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Pets and Air Quality

New mexico emergency evacuation

New mexico emergency evacuationNew Mexico is prone to wildfires. The worse the drought the worse the fire season. This is something we all combat with good fire safety. But just like us, if there is a fire, and we get exposed to smoke and ash, it can cause breathing problems. The level of risk for breathing problems due to ash or smoke exposure is relative to the density of the smoke and the health of the person or pet.

Dogs with brachycephalic, which refers to a skull structure of dogs with pushed in faces like pugs and bull dogs, are not at more risk of damage from smoke inhalation. Though they have more soft tissue in their throats and smaller diameter windpipes, this is not where smoke causes damage. Smoke causes damage when small particles that are floating in the smoke, aka ash, find their way into the airway branches of the lungs. This can lead to pneumonia or respiratory collapse.

If you find yourself in an area with smoke from a fire, it is a good idea to remove yourself and your pets until the smoke has cleared.

Smoke causes a very serious issue for people and pets who have underlying medical conditions like asthma, bronchitis, heart conditions or lung conditions like COPD. When it is really hot outside, it can make it more difficult to breathe if you suffer from another underlying health condition and it is better to stay inside.  For dogs that are brachycephalic or squished faces, it is better to keep them in during the hot weather because they have a harder time moving air through their windpipes which make it harder for them to cool down.

If you have questions about any breathing issues with your pet, please make an appointment with your Albuquerque vet to find out what is going on and if you need treatment.

How dirty is your pets mouth?

Dog Dental Disease

Dog Dental DiseaseDid you know you can tell a lot about your dog’s health by looking inside his mouth? Though a dog’s mouth is never truly clean, meaning there are bacteria in there, it can be really dirty if not taken care of.


Healthy Gums: Gums are the first line of defense for a healthy mouth. You can lift your dog’s lips to see their gums and check out their health. Healthy gums will be pink, moist and without any spots. If they are gray, spotty or swollen then there is likely a health issue and you should bring your dog to see your vet for a dental check up.

Healthy Teeth: Healthy teeth lead to healthy eating. If your dog has decaying and rotting teeth, or a lot of cavities, this can keep them from wanting to eat which can result in sudden weight loss. Rotting teeth is also painful and can cause personality changes in your dog. Not to mention the bad breath. If your dog suddenly is reluctant to eat hard food, it may be time to look at their teeth to see if there is an underlying issue.

Bad Breath: Yes dogs have bad breath. But there are levels to typical doggy breath and BAD breath. If your dog’s mouth smells like something is dying in there it is likely because they are having teeth rot. No matter what you feed them, or how many charcoal biscuits you give them, it will not fix the smell that comes from rotting teeth. Bad breath is one of the fastest ways to detect an issue in your dog’s dental health.

If your dog has incredibly bad breath, swollen, gray or spotty gums, or you see their teeth rotting, you need to bring them in for a dental check up. It is possible it is time for a professional dental cleaning or even tooth removal. You can also do preventative dental care by brushing your dogs teeth weekly. If you are not sure how to do that, read our post on how to brush your dog’s teeth.


How to Overcome Nervous Peeing

albuquerque dog

albuquerque dogDoes your dog get so excited he pees or so nervous he pees? This is not an uncommon problem. It can happen when they are around another human or dog that they believe is superior or intimidating. This is not an issue of housebreaking. If it is a puppy that is doing it then they will typically grow out of it as they learn to manage their excitement better. If it is a submissive urination issue, you can address this with training.

FIRST: Never punish a submissive urination. This will not help and can make it worse. Even your body language can amplify their fear or anxiety. The primary goal of behavioral therapy with your dog is to build confidence. If they are confident they will not have a fear or submissive peeing reaction.


  • Do not comfort your dog for peeing. Just as punishing is bad, so is comforting. Be relaxed and ignore the behavior.
  • Do not rush your dog into situations that make him nervous. Build up gradually to them to give him a chance to familiarize himself and feel comfortable.
  • Do basic obedience training so that he is well behaved and accustomed to listening to you.
  • Crate train your dog. This will give him a place to retreat if he is nervous.
  • Take him out regularly to let him relieve his bladder. If there is little urine in his bladder it is harder for him to have an anxiety pee.
  • If he urinates after letting him out of the crate, do not say anything. Let him outside and clean it up. But do not talk to him. He will start to realize that he is not in trouble but the behavior is not rewarded either.
  • When outside, give him commands to urinate and praise him when he does use only your voice. Do not do excited praise, but calming and reassuring.
  • Keep your body calm. Keep your movements and body language slow and calm. Keep your voice down. This will keep him calm.
  • Keep him on a leash in a situation that may make him feel nervous, even if it is in your house. Often they take comfort being on a leash because they feel you are in control of the situation.
  • Reaffirm the comfort of a leash by spending time sitting with your dog while he is on the leash.
  • Ask your friends to not engage with him, if he is really nervous around other people. Work towards introducing him, but only after he is comfortable in the environment.

If you are concerned there is a medical issue, please contact your Albuquerque veterinarian for a checkup.

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.