Pet Separation Anxiety

pet seperation anxietyIt isn’t just children who suffer from the back to school blues—pets can suffer too. After a long, fun summer, an empty house can be a difficult adjustment for pets. Pet Sitters International advises pet owners to become familiar with the signs of pet separation anxiety and how it can be treated.Continue Reading

How Often Should A Cat Be Visited?

How Often Should A Cat Be Visited

Cats tend to be very self-sufficient, we must always remember that the domesticated cat depends on us for survival. Animals cannot call the doctor when they are sick or injured and cannot medicate themselves. They are dependent upon us for their food and basic well being.Continue Reading

Animal Communicator Offers Tips to Talk to Your Pets

By JACK SOMMARS

Like most veterinarians, Cindy Houlihan talks to the animals that visit her hospital, The Cat Practice, in suburban Detroit. But Dr. Houlihan goes one step further. To make her patients less fearful, she explains each procedure to them. “I’m going to draw blood and as soon as we’re done, you’ll be able to go home,” she tells a patient. “I know you won’t like it, but if you lay still, I won’t have to start over and we’ll get youContinue Reading

9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites on Halloween

9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites on Halloween

Many dogs enjoy the holidays. Nonstop doorbell rings and visitors showering attention may be doggy bliss for your pet. But even friendly, laid-back pooches get their tails in a twist over the disruption to routine. That can be dangerous for pets and for people.

Dogs recognize people by smell but also by sight. A dog may not recognize a favorite human behind that Halloween mask. Miniature goblins, witches and other ghoulish visitors often are strange children he won’t know. A flowing cape or sparkly fairy wings can be scary. A frightened dog easily mistakes a waving “light saber” or pitch fork as a weapon aimed to hurt.

Halloween is a high risk holiday for dog bites with children in costumes that scare dogs encountering strange pets on their own turf. And when hero dogs defend themselves, their homes and their people from “space aliens” your child could get bitten. Wolfsbane, garlic and holy water won’t help but these tips can keep trick or treaters safe and the dogs happy, too.

Call Ahead. It’s best to plan trick or treat visits with people you know-and ask them about confining their dog before you arrive. Pet “parents” want to keep their “fur-kids” safe, too, and should appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Keep Doors Clear. Closed spaces and especially entryways get dogs excited. Your pet will be hyper-protective of doors and gates. So when the kids arrive, keep King in his own room. Advise your children to avoid entering a stranger’s gated fence when a dog is inside-that keeps him from escaping, too.

Admire From a Distance. Costumed kids should not approach, touch or play with any dog they don’t know. Even a known pet may be suspicious of a three-foot Sponge-Bob. Cute dogs may be friendly but swipe candy or knock down a toddler.

Supervise. There’s nothing better than parents eyeballing their kids and dogs. An adult should always be present when kids and dogs mix. Petting any dog requires permission first from the person who knows the dog best.

Ask Before Treating. Candy can be dangerous for dogs. And some owners may not want you to treat their dog with food rewards, either, so always ask. Offering a treat to an unknown dog might tell him you’re a walking smorgasbord open for business so he pesters you-or mugs you-for the trick or treat bag.

Look Away. Should you notice a strange dog, don’t stare. In dog language that can challenge to dog to show you the sharp ends of his teeth.

Be a Tree. Loud giggly voices, running and arm waving can be so exciting to dogs they chase kids out of reflex and perhaps knock them down. So if a strange dog does approach standing still-like a tree-helps keep him calm.

Be a Log. Dogs instinctively jump up to check out a human’s face, and that Halloween mask may prove too intriguing. But if your child gets knocked down, coach her to act like a log-roll up and be still-until the dog goes away. Otherwise a wriggling kid teases the dog to grab the costume-or an ankle-and play tug.

Avoid Doggy Gangs. Just like rambunctious kids, when a bunch of friendly well behaved dogs get together they can egg each other on and paw-step over the line. So give doggy gangs some space. If their approach concerns you, don’t run or yell-stay still. You can sacrifice the candy by throwing it far enough away to entice them to munch while you walk away.

Approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year with 800,000 individuals-half of them children-requiring medical treatment. Half of all children in the US experience a dog bite by age 12, with 5 to 9 year olds and boys at significantly higher risk. That’s actually a low percentage compared to other types of injuries, but still scary enough for Halloween. Use these tips and avoid adding to the statistics.

Periodontal Disease in Dogs: A Primer

Periodontal Disease in Dogs: A Primer

 

Periodontal disease (also known as dental disease) is by far the most common major health problem in dogs, and cats, too. Despite its name, dental disease does not merely affect the teeth and mouth. Periodontal disease impacts the entire body, with serious consequences for health, longevity and well-being.

Dental disease is an infection of the teeth, gums, and surrounding structures. Because animals do not brush their teeth, food accumulates on the teeth and bacteria grow on the food. Over time, the bacteria move into the gums and adjacent tissues, causing an infection that ultimately can spread to other areas of the body.

Symptoms

Symptoms of periodontal disease may be vague and develop slowly, making them hard to notice. Many animals with dental disease, despite having a serious medical condition, will not show overt symptoms. However, many other animals will suffer symptoms such as the following.

  • Bad breath
  • Lethargy, inactivity, or depression
  • Poor grooming or malodorous hair coat
  • Tongue lolling
  • Salivating
  • Decreased appetite, especially for hard or crunchy food (this is not a common feature of dental disease)
  • Weight loss
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Swelling on the face

Risk Factors

  • Age: Older animals suffer from dental disease with greater frequency. However, the disease can affect animals of almost any age.
  • Breed: Small breed or pug-nosed dogs are at increased risk. These include Miniature and Teacup Poodles, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, Bichon Frises, Pekingese, Pugs, and Boston terriers, among others. Remember, however, that dental disease is a major and common problem in all cats and dogs.
  • Soft food promotes dental disease more rapidly than hard food.
  • Animals who do not receive regular home care (such as tooth brushing) or veterinary care are at higher risk for dental disease than those who do.

Complications

Periodontal disease is a serious medical problem. Untreated, it can lead directly to a number of major complications, including the following:

  • Pain, lethargy, misery, bad breath, and unkempt coat
  • Emaciation and deterioration of body condition
  • Tooth loss
  • Sinus infections
  • Sepsis (infection of the bloodstream)
  • Decreased lifespan and premature death

As well, periodontal disease may contribute to or increase the risk of many serious diseases, including:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Diabetes mellitus (frequently referred to simply as diabetes) in cats and dogs.
  • Infection of the heart, lungs, or kidneys
  • Heart failure in cats and dogs.
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis and spinal diseases

Diagnosis

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by evaluation of the mouth by a veterinary professional. Oral radiographs (X-rays) may help to characterize the extent of the disease.

Treatment

Treatment of medically relevant periodontal disease involves anesthetizing the pet and physically removing infection and debris. Pets with severe cases may require advanced treatments or extraction of teeth that are hopelessly compromised. These pets may require antibiotics or medication to control pain after the procedure.For more information regarding the use of anesthesia for dental work, see the “more on periodontal disease” section below.

Follow-up

Without aggressive home preventive care, periodontal disease will occur. Daily tooth brushing is the best way to slow (and possibly prevent) the recurrence of dental problems. Feeding dry food will slow, but not prevent, the development of recurrent periodontal disease. Chew treats may help to slow the development of dental disease when used appropriately. Always supervise pets while they are in possession of chew treats.

More on Periodontal Disease

Almost all animals will suffer from dental disease at some point in their lives. Regular veterinary checkups are critical to diagnose and address dental disease before it becomes severe.

Some facilities offer dental procedures or “teeth cleanings” without anesthesia. Because true correction of periodontal disease cannot occur without anesthesia, these procedures should be considered cosmetic, not medical. Do not confuse anesthesia-free teeth cleaning with true periodontal treatments and dental work.

Many pet owners worry about anesthetizing their pet for dental work. Modern anesthetic agents have excellent safety profiles, and complications from anesthesia are now extremely rare. In most cases, the benefits of dental work are dramatically greater than the risks. Never hesitate to talk to your veterinarian about any concerns you have regarding anesthesia.