination every six months. One of those reasons is to make sure your pet is not developing any oral infection or an accumulation of plaque and tartar.
~ Don’t Ignore Bad Breath: This is the most common symptom of oral infection. If you have to turn your head away because of your pets’ bad breath – you need to schedule a dental exam with your veterinarian. It’s possible your pet will need to have a dental cleaning under anesthesia to remove the plaque and clean up the infection.
~ DO Feed a dry food: Feeding a kibble that requires your pet to “crunch” while eating will help to prevent tartar build-up. Some diets are designed with a specific shape, size, or ingredient to help with your pets’ oral health.
***Extra Tip: Small and Toy breeds do NOT need a “Tiny Bites” size kibble. Most small breeds are predisposed to bad teeth and feeding a small kibble does not benefit them.
~ Don’t feed people food: Feeding people food or “Table Scraps” isn’t healthy for your pet. A good quality pet food will have some form of dental health formulated into your pets’ daily feeding. People food will not have this added benefit; which allows plaque and tartar to adhere and accumulate on your pets’ teeth.
~ DO give them chew toys: Take advantage of your dog’s natural instinct to chew and offer a toy that has different textures and surfaces. These will massage the gums and can even help with tartar build-up.
~ Don’t give them “Bones”: Bones that have been cooked become brittle and are more likely to splinter. These small pieces of bone can cause severe irritation and even perforation of the throat, stomach, and intestines. Large “raw” bones can lead to fractured or broken teeth. Hollow “marrow” bones can become caught around the lower jaw and require surgical removal.
~ Don't do “Anesthesia Free” cleanings: Dental cleanings performed without anesthesia give owners a false sense of security in the health of their pet. Many pets will not allow a thorough oral exam while awake and can cause further trauma by moving around with sharp dental instruments inside their mouth. While the teeth may “look” good once the tartar has been chipped off; the majority of infection lies beneath the gum line and will be overlooked unless the pet is under anesthesia. “Anesthesia Free” cleanings are usually performed by someone who is not a licensed veterinarian and will not be able to prescribe any antibiotics after the cleaning. These antibiotics are crucial in fighting the infection that is present under the gum line.
Remember, your pets' oral health is very important! If you are concerned or have questions, consult with your pets' veterinarian. They will help you determine the severity of your pets' oral infection and create a plan for treatment and prevention.
Very few of us want to go outside in these below freezing temperatures to walk the family pet. Chances are your pets don't want to go out either! Whether it's to shed a few of those extra pounds, use up some of that "Puppy/Kitten Energy", or keep an older dog's joints from getting too stiff, we need to make sure they are getting adequate exercise during the cold winter months. Here are a few easy ways to make sure they continue to get their daily exercise while staying inside where it's warm.
2. Indoor Agility Course: This is another fun "outdoor" activity that can be modified for indoor use. You can create your agility course using anything and everything you already have in your house. An old hula hoop to jump through, couch cushions made into a tunnel, laundry baskets to jump over, chair legs to weave through, etc. Use your imagination and once you have created your course; enjoy teaching your pet each new obstacle! This not only works them physically, but also mentally!
3. Scavenger Hunt: Hide your pets' food and/or treats around the house and then let them search around to find them! This is a great way to get them some exercise on their own. Just be careful with the "extra" treats - this would be best to use with the amount of food that they are already getting.
5. Laser Tag: Cats will LOVE this game! Have them chase a laser around the room! Just be careful to not shine the laser directly in their eyes. Some dogs will also enjoy this game - so go ahead and try it with them!
Quick Tip: Follow up with a "Real Toy" that they can actually catch and play with to keep them interested and engaged for the next time.
6. Cat Tower: A multi-level cat tower can be a fantastic way to encourage activity for your cat. Cats naturally like to climb and these towers provide an indoor "tree" for this. Placing the tower near a window will also give them access to natural sunlight for naps and a way to observe any outdoor activity.
7. Catnip: This inexpensive herb is a great way to get your cat active. Although not all cats will be affected by it, those that are usually experience several minutes of hyperactivity. Some cats like to play with it while others will content to sniff at it occasionally. Whether you use the dried herbal form, found in most toys, or have a live plant - please remember to offer it sparingly. No more than once every 3-4 days.
Since each and every pet is different, not all of these activities will be a good fit for you and your pet. Don't be discouraged if "Fluffy" doesn't like social outings or the agility course, try a different activity! Feel free to change or modify these suggestions to find what works best for you and your pet.
Do you brush your pets' teeth? Chances are, you are among the majority of pet owners and do not brush your pets' teeth as a daily routine.
If you do - Great Job!
Signs of Oral Disease
In most cases, owners are not aware there is a problem until they notice the bad breath or trouble eating. However; the infection and build-up of plaque and tartar has already started damaging the teeth and surrounding gum tissue. If left untreated, the plaque and tartar continue to collect and push against the gum tissue causing red, swollen, and sometimes bleeding gums. This can cause the teeth to decay, loosen, and/or fall out which then allows the bacteria and infection to enter the bloodstream and travel to the rest of the body, causing additional health concerns. It is best to check your pets' teeth and gums periodically for any issues and have a thorough dental exam every six months by your veterinarian. However; if you notice any of the above symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with you veterinarian as soon as possible.
During a dental cleaning, your veterinarian:
Although daily brushing, with a specially formulated toothpaste, is the best prevention of oral disease, there are many other ways to help prevent or delay the need for a full dental cleaning. The most convenient is to feed a dental diet food, which has specially designed kibble to maximize the need to chew and specifically formulated ingredients to help break down the build-up of plaque before it can develop into tartar. A few examples would be Hill's Prescription Diet t/d and Hill's Healthy Advantage Adult Oral Plus. Another convenient method is dental chews and treats with specially formulated ingredients to break down the plaque. A few proven favorites are Greenies Pet Treats, C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews, Hill's Prescription Diet Dental Care Chews, and OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews.
It is NEVER too late to start a dental care routine for your pet!
Allergies are an aggravating nuisance! I am feeling very strongly about that as I sit here writing this while my throat is scratchy and I have no voice from my own personal seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, our pets also suffer from allergies and we usually see an increase in the “my dog is scratching himself raw!” appointments around this time of year. Autumn in all her splendor can cause some serious issues for us and our pets. Just the other day, as I was headed in to the exam room for our third “itchy pet” appointment before 10:00 am, I wondered how many pets we would see by the end of the day that came in for allergy related issues. It was five! And we only saw appointments until noon that day! That was almost HALF of our appointments that morning.
Logue's TLC Pet Hospital is committed to providing exceptional service to our clients, while maintaining the highest standard of medical care to their pets. This commitment includes taking the time to educate our clients and making sure they understand the diagnosis and treatment that has been prescribed.