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Archive for the ‘Dental Hygeine’

New Year’s Resolutions For Your Dog…And You01.14.14

Everybody wants to start the New Year off on the right foot…or in the case of pet parents, the right feet. What are some of the changes you want to see in your dog’s life for the coming year? If you and your dog need to get in shape, find a better eating plan, or just generally de-stress, we have some suggestions for you. Here are five resolutions you and your dog can enjoy together.

1. My dog and I need to get in shape…

If you can’t easily feel your dog’s ribs under a thin layer of skin and there is no significant waistline dip between her ribs and her hips, then chances are your pooch may be anywhere from slightly overweight to obese. Extra pounds can add stress to your pet’s cardiac and respiratory systems, make it difficult for her liver and kidneys to function normally, and strain her joints. As it does in humans, the added weight can detract from her health and take years off her life.

This year, make a plan to take your pooch for longer walks instead of just quickly traipsing around the block after dinner. Go on some over-country hikes or even short runs to increase her activity level. Take her to the doggy park so that she can socialize, run, and play with her canine friends. Throw a ball and play fetch (or just chase her down to retrieve the ball) for an afternoon in your backyard.

All of these activities are guaranteed to increase muscle strength and burn calories and fat on your dog…and you.

2. I want to make sure my pooch gets more nutritious foods and treats…

Now that your dog is playing harder and exercising more, take a look at the kind of foods she eats and what ingredients are in her kibble. Most commercial foods and treats are processed with fillers, chemical preservatives, and un natural coloring and flavoring agents. These ingredients may or may not be harmful to your pet, but by and large, they have no nutritional value. Additionally, if you have a dog with skin allergies, commercial foods containing corn or wheat gluten may be exacerbating her itching problems.

Because of those additives, we recommend feeding your pooch grain-free kibble, a homemade diet using products found in your pantry and refrigerator, or a raw diet. You can go online and research to find which foods or diet would work best for your dog, your budget, and your time. If your choose a homemade diet, look for easy one-, two-, or three-ingredient recipes that provide all the proteins, carbs, and fats your dog requires. Additionally, acquaint yourself with those foods that your dog can eat safely and those foods that she should never eat. Onions, grapes, avocados, chocolate, and yeasty bread dough come to mind. Look for healthy, all-natural, organic treats and nutritional bars and supplements that not only taste good to your pet, but also are good for them.

**Please note: Never start your dog on a new diet or a new food without first consulting with your veterinarian.

3. Giving back to dogs in need

Let’s face it, your dog is pretty lucky, The fact that you are reading this educational dog health blog means you care! Why not give back to other dogs that aren’t as lucky. One really easy way to do that which won’t cost you an extra penny is by buying your dog food and treats from DOG for DOG. For every bag of food or treats you buy one is given to a dog in need! Check out their all natural food and treats and amazing mission.

4. Take care of your dog’s teeth!

Caring for your dog’s teeth is as important a part of owning a pet as feeding and bathing him. It’s unfortunately true that a large percentage of dogs have oral health problems by the time they are three years of age. You can reduce the likelihood of your dog becoming one of these statistics by establishing a dental care routine right from when he’s a puppy.

Other statistics show that just by caring for your dog’s teeth, you can add 3-5 years to her life! Isn’t that amazing? Most of us don’t ever brush our dog’s teeth– EVER. But now you know, so you’ll do something to change that.

The most important part of your dog’s home dental care routine is brushing his teeth (or if your dog resists brushing there are lots of other ways to take care of her teeth). This prevents plaque accumulating on his teeth and gums, and hardening into tartar. Ideally, you should brush his teeth twice daily, just as you do your own. However, life can sometimes get in the way, so if you can manage it once a day, that’s certainly better than not at all. And if you’re like most people once every few days would still be heroic!

5. Grooming should not be so stressful…

Some dogs love the water and love getting regular baths. If yours is one that hides when she hears the bath water running, it may be time to try de-stressing her.

The scent of lavender has long been shown to have a calming effect on both humans and animals, so bathing and conditioning your dog in an lavender shampoo might be a way to ease her water anxieties.You can also try using a leave-in spritzing conditioner made with lavender and calming chamomile to help her stay relaxed after bathing.

For maximum effect try an oral calming remedy. We like Sleepytime Tonic which helps to calm and soothe an anxious pooch. Also perfect before fireworks, travel and trips to the groomer and vet.

For those times when bathing is not an option, a spray-on waterless shampoo and dry bath might be just the ticket. Made with ingredients that eliminate the odor-causing proteins on your dog’s skin and fur, you won’t need to drag her to the tub and get her wet to help her smell and feel better – easing stress levels for both of you.

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Taking Care Of Your Dog’s Teeth Could Add Years To Her Life11.18.13

by Cate Burnette, RVT

As your pet ages, she becomes more susceptible to the chronic diseases that can make her senior years painful and unhappy. Her heart, kidneys, and liver are more sensitive to the effects of the bacteria in her body that causes dental disease. Keeping her teeth clean and her mouth free from periodontitis can extend her life.

Veterinarians estimate that between 75 and 80% of middle-aged dogs have gum disease, and a new study out of Purdue University shows a clear link between gum disease and heart disease in canines. In the study, dogs with no periodontal disease were diagnosed with endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves, in 1% of the cases. Those dogs with chronic periodontal disease were diagnosed with endocarditis   in 15% of the cases.

Researchers believe that the bacterium causing the gum disease is the culprit behind the heart disease. Mouth tissue – the gums and the other soft areas of the mouth – are rich with blood vessels, and this hastens the speed at which bacteria can enter your dog’s bloodstream and travel throughout her body.

In periodontal disease, the surface of the gums is weakened and compromised. That breakdown of gum tissue allows the bacteria in your dog’s mouth to go directly into the blood coursing through the rest of her organs. The Purdue study indicates the same strain of oral bacteria causing gum disease infects the heart valves and results in endocarditis.

Certain strains of oral bacteria leave behind sticky proteins that can adhere to the walls of your dog’s arteries. As that protein builds up, the arteries thicken and this narrowing of the blood passageway is closely associated with heart disease. Bacteria are also known to cause the formation of blood clots that can damage the heart and lead to heart failure and stroke.

Not surprisingly, those same bacteria can infect your dog’s kidneys and liver, leading to chronic disease and eventual organ failure.

The best preventive measures to ease your pooch into her senior years without organ disease revolve around regular, at-home dental brushings and annual oral examinations with possible prophylactic tooth cleanings by your veterinarian.

You can go to your vet clinic, your local pet stores, and online retailers to purchase doggy toothpaste and a toothbrush for daily brushings. The toothbrushes are manufactured to fit in your dog’s mouth comfortably and the toothpastes come in flavors that she will love – all to make it easier for you to perform this daily chore with little to no hassle.

Additionally, for those times when you don’t have her toothbrush/toothpaste handy, all-natural dental wipes that can keep the teeth clean and the breath fresh are available for use. You could also try a probiotic anti-plaque spray that goes directly onto her teeth and gums to reduce the bacteria causing gum disease and infections. All-natural fresh breath foams take just a squirt after mealtime to check the growth of microbes and stem bad breath.

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to help prevent periodontal disease in your pup is also one of the newest on the market. Organic, oral care water additives make it easy to loosen plaque build-up and freshen her breath and while she drinks from her water bowl. Just a few drops a day added to her regular drinking water are all that is needed to help her stay gum disease free.

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Home Dental Care Can Save You Thousands At The Vet11.12.13

by Cate Burnette RVT

We’ve all heard that old adage “Prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That could NOT be truer than when it comes to keeping your dog’s teeth and gums free of disease through annual veterinary cleanings. Often, that “pound” becomes a large amount of British Sterling “pounds,” Dollars, Euros, Pesos, or whatever monetary unit your home country designates.

In 2011, Neena Pelligrini, a reporter for the Seattle Times newspaper, received an estimate from her vet’s office for a prophylactic cleaning of her dog’s teeth for an article she was writing on veterinary costs.

According to the article, “It appears to be a standard itemized estimate that ranges from $500 to $900. The cleaning itself is $99. Add $33 for X-rays, $11 for polishing and $21 for sealing. There are separate charges for pre-anesthesia, induction, monitoring and the general anesthesia itself. This adds $120 to the estimate. What’s left? Drugs before, during and after the procedure, hospitalization fees, etc. The bill could jump by hundreds, even thousands, if you add extractions, fillings or even root canals. Is all of this really necessary?”

Her article went on to say that most veterinarians charge individual costs for a pre-anesthetic physical exam and bloodwork, dental x-rays, an oral exam, anesthesia, a complete dental cleaning, any type of oral surgery – including extractions, and all medications. The more detailed procedures, including those with extended periods under anesthesia and those with numerous tooth extractions, were more expensive.

If the dog has advanced periodontal diseases, deep scaling and even surgery might be required. Early stage disease may require only a thorough cleaning, but late-stage surgery or extractions can cost $1,000 or more.

Costs also depend on where you live. Veterinary cleanings are typically more expensive in large, urban cities than in smaller cities or rural areas.

Most veterinarians will tell you the best way to cut costs is to brush your pet’s teeth daily at home so that plaque and tartar don’t build up and periodontal disease is kept at bay.

Veterinary clinics, pet supply stores, and online shops sell doggy sized toothbrushes that cost very little money. Many vets and retailers often combine doggy toothpaste and a toothbrush into a combo pack that allows you additional savings.

If brushing regularly is not an option, other substitutes for dental hygiene are available. Alternative cleaning solutions include dental wipes that can keep the teeth clean and the breath fresh, and a probiotic anti-plaque spray that reduces the bacteria causing plaque, bad breath, gum disease, and infections.

Oral care water additives make it easy to freshen your dog’s breath and loosen plaque build-up while she drinks from her water bowl, and are a relatively new innovation to at-home dental care. All-natural fresh breath foams also make it easy to keep your pet’s teeth clean at home. Just a squirt after mealtime daily inhibits the growth of microbes that cause periodontal disease.

According to pet insurance companies, these at-home products typically cost between $30 and $60 per year, but they can save you thousands of dollars on veterinary dental bills.

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4 Tips To Use When Your Dog Resists Home Tooth Brushing10.23.13

More than half of dog owners NEVER brush their dog’s teeth! But as pet parents, we all know we should be taking regular care of our pet’s teeth. Not only can daily brushing save us money and time on clinic visits, but keeping your dog’s teeth as clean as possible helps prevent oral bacteria from traveling to the heart and kidneys and causing disease in those organs.  Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Take this 7 second survey and let us know (be honest please!) http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GRBKHFX

But what can you do if your dog resists her regular brushings? Is there a way to make this chore easier for both of you?

The answer is YES…and we’ve given you some tips on doggy tooth brushing that can help both you and your pooch de-stress during this daily ritual.

Tip #1 – Acclimate your dog to having her mouth handled. This procedure can be used if your pet doesn’t like having her lips or mouth examined, and as training for any new dog in your house. Additionally, we highly recommend using this technique as a teaching tool for puppies.

When your dog is totally relaxed and cuddling with you, softly reach down and gently run your finger under her lips and over her gums, all around the outside of her teeth. If she initially resists, back off, let her relax a bit, and try again. Practice this exercise consistently every time you are snuggling together until she no longer backs away from your touch.

Tip #2Even though a daily home brushing is ideal, we all know the reality is that most dog’s hate getting their teeth brushed  and there are going to be times when you’re either out of hours or out of patience. So right from the beginning start using oral rinses and water additives which can provide the dental care needed to keep your dog’s teeth in good shape.

All-natural water additives poured directly into your dog’s bowl can loosen plaque build-up and freshen her breath whenever she takes a drink. Made with fatty acid salts that inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold, and baking soda to fight bad breath and remove plaque and food particles, water additives are an easy way to help your pet’s oral hygiene.

Foams and rinses are another alternative to brushing when life gets too busy. Compounded from the same all-natural ingredients as organic water additives, this new type of oral foam deodorizes your pup’s breath while fighting plaque and bacteria, all without alcohol or harsh chemicals.

Tip #3 – Introduce the toothbrush. Once she is consistently relaxed, you can introduce her toothbrush into this training. Make sure you have either a regular doggy toothbrush small enough to fit comfortably between your pet’s lips and gums, or one of the soft brushes that fit over your finger and slide easily into the proper position.

Use the same technique you tried when introducing your dog to having her mouth examined, substitute her toothbrush for your finger. Make sure she is relaxed when you begin working with the brush, and keep practicing over time until she is totally calm and stress-free each time you put the brush against her teeth.

Tip #4 – Bring on the toothpaste. Now that your pooch is acclimated to having your fingers and her toothbrush in her mouth, you can familiarize her with her toothpaste. Most canine toothpastes are formulated with either a beef or chicken flavoring that makes the paste more palatable for your dog, and she is less likely to resist or spit it out if you choose the kind of flavor she likes. If those flavors don’t work for her, try an all-natural, vanilla-flavored toothpaste to help satisfy even the pickiest dog.

Initially, try placing just a small amount of the toothpaste on your pup’s gums or lips so that she has to lick it off and taste it. Once she realizes that she likes the taste, she is less likely to be resistant to your brushing with it.

Using the same consistently gentle technique as before, you’re now ready to really brush your pet’s teeth in earnest. Using your soft canine brush and toothpaste, let the friction of small, circular motions remove any plaque or food particles found on the outside of the teeth on both the upper and lower jaw. You don’t need to open your pup’s mouth and brush the insides of the teeth; saliva and the action of the tongue tends to dispense with anything left behind in that part of the mouth. There is also no need to rinse her mouth after brushing. Canine toothpastes are made to be swallowed, without all the harsh chemicals found in human toothpastes.

Please remember: NEVER use human toothpaste, mouthwash, or dental rinses to clean your dog’s teeth. Many of the products we use in our human mouths contain harsh chemicals and alcohol that can be toxic to your pooch.

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6 Quick and Easy Ways To Take Care Of Your Dog’s Teeth10.17.13

by Cate Burnette, RVT

Your challenge as a pet owner is how to keep your dog’s mouth and teeth clean, fresh smelling, and free of disease-causing bacteria when work or kids (or both) demand your attention, and free time is at a premium.

While neglecting your pooch’s teeth is not necessarily an option, there are ways to cut corners without spending time or money at the vet clinic until it is time for her annual check-up. We’ve given you five of those options below.

Home Brushing

In about 5 minutes of your time, brushing your dog’s teeth at home on a daily basis helps eliminate plaque, lessens tartar build-up, and keeps her breath smelling nice. Additionally, at-home cleaning reduces the amount of bacteria that can create diseases in your pup’s mouth and internal organs. You’ll need a regular doggy toothbrush small enough to fit comfortably inside her mouth, plus canine toothpaste like an all natural, vanilla-flavored toothpaste.

Water Additives

All-natural water additives can be poured directly into your dog’s bowl so that whenever she takes a drink, their various organic components can freshen her breath and loosen any food particles or plaque build-up attaching to her teeth. Those additives containing fatty acid salts can inhibit the growth of the bacteria that causes periodontal disease, while added baking soda fights bad breath and removes plaque and food particles.

Raw Bones

Raw beef bones not only serve your dog as a tasty treat full of minerals and other necessary nutrients, they also work with your pup’s chewing action to help keep her teeth clean. The friction caused by her teeth working the hard surface of the bone scrapes away any left over food particles, dental plaque, and prevents tartar build-up. Additionally, certain protein enzymes found in raw bones work to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria, thus keeping your dog’s breath smelling fresh.

We recommend asking your butcher for beef knuckle bones or checking with your local deer processing plant for venison bones when in season. Make sure the bones are too large for your pooch to fit the whole thing in her mouth to prevent her swallowing and choking on it. You’ll want to clean most of the meat away from the bones unless you feed a raw diet. You’ll also need to make sure the bones are fresh and have been refrigerated to prevent your dog picking up salmonella. Note: Even though some websites say that raw chicken bones are okay to give your dog, we don’t recommend them. Even raw, they can still splinter with sharp edges and can easily penetrate your dog’s soft esophageal, stomach, and intestinal tissues.

Hard Veggie Treats

Hard vegetables and fruits are another type of treat that can help clean your dog’s teeth. Raw carrot chunks, raw broccoli and cauliflower, uncooked bites of sweet potato, and hard green apple bits all serve to rid her mouth and teeth of plaque and tartar, as well as providing extra vitamins and other nutrients necessary to keep your pooch healthy. Try substituting raw veggies for processed cookies and meaty treats and see how your dog takes to them.  Note: Don’t give her onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, avocado, tomatoes, or citrus as these foods may upset delicate digestive systems and some are known to be toxic.

Dental Chews

Dental chews have been around for a while and work much the same as raw bones and hard vegetables in keeping doggy teeth clean and free of plaque. Ask your vet for recommendations, or go online and look for chews that have been clinically tested and proven to reduce tartar build-up. Look for those chews manufactured in sizes and shapes to fit your dog’s mouth and those containing supplemental vitamins and minerals.

Dental Wipes

Dental Wipes are textured cloths that have been pre-moistened with ingredients to help remove plaque and tarter. For many dogs with smaller mouths, this is the way to go. Also, dogs that resists brushing may be more likely to allow the owner to wipe their teeth over using a brush.

Posted in Dental Hygeine, bad breathwith No Comments →

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