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February is National Pet Dental Health Month
so let’s talk about teeth.
Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says:
A healthy mouth = a healthy pet.
A sick mouth = a sick pet.
Bacteria that builds up on the teeth can
travel to the heart, kidneys, liver, and elsewhere,
causing serious disease in your pet.
The good news is, you can start an
at-home dental program to keep your
pet’s mouth clean and healthy.
Can you name the signs of dental disease?
Do you know how to keep your pet’s mouth healthy?
PennVet has the answers, below.

Click pictures to enlarge, for easy reading.

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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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Cats are among the most popular pets in the U.S. — so why do veterinarians see so few of them in the office? Maybe it’s because cats are stoic, often independent creatures — it can be easy to forget they face their own health challenges, just like dogs.

Cats should be kept up-to-date on Rabies vaccinations (it’s the law), and Feline Distemper combos and Leukemia, depending on lifestyle. Since cats age faster than humans, a lot can happen in a year, which is why we recommend an annual check-up.

Make a New Year’s resolution to bring your cat
to the veterinarian for a check-up,
especially if her last visit was over 12 months ago.

But other than an annual wellness visit, when should you take your cat to the vet? Here are some potential poor health signs to watch for:

  • Inappropriate elimination behavior / failure to use litterbox
  • Changes in interaction with family members or other housepets
  • Changes in activity level
  • Changes / increase in sleeping
  • Changes in food and water consumption (may increase or decrease)
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Changes in grooming (may increase or decrease grooming)
  • Changes in vocalization
  • Bad breath

For details on each symptom listed above, stop in at our clinic and pick up the brochure, Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

Coming up next week: How to make vet visits easier for you and your cat.

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Since it’s already the 17th, I should tell you that February is National Pet Dental Health Month.
PetDental_logoPet

No doubt you’ve been furiously brushing your teeth after ingesting all the candy your Sweetie gave you last Saturday.

After you’ve finished taking care of your own choppers, take a look inside your pet’s mouth. 

Choose a dentifrice made for pets.

Choose a dentifrice made for pets.

  • Are any teeth loose, broken, or missing?
  • Are the gums swollen or inflamed?
  • Are there any growths on the gums, lips, roof or floor of the mouth?
  • Do you see pus or blood in the mouth?
  • Are the teeth yellow, brown, or crusted with tartar?
  • Is there a foul odor?
  • Is there fur wrapped around the teeth? (This happens mainly in pets that lick or chew at themselves often.)
  • Has your pet become reluctant to eat, drink cold water, or play with chew toys?
  • Is your pet drooling excessively?
  • Is there a lump beneath one or both eyes (this can signal a carnassial tooth root abscess.)

If you notice any of those signs in your pet, it’s time for a dental checkup.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Good pet dental health begins at home.  Look for pet-specific toothpaste (human toothpaste is not recommended), gels and liquids meant for cleaning your pet’s mouth after meals.
Regular use of a dentifrice can help delay plaque and tartar buildup and it can help freshen your pet’s breath.  (We like Oxyfresh Oral Hygiene for Pets.)
Cleaning your pet’s teeth after meals will allow you to notice any changes in oral health right away.

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

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

This is the inside of the calculus shell, which was molded to the tooth.  (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

This is the inside of the calculus shell, which was molded to the tooth. (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

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This post originally appeared February 15, 2011.

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Pet dental care

It’s never too late to start brushing your pet’s teeth, but persuading Fluffy and Spike to go along with it can be a challenge. Here are 8 great tips to help you ease your pet into a new part of its daily routine:

  1. Introduce a brushing program gradually: training your pet for this procedure may take several days or weeks.
  2. At first, dip your finger into beef bouillon for a dog or tuna water for cats, and rub your finger over the pet’s mouth and teeth.
  3. Make these initial sessions brief and positive.
  4. Introduce gauze on your finger with the same beef or tuna flavor and begin rubbing the teeth in a circular motion.
  5. Before graduating to a soft-bristle toothbrush, put a small amount of pet toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet to taste it.
  6. Place the toothpaste on the toothbrush and allow your pet to lick the bristles.
  7. Apply a small dab of toothpaste to a moist toothbrush and begin brushing gently at a 45° angle away from the gumline.
  8. Do not use a toothpaste designed for people; it contains ingredients that may upset your pet’s stomach.

     February is National Pet  Dental Health Month.
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Tips reprinted from the Pet Owner’s Guide to Oral Care, available at our clinic.

This article originally appeared on Feb. 15, 2012.

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Yes!

If you have pet owners on your Christmas list,
or you just want to pick up something handy for your own furbabies,
you can shop at the vet’s office. 

Take a look at our Christmas gift basket to get a few ideas:

P1080913

(Click to enlarge)

Left to right in the basket:

HyLyt shampoo – a gentle, hypoallergenic moisturizing shampoo that promotes healthy skin and coat

Pill crusher – crush pills into a fine powder and make them more palatable by mixing with food

Seresto collar for dogs – up to 8 months of flea and tick control in one collar

Grooming glove – small plastic studs remove loose fur and dirt while you pet your cat or dog

Free Form Snip Tips – Omega 3 fatty acids promote healthier skin and coat, immune system, and joints

Jumbo nail trimmer – easy-to-use nail trimmer for dogs and cats

Flea comb – closely-spaced teeth remove fleas and flea dirt, along with loose fur

VetzLife Oral Care gel – removes tartar from teeth and freshens breath; available in mint or salmon flavors

 

 

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     Great news! We’ve added a new dental care product to our line-up:  VetzLife Oral Care Gel.

     You may have seen similar products advertised on TV: a gel or liquid is applied to the pet’s teeth daily or weekly, and plaque and tartar begin to break down.

     No process is as fast and effective as a dental cleaning under general anesthesia, but not all pets are suitable candidates for the procedure. Instead, more veterinarians and their clients are turning to products like VetzLife Oral Care Gel to provide a safe form of plaque and tartar removal.

     Plaque and tartar removal do take time, and it requires consistent application of the gel. And if you feel that your pet won’t like having its mouth handled, you can pat some gel on his lips. When he licks it off, the gel will spread over his teeth.

     We chose VetzLife Oral Care Gel, because it offers professional strength plaque and tartar reduction and 100% all-natural ingredients, at an affordable price. It also kills the bacteria that cause gingivitis and bad breath.

     See two photos below showing actual results after thirty days of application, on two different dogs.

 

     Ask for a bottle of VetzLife Oral Care Gel on your next visit to our clinic. We’ll even take before and after photos for you, to document the difference.
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Photos above were borrowed from VetzLife.com with permission.

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