Dental Care For Your Dog

Our furry little friends are likely to develop dental disease if their dental needs are ignored. Periodontal disease is not uncommon among dogs, particularly small dog breeds. And just like with humans, these problems can result in bad breath, yellowed teeth, and in the worst of cases, even progress to loss of teeth.

The development of such problems usually begins with such signs as swollen, red, and painful gums. Your pet may have less of an appetite as well. These signs indicate a need for immediate professional care.

Tooth decay and/or the loss of teeth usually indicate the presence of bacteria in the mouth. If left untreated the damage can progress from only involving the mouth to further damage that can include serious complications related to the kidneys, lungs, and heart, all of which can lead to a shortened lifespan. Periodontal problems usually start with the formation of plaque.

Plaque builds on the teeth and in thirty-six hours or less, plaque can harden and tartar can form. This problem usually develops first and the worst in the upper back teeth. Unfortunately, once tartar has formed, it cannot be brushed away.

The good news is that these problems can be avoided. Although healthy routines can be started with any dog at any age, it is always best to start healthy routines with a young puppy. If the dog is older you should insure that he has a professional dental cleaning and then begin the healthy dental routine at home.

If you have a regular routine of brushing your dog’s teeth on a daily basis you can avoid most of these problems. The routine should be established while the dog is young if at all possible. He will then accept the brushing as part of his regular care.

At first the dog will wonder what you are doing so it is best to allow him to taste the doggie toothpaste. These special pastes are formulated to be appealing to dogs. You can use your finger or a special dog toothbrush. Don’t forget to clean both the teeth and the gums. Begin in the back and work in small circular motions. The entire brushing process will take less than a minute.

Providing such things as chew treats, hard dog biscuits and bones, and even soft toys for your pet can help to prevent dental problems. Besides keeping the teeth strong and healthy many of the items are specially formulated to freshen the breath. Feeding crunchy food items on a regular basis is another way to keep your pet’s teeth healthier. Another tip is that while warming your dog’s food will often make it more appealing it is important to insure that the food is only slightly warm and never hot. On the flip side, dogs should not be served cold food.

Dental Care For Your Dog courtesy Dog Articles.

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10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know

In some ways having a pet is like having a child.  You have to do all of the thinking and planning for him.  You have to be prepared for every contingency.  That means being prepared in case of emergencies and taking the proper precautions ahead of time.

Here are some tips that should help you take good care of your dog:

1.  Make sure that your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations and that he has proper tags and ID at all times.  Microchips are recommended.  This is a great help should your dog ever become lost.  It gives him the best possible chance of being returned to you if somebody finds him.

2.  Obey leash laws.  This means that you should keep your dog safely contained in your own yard behind a fence.  When you have your dog out with you make sure that he is restrained on a good quality leash.  Don’t let your dog run loose.  This is dangerous to him and a nuisance to the neighborhood.

3.  Be careful what you feed your dog.  No chocolate.  No onions.  No raisins.  If in doubt about something your dog eats or if you suspect poisoning call your local veterinarian immediately.  Know the number of your closest emergency vet clinic and the shortest route in case you have an emergency at night.

4.  Crate train your dog.  Your dog should ride in a crate in your vehicle.  This is the safest way for your dog to travel.  Crate training is also a great way to help house train your dog.  If you ever intend to fly anywhere with your dog he will also need to fly in a crate.

5.  Keep a pet first aid kit on hand and know how to use the contents.  A good first aid kit should contain blankets, surgical tape, a muzzle, an antibacterial ointment (such as Neosporin), cotton swabs, tweezers, gauze and gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, ipecac, scissors, forceps, diarrhea medication, and activated charcoal.  Remember that if your dog experiences an injury that he may react out of fear or pain.  Be careful in handling him.  He could bite you accidentally.

6.  Take special precautions in hot summer weather and during extreme cold.  Remember that dogs can’t sweat and that they suffer during extremes of weather just as people do.  They should not be left in vehicles during either extreme, even for a few minutes.

7.  Remember that your dog needs fresh water available at all times.  Dogs can become dehydrated just as people can.

8.  Take special precautions with dogs when there may be fireworks or other loud noises.  Many dogs are sensitive to these loud booms and can become frightened from them.  Some dogs can bolt and become lost.

9.  Old dogs need special care.  Keep an eye on their weight.  You don’t want them to be either too thin or too much overweight.  Both can be signs of an underlying health problem.  Make allowances for their age.  Provide a softer place to sleep, give them more time to eat, make their food more appealing.  Take them for a senior check-up starting when they’re about seven-years-old.

10.  Be patient with puppies.  They come to you not knowing anything.  They will make mistakes.  Teach them using positive training techniques and they will be able to learn anything you want to teach them.  A trained dog is a happier dog and has a better chance of fitting into your home and lifestyle and living a wonderful life with you.

10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know courtesy Dog Articles.

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Protecting Your Dog From Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is one of those terms that are often heard in association with dogs but few people have a clear understanding of what this infection really is and how to protect their pet. The fact is that kennel cough is common in dogs that are living (temporarily or permanently) in a crowded or stressful situation. The infection is characterized by a deep cough, which sounds almost as if the dog has something caught in its throat.

The medical name for this infection is ‘canine infectious tracheo-bronchitis’. There are many possible causative agents or factors of this infection including stress caused by travel or by crowded conditions, exposure to cold temperatures or exposure to pollutants in the air. Even cigarette smoke can pose a risk.

Kennel cough is the result of a reduction in the animal’s normal protective mechanisms of the respiratory tract. In addition or combination with the factors listed above, the actual bacterium responsible for kennel cough is ‘Bordetella Bronchiseptica’. Because the cough is extremely contagious and is passed from dog to another via respiratory secretions, boarding kennels, animal shelters, and grooming shops are often places that dogs seem to ‘catch’ the cough.

Some cases of kennel cough resolve themselves. If your dog develops a cough but continues to eat and be active there is a good chance that the problem will end on its own, without any medical intervention. However, in other cases, especially in those involving young puppies, the kennel cough can be more serious and can even result in the development of pneumonia. These pets will need the professional care of a veterinarian. In all likelihood they will receive antibiotics as well as anti-tussives for the cough.

Vaccinations are available for this infection, but they are not always recommended for all dogs. Instead, they are given to dogs at risk for Bordetella. Most boarding kennels require that dogs be vaccinated against the infection before they can stay. Although few groomers require that dogs be vaccinated against Bordetella, it is advisable that any dog that regularly visits a groomer have the vaccination. The same is true for dog training classes. In fact, the vaccination is warranted for dogs that regularly visit a dog park or other area where they are likely to socialize with unknown dogs.

It is important to note that even with the vaccination dogs can still develop the clinical signs and symptoms of kennel cough. The good news is that the symptoms will be milder and usually will not last long.

It’s always suggested that you talk with your veterinarian to determine if your dog should be vaccinated against this or any type of disease or infection. In most cases though, if your dog socializes with other dogs, having him vaccinated against Bordetella is a good idea. Other things to consider include the climate you live in and the air quality your dog is exposed to routinely. Protection is almost always easier than dealing with the consequences of ignoring a potential health threat.

Protecting Your Dog From Kennel Cough courtesy Dog Articles.

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