While you’re decorating for the holiday season, make sure your home remains safe for your pets. Glass ornaments, tinsel, garland, ribbons, and artificial snow products all can be harmful if swallowed. Choking and toxins are also potential problems. Don’t forget about poinsettia plants. These highly toxic plants could seriously harm your pets if they chew on the leaves. Consider safe, silk plants instead.
It’s summertime and the living is easy, but summer fun also brings some inherent dangers to be aware of. Dog owners need to take extra responsibility to make sure their pup is safe when temperatures heat up and outdoor activity beckons.
Everyone knows you should never leave a dog in a hot car, but it’s also important to be aware that your pup can get heatstroke while they’re outside.
If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child’s wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in. Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water. Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense. Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog’s paws. Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning. Lisa and I just got back from visiting our friends inWilmington,N.C.where we were lucky enough to spend a few glorious days boating and going to the beach. You would be amazed at how many boating dogs there were, it seemed everywhere I looked there was a dog on a boat. While on the beach an endless number of dogs were running, playing, and splashing around. So, next I thought it would be a good idea to go over some safety tips for those planning on taking Fido to the beach.
Make sure your dog has a shady spot to rest in and plenty of fresh water. Dogs, especially those with short hair, white fur, and pink skin, can sunburn. Limit your dog’s exposure during the day and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside. Check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea lice and jellyfish. Running on the sand is strenuous exercise. A dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament, so keep a check on your dog’s activity. Do not let your dog drink seawater; the salt will make him sick. Salt and other minerals in ocean water can damage your dog’s coat, so rinse him off at the end of the day. Not all beaches permit dogs; check local ordinances before heading out. Since we’re talking about the beach this naturally leads us to our final tip, water safety. Remember, while you may enjoy swimming, your dog may not. For those that do, it’s important they are not allowed to swim without supervision. It sounds obvious, but every year dogs drown due to owner negligence.
Most dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog’s preferences and skills before trying to make him swim. If you’re swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water and coax him in by calling his name. Encourage him with toys or treats. Or, let him follow another experienced dog he is friendly with. Never throw your dog into the water. If your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and keep his back end up. Don’t let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and he may tire quickly. If swimming at the ocean, be careful of strong tides. If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown. Never leave your dog unattended in water.
Summer is the time when ticks and fleas are out in full force, it’s important that your pets be treated. If you’re not sure about what to use contact your veterinarian for advice. Dogs can also have more allergies in the summer so you need to be aware of the signs so you can seek proper treatment. Lastly, with more outdoor activities comes more accidents. Knowing how to care for your dog in case of an emergency can potentially save his or her life.
Two major national pet stores are pulling all dog and cat treats made in China off of their shelves as years of complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pile up that jerky treats from China were possibly making pets sick.
Vice President of Merchandising for Petco John Sturm said they are voluntarily removing these products after consumers voiced concerns.
Another major pet food retailer, PetSmart, is pulling Chinese-made jerky treats from its stores in the U.S.and Canada.
The treats have been linked to more than 1,000 dog deaths and nearly 5,000 other pet illnesses.
The FDA said it’s still working to determine the exact causes of the illnesses.
While the products won’t actually disappear from PetSmart shelves until March of 2015, Petco plans to pull the products by the end of this year.
Brushing your pet’s teeth can be a battle at times, especially if they were not trained to get their teeth brushed from a very young age. Our team can suggest some tips and tricks for getting them acclimated to brushing. Check out this great video from the American Veterinary Medical Association with some tips on at-home dental care for pets.
1. The Breath Test
Sniff your dog’s breath. Not a field of lilies? That’s okay—normal doggie-breath isn’t particularly fresh-smelling. However, if his breath is especially offensive and is accompanied by a loss of appetite, vomiting or excessive drinking or urinating, it’s a good idea to take your pooch to the vet.
2. LIP SERVICE
Once a week, with your dog facing you, lift his lips and examine his gums and teeth. The gums should be pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling. His teeth should be clean, without any brownish tartar.
3. SIGNS OF ORAL DISEASE
The following are signs that your dog may have a problem in his mouth or gastrointestinal system and should be checked by a veterinarian:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Inflamed gums
- Tumors in the gums
- Cysts under the tongue
- Loose teeth
4. THE LOWDOWN ON TOOTH DECAY
Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause build-up on a dog’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. One solution? Regular teeth cleanings, of course.
5. CANINE TOOTH-BRUSHING KIT
Get yourself a toothbrush made especially for canines or a clean piece of soft gauze to wrap around your finger. Ask your vet for a toothpaste made especially for canines or make a paste out of baking soda and water. Never use fluoride with dogs under six months of age—it can interfere with their enamel formation. And please do not use human toothpaste, which can irritate a dog’s stomach. Special mouthwash for dogs is also available—ask your vet.
6. BRIGHTENING THE PEARLY WHITES
Taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:
- First get your dog used to the idea of having her teeth brushed. Massage her 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.
- When your pooch seems comfortable being touched this way, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water on her lips to get her used to the taste.
- Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for dogs—it should be smaller than a human toothbrush and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger (or a clean piece of gauze) are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your dog’s gums.
- Finally, apply the toothpaste to her teeth for a gentle brushing, as in step 7.
- A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your dog’s gums are inflamed. If your dog has mild gingivitis, brushing too hard can hurt her gums.
7. BRUSHING TECHNIQUE
Yes, there is actually a technique! Place the brush or your gauze-wrapped finger at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and clean in small, circular motions. Work on one area of your dog’s mouth at a time, lifting her lip as necessary. The side of the tooth that touches the cheek usually has the most tartar, and giving a final downward stroke can help to remove it. If your dog resists having the inner surfaces of her teeth cleaned, don’t fight it—only a small amount of tartar accumulates there. Once you get the technique down, go for a brushing two or three times a week.
8. KNOW YOUR MOUTH DISORDERS
Getting familiar with the possible mouth problems your dog may encounter will help you determine when it’s time to see a vet about treatment:
- Periodontal disease is a painful infection between the tooth and the gum that can result in tooth loss and spread infection to the rest of the body. Signs are loose teeth, bad breath, tooth pain, sneezing and nasal discharge.
- Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused mainly by accumulation of plaque, tartar and disease-producing bacteria above and below the gum line. Signs include bleeding, red, swollen gums and bad breath. It is reversible with regular teeth cleanings.
- Halitosis—or bad breath—can be the first sign of a mouth problem and is caused by bacteria growing from food particles caught between the teeth or by gum infection. Regular tooth-brushings are a great solution.
- Swollen gums develop when tartar builds up and food gets stuck between the teeth. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth at home and getting annual cleanings at the vet can prevent tartar and gingivitis.
- Proliferating gum disease occurs when the gum grows over the teeth and must be treated to avoid gum infection. An inherited condition common to boxers and bull terriers, it can be treated with antibiotics.
- Mouth tumors appear as lumps in the gums. Some are malignant and must be surgically removed.
- Salivary cysts look like large, fluid-filled blisters under the tongue, but can also develop near the corners of the jaw. They require drainage, and the damaged saliva gland must be removed.
- Canine distemper teeth can occur if a dog had distemper as a puppy. Adult teeth can appear looking eroded and can often decay. As damage is permanent, decayed teeth should be removed by a vet.
9. CHEW ON THIS
chew toys can satisfy your dog’s natural desire to chomp, while making his teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help massage his gums and help keep his teeth clean by scraping away soft tartar. Ask your vet to recommend toxin-free rawhide, nylon and rubber chew toys.
P.S.: Gnawing also reduces your dog’s overall stress level, prevents boredom and gives him an appropriate outlet for his natural need to chew.
10. DIET FOR HEALTHY TEETH
Ask your vet about a specially formulated dry food that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar. Also, avoid feeding your dog table scraps, instead giving him treats that are specially formulated to keep canine teeth healthy.
Did you know that most pets over three years of age need professional dental cleaning? Untreated, excessive tartar leads to infected gums, pain and loss of teeth. February is Pet Dental Health Month and the team at Northside Animal Hospital urges you to bring your pet in for a dental appointment this month! Call us today at 706-324-0333 to schedule your pet’s dental appointment today!
Cats are good at self-maintenance, but even your fastidious feline can’t prevent some of the more common cat diseases and health issues. To help you care for kitty, here’s a brief overview of six of the most common cat health problems.
COMMON CAT HEALTH PROBLEM: VOMITING
COMMON CAT HEALTH PROBLEM: FELINE LOWER URINARY TRACT DISEASES (FLUTD)
- Straining to urinate
- Bloody urine
- Urinating in unusual places
- Crying when urinating
- Licking around the urinary area (often because of pain)
- Lack of appetite
COMMON CAT HEALTH PROBLEM: FLEAS
- Flea dirt on their skin (they look like tiny black dots)
- Constant scratching
- Frequent licking
- Red or irritated skin
- Hair loss
- Skin infections or hot spots
COMMON CAT HEALTH PROBLEM: TAPEWORMS
COMMON CAT HEALTH PROBLEM: DIARRHEA
COMMON CAT HEALTH PROBLEM: EYE PROBLEMS
Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County: “About FLUTD.
“Veterinary Partner: “Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).” “Vomiting and Diarrhea.”
Suevet.com: “Cat Vomiting.”
ASPCA: “Fleas,” “Worms,” “Diarrhea,” “Top Tips for Keeping Kitty’s Eyes Healthy.”
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