Category Archives: Pet Dental

The Importance Of Cleaning and Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

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Dental disease is a common problem in our pets and can lead to a variety of health issues. It is estimated that 70% of cats over the age of 3 years suffer from some degree of periodontal disease. Every time a cat with periodontal disease chews, bacteria are showered into the bloodstream, which then lodges in the kidneys, liver, and heart causing damage and disease. Additionally, fractured teeth, feline resorptive lesions, and tooth root abscesses are painful and can act as a constant source of discomfort for your cat. Here are a few steps you can take to help maintain the dental health of your cat.

1. Start Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth Early

Start brushing your cat’s teeth when they are still young as part of a routine grooming protocol. This acclimates kittens to the strange sensation of having their teeth brushed so they learn it is nothing to be afraid of. This is also a great way to spend time with your cat while improving his or her health. However, don’t despair if you and your older cat have yet to establish a tooth brushing routine…

2. Make Cat Tooth Brushing a Regular Affair

Every day is best, but if that isn’t possible aim for multiple times a week. Schedule the brushing sessions at the same time and place every day, and make it fun. This way your cat won’t consider it a chore; she may even start reminding you when it’s time to whip out the cat tooth brush.

You’ll want to start with baby steps, regardless of your cat’s age. Start by letting your cat lick a flavored toothpaste made specifically for pets from your finger or the toothbrush, and then brush a few teeth. (Ed. note: Never use human toothpaste, as it can be toxic to your pet if allowed to ingest too much.) When you are finished with the tooth brushing session, use a cat treat as a reward for tolerating the experience. With time and practice, your cat will eventually allow you to brush her whole mouth. However, do keep in mind that you only have to brush the outside surfaces of the cat teeth. The tongue will keep the inside surfaces clean.

3. Buy Products with VOHC Seal

There are many products to help supplement your cat brushing routine such as treats, chews and oral rinses. With all oral hygiene products including cat toothpaste, look for the VOHC seal. This indicates that the Veterinary Oral Health Council certifies the product will be effective in reducing plaque and tartar when used as directed. The most effective products have a VOHC seal that says, “Controls plaque.”

4. Use Dental Cat Food Between Brushings

Diets formulated to address dental heath are a great option to control plaque and tartar between dog/cat dental cleanings. These products are larger than a normal kibble and have a fibrous texture that act like little sponges to wrap around the teeth and help remove plaque bacteria, which can cause gum disease and tartar, from the teeth. There are over the counter as well as prescription options to choose from. However, discuss a diet change with your veterinarian to ensure you are choosing a cat food that is complete and balanced to include all the necessary nutrients your cat needs.

5. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups with Your Vet

You should schedule an annual exam for your cat every year with your veterinarian to assess your pet’s overall health status. During this visit you can discuss any concerns and determine if your cat needs a dental cleaning. Just like people, even with daily brushing our pets will need a more thorough teeth cleaning at some point. Rather than wait for a problem to develop, it is best to perform a cat teeth dental cleaning when only mild gingivitis and/or tartar are present. This will maintain good dental health and prevent disease before it becomes a problem … which in turn helps you save money and keep your pet healthy!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

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Don’t turn your nose to Fido’s or Fluffy’s bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.

Click on the links below to learn more about National Pet Dental Health Month, and how you can improve the dental (and overall) health of your pets.

Watch

Dr. Sheldon Rubin gives easy, step-by-step instructions on how to teach a dog or cat to accept a daily tooth brushing. He also describes healthy treats, and explains the true risks of periodontal disease in pets.

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs even though it’s completely preventable. Dr. Cindy Charlier explains what periodontal disease is and how we can prevent our pets from getting it.

Listen

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Dr. Jan Bellows, president of the American Veterinary Dental College and owner of All Pets Dental in Weston, Fla., discussed the importance of dental health for our pets in an interview for Animal Tracks podcast series. Listen now.

Share

Show us your pets’ pearly whites! We’re looking for photos of your pets’ beautiful teeth — and we mean any kind of pets: dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, ferrets, goats, cows … fuzzy, furred or finned, you name it. After all, pets need dental care, too. View and submit photos on Flickr group: Pearly White Pets, on our Pet Dental Health Month Facebook event page, or tweet or Instagram your photos with the hashtag #pearlywhitepets.

Read

View the AVMA’s press release on National Pet Dental Health Month.

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Remember

While February is National Pet Dental Health Month, dental health should be a daily ritual for pet owners all year long.

2015 Pet Holidays!

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Are you looking for pet holidays that recognize the special role that dogs, cats, and other pets play in our lives? You’ve come to the right place. This extensive calendar, updated throughout the year, features fun pet holidays as well as serious pet awareness days, weeks and months that focus attention on challenges in the pet world.

January

National Train Your Dog Month

Walk Your Pet Month.

Adopt a Rescued Bird Month.

Jan. 2, 2015: National Pet Travel Safety Day.

Jan. 14, 2015: National Dress Up Your Pet Day.

Jan. 22, 2015: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day.

Jan. 24, 2015: Change a Pet’s Life Day.

Jan. 29, 2015: Seeing Eye Guide Dog Birthday.

February

Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. (Humane Society of the United States)

Pet Dental Health Month.

Responsible Pet Owners Month.

Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.

National Prevent a Litter Month.

Unchain a Dog Month.

Feb. 7-14, 2015: Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week.

Feb. 16-17, 2015: Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show. Held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, this event is televised.

Feb. 14, 2015: Pet Theft Awareness Day.

Feb. 15-21, 2015: National Justice for Animals Week.

Feb. 20, 2015: Love Your Pet Day.

Feb. 22, 2015: Walking the Dog Day.

Feb. 23, 2015: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.

Feb. 24, 2015: World Spay Day. Annual campaign by the Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States; held the last Tuesday of February.

March

Poison Prevention Awareness Month.

Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month.

March 7, 2015: Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins. Called “The Last Great Race on Earth,” this grueling race travels along a path that alternates between two paths, changing in even and odd years. The race crosses two mountain ranges in conditions that range from 30 degrees above to 30 degrees below zero.

March 3, 2015: If Pets Had Thumbs Day.

March 1-7, 2015: Professional Pet Sitters Week.

March 5-8, 2015: Crufts. Held in Birmingham, England, this is the world’s largest dog show, featuring nearly 28,000 canines in its four days.

March 15-21, 2015: National Poison Prevention Week.

March 23: National Puppy Day.

April

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. This event is an effort by the American Red Cross to draw attention to the need to know specialized pet first aid.

Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. (ASCPA)

National Pet Month. (UK)

April 12-18, 2015: Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week.

April 11, 2015: National Pet Day.

April 18, 2015: Pet Owners Independence Day.

April 22, 2015: Earth Day.

Third week in April. Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week. An effort by the Humane Society of the United States.

Third week in April. National Pet ID Week.

April 26, 2015: National Kids and Pets Day.

April 25, 2015: World Veterinary Day. This event from the World Veterinary Association is always celebrated on the last Saturday in April.

April 25, 2015: Hairball Awareness Day.

May

National Pet Month (US)

Responsible Animal Guardian Month.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Pet Cancer Awareness and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research. (Also see November events.)

Chip Your Pet Month.

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month. The American College of Veterinary Optholmologists hosts this annual event when over 200 veterinary optholmologists donate their services to provide eye exams to service dogs in the US and Canada.

May 1: National Purebred Dog Day

May 4-10, 2015: American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week. This week-long event has been celebrated since 1915. Always the first full week of May.

May 3-9, 2015: National Pet Week. Always held the first full week of May by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

May 4-10, 2015:American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week . An initiative of the HSUS, this week is always scheduled to begin the Monday before Mother’s Day.

May 18-24, 2015: Dog Bite Prevention Week. This event by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) along with the United States Post Office (USPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) focuses attention on preventing dog bites.

June

Adopt-a-Cat Month®. From the American Humane Association.

Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. From the ASPCA.

National Pet Preparedness Month. This month, timed for the first month of hurricane season, urges people with pets to make preparations in case they should be hit by a disaster…and that includes making plans for what you would do with your dog in case of a hurricane, tornado, flood or other natural disaster.

June 4, 2015: Hug Your Cat Day.

First week in June. Pet Appreciation Week.

June 9, 2015: World Pet Memorial Day.

June 10-14, 2015: World Dog Show, Milan, Italy. This large show is hosted by a different county every year.

Mid-June: Animal Rights Awareness Week.

June 26, 2015: Take Your Dog to Work Day.

July

Dog House Repair Month.

July 4: Independence Day. This US holiday is no holiday for dogs; the sounds of fireworks causes many dogs to panic and run, resulting in many lost dogs every year.

July 15: National Pet Fire Safety Day. Sponsored by the The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club® (AKC).

July 21: National Craft for your Local Shelters Day.

July 31: National Mutt Day. Also see Dec. 2.

August

Aug. 1: DOGust Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs. The North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, declared August 1 as a birthday for all the shelter animals whose birthdays are unknown. Happy DOGust!!

Aug. 5: Work Like a Dog Day.

Aug. 2-8, 2015: International Assistance Dog Week.

Aug. 15: National Check the Chip Day. AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) joined together to create “Check the Chip Day.”

Aug. 15, 2015: International Homeless Animals’ Day®. From the International Society for Animal Rights.

Aug. 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day.

Aug. 26: National Dog Day.

Aug. 30. National Holistic Pet Day.

September

National Disaster Preparedness Month. Led by FEMA’s Ready Campaign, Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, this effort encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. Visit Ready.gov and CitizenCorps.gov.

Second Sunday in September. National Pet Memorial Day. Established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries (IAPC).

Last full week in September: National Dog Week.

Last full week in September. Deaf Pet Awareness Week. By Petfinder.com.

Sept. 13, 2015: Pet Birth Defect Awareness Day. A day dedicated to the issue of pet birth defects including information on identification, prevention and treatment. Sponsored by the MBJungle Foundation.

Sept. 23: Dogs in Politics Day (also known as Checkers Day). Recognizing the dogs of politicians.

Sept. 28: World Rabies Day. Sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.

October

Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.

Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month. By ASPCA.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month.

National Pet Wellness Month.

1st Week of October. National Walk Your Dog Week.

October 4: World Animal Day.

1st Full Week of October. Animal Welfare Week (AVMA)

Oct. 11-17, 2015: National Veterinary Technician Week. Sponsored by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America.

Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.

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Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.

Last Saturday in Oct.: National Pit Bull Awareness Day.

Oct. 28: Plush Animal Lovers Day. A day that most dogs will be happy to celebrate…as they unstuff them…

Oct. 29: National Cat Day.

Oct. 30: National Black Cat Day in the UK.

November

*MORE November holidays; observances

Adopt a Senior Dog Month. By ASPCA.

National Pet Awareness Month.

National Senior Pet Month.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) and the Animal Cancer Foundation. (Also see May events).

Pet Diabetes Month.

National Dog Show. Always broadcast in the US on Thanksgiving, this event is held at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania and is hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. Sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, the event features 2,000 dogs.

First full week of Nov: National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. by The Humane Society of the United States.

Nov. 17: National Take a Hike Day.

Nov. 17: National Black Cat Day.

December

Dec. 2: National Mutt Day. Also see July 31.

10 Brilliant Ideas For Pet Owners; Making Your Life Easier

 

1. If you have a hard time brushing your dog’s teeth, squeeze some enzymatic doggie toothpaste onto a Nylabone or rope toy and let your pooch go to town on it.

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2. Make your own pill pockets when you need to feed your dog some medicine.

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3. Use baking soda to get dog urine out of carpet.

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If you don’t happen to have a product like Nature’s Miracle on hand (maybe you’re traveling or at a friend’s house), pour some baking soda over the spot, let it sit, and then sweep or vacuum it up.

 

4. If your dog isn’t feeling well, add some low-sodium chicken broth to the drinking water.

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5. To remove pet hair from upholstery, dampen a rubber glove and run your gloved hand over it.

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The latex/rubber will attract the hair.

 

6. Use a teapot to rinse dogs off in the bathtub without getting water and soap in their eyes.

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7. If you’ve got a teething pup who loves destroying cords, spritz bitter apple spray onto a paper towel and wipe the cord with it.

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This covers more surface area and wastes less product than simply spraying the entire thing.

8.Run a dryer sheet over your dog’s fur when there’s a storm — chances are, they aren’t freaked out about the storm but the static electricity built up in their fur. *Caution: Do Not use this method , if your dog is a licker. The chemicals can make the pet ill.

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9. Print out and keep this handy chart of what foods your dog should NOT be given.

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10. Print out this guide and bring it with you when dog food/treat shopping.

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Bonus : Make Your Own Flea Shampoo

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1 cup Dawn, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 quart of warm water. Massage in and let it sit for five minutes. According to one testimonial, “The fleas just floated in the water and died and the dog had no negative reaction to the process.

Have You Considered Putting Your Pet on A Dental Diet?

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How to deal with doggy (and kitty) breath

We all have busy schedules and it can be a struggle to make the time to brush our pets’ teeth on a daily basis. Or, maybe you have a pet that is a sweetheart all the time except for when it comes time to sit still for a tooth brushing. If you fit either of these scenarios, or if your pet has specific problems with tartar buildup and bad breath that cannot be handled by brushing alone, your veterinarian may suggest a special dental diet.

Plaque is a natural component of the mouth’s bacterial balance. It is soft, colorless, and easily removable with a firm brush. But while plaque is a normal part of the mouth’s bacterial system, it can harden on the teeth if it is not removed on a regular basis, eventually becoming tartar.

Tartar attaches firmly to the tooth’s surface, causing irritation to the gingiva, or gums, and further leading to tissue loss in the inflamed gingiva. Once plaque has formed into tartar it can only be removed by dental instruments. Dental diets are formulated especially for reducing the amount of plaque and tartar that accumulates on the teeth, and in some cases may even prevent serious oral diseases from occurring.

What Kind of Products Should You Look For?

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has reviewed many of the foods and treats that are made for reducing plaque on the tooth’s surface, giving their seal of approval only to those products that meet the required standards that have been shown to control tartar and plaque in the mouths of cats and dogs. Look for foods with the VOHC seal (pictured to the right) on the package.

These foods are required to be balanced, with the same nutrient content as regular foods, but with the additional formulations that make them capable of cleaning teeth. Most hard kibble and treat products that are made for dental diets are larger in size, with an airy, fibrous texture that breaks up easily so that the edges of the kibble, in effect, scrub at the surfaces of the teeth as the animal chews. Some foods also have an added coating to reduce dental plaque.

Dental diet foods and treats are available online, from your veterinarian’s office, and at local pet stores where prescription diets are sold.

Is a Dental Diet Right for YOUR Pet?

Because dental diets are nutritionally balanced, most pets can eat them as part of a normal daily diet. It is important to note, however, that not all animals’ needs can be met with this diet plan. Dental diets should not be a main nutritional source for puppies or dogs that have special nutritional or medical needs, but should instead be used to supplement an established diet that is already meeting their specific nutritional requirements.

Additionally, some animals may not be able to tolerate a dental diet formula on a daily basis. In these cases, the dental food can be given as a treat instead.

Before Switching to a Dental Diet …

You should decide whether a dental diet is appropriate for your pet by discussing it with your veterinarian first. It is not always appropriate to use a dental diet instead of a brush, and not all animals are suited to this type of diet. This may be due to underlying health issues, the current health status of the teeth and gums, or the age of your pet. Before initiating a dental diet, your veterinary dentist may even suggest a professional teeth cleaning, among or other procedures.

If you are planning to switch to a dental diet you will also need to keep in mind that in order to make it work you will need to abstain from sharing table scraps or extra treats with your pet, as this will defeat the purpose of the dental diet. It may be difficult to get used to not sharing with your furry friend, but keep in mind that if she loses her teeth or suffers from gum irritation due to tartar buildup, she won’t be able to eat anything but mushy foods.

In the long run, you will be glad that you and your pet endured the short-term suffering of unhealthy treat withdrawal in favor of the long-term benefits that come from having healthy teeth.