Top 10 Tips for (Dog) Teeth!

pet_dental_monthDid you know that keeping your dogs teeth healthy is an important part of their overall health. Maybe that bad breath isn’t just because they eat dog food, tug toys and chew on rocks. It could be a sign that something is wrong with their oral health.  You can be the first line of defense by giving your pup regular home checkups.

1.The Breathalizer

Give your dogs breath a sniff.  Ok, so they might not have the best breath and that is normal However, if their breath smells really awful. I mean truly offensive and it is paired with loss of appetite, vomiting, or excessive drinking or urinating, then you should take your dog to the vet.

2. Giving Lip

About once a week take a peek into your dogs mouth. Lift up his lips and take a look at his gums and teeth. His gums should be pink, nor white or red, and should show no signs of swelling.  His teeth should be clean and white, and with no brownish tartar.

3. Oral Disease: Signs and Symptoms

Here are signs that your dog may be having gastrointestinal issues.

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Tumors in the gums
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Loose teeth

If you notice these signs, you should take your dog into the vet to get checked.

4. The Truth on Tooth Decay

What causes Tooth Decay?  Bacteria build-up on a dogs teeth. This bacteria can be caused, or encouraged, by plaque-forming food. The plaque hardens into tartar which can lead to gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.

The solution?  Regular teeth cleanings!

5. Brushing Your Dogs Teeth

First you need to get a dog toothbrush. Yes, there are toothbrushes meant just for your pooch. If you don’t have one, wrap some soft gauze around your finger. Then get some dog toothpaste. If there are toothbrushes made for your dog you can be sure that there is toothpaste made safe just for your pup. If you don’t have dog toothpaste, you can make your own by using baking soda and water. Just make sure not to use Floride on puppies less than 6 months of age, it can interfere with their enamel formation. Do NOT use human toothpaste, it can irritate their stomach and might make them mildly ill. And since you asked, the is also special mouthwash for dogs…just ask your vet.

Now that you have all the supplies, take your dog toothpaste put it on your dog toothbrush and give those teeth a scrubbing!

6. How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Most dogs don’t like the idea of having their teeth brushed. Here are some simple steps to help you both through the process.

  • Massage your dogs lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to her teeth and gums. This will help her get use to having your touch and do things to her teeth and gums.
  • Once he gets comfortable with your fingers all over his teeth, put a bit of the dog toothpaste on his lips to get him use to the taste.
  • Then put the dog toothbrush in their mouth, but don’t brush their teeth. Just get them use to the feel of it in their mouth, on their gums and teeth.
  • Lastly, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing.

A vet exam is a good idea before you start. The vet can check to see if her gums are inflamed and check the overall dental health of your dog. If your dog has gingivitis, hard brushing can hurt her gums.  Being aware of any mouth tenderness will help to have a successful tooth brushing.

7. Brushing Technique

Of course there is a technique! Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and clean in small circular motions. Only work one area at a time, lifting the gums to get full access to all parts of the mouth. You dog may resist you brushing the inside of the teeth. Don’t worry about that too much. Only a small amount of tartar accumulates there.

Once you have your technique down, try to brush your dogs teeth 2-3 times a week.

8. Stop the Sweets and Give Good Treats

We all like the occasional treat but many dog treats are not good for your dogs teeth. Some treats may be bad for your dog but some can be good for them as well. Ask your vet about treats that will help remove soft tartar and improve your pups breath.

9. Chew on This

Dogs have a natural desire to chew. Chew toys are a great way to satisfy this desire while making teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy will also massage the gums and help scrape off soft tartar. An additional benefit is chewing on a toy will also help reduce your dog’s overall stress levels and help prevent boredom.

Your vet may even sell chew toys that will benefit your dogs oral health.

10. Diet for Healthy Teeth

Just like for people, what you eat affects your teeth. Your dogs food can be helping or hurting their dental health.  Ask your vet for recommendations for dog food that is good for their teeth and helps reduce tartar and plaque.

4 Reasons Why It’s Important To Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Spay or neuter your petYou’ve probably heard that it’s important to spay or neuter your pet. For whatever reason, however, maybe you’re still on the fence about whether it’s really necessary. It’s time to jump off that fence and onto the side of righteousness! Which is to say, it is absolutely, hands-down, without a doubt imperative to spay or neuter your pet. Here’s why.

Pet Overpopulation

The biggest reason to get your dog or cat neutered is pet overpopulation. More than four million pets are euthanized every year simply because there aren’t enough loving homes to meet the demand. Unless you’re a professional breeder, there is no reason your pet should have puppies or kittens. There are countless animals out there that need homes—the last thing we should do is add to that number. Even if you think your pet is strictly an indoor animal that has no contact with any potential mates, there’s no way you can know for sure. If you fail to spay or neuter your pet, you are actively contributing to the animal population problem. Be part of the solution by getting your pet spayed or neutered, and by adopting your pets from rescue shelters.

Reduces Health Problems

In both male and female dogs and cats, spaying and neutering reduces a variety of health problems that could spell early death for your pet. Spaying female pets prior to their first reproductive cycle eliminates the risk of breast and uterine cancer, as well as the possibility of uterine infections. For male pets, neutering helps prevent testicular cancer, enlargement of the prostate gland, and perianal tumors. Unneutered males are also more likely to roam around in search of a mate, increasing the likelihood that they could get hit by a car or meet some other unfortunate end. It’s impossible to justify risking your pet’s life by not getting them spayed or neutered.

Behavior Improvements

Some people believe that spaying or neutering their pet will bring about negative personality changes. In reality, the opposite is true. As previously mentioned, males are less likely to roam when the drive to find a mate is eliminated, meaning they’ll become less restless and more at ease with staying put. Males also tend to become less aggressive and get along better with other pets when neutered. When reproductively active female pets go into heat, they tend to become agitated, pacing around the house, making lots of noise, and sometimes even urinating all over everything. In short, a spayed or neutered pet is a happy pet.

Cost Effective

One reason people don’t neuter or spay their pets is because they think it’s too expensive (Check out our promotions for money saving coupons on spays and neuters). Compared to the costs of caring for a litter of puppies or kittens, however, the price of spaying and neutering is negligible. Many shelters and clinics offer low-cost spaying/neutering options, bringing the price down even further. It’s important to remember that, between medical bills, food, grooming, and a variety of other expenses, owning a pet can be quite expensive. If you’re not willing to invest a little bit more to get your pet spayed or neutered, maybe pet-owning isn’t for you.

If you have any questions about getting your pet spayed or neutered, contact a veterinarian to get the info you need to help your pets live long, happy, healthy lives. If you are the type of animal loving person who wants to help raise awareness about proper pet owning techniques or help animals live the best lives possible, the path of the veterinary tech may be for you.

Julie Lee is a freelance blogger who writes about veterinary tech college programs and animal health topics.

AHCHOO!!! Does your Dog have Allergies?

dog sneezingIt is estimated that between fifteen and thirty percent of the population are allergic to cats, dogs or both. Depending on how sensitive a person’s immune system is, the reaction can range from mild to extremely severe. While most people are aware of the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to their canine family members, many dog owners are not aware that pets can have allergies to their environment and the foods they eat, too.

Types of Canine Allergies

Dogs are allergic to airborne allergens like mold and pollen and chemical substances like perfume and dyes in cleaning agents and shampoos. Some dogs develop sensitivity and allergies to their food.

Other triggers include:

  • Insecticides
  • Plastic/latex
  • Medication
  • Feathers
  • Dust/dust mites

Symptoms of Allergic Reaction

Watch for new or excessive scratching. The first sign that your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction could be redness, swelling and irritation in or around the ears. Inflammation from an allergic reaction and ear infections are both uncomfortable for dogs; scratching is your pet’s way of trying to cope with the discomfort or pain.

Some additional symptoms and their possible causes are listed below.

Red, scaly, or oozing skin patches

These symptoms may develop from flea, tick or other parasitic bites, grass and pollen irritation or as a reaction to certain fabrics or upholstery in your home.

Coughing and/or sneezing

Allergies to inhaled substances like cigarette smoke, perfumes and airborne particles can produce a raspy canine cough. Sneezing is present when particles irritate the nasal passages.

Constant scratching and chewing

Many dog allergies produce excessive chewing (especially on the lower back or tail). Look for fleas or bite marks.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are harder to pinpoint. Food sensitivities can develop shortly after the first or second ingestion while others may develop several months or even years later. Veterinarians recommend limiting the number of ingredients in your dog’s diet for a period from three to six months before reintroducing various foods one at a time to discover which ingredients are producing reactions. Consult your vet to develop a nutritionally sound challenge diet.

Carly is a writer for Allergic Pet specializes in providing safe and natural solutions to your pet health problems.