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Doggie Dental Health - Why It Matters

Doggie Dental Health - Why It Matters 0

Just like you, your canine companion needs to have healthy teeth and gums. Unlike their people, however, dogs can't do much to take care of their dental health. When there's a problem, they may hide the evidence by not showing any pain.

There are things you can do to keep your puppy happy and pain-free. Regular vet visits, at-home brushings and chew toys are some of the ways you can ensure those chompers stay strong and healthy for years to come.

Why Take Care of Your Dog's Teeth?

Without attention to dental health, your dog may suffer some major health problems. Some you would expect, like build up of plaque and cavities. According to the AVMA, cavities are less common in pets than their people, but some serious canine-specific tooth problems include:

  • Infected, absessed, or broken teeth
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Broken roots
  • Mouth cysts or tumors
  • Teeth misalignment, fractured jaw, palate defects

Obviously, these can be quite uncomfortable for your dog. Some problems also affect your dog's overall health, like periodontal disease. This condition not only causes problems in the mouth but may increase risk for diseases of the heart, kidney and liver. This happens because bacteria on the gums enters the bloodstream.

Dental health is important for all dogs, but small breeds like Yorkies and Pomeranians are at greater risk for gum disease. Even as young pups small dogs may have the first signs of periodontal issues. Teeth problems can start early, well before your pooch enters his senior years, so good preventive care is essential.

How Can You Spot Dental Problems?

Dogs unfortunately can't tell you when their mouth is starting to feel uncomfortable. You can know it's time for a vet check up with certain signs, like bad breath, visible buildup on the teeth, problems eating, pawing at the mouth, or lumps around the mouth.

What Can You Do?

The good news is that you can take control of your dog's dental health, and you can start at home. It is easiest to start the routines early, but even if you have a pooch who's getting on in years you can work with him to support dental health.

Brush your dog's teeth. This may seem like a tall order and it does require some patience. Organizations like the California SPCA have step-by-step guides on how to do it right. Use toothpaste made specifically for dogs (never use human toothpaste), and start slowly with just a bit of paste on a piece of gauze. Try to pick a time when your dog is at ease and speak soothingly to him to keep him relaxed.

Feed dry food. Your vet may have specific recommendations for your dog's diet that you should follow. But if you can, try feeding dry food for dental health. Wet food is more likely to sit on the teeth for longer, eventually leading to decay.

Offer chew toys. Your pet store may have toys that are designed to enhance canine teeth health. Give these a try and watch your dog to see if he's enjoying them.

See your vet. Regular checkups help you and your vet to monitor your dog's dental health and spot any early signs of problems. Your vet may recommend a professional dental cleaning, which typically involves putting your dog under anesthesia. The vet will take x-rays and clean thoroughly under the gum line.

Your Dog Will Thank You!

Most guardians relish the opportunity to spend more time with their dogs. You can make regular brushings a happy experience for you both, and keep him healthier over the long run. Often, preventive care is the best route to good health.

  • Dana S
8 Fall-Themed Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

8 Fall-Themed Homemade Dog Treat Recipes 0

Fall is a great time for pet owners. Leaf piles make fun obstacles for dogs to run through and roll around in, and crisp nights make for memorable walks. Humans enjoy many delectable treats around this time of year, with pumpkin flavored goodies and hearty holiday meals. Why should your dog get left out of the mix? Here are 8 fall-themed dog treat recipes your mutt will love as much as you love your pumpkin spice latte!

1. Izzy's Apple Cheddar Dog Biscuits

Apples are a fall favorite for everyone, including Fido. Make sure they get their apple-a-day with these incredible dog treats that combine the sweet taste of apples with savory cheddar cheese. They are easy to make too - just combine all the ingredients, bake and give to your pup once they have cooled.

Click here for the recipe 

2. Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Dog Treats

Everyone knows dogs love peanut butter but did you also know they enjoy a taste of pumpkin? This treat combines the two flavors for a winning combination your furry sweetie will love the same way that you love grandma's pumpkin pie.

Click here for the recipe

3. Sweet Potato Dog Chews

Sweet potatoes are a delicious part of fall feasts. They are great on their own, but don't forget about sweet potato pudding and sweet potato pie! Dogs appreciate this treat because it takes delicious sweet potatoes and turns them into a chewy toy that can be enjoyed for a few moments longer than a simple biscuit.

Click here for the recipe

4. Candy Corn Dog Treats

Candy corn isn't just for trick-or-treaters anymore. Now dogs can enjoy their own version with this recipe. The treats are basically a simple dog biscuit flavored with chicken or beef stock to make it extra enticing for your pup. The colored frosting gives the treat its candy corn look. Flour icing might sound boring to a human but dogs absolutely love it!

Click here for the recipe

5. Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Dog Treats

Pumpkin spice is getting into everything these days. It started with pumpkin spice warm beverages, but now there is pumpkin spice chocolate, cereal and even soap with the yummy flavor profile. Dogs love pumpkin spice too, so try this pumpkin oatmeal spice recipe. Use your favorite fall themed cookie cutter to make the treats even more seasonal.

Click here for the recipe

6. Puppuccino Doggy Style Hot Chocolate

Chocolate is definitely no good for dogs, but this warm treat is made from worry-free carob. While you are sipping your hot chocolate on a cold night, your pooch can have their own version. Pups love the warm feeling, and sharing the experience with you.

Click here for the recipe

7. Maple Dog Treats

Fall is the time for maple flavored everything. It's when you pour maple syrup on your food and eat maple sugar candies. Your dog will appreciate these maple dog treats for the same reasons you love maple! This convenient recipe has two different versions: one for real maple syrup and one for maple flavoring. Don't leave them out because wily dogs have been known to gobble them all up in one sitting!

Click here for the recipe

8. Brie's Turkey & Cranberry Dog Treats

Turkey is the centerpiece of fall feasts like Thanksgiving, and cranberry is a well-known accomplice to full bellies. While you're munching on turkey with cranberry sauce, toss your dog one of these treats for a shared holiday experience you can both enjoy.

Click here for the recipe

  • Dana S
Thunderstorm Anxieties: What You Can Do to Alleviate your Dog’s Fears

Thunderstorm Anxieties: What You Can Do to Alleviate your Dog’s Fears 0

Thunderstorms can be very nerve-wracking for dogs. The high winds and loud noises can be very upsetting.  Here are some things that you can do to alleviate your dog’s fears.

Always Make Sure That Your Dog Is Inside If Inclement Weather Is Imminent...

Do not leave dogs outdoors or in dog houses.  If bad weather is forecasted for the day, do not risk it staying nice until you get back.

Provide Your Dog With A Safe Place To Wait Out The Storm…

Many dogs will feel more secure in their kennels than in a big open house, and some dogs will even make a desperate attempt to wedge themselves under furniture or into closets. Some dogs have even been found cowering in the bathtub! Get an appropriately sized cage for your dog. Make sure that it is comfortable with blankets or bedding and has a water source at all times.  If the cage is open, you might consider covering it with a blanket or cloth to make it feel more enclosed. Some dogs will start to make this their “den” and use it on their own. If you have a destructive dog, however, and need to be gone you will want to secure them in the cage.


Take Some Time To Site With Your Dog...

If you are able to be home during the storm, take some time out to sit with your dog. Remember that dogs are very in tune with their owner’s emotions. If you are calm and relaxed your dog should pick up that things are okay. Conversely though, if you are worked up and nervous, the dog will become more agitated.


Try Not To Console Your Dog If He Is Afraid...

Though it may be difficult, try not to console your dog if he is afraid. By getting positive attention from you, you are doing one of two things: encouraging your dog to continue to act this way because he got positive reinforcement, or confirming to your dog that there was danger and he was correct and acting appropriately.


Noise Therapy...

Some dog owners have had success by playing white noise during thunderstorms. This will work best if your dog is more afraid of the noise than anything else. Other dogs, however, pick up on atmospheric changes, and noise therapy may not be very effective.


Desensitization Training...

One popular way of getting dogs to stop fearing thunderstorms is through desensitization training. For this process, you reward your dog for the behavior that you want, much as you would reward him for learning to sit.  Find a soundtrack of thunderstorm noises that you can play at home. While you are there, play the track on a low volume for a short interval – low and short enough that your dog does not become anxious. Reward him for remaining calm.

Next, gradually increase the volume and length. If your dog remains calm, reward him and continue. If he remains anxious, do not reward him, but calm him down and start over. It is essential that these lessons end with your dog feeling relaxed and happy. Repeat lessons daily, increasing the volume and duration until you reach your desired results. Then you can continue on to include you leaving the room for 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes or more. While this process is lengthy and time-consuming, in the end, both you and your dog will be much happier.


Talk To Your Vet About Medications...

In severe cases, you might want to talk to your vet about medications to help your dog’s anxieties. A homeopathic remedy or a mild sedative might be prescribed. In order for any medication to have the maximum effect, it needs to be given prior to your dog becoming anxious. So it is best to medicate them an hour or so before the storm is supposed to hit. Waiting to administer sedatives until after your pet is worked up can cause them not to work or to even have the opposite effect.

Always Remember...

Your dog’s fear is instinctual and not something that they are doing on purpose to get on your nerves. Never hit or punish a dog for being afraid during a storm, it will only cause him to be more fearful the next time around.

To prevent thunderstorm fears, it is important to get started as soon as you realize that there is a problem.  Fear will only increase over time, making them more difficult to manage or eliminate.

  • Jennifer M
Helpful Hints For Tick Proofing Your Pup

Helpful Hints For Tick Proofing Your Pup 0

If you live anywhere near a wooded area or tall grass and take your dog to walk there, or if you spend a lot of time outdoors in general, you might be concerned about ticks.  Not only can they make you and your dog uncomfortable, they run the risk of spreading dangerous diseases to all the members of your family.

Here are some ways to help prevent bringing any little hitchhikers home with you.

Be Aware If Ticks Are In Your Area...

If you have seen one, chances are that there are more hiding. A dog’s thick coat makes it an ideal home for ticks. Always check your dog after a walk in an area where there might be ticks. Ticks can be as small as a sesame seed prior to a feeding, but can quickly grow to several times their original size.

Ticks will most frequently attach themselves to your pet’s face, ears, legs, paws, chest, and abdomen, so pay careful attention to these areas. If it is an all-day excursion, check several times throughout the day. Try to stay on the beaten path while out walking and avoid thick underbrush.

Make Sure Grass & Weeds Are Kept Cut...

When at home, make sure that grass and weeds are kept cut and are not overgrown. Treat outdoor areas that your pet frequents with a pesticide that kills ticks. Ticks love thick, damp underbrush as a home.

Have Your Dog On A Flea Preventative...

It is also helpful to have your dog on some form of tick preventative. This can be in the form of a topical treatment put on once a month or a dip or shampoo that is used more frequently. Check with your veterinarian for the best treatment option for your pet. Always read warnings and directions on the label carefully before applying. Do not apply topical products one after another as you might overdose your pet. For example, do not use a topical treatment immediately after a dip – allow for at least 48 hours in between.

Chemical Alternatives For Repelling Ticks...

If you are concerned about using pesticides, there are also alternative therapies available to repel ticks. These include garlic tablets, herbal shampoos, or oils that are applied to your pet that makes him less appetizing to the ticks. These may not be as effective as their chemical counterparts, so make sure that you continue to check your pet frequently for stray ticks.

If you spend a lot of time in tick-prone areas, talk to your vet about getting a Lyme disease or other tick vaccinations to help protect your pet.

If You Do Find A Tick...

If you do find a tick on your pet, it is important to remove it as soon as possible. While ticks are small and hard to find initially, they can swell to the size of a pea or larger after a blood meal. Wearing gloves and using a pair of fine-pointed tweezers, grasp the tick by its head or mouthparts as close to your pet's skin as possible. You might need a second person to help restrain your dog or part his hair while you do this.

Pull firmly outward until the tick is removed – being absolutely certain that you removed the head as well. Kill the tick by putting it in a vial of alcohol. Label the jar with the date and the area you were in when you got the tick and take it to the veterinarian. Your vet can then determine what kind of tick it was and what treatments might be necessary. Do not use petroleum jelly, matches, alcohol, or other irritants to remove the tick – these will only initiate a response to grab on harder and release more toxins. After removing the tick, disinfect the entire bite site with alcohol.

If You See Ticks On Your Dog, Watch For Symptoms Of A More Serious Disease...

If anything out of the ordinary seems to be going, contact your veterinarian immediately.  Symptoms of tick-borne diseases include lethargy, appetite loss, weakness, pale gums, fever, lameness, vomiting, and even paralysis. However, these are also symptoms of various other diseases, and only your veterinarian can make the determination whether it was from the ticks or not.  If you see any symptoms, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible – the sooner the diagnosis the more effective treatment will be.

Keeping an eye out for ticks on your dog will keep both of you healthy and happier and let you enjoy your time together outdoors.

  • Jennifer M