A pet’s oral health usually provides a sign of her overall health, nonetheless many of us pet owners overlook the importance of a brushing and regular dental exams. Due to this, about 75% of dogs and cats have some stage periodontal disease before the age of three. How can you keep your pet from being part of these statistics?

Nutrition.

A nutritious diet can help to significantly impact overall dental health.  This starts with the food you buy. Our veterinary team can provide insight on the best type of food for your pet’s age, current health needs, and level of overall dental health. Our online store features many options for improving dental health through nutrition, and these items can be shipped FREE to you with a minimum of a $38 purchase.

Brushing.

Dental chews will help scale back tartar and plaque in dogs, however pets still must have their teeth brushed on a frequent basis. It’s best to begin this routine when your pet is a puppy or kitten.  Even if you didn't already begin this routine when your pet was small, or if you've adopted and older pet, your pet will be able to learn to accept it as a part of the conventional routine with lots of gentle persistence, praise and treats from you. Select a toothbrush that's appropriately sized for your pet’s breed and life stage, as well as a tasty (to them) toothpaste that will encourage them to enjoy the brushing routine (These items are also available in our online store.).

If you think that your pet is going to be reluctant, let him or her sniff the toothbrush before placing it near the mouth for small intervals of time. Each day add a bit more time to the process and gradually place the toothbrush topped with dog-friendly/cat-friendly toothpaste inside your pet’s mouth. As you progressively increase the amount of teeth you clean day by day, your pet will even begin looking forward to this time spent with you, especially if given frequent and tasty rewards (TREATS!).

Regular Professional Cleanings

Besides proper nutrition and routine at-home dental care, we encourage you to schedule a professional dental cleaning at Battletown Animal Clinic each year. Our staff uses anesthesia during your pet’s cleaning session to ensure that he remains comfortable and cooperative and also conducts a thorough oral exam. We also take a dental radiograph during this appointment, which provides us with a clear image of your dog or cat’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. This gives us with a baseline as well makes it easier to plan treatment, if needed.

Identifying Dental Health Issues

Complaints of their pet having foul  breath is common among pet owners. However, it’s often taken a bit lightly. If your pet has this symptom, it’s necessary for you to schedule an appointment with us. This may be an indicator of periodontal disease or another  oral health issue. Other symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath despite your tooth brushing efforts
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Stains on the teeth that appear yellow or brown

If you've been unaware of the significant importance of oral hygiene for dogs and cats, it’s time for a fresh new view of how care of the teeth has tremendous impact on your pet’s overall health. Schedule your pet’s dental exam today by calling us at Battletown Animal Clinic: (540) 955-2171

Photo Credit: BCFC

 

We’re a couple of weeks into a new year, and if you’re like most people, as you turned the calendar, you thought of ways that you want to make this year better than the previous. A new year gives us a time to commit to better decisions and a “fresh start”. As you’ve had these reflections for your own commitments, consider also making a commitment to your pet’s health this year. By embracing preventive care for your pet, you’ll benefit in 3 significant ways - something you’ll both be happy about!

Cost

By committing to preventive care for your pet, one of the biggest impacts is on your pocketbook. Research has proven that the average cost of preventing serious diseases or catching them early is significantly less expensive than treatment when disease has advanced into more serious stages. One study comparing the costs of screening and preventive medications for external parasites vs. treatment for these diseases was on average $95.00 less. Preventive care for dental disease vs. treatment as the disease has advanced was on average approximately $360 less. One of the most significant areas of savings is in the prevention of infectious disease, which can be up to $600 less!  These are just a few of examples of how this investment into regular preventive care has a tremendous financial benefit to you as a pet owner.

Longevity

When you bring your pet in to see us at regular intervals, we’re able to notice changes in your pet that are not obvious to you. Preventive care exams allow us to notice early stages of disease in your pet’s blood work or changes to any of his or her senses and motor ability. Not only does this allow you to begin treatment at a less costly rate, as mentioned above, but helps to catch the disease at its most treatable stages. This allows you to have longer, more quality time with your pet, and with you pet feeling good in the best level of health he or she can be.

The Bond You Share

As a pet owner, you know how much your pet means to you. They are a member of our families and share the highs and lows with us each and every day. By taking the time to brush his or her teeth daily, taking walks together, playing with them with mind-enriching toys, teaching them tricks, or even just by holding them on your lap and giving them attention through touch and talking with them, this time is valued. Your pet will love this commitment you’ve made in time. Even if you already have a spectacular relationship with your pet, every moment will be truly enjoyed by your companion, and continue to enhance your relationship together.

We hope you have a wonderful year ahead. Please feel free to call us anytime if you have questions or concerns regarding your pets' health. As always, we look forward to providing the quality health care you deserve. Call us at (540) 955-2171 to make your pet’s appointment.

Source:
DVM, Carol McConnell. “How Preventive Care for Pets Pays Off.” Vetstreet, www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-preventive-care-for-pets-pays-off.

Photo Credit: Belovodchenko

This time of year is an exciting one, and a time to get caught up in holiday festivities and the spirit of gift giving. Even turning on the TV at this time of year offers viewers programming of nostalgia-inducing Christmas celebrations, often focused around gift-giving moments at the tree. Of course, in these shows, when a puppy or kitten pops out of the present, there is a happy ending and smiles all around. However, reality is often not quite as blissful. The weeks following the holiday season tend to be the weeks of the highest pet relinquishment. Here are 4 reasons to reconsider gifting someone a pet.

1. Bringing a pet Into a home requires planning, education and preparation

Getting a pet should never be done on a “whim”. One must consider family dynamics, lifestyle, time available to devote to creating an enriching and mentally stimulating environment for a pet, and best type of pet to have the most successful integration into the family. This can take weeks or even months of research and planning. There are other questions, too, such as:

  • Who will take care of the pet while the owner is working?
  • Who will be primarily responsible for attending to the pet’s needs?
  • Are children at an appropriate age to safely and responsibly interact with the pet?

2. Financial impact

The costs of caring for a pet exist beyond just the cost of the pet or the adoption fee. Consider the first year of the pet’s life when all of the primary vaccinations, spaying or neutering,  and wellness checks are necessary to get his start in his new home off to a healthy one. Add in food, toys, and obedience classes, and the expenditures quickly add up to a significant number. What if an accident or sudden illness should occur to the new furry family member? These expenses may quickly reach into numbers exceeding $1000 or more. This “gift” suddenly becomes an unexpected, and potentially insurmountable, burden.

3. Allergies

Allergies to a pet are one of the top 10 reasons that pets (specifically cats) are relinquished to shelters, according to Petfinder. If one is unaware of the gift recipient’s allergy to a pet, not only does receiving an animal unexpectedly have the danger of causing health issues to the human, but the pet would likely be turned in to a shelter, only to be required to wait for a new home.

4.  Stress, stress, and more stress.

The holidays already have a high level of activity and energy. Consider what this would be like for a pet entering a “strange” new home. Not only is the charged environment a stressor, but the extra bustle, noise, strange faces, smells and sights create highly unpredictable surroundings. The potential for bites, aggression, or behaviors due to stress increases. Pets are much more content in calming and predictable settings, which potential pet owners would have more control outside of the busy holiday season.

At Battletown Animal Clinic, we’re excited to partner with pet owners on the journey to their pet’s health and well-being. Although a pet is truly a gift to a family, avoiding giving them as a present just makes sense. By allowing a potential pet owner to carefully research the best type of pet for their home and lifestyle, make financial plans for care, and attend to preparation to make the pet’s joining of the household a smooth, welcome and stress-free one! With education and planning, acquiring a new pet is a happy and informed experience, which will set the stage for 10-20 years of devoted companionship.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The holiday season is here! As we embrace the excitement and spirit of these next few weeks, it’s important to keep in mind what the impact may be on the furry members of your family. Let’s imagine yourself as your pet, and let’s consider these potential hazards, from their eyes!

1. Tasty foods and non-food items

The season is filled with new smells of tantalizing treats. And with my busy pet owner preparing for guests, it’s the perfect time to snatch food off of the counter or snoop in an unattended handbag! So many new things to see and decorations to sniff and play with!

2. People, open doors, noise, OH MY!

With extra guests around, the door is opening and closing far more than usual! Plus, sometimes it just gets left open entirely! It’s a lot more noisy and chaotic than usual, so no one will notice for a while if I slip out! (Good thing I got that microchip a few weeks ago!) With all of these people around there’s plenty of extra petting and kids playing chase with me, which is a little stressful. Some of these kiddos must not be around pets very often because they pull my tail or fur - I might have to give a warning growl or bite. Whoops, I just knocked a candle over with my wagging tail!

3.  Tree water!

No need to walk all the way over to my food and water area…..there’s water right here in the tree! Too bad this can cause me to have an upset stomach or illness because of the tree additives and sap that go into the water throughout the season.

4.  Fireworks

What was that loud sound? There is goes again! My humans seem to be enjoying them, but I don’t like this one bit…..the loud sounds are unpredictable and make me anxious. I can’t tell where they are coming from! I might have to go hide in a closet or under a bed, or worse, try to escape this altogether by running out the door.

5.  Alcohol

With all of the extra people around, there are unattended glasses full of liquids.  I don’t think they know that alcohol is really a potential poison for me that could cause vomiting, diarrhea and even damage to my body which could be fatal.

As pet owners, we want our pets to be safe and healthy. By considering what the world looks like through their eyes, especially at this time of year, we can help avoid an emergency which turns a celebration into a stressful situation. Should your pet ingest something hazardous,  please contact Battletown Animal Clinic right away at (540) 955-2171. After hours, you may contact The Life Centre in Loudoun County at 703-777-5755 or Valley Veterinary Emergency in Shenandoah Valley at 540-662-7811.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and joyous New Year!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Veteran’s Day is just around the corner on Sunday, November 11. This holiday honors living services members of all armed forces of the United States. While that obviously includes men and women, did you know that it includes animals as well? The military itself owes a debt of gratitude to these brave four-legged official and unofficial members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

Cats in the Military

Cats have many wonderful qualities, but they are typically not known as service animals. However, it was common during World War I and World War II to have cats aboard on war ships to protect food supplies from mice and other critters. Here are just two cats who served members of the military at their time of need:

  •  Crimean Tom: Way back in 1854, this brave cat led French and British troops in Russia to hidden food supplies underneath the city’s rubble. The troops would have starved otherwise.
  • Hammer: A much more recent military cat story features Hammer, a cat who hung out with Army troops in Iraq in 2004. He chased away and killed mice that would have eaten the troops’ rations of food. They were so grateful that Staff Sargent Rick Bousfield brought Hammer home with him to Colorado when his time in the military ended.

Dogs in the Military

Dogs have a much more recognized role in military service and most have received formal training to assist their human colleagues. They perform such duties as detecting explosives, helping to track and capture aggressors, drug and weapon detection, and much more. They also provide important companionship to troops thousands of miles away from home.

It’s a myth that all military dogs are German Shepherds. Instead of breed, handlers look for specific characteristics and a strong sense of physical fitness among the dogs chosen for training. For example, the dog can’t have a physical defect such as hip dysplasia and he or she must be loyal and highly motivated by reward. Here are some military dogs who have done especially great things:

  • Stubby: Officially known as Sergeant Stubby of the 102nd Infantry, this military hero was smuggled into battle by a private named Robert Conway. It’s a good thing Conway did this since Stubby detected enemy gas and warned his comrades about it by barking.
  • Tommy: This dog proudly served in the Coast Guard for nine years as a Chief Explosives Detection Officer. Tommy retired in July 2017 and received applause and awards for his exceptional work.

Caring for the Pets of Veterans and Families

Battletown Animal Clinic is honored to provide veterinary care for active and retired members of the military and their families. Of course, we love all pets and want to help take care of them. Please contact us if your pet is in need of a preventive care exam or if you have more immediate concerns.

Photo Credit: nito100 / iStock / Getty Images Plus