How Important Is Your Pet’s Dental Health?
How often do you look at your pet’s teeth? Checking those doggie or kitty bicuspids probably isn’t part of your daily routine, but it should be. Would you check more often if we told you your pet’s mouth is the window to her health? It’s true. Your pet’s teeth play a vital role in keeping your pet healthy and vibrant.
How important is your pet’s dental health? We hope these dental details will convince you it’s time to check those pet’s teeth and make an appointment for her dental exam.
1. More Pets Suffer from Dental Health Issues Than Many People Realize
Many pet parents aren’t aware that their dog or cat has a dental problem.
Most cats also have gingivitis and periodontal disease by the time they reach four years old.
Studies show that 50%- 90% of cats suffer from dental disease.
2. Pet Dental Disease Is Treatable and Preventable
Regular cleanings, brushing, and dental toys can help prevent gingivitis. If gingivitis isn’t addressed, it develops into periodontitis, which cannot be reversed.
When gingivitis isn’t treated, it affects the tissue around your pet’s teeth and the gums, eventually softening the bone and connective tissue that holds the tooth in place. Periodontitis also increases the number of bacteria that enter your pet’s system and results in inflammation and broken and lost teeth.
Tooth resorption occurs when your pet’s tooth becomes weak from the inside out. Between 30 and 70% of cats experience this problem which results in pain, inability to chew food, irritability, and tooth loss.
3. Dental Disease Affects More Than Just Your Pet’s Teeth
Caring for your pet’s oral health does more than just keep their smile glowing, it prevents some serious and painful health conditions. When your cat or dog’s teeth become rotten, it can cause:
Pathologic Jaw Fracture
Periodontitis and gingivitis weaken the teeth and support structure that holds them in place. Your pet’s body will send white blood cells to the inflamed area which weaken the tooth socket and jaw bone. This can eventually lead to a jaw fracture.
Kidney and Liver Disease
When your pet’s gums become inflamed, more bacteria enter her system and wind up in her bloodstream. This bacteria then wreaks havoc on her liver and kidneys and can result in liver and kidney disease.
Oral inflammation has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and heart failure.
Pain, Trouble Eating, and Loss in Quality of Life
Chronic oral pain can cause your pet intense pain, stress, and make eating a difficult chore. Over time, your pet can experience weight loss and a nutritional deficiency that can cause liver, kidney, and heart disease.
4. The Most Pet Parents Don’t Recognize the Warning Signs
When you begin avoiding those kitty and puppy kisses, it’s likely time for a dental exam and cleaning for your pet. Many of the signs of oral health issues may seem commonplace, benign, or ubiquitous.
Look for these signs of serious dental disease:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Reddened gums
5. You Can Help Prevent Your Pet’s Dental Disease and Discomfort
The most impactful thing you can do to help prevent your pet from becoming part of these disheartening dental stats is bring her in for regular dental exams and cleanings.
You can also brush your pet’s teeth using a pet-friendly toothpaste. Spoiler: starting early in your pet’s life helps her get used to the routine & never use toothpaste made for people.
Feed your pet a high-quality diet.
Chew toys and dental hygiene treats help.
We Want to Wish You Years of Smiles with Your Pet
Don’t delay your pet’s dental exam. Keeping those teeth clean and her mouth healthy can extend your pet’s life by years and have a significant impact on her quality of life. Give us a call to make an appointment for your pet’s dental health check.
Image credit: Adri
CBD Oil: What Do You Need to Know? Top Answers to Pet Parents’ Questions
It seems you can’t go more than 15 minutes without hearing about CBD oil, and this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’ve wondered what all the buzz is about, we have the answers to your questions from “will it get my pet high” to “is CBD an effective pain management solution for my pet?”
1. Is CBD Oil Safe for Pets?
CBD oil is marketed mostly for cats and dogs, but you can find CBD oil for horses and other creatures like pigs. And in most cases, CBD is safe for these animals. Pet parents must keep in mind that CBD oil is still pretty new and the levels of the active ingredient are not clearly regulated. So, we suggest using CBD with caution.
If you decide that CBD oil might be right for your pet, we can help you navigate which brand to buy and how to read the labels. There are so many products online that all want to convince you to buy them, it can get tricky to see how they differ.
Cats, being the finicky creatures that they are, sometimes react by becoming withdrawn. If you’re using CBD to treat anxiety, see us first. Increased stress and anxiety could be a symptom of a different underlying problem.
What Risks Are Associated with Pets and CBD Oil?
Dosage is key when it comes to CBD. Pets can overdose. They can also suffer from THC toxicity if their CBD oil contains too much THC. Most safe CBD oils will contain less than .3% THC which is not enough to affect a pet.
2. What is CBD Oil?
First, CBD does not contain any ingredients that will get your pet ‘high.’ Which is to say there are no psychoactive effects on your pet. CBD is cannabidiol, which comes from hemp or cannabis. CBD retains the medical properties of the hemp plant without THC, which is the element associated with a ‘high.’
CBD does ignite the area of your pet’s brain associated with balance and pain. Because CBD is still pretty new, we still have a lot to learn about how it works.
3. What Health Conditions Can CBD Oil Treat in Pets?
Many pet parents have seen positive results when their pets use CBD for anxiety, stress, joint pain, inflammation, and seizures. Others have noticed improved skin and coat condition and appetite.
This makes CBD an option for dogs and some cats that experience nausea, pain, panic disorders, and nervousness. Senior pets with cancer or mobility issues can also benefit from CBD. And many handicapped pets thrive on CBD.
4. How Does CBD Oil Work?
Cannabinoids attach to select receptors in your pets’ brain. These receptors connect to, and regulate, your pets’ mood, emotions, pain, coordination, and appetite. There are also cannabinoid receptors in the part of your pets’ brain that regulates her immune system which relates to her pain and inflammation. These receptors exist because your pet’s body naturally produces cannabinoids, taking CBD increases the number of cannabinoids in your pets’ system. CBD also engages and opens cannabinoid receivers, so your pet can benefit from their natural cannabinoids.
5. How Do Pets Take CBD Oil?
There are oils and treats that contain CBD. Both are administered orally to your pet. A reputable manufacturer will include instructions and dosage amounts with their products.
Thinking About CBD Oil for Your Pet?
The symptoms CBD oil is used to treat are often side effects of other issues, so we may be able to diagnose the source of your pet’s pain, nervousness, or lack of appetite. You don’t have to make this decision without our guidance. If you have questions about whether or not CBD oil is right for your pet, give us a call to make an appointment.
Image credit: Lena Gadanski
5 Hidden Holiday Dangers for Your Pet
Friends, family, lights, jingle bells, baked cookies, and gifts: the list of reasons to smile as Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years’ approach goes on and on. As you fill up on leftover turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie, it’s a good time to start prepping your home for the holidays while keeping some safety tips in mind to help your pet stay safe.
5 Hidden Dangers to Keep Your Pet Safe This Holiday Season
The last thing you want to do is scramble to the veterinary emergency room with your pet on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. To avoid any accidents and protect your pet, pay attention to these dangers that pet parents often overlook.
1. Skip the Cutesy Costumes and Supervise Your Pet
Is your pet Santa’s #1 helper? Does he need the elf ears and hat to prove it? He likely does not need the costume to show off how adorable he is! Those antlers with the elastic band or pointy elf shoes with the jingle bells can pose a choking hazard for your pet.
Cats and dogs can get tangled in the straps used to affix these costumes to your pet. They can also choke on the bells or sequins. And glitter can scratch your pet’s eyes.
Want that adorable picture? We suggest you choose costumes with fewer ties and accessories. Only dress your pet up for the minimum amount of time to snap your pictures and don’t leave your pet unattended while wearing the costume.
2. Many Holiday Foods Are Not Pet-Friendly
Your pet knows you’re a great chef. You don’t need to share your leftovers with him to prove it. In fact, many Christmas and Hanukkah dishes can be dangerous and poisonous for your pet.
Many recipes call for grapes, raisins, chocolate, or garlic. You may already know these are also dangerous for dogs. But did you know that macadamia nuts, xylitol, onions, and alcohol can make your dog and cat very sick as well?
What ingredients are alright to treat your dog within moderation? Some of our favorites include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green beans
Just remember that too much disruption if your pet’s diet can upset his stomach and cause diarrhea or vomiting.
3. Gift Wrap, Ribbon, and Decorations
Gift wrap, ribbon, and decorations make your home glow. Unfortunately, they also pose a risk for curious and mischievous pets. Which decorative elements should you keep out of reach of your kitty, puppy, or other pet?
Ornament hangers: Both plastic and metal hangers are sharp and can cause a rupture if swallowed. They can also pinch, cut, or scrape your pet’s mouth, eyes, or paws.
Ribbons: Ribbons and bows present a hazard if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has swallowed ribbon or string, it requires a trip to us or the pet ER.
Gift-wrap: Pets are drawn to crinkle and sparkle of wrapping paper. And some pets even indulge in nibbling on it and ruining the surprise of what’s beneath. Swallowing wrapping paper can make your pet ill.
4. Open Doors
As guests arrive and leave, pets can sneak out the door without being noticed. To avoid letting your pet go on the lam, keep doors closed and caution guests to be careful as possible when entering and leaving.
Is your pet’s microchip up-to-date? If not, now’s a great time to get him chipped in cases he sneaks out. If he is microchipped, be sure your contact information is current.
5. Candles and Cords
Getting all those lights lit can be quite a challenge. You likely have extension cords running all over the house. And those Hankunka candles offer warmth as you celebrate the festivities.
If this is the case, keep those cords away from pets. They’re a tripping hazard and can be fatal if your pet bites one. A playful pet can also damage a cord, creating a fire hazard.
As for candles, we do see burnt noses this time of year. Try out battery-powered candles to keep your pet safe.
6. Flowers and Plants
Many pet parents know that poinsettia is mildly poisonous for pets. Holly, mistletoe, and your Christmas tree are toxic, as well. How can you still bask in the beauty of these plants? Opt for artificial or keep them out of reach of your pet.
7. Pet Stress and Fireworks
Finally, your pet’s physical safety is important. So is his psychological health and wellbeing. Keep in mind pets experience stress and anxiety this time of year. The worst culprit of anxiety is New Year’s fireworks.
Prepare for fireworks and commotion by giving your pet his anxiety prescription before the fireworks start or guests arrive.
Don’t Let Pet Dangers Put a Damper on Your Holiday
Our pets fill the holidays with a little extra joy and love. Keep the merriment in the holiday by keeping your pet safe this year. We hope this list can assist with your holiday setup and pet safety checklist! Should you find yourself in a pet emergency, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (540) 955-2171.
Image credit: Pexels
What You Need to Know About Bordetella: Prevention & Protection
You’ve probably heard of kennel cough, but how much do you really know about this highly contagious illness? Many dogs suffer from Bordetella bronchiseptica, or kennel cough, at some point during their lives, and this common upper respiratory disease can develop into pneumonia, which can lead to hospitalization and lifelong complications.
And while most people associate this disease with dogs, cats, rabbits, and people can suffer from bordetella.
While we don’t want to scare you, we do want you to understand the danger of Bordetella and help protect your dog from this serious disease.
What Exactly is Kennel Cough?
So, why does your boarder or doggie daycare require the Bordetella vaccine? Bordetella or kennel cough, is an upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria. Unlike a regular cold or cough, bordetellosis is persistent and lasts much longer. Kennel cough affects the lungs, throat, and airways.
While all bordetellosis is a form of kennel cough, not all kennel cough is bordetellosis. What do we mean by that? Bordetellosis is an infection caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. But this bacteria causes kennel cough so often, the two are usually synonymous.
Like other bacterial infections, kennel cough is spread by an infected dog to an uninfected dog. An infected dog can spread kennel cough weeks to months after symptoms disappear through saliva.
How Does Kennel Cough Affect Dogs?
Kennel cough is not fun for dogs. It can make it hard to breathe and make them feel lethargic. When a dog doesn’t get treatment within the first few days of experiencing symptoms, kennel cough develops into canine flu which causes fever, runny nose, lack of energy, lack of appetite, and labored breathing.
The most common symptoms of kennel cough are:
- Hacking or dry cough
- Coughing all night
- Runny eyes or nose
- Gagging or retching
What Dogs Are Most at Risk?
Puppies are the most vulnerable victims of kennel cough. Because they’re still developing their immune systems, they tend to get sick more easily. They also struggle more once infected with Bordetella.
Senior and pregnant dogs can also suffer severe side effects from kennel cough.
Kennel cough can quickly turn from ‘just a cough’ into pneumonia in these groups.
How Can You Prevent and Protect Your Dog from Bordetella?
Bordetella spreads quickly and easily between dogs. It’s most frequently spread from dog to dog at dog parks, daycares, groomers, and boarding facilities that don’t enforce a bordetella immunization policy.
The best way to prevent your dog from contracting Bordetella is to vaccinate your dog. This vaccine works like the human flu shot. The vaccine contains a small amount of the live bacteria, so your dog’s body can build a resistance to it, so when exposed to it in full-force, her immune system will kick into action and beat that bacteria.
If your dog frequents the dog park or goes on play dates, and you notice another dog coughing, keep your dog away from the coughing dog. It also helps if your dog doesn’t share communal toys or a communal water bowl.
Protect Your Dog Against Bordetella
Kennel cough can really put a damper on your dog’s energy, enjoyment, and health. Don’t let it. If your dog is due for her Bordetella vaccine, make an appointment. Let’s work together to protect your pup!
Image credit: Pexels
Have a Happy Holiday with Pet Safety Tips Made Simple
Mistletoe, turkey, gifts, family, and smiles: there is so much to look forward to as the holidays approach. Don’t let any last-minute safety surprises put a damper on your cheer this
Thanksgiving, Haunaka, Christmas, or New Year’s by keeping your pet safe. What safety tips should you add to your planning to ensure a joyous and safe holiday season?
Here are our top safety tips for pet parents during the hectic holiday season:
1. Reduce Your Pets’ Stress
We’re sure your list is long, long, long this holiday season. And we wouldn’t dare ask you to add any more items to your checklist if we didn’t think it was important.
As the fervor of the season sets in, help reduce your pet’s stress by preparing your home or travel plans to accommodate your pet.
How Can You Do Reduce Your Pet’s Holiday Anxiety?
If friends and family are celebrating at your house
- Familiarize guests with your pet and her needs (dietary, petting comfort, noise, handling)
- Ask guests to keep the entry doors closed as they enter or leave
- Prepare treats you approve
- Create a sanctuary in a quiet room away from the noise
- If your pet gets extremely nervous, consider boarder her
If you’re traveling for the holidays
- Book boarding or your pet sitter before their schedules fill up
- Familiarize your pet with her sitter and vice versa
- Prepare pet sitter instructions a week or two before
- Keep vaccinations up to date for boarding
- If you’re going on a road trip, prepare your pet’s medicine and map out vets on the way
2. Compost and Thanksgiving ‘Leftovers’
Dogs and cats can’t resist a free meal. Especially when Thanksgiving leftovers are on the menu. If you compost your organics, be sure your compost bin is secure, so your dog, cat, or rodents don’t make a feast out of your post-feast waste.
Composting organics can make your pet pretty sick, but the mushrooms and fungi that make compost their home can be extremely dangerous and poison your pup or cat.
Signs of Poisoning from Dangerous Mushrooms Include
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
3. Here’s a Bright Idea: Light up Your Walks for Better Visibility
As the days become shorter and shorter, walking your dog in the dark comes with its own dangers. It’s more difficult to see at dawn, dusk, and once it’s dark out.
Bring a flashlight along for your walks. This can help light your path and help you avoid skunks or other critters.
Drivers also experience decreased visibility as the days get shorter. Be sure they can see you and your dog by wearing bright colors. You may also want to pick up a reflective collar, leash, or vest for your pup. Use caution as you cross the road and when in doubt, assume a driver can’t see you.
4. Don’t Let Your Pet Get Wrapped Up in the Holiday Ribbon and Papers
Decking the halls, trimming the tree, and wrapping gifts can be so much fun. As you unpack the decorations, keep a keen eye on your pet. Cats tend to love Christmas bows, ribbons, and wrapping paper (they also love the boxes, but they’re harmless). Dogs can also confuse ribbon, decorations, and bows for toys.
Having your beautiful decor snagged, chewed, and tangled isn’t fun, but when a pet swallows these, it can be deadly. Ribbon can cause a digestive obstruction and swallowing ornament hangers can cause serious injury.
As you unpack and decorate, keep your pets’ safety in mind and clean up any loose ribbons. Be sure any large heavy decor won’t tip over if your pet bumps into it. And secure your Christmas tree and watch cats carefully when they’re around it.
5. Sweets Can Be Deadly for Pets
Your pet is sweet enough. No need for any extra-sugary treats this year. Excess sugar is unhealthy for pets, and chocolate and xylitol can be fatal.
Between Halloween and New Years, chocolate and xylitol poisonings become a real concern. From stockings to Halloween bounty, candy is everywhere. This leads to increased access for pets and increased cases of poisoning.
You’ve probably heard that chocolate is bad for dogs. But what harm can it really do?
Chocolate can cause:
- Shaking and tremors
- Agitation and restlessness
- Increased urination
- Elevated heart rate
- Organ damage
Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in a wide range of foods like pudding, gummies, and gum. It’s also frequently used in dental products. If your pet consumes something with xylitol, it can send their body into shock.
Xylitol poisoning can result in:
- Inability to walk
- Shaking and tremors
Protect your pets by storing candy out of reach of curious paws. If you have visitors for the holidays, remind them to keep their toiletries tucked away and that you’d prefer they pass on providing your pet with unhealthy and potentially dangerous handouts.
Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season with Your Pets!
Prevention is the key to a happy holiday, and we hope these tips will help keep your pets safe and give you some peace of mind during the hectic holiday season.
If you have any questions or you suspect your pets got into something that could make them sick, give us a call immediately.
In the meantime, happy holidays from all of us at Battletown Animal Clinic! We hope you celebrate this beautiful time of year with those you care about and that your four-legged friend makes your holidays extra special.
Photo credit: Pixabay