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Importance of a Dental for Your Pet

By Health, Uncategorized

Cat and toothbrush

Importance of a Dental for Your Pet

Though pets are less likely to develop cavities which are the leading cause of tooth pain and other oral health problems in humans, they can develop serious problems with teeth and gums as well. And besides affecting their dental health, these can also seriously affect your pet’s overall health. To make sure that your pet’s teeth and gums are healthy, you should take your dog or cat to a vet for a dental exam and cleaning at least once a year. Just like in humans, dental problems in pets are a lot easier and less expensive to treat if detected early, not to mention a lot less painful too!

Causes of Dental Problems in Pets

As mentioned earlier, cavities are not as common in pets as in humans. However, both dogs and cats are prone to a host of dental problems which, just like cavities, can cause a lot of pain, tooth loss and even jeopardize their overall health. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of dental problems in pets and besides affecting oral health, it also puts dogs and cats at the increased risk of kidney, liver and heart disease. The good news is that periodontal disease can be both successfully prevented (or at least significantly postponed) and treated with regular dental cleaning and proper oral hygiene. The same goes for other common problems with teeth and gums.

Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth and Gums Healthy

Periodic dental cleaning which involves removal of plaque and tartar combined with regular tooth brushing is the best way to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. Periodontal disease (as well as many other oral health problems) in dogs and cats are caused by plaque and tartar buildup. Unfortunately, the accumulation of plaque and its hardening into tartar can’t be prevented. Therefore it is crucial to have it periodically removed by your vet. In between dental cleanings, you are highly recommended to regularly brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth.

While tooth brushing can’t remove the built-up plaque and tartar, it will dramatically reduce their accumulation. It is recommended to brush your pet’s teeth on a daily basis but even occasional brushing is better than no brushing at all. The majority of dogs eventually allow tooth brushing. Cats, on the other hand, require a lot of patience and persistence.

Dental Cleaning Products not a Replacement for Tooth Brushing

Dental cleaning products including dental toys and treats can help maintain your pet’s dental health, however, they are not a replacement for tooth brushing. Also, not all have the same effect. If you would like to use dental cleaning products, ask your vet for advice.

When to See Your Vet

Even with the best dental care, dogs and cats can develop problems with teeth or gums, or both. If your pet is having any of the symptoms listed below, don’t wait for the annual dental checkup and call your vet right away:

– tooth discoloration
– broken tooth
– bad breath
– loss of appetite
– excessive drooling, difficulty chewing and/or eating
– bleeding from the mouth
– loose teeth
– pain around the mouth
– lumps in the mouth

It’s National Walk Your Pet Month!

By Guides, Health

dog-walkIt’s National Walk Your Pet Month!

What better time for you and your pooch to get moving!

Here are ten reasons why walking your dog is beneficial:

  1. Provides an outlet for their energy. Dogs build up a certain amount of energy every day that needs to be expended. If it doesn’t happen through walking, it will often result in bad, destructive behavior or separation anxiety.

 

  1. Walking aids greatly in training your dog. Draining energy results in a calmer, satisfied and more submissive dog who is much more likely to focus on you and your training. The walk itself should be a time of training. Done correctly, it can reinforce the bond between you and your dog and will help to establish you as the pack leader.

 

  1. Fulfills his natural roaming and exploring instincts. In nature dogs walk as a pack and roam for miles every day searching for food and water. Even though your dog is not a wild dog, walking is still in their natural instinct. Dogs are working, thinking animals that need a purpose beyond just sitting or sleeping all day long. Walking provides a sense of direction and accomplishment.

 

  1. Provides both physical and mental stimulation. Exploring their surroundings withtheir senses is also an instinctual activity for dogs. During the course of a walk your dog will be exposed to all sorts of smells, sights and sounds. This also acts as a mental workout for the brain.

 

  1. Provides much needed social interaction. Socialization is an important part of any dog’s life, especially in their early years. When walking you will most likely encounter other people, children and other dogs. This will help to build her confidence and social skills. Dogs who are not walked can become more fearful and shy, or might lack the necessary social skills to interact with people and other dogs.

 

  1. Provides exposure to a wide variety of “worldly” things, creating a more confident and stable dog. A dog who is walked often will become more comfortable around all sorts of things such as bicycles, skateboards, traffic noises, loud trucks, mailmen, etc. Dogs without this exposure can become fearful, skittish and territorial, seeing every strange sound, vehicle or person as a threat.

 

  1. If you own other dogs, walking them together will help them to bond with each other as a pack and prevent behavior problems between them.

 

  1. Dogs are social beings that crave our attention – walking with them provides your attention and interaction with them.

 

  1. Regular walking can lengthen and improve the quality of life for your dog.

 

  1. And best of all… you will have a walking buddy and a reason yourself to get out, get moving, enjoy the fresh air and get yourself healthy and fit.

 

 An by all means, if your dog is having difficulty walking or moving, call us to schedule and appointment.  

 

Thunderstorms and New Year's Fireworks Can Lead to Noise Phobia in Pets

By Guides, Health, News

cat dog fireworksThunderstorms and New Year’s Fireworks Can Lead to Noise Phobia in Pets

Pets are not as thrilled about the New Year’s fireworks as their human owners. Just the opposite, they find the noise very stressful and even scary. The same counts for thunderstorms, especially when it comes to dogs although excessive fear of thunders, fireworks, gunshots and other loud noises can be developed by cats and other pets as well. And with each exposure, the fear tends to intensify, often progressing to noise phobia. Besides causing a major distress for both the pet and their owners, noise phobia also poses a risk of injury which can occur while the pet is trying to run away from the source of noise.

Dogs More Likely to Develop Noise Phobia than Cats

Irrational fear of loud noises such as thunders and New Year’s fireworks can be developed by both cats and dogs as well as other pets including horses. However, it is much more likely to be developed by dogs than cats. It remains unknown what causes noise phobia in pets and in most cases, there is no single trigger. But in most cases, the fear grows bigger with each exposure and eventually, the animal may also develop fear of similar noises/sounds and related events.

Signs and Symptoms of Noise Phobia

Animals suffering from noise phobia can display fear of loud noises in many different ways. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include trying to escape, hiding, shaking, pacing, drooling, whining, urinating/defecating, refusing to obey and panting, to mention just a few. As the animals try to run away from the source of the noise, they can injure themselves, while those succeeding to escape can get lost.

Making Loud Sounds Less Terrifying for Your Pet

If your pet suffers from noise phobia or is afraid of certain noises such as thunders and New Year’s fireworks, there are several things you can do to make the noise less stressful and frightening:

– Keep your pet away from sources of loud noises such as fireworks. As mentioned above, the fear tends to increase with each exposure. Therefore, it is best to avoid events such as New Year’s celebrations involving fireworks.

– Keep your pet indoors during thunderstorms. Pets generally feel safer with their owners and as a result, thunder and lightning appear less frightening. You may also run a kitchen fan or TV to mask the noise and distract your pet.

– Watch your attitude. The way you behave during thunderstorms and other ‘scary’ events has a major impact on your pet. Try to stay calm and take a comforting stand but be sure not to be overly comforting because the animal may misinterpret it as an approval of their behavior. Also, don’t punish your pet because it will only make things worse.

– Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier if you must go outside during a thunderstorm, fireworks or other loud event. Animals that are afraid of loud noises instinctively try to run away from the perceived threat and they don’t respond to commands. As a result, they are virtually impossible to control unless on a leash or in a carrier.

– Ask your vet for help. If your pet’s fear of loud noises is severe or if you suspect noise phobia, turn to your vet for help. There are several treatment options, with medications and behavior modification being the most common approaches to treatment of this irrational form of fear.