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Archive for February, 2016

National Pet Dental Health Month

PetDental_logoPet

Q: Do dogs wear braces?
A: For some dogs, braces are necessary to straighten the teeth enough so the dog’s mouth opens and closes correctly. Orthodontics work can vary from limited work on a few teeth to a full set of braces. However, most dogs are born with sufficiently straight teeth to allow them to chew without problems.

Q: My dog shows a ridge-like wear on its canine teeth. What causes this?
A: Wear patterns show up from repeated chewing. The ridge-like wear you describe could be attributed to chewing on a chain-link fence. Dogs that are left alone in backyards may chew on fences because they are bored, scared, frustrated or for other reasons. The best solution is to keep the dog and the fence away from each other.

Q: Does it matter whether my pet eats hard or soft food?
A: Studies show that hard kibbles are slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. Currently, there is a separate product for dogs and cats that has been proven to reduce plaque and tartar. If you think your pet needs a special food, consult your family veterinarian.

Q: Will my pet suffer if I don’t take care of its teeth and gums?
A: Gum disease can cause pets pain and serious dental problems later in life, as well as possibly lead to more serious illnesses, such as heart and kidney disease. But gum disease can be prevented. By beginning early in your pet’s life to care for its teeth, you can spare your pet the discomfort caused by gum disease.

Q: How can a professional teeth cleaning by a veterinarian help my pet?
A: A professional dental cleaning will remove plaque, stain and tartar encrusted above and below the gumline, restoring your dog’s [and cat’s] teeth to a clean and polished condition, and removing the bacteria that can cause gum disease.

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These questions and answers taken from “Dr. Logan answers your frequently asked questions” 
http://www.petdental.com/html/body_2a_faq.htm (expired link)

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National Pet Dental Health Month

PetDental_logoPet

Q: Can pets get cavities?
A: Pets, like their human owners, can get cavities. However cavities are relatively rare in pets because pets’ diets generally aren’t high in decay-causing sugars. Veterinary dental experts have noticed a mild rise in the incidence of cavities among pets fed sugary treats. To avoid cavities in your pet’s mouth, feed only pet food and treats designed for pets.

Q: My cat broke off a tooth. Can the tooth be replaced?
A: Veterinary dentists can install crowns and replacement teeth for pets with damaged or missing teeth. Your family veterinarian can provide a referral to a veterinary dental specialist, when it is appropriate.

Q: Isn’t bad breath in pets just natural?
A: No. While it is true that bad breath can indicate a more serious illness, bad breath in pets is most often caused by bacteria that form when plaque and tartar are not removed from the teeth, which may cause a gum infection.

Q: When is my pet too old for toothbrushing?
A: Your pet is never too old for toothbrushing. In fact, the older your pet gets, the more important it is to keep plaque and tartar from accumulating. Studies show that bacteria from dental diseases can move systematically into the vital organs. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy is an important step in your pet’s overall good health.

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These questions and answers taken from “Dr. Logan answers your frequently asked questions” 
http://www.petdental.com/html/body_2a_faq.htm (expired link)

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Why should you care about the bacteria in your pet’s mouth?
We have even more answers today.
(See Part I here.)

PetDental_logoPet

Q: What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease?
A: Gingivitis is reversible and can be treated and prevented with thorough plaque removal and continued plaque control. Periodontal disease is more severe and is irreversible. It may require advanced therapy and thorough plaque control to prevent progression of the disease. Periodontal disease causes red, swollen, tender gums, receding gums, bleeding gums, oral pain and dysfunction and bad breath. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, may lead to tooth loss and systemic health problems affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Q: Can I reduce the risk of oral disease for my pet?
A: Yes. The good news is that oral disease is primarily preventable. The Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry recommends a three-step program to help prevent oral disease. Take your pet to his or her veterinarian for a dental exam; start a home dental care routine; and take your pet to his or her veterinarian for regular checkups. Research shows that canine gingivitis can be controlled by regular tooth brushing, and that feeding a pet food with proven oral benefits is also helpful in daily plaque control and maintenance of oral health. Your pet is never too old to begin a dental care routine.

Q: Does it matter to my pet’s teeth whether he or she eats hard or soft food?
A: Studies show that hard kibbles are slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating on the teeth. Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D for dogs and cats has been proven to help remove plaque and tartar. If you think your pet needs a special food, consult his or her veterinarian.

Q: What are the warning signs that my pet has an unhealthy mouth?
A: Some of the common signs of oral disease include bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face, lethargy, and depression. Oral disease causes pain in your pet’s mouth. If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to his or her veterinarian for a dental exam.

Do you have questions about your pet’s oral health? Contact us today.

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Why should you care about the bacteria in your pet’s mouth?
We have the answers, in this National Pet Dental Health Month special report.

PetDental_logoPet

Q: How do bacteria affect my pet’s mouth?
A: Bacteria play a role in the formation of plaque and tartar. When bacteria combine with saliva and food debris in the channel between the tooth and the gum, plaque forms and accumulates on the tooth. Bacteria continue to grow in the plaque and, as calcium salts are deposited, plaque becomes tartar.

Left: a tartar shell; Right: a molar once covered by the tartar shell (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

Left: a tartar shell; Right: a molar once covered by the tartar shell (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

Q: Is tartar build-up dangerous to my pet?
A: Yes. If tartar is not removed from your pet’s teeth, pockets of pus may appear along the gumline and further separate the tooth from the gum, which allows more food and bacteria to accumulate. Without proper dental treatment, gingivitis — and possibly periodontal disease — may develop.

Tooth model 2 (2)

Click to enlarge

Q: Can bacteria in my pet’s mouth cause other problems?
A: If bacteria build-up in your pet’s mouth causes periodontal disease, systemic health problems that affect the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs may occur. Oral disease may also affect your pet’s behavior and sociability with others.

Q: How common is oral disease for pets?
A: Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs. Many factors contribute to the prevalence and severity of periodontal disease, including breed, genetics, age, diet, chewing behavior, and systemic health.

On Thursday, we will discuss the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease. Stay tuned!

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Welcome to National Pet Dental Health Month!
PetDental_logoPet

A healthy mouth = a healthy pet. 

     “By the age of three, more than half of all cats and dogs are beginning to show signs of a dental problem.” – Hill’s Pet Nutrition

What is periodontal disease?
     It is a disease affecting the tissues that support the teeth and can lead to destruction of the tooth root, gums, and jaw.

What are the precursors to periodontal disease?

  • Plaque – a colorless film containing bacteria
  • Tartar – hardened plaque along the gumline
  • Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums, leading to gum disease and tooth loss

     “Infection associated with periodontal disease can be responsible for bad breath, and bacteria can enter a pet’s blood stream and spread to vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.”  – Hill’s Pet Nutrition

What are contributing factors to periodontal disease?

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Breed – especially among breeds of dogs and cats with small, crowded mouths
  • Age

What signs should I look for at home?

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Drooling
  • Tooth loss
  • Tartar buildup
  • Pain when eating
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Change of eating habits
  • Subdued behavior

What can I do about it?

  • Schedule your pet to get a dental exam and teeth cleaning from the veterinarian. Some pets may need the services of a veterinary dental specialist. Pets sometimes need root canals, just like people!
  • Clean your pet’s teeth after its meals, using a pet-specific toothpaste or liquid dentifrice.
  • Add Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to your pet’s drinking water.
  • Feed Prescription Diet t/d to healthy adult pets. Hill’s t/d food is designed to scrub your pet’s teeth as he chews.

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Information for this article adapted from “Oral Health:  Caring for your pet” by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Copies of the pamphlet are available at our office.

Repost from February 6, 2012.

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Did you know? One of the leading causes of pet abandonment is poor behavior. Few dogs are always perfect, but strongly negative behavior should be addressed right away.

Destructive or aggressive behavior by dogs has been linked to:

  • health problems (pain, disease or disorder), especially in older dogs
  • a traumatic event (abuse, house burglary, dog fight)
  • lack of proper social training
  • a lack of proper obedience training
  • fear
  • neglect

After medical reasons have been ruled out by your pet’s doctor, the next step is to consult with a professional dog trainer.

To determine whether a problem exists and the severity of it, compare your pet’s behavior to this list of behavior standards. Is there room for improvement?

  1. Friendly toward people, including well-behaved children.
  2. Friendly toward other friendly dogs.
  3. Does not become anxious if left alone for a reasonable period.
  4. Eliminates appropriately.
  5. Readily gives up control of food, toys, and other objects to owner.
  6. Relaxed during normal handling and touching.
  7. Calms down quickly after being startled or getting excited.
  8. Not overly fearful of normal events.
  9. Barks when appropriate, but not excessively.
  10. Plays well with people, without becoming too rough.
  11. Plays well with other dogs.
  12. Plays with its own toys and doesn’t damage owner’s possessions often.
  13. Affectionate without being needy.
  14. Adapts to change with minimal problems.
  15. Usually responds to owner’s requests and commands, such as sit, stay, come.

(From JAVMA 2004; 255(4): 506-513 and Veterinary Forum, June 2008, P. 28)

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Repost from June 14, 2011.

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WE WELCOMED:

  • Quirky
  • Simba W.
  • Lucy 
  • Two Face
  • Titan
  • Simba B.
  • Andi
  • Murphy
  • Lucy H.
  • Lilly
  • Mr. J
  • Haze
  • Jill
  • Guinness

WE REMEMBER:

  • Cassie
  • Prince

Cypress Creek at Windsor Castle Park. Photo by Jen Miele,

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