/ Everyday Pet Care

Dental Tips for Pets

Published August 13, 2011 in Dr Peto Says, What's New |
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As enlightened as we are with the above video on an actual dental procedure for our furry companion, nothing truly changes behaviour like a mere punch on a pocketbook.

In addition to sky-high dental bills, poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, tooth loss and even heart disease — and these issues are not limited to people. Animal companions also risk a shorter life span when dental care lapses. It would be wise to plan more frequent dental visits and since such visits are deemed undesirable by most fur parents and their companions alike, here are a few essentials that will help you save time and money caring for those pearly whites.

Vet cleanings involve more than floss and fluoride

In a 2010 study by the Euromonitor on the Asian pet market, about 25 percent of dog owners had purchased dental products within the past year. While 32 percent of fur parents said they brushed their companions’ teeth, most did so only a few times a year — not enough to truly make an impact. Over time, that tartar buildup requires professional care at the veterinarian’s clinic. Your vet will begin by assessing the degree of gum disease, ranging from stage 1 through stage 4, before scheduling a cleaning.

At stage 1, you may notice some tartar or plaque buildup. Stage 2 indicates tartar, plaque buildup and severe gingivitis, along with bleeding and inflammation along the gum line. At stage 3, there may be gingival recession, but the effects of periodontal disease may still be reversible. At stage 4, companions suffer from severe gingival recession, root exposure, mobile teeth and even tooth loss. The price difference between a stage 1 cleaning and a stage 4 cleaning can be $1,000 or more.

A lot of people do not take really good care of their companion’s teeth and when companions are sent to the vet to have their teeth cleaned, most of the gum diseases are assessed to be at stage 3 or 4.

On the day of their dental cleaning, companions should show up with an empty stomach. After taking X-rays and performing blood work to assess your companion’s health, vets will administer an IV and sedate the animal before scaling and polishing teeth.

Costly tooth extractions may be necessary, depending on the severity of gum disease. A fluoride treatment finishes the process. After all that drama, it is essential to keep those pearly whites healthy with regular brushing or perhaps an oral administrative that incorporates enzymes that break down tartar above the gum line.

Administer prevention daily

Amazon.com carries nearly 2,000 products — ranging from chews to water additives — that help improve your companion’s dental health. According to statistics, toothbrushes, tartar control products, pet toothpaste and breath control products are purchased most. It pays to keep it simple. Start by rubbing a soft washcloth, an old toothbrush or even a paper towel along the exterior gum line and help your companion get acclimated to the process. Follow with plenty of water, lots of praise and a promise to repeat regularly.

To make brushing safer, go for unflavoured oral gel made with botanicals. Look for pastes that include enzymes to break down the yucky stuff if your companion suffers from tartar buildup.

Dental rinses work to a certain extent when complimenting it with normal brushing, which can be added to the water bowl. There is also this option of oral care powder for frazzled feline parents that can be added to food or an oral gel solution, which mixes with saliva to break down plaque along the gum line.

Since most dogs enjoy chewing anything within reach, it is a little easier to control plaque and tartar buildup. Nylabones are a good option. All-natural options such as pig’s ears, bones or bully sticks are good alternatives to rawhide chews, which frequently end up on recall lists due to salmonella. Rawhide also tends to land many companions on the surgical table for indigestion from frequent consumption. Despite such a real risk, fur parents still purchase rawhide as they are very much cheaper. All in all, caution should be exercised and close monitoring enforced while chews are given your companions because all products pose a potential choking risk.

Lastly, don’t forget to brush!

Adapted from an article from Mother Nature Network

5 Pet Health Myths

Published August 9, 2011 in Monthly Care Tips, What's New |
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Pet health should not be measured by nose temperature, and despite pet-food recalls, avoid feeding your companions table scraps.

It seems as if the only pet food recall (of selected brands) in Singapore 5 years back has been long forgotten by many, Salmonella or other harmful bacteria may still be lurking in the treats of man’s best friend. All this may have you thinking a bit more about not only what is on your plate, but what is in your companion’s bowl, too.  This article serves to debunk 5 common pet myths so we can keep our furry friends safe.

Myth #1—Table scraps are good for dogs

The reality: With the dog food recall and food scandals, such as the melamine-tainted food that killed thousands of pets in 2007, it might seem like human food could be a better choice for your animal companions. But be warned of going there, because our animals’ health improves when they receive a consistent source of fat, protein, and carbohydrates — which is not how human diets generally work. A high-quality, natural food with high bioavailability such as Honest Kitchen is highly recommended. It should be augmented with appropriate portions of a high-quality food  raw food like Primal twice a day, as opposed to letting food sit out in a bowl all day.

Forget doling out excess treats — there is an increasing number of companions who are are already obese. Show love with petting and attention rather than feeding them. Healthy dog treats include dehydrated animal parts/ organs, diced baby carrots, cut-up apple pieces, pear pieces and even watermelon (avoid giving the seeds, and avoid stringy produce that could cause digestive distress and get stuck in their teeth). And never feed dogs grapes and raisins because they often cause renal failure in dogs. (Avocado pits are also extremely toxic to dogs.)

Myth #2—Cats need milk.

The reality: While many of us can conjure up a cute image of a cat lapping a bowl of milk, resist the temptation to offer this in real life. Cats and dogs do not have the ability to appropriately break down lactose in milk, and drinking it can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, and other issues. To make sure your cat is hydrated properly, invest in a cat water fountain; the animals are naturally drawn to moving water.

Myth #3—A warm nose means your dog is sick.

The reality: If you want to figure out if your companion is ill, look for signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing, vomiting, diarrhoea, and other signs of distress. If a dog’s nose is cool, it may have just had a drink of water. If it is warm, they may have been out in the sun. You can also feel the dog’s head with your hand or place on his or her belly — although, a dog’s normal temperature is 38.3 to 39 degree celcius, so it will feel slightly warm to a human.

Myth #4—Cats always land on their feet.

The reality: We wish this were true, but there are many instances of high-rise syndrome, in which cats hanging out by windows accidentally fall out when a passing bug or bird steals their attention. Install a window bay, or a cat condo, and keep the window closed. And keep your cat healthily occupied in other ways, too.

It is highly recommended that a daily exercise routine in which the cat chases a toy on a string or a laser light on the wall be introduced. During the day, you can put a few pieces of cat food in a feed-and-treat ball and hide it, which will stimulate your cat’s natural hunting instincts.

Myth #5—It’s OK to kiss your dog.

The reality: A dog’s general mouth bacteria may be OK for us, but where the dog’s tongue has been, it is not a clean environment. Think butt-licking, poop-sniffing encounters and such. In fact, you can actually come down with salmonella poisoning after receiving a dog lick to the face.

While this may not deter everyone from face time with their loyal companion, people with weak immune systems, such as people living with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy, should refrain from getting smooched on the face.

While dogs are inherently prone to licking gross things, there are some things you can do as a fur parent to keep your companion’ss mouth as clean and free of dental disease as possible.

The gold standard is brushing your dog’s teeth. (NEVER use human toothpaste, though; it could contain xylitol, a substance that causes a precipitous drop in blood sugar, leading to hypoglycemia and possibly death in dogs. Always use toothpaste designed for your companion.)

Some dogs, such as golden retrievers and labs, could benefit from rope bones. As they cart the rope with knotted ends around like a bone in their mouth, it can actually mechanically clean teeth to a certain extent. The right-size ridged Kong toy can do the same.