Tag Archives: pet care

Responsible Pet care: Professional Teeth Cleaning for Dogs and Cats

dental care for catsYour dog or cat’s teeth need to be brushed daily in order for your pet to have good dental health.  A veterinarian can provide you with tooth paste and a tooth brush specifically designed for cleaning your pet’s teeth.  The tooth paste will be available in flavors preferred by your dog or cat – such as poultry flavor.  If you begin brushing while your pet is still quite young, he will find it acceptable and will allow you to do it daily.

However, you may be a very busy person and just do not have the time to do this cleaning on a daily basis.  If you do not clean your pet’s teeth yourself, your pet will probably need a professional dental treatment every year.  This type of treatment involves anesthesia, making it so your dog or cat is “asleep” during the procedure.  Your pet is put under while the vet takes x-rays, does an exam, performs the teeth cleaning much like the one you get at your dentist, and then polishes up the teeth.

There are indicators that your pet is in need of a professional cleaning.  They are:

  • Bad breath
  • Tartar and plaque that are visible on the teeth
  • Red, inflamed gums
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Pet’s failure to eat
  • Drooling

If left untreated, the 80 percent of bacteria that live in the plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth will eventually travel through his entire body, possibly causing infection to his heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, joints and intestinal system.  Additionally, the gums and the bone below the gum line will be damaged.

There are four stages of dental disease that lead up to this worst-case scenario.

  1. First, the dog or cat develops Gingivitis.  This is evident when the gums are redder than usual, particularly around the gum line.
  2. The next stage is Early Periodontitis where the gums remain red and irritated and begin to swell.
  3. The third stage is Moderate Periodontitis where the gums are still red and swollen and begin to detach from the teeth.
  4. The fourth and final stage is Advanced Periodontitis, where the gums and bones are destroyed, teeth loosen, and bacteria spread throughout the body.

If you want to avoid the condition of your pet’s teeth advancing to any of these four stages, either brush the pet’s teeth daily or take him in for a professional cleaning as often as your veterinarian says is necessary.  In the long run, the procedures will pay off for you, since your dog and cat will be pain-free and have unobjectionable breath, and you will not have to worry about further health problems that poor dental health can contribute too.

Finding the Best Pet Care for Your Furry (or Feathered…) Friend!

pet careGetting a new pet is a long-term commitment. This is not so different from a child, in that this new furry (or feathered) friend will be dependent on you to feed them, take care of them, and love them for the next 10-20 years (or longer, in some cases). So, yes, pet care is a huge commitment and responsibility…but in return, you will receive a love like no other. A pure, basic, uncomplicated love.

First and foremost on your to-do list in order to ready yourself and your home for your new pal is to find a qualified, experienced, and caring Veterinarian. The time to find a suitable Vet is not when you’re in the midst of an emergency, so start looking as soon as possible. If you don’t already have one, this will require a little research. The ASPCA and several other trusted sites have search engines for finding a Vet in your area. But often, the best way to find a good Veterinarian is to ask around! Online opinions and advertisements won’t mean as much as a few words from a trusted friend or family member.

Once you’ve gathered a few names, it’s time to make a list and plan some visits. Many offices will offer a tour or a meet-and-greet with the staff. If not, drive by the locations and stop in. If you don’t feel comfortable “scoping out” the offices, you can always go in to “purchase” some special dietary food or treats (there are usually several varieties displayed in waiting areas). Sure you may get asked a few questions, but that will be a good opportunity to ask some yourself! Pay close attention to the condition of both the outside and the inside of the building, as well as the number of visitors in the waiting room…it may speak to the quality and condition of care your beloved pet will receive. Ask about qualifications, hours of operation, emergency visits, prices of services, preventative care, and availability for boarding (if desired).

What will really make or break your decision, though, will be actually meeting the Vet who will potentially treat your pal. “Pet care” is more than just coming in for annual checkups/shots; you might one day be placing the life of your treasured pet into the skilled medical hands of this Veterinarian…do you feel comfortable and secure in that? You will need to. For the years of happiness and unconditional love your pet will provide to you, they deserve nothing less!


Pet Pain Management

Pet Pain Management

pet pain managementPet pain management can become an important issue as animals age. Many large dogs struggle with arthritis, especially in their hips, as they age. Smaller dogs and cats can also struggle with pain from arthritis or other illnesses.

One of the difficulties of pet pain management is that animals are very good at concealing discomfort. It can be very challenging to tell if your animal is in pain. One way to tell is if they suddenly change their behavior pattern. Does the animal suddenly hesitate or refuse to climb stairs? You may notice your pet struggling to get up after he or she has been sitting or lying down for a while? Is the animal less active? Are they walking stiffly? These all can be signs that your beloved family pet may need some assistance.

You should always consult with your veterinarian when you feel that your pet may be in pain. You should be assertive about asking questions and be an advocate for your pet. The doctor will run tests to determine the root causes of your pet’s pains. If the pain is due to arthritis or another treatable cause, your veterinarian may recommend medication to help ease your pet’s pain. There may be physical therapy treatments that can help with pet pain management. Losing weight may be another option for your pet. The loss of several pounds can make a significant difference in pet pain management. Once the animal has lost weight, he or she may be able to move much more easily.

There are other steps you can take to help manage pain once diseases have been ruled out by your veterinarian. It is important that your pet still get regular exercise. Spending time in warm water is often a helpful therapy for large dogs who are struggling with pain. You may also be able to employ massage to assist in pet pain management.

Dental care for pets

pet dental careDental care for pets may sound like a luxury, but it is actually a very important part of your pet’s health. Dental health has an effect on more than just your pet’s breath. It can impact the health of your pet’s internal organs which means dental care for pets warrants serious consideration. Many people neglect dental care for pets because they don’t realize how quickly plaque and tartar can lead to gum disease.

When it comes to dental care for pets, according to my pediatric dentist, their teeth work much the same as our teeth. They develop plaque which can build up over time. Plaque is a bacterial film that develops over the tooth and hardens into a substance known as tartar. The plaque is easy to remove when it is soft, but becomes more difficult to dislodge once it develops into tartar. If plaque spreads throughout the pet’s teeth, it can lead to the gum disease gingivitis. This leads to inflamed gums that are red and may bleed. If you look at your pet’s teeth and see signs of gingivitis, it means your pet is in serious need of dental care. Gingivitis can be painful for your pet. If it is not treated, it can lead to periodontal disease. The pet’s teeth can become loose and extremely painful.

Most veterinarians recommend a simple dental care plan for pets. Regular examinations by your veterinarian will help you determine the ongoing state of your pet’s dental health. Your veterinarian will also recommend regular cleanings, probably on a yearly or every other year basis for dogs and cats. These regular cleanings ensure good dental care for pets. Tooth brushing is also an important tool in dental care for pets. Chew toys for dogs can also help clean the teeth. There are oral care treats for cats that can help prevent the buildup of plaque.