Having dirty, smelly teeth is nothing to smile about! February is National Pet Dental Month, which reminds us to clean our pet’s teeth and bring them in for dental services. Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by other health issues. So, your pet’s teeth should be cleaned at least once a year by your certified veterinarian to check for early signs of problems and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. If left untreated, plaque and tartar buildup can progress to painful inflammation and gum disease.
Imagine how your teeth would look and feel if you didn’t brush them daily! The same thing happens to your pets. Plaque builds up and the bacteria can infect the gum tissue and even the roots of teeth, which will result in tooth loss. This doesn’t just affect your pet’s oral health. Bacteria can travel though the bloodstream from vessels near the gums. This puts other organs, such as the lungs and kidneys, in risk of also getting an infection, which can shorten the lives of our pets. Here are some symptoms of dental disease to look out for:
This is one of the first signs of dental disease. You should try to brush your pet’s teeth two to three times a week to prevent this from happening! Eventually your pet’s oral hygiene will become as standard as a brushing or grooming. But, if this problem persists make sure to visit your vet.
Lack of appetite or decreased eating
If you notice your pet hasn’t been eating as much, you should check to make sure there’s no inflammation or redness in their mouth. The bacteria in plaque cause our pet’s immune system to recognize it as foreign, which could lead to other health complications.
Pain when your pet eats
If your pet is experiencing pain when they eat, you may need to bring them to a vet immediately. They may need a tooth removed in order to be able to eat regularly again.
This is caused by the buildup of bacteria latching onto gum tissue. If you regularly inspect your pet’s gums for signs of inflammation or redness, you can prevent them from getting gingivitis.
If your pet displays any of these symptoms, they may have a serious dental issue that should be handled immediately. But remember – most dental disease occurs below the gum line, where it’s harder to see. So, the best way to ensure that your pet doesn’t experience dental disease or dental problems is to prevent it!
Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth at home is the most effective way to keep their teeth healthy between visits to the veterinarian. Daily brushing is recommended, but isn’t always plausible so brushing two to three times a week is effective as well. Brushing your pet’s teeth can go a long way. Some pet’s may resist brushing at first, but will eventually accept it, especially if you start a routine at a young age.
Malnutrition can affect your pet’s teeth and gums too. Buying the proper food is important for your pet’s overall health, but also very important for a healthy mouth. Speak with your veterinarian about suggestions of the best chow to feed your pet.
While February is National Pet Dental Health Month, dental health should be a daily ritual for pet owners all year round! Questions? Contact Central Bark today for more information.
I used to hate trimming my dogs nails. Lucy would scream if she even saw the nail clippers! When I got my second dog, a puppy named Charlie, I was determined to do something, so I called Central Bark and spoke with one of their groomers. Andrea has over fifteen years of experience in dog grooming and was happy to help me out explaining the importance of keeping a dogs nails trimmed regularly for optimum health.
She started me with a few quick tips:
* Play with, hold, and touch Charlie’s feet often to get him used to being handled.
* Start trimming Charlie’s nails while he is young.
* Take my time, even if it means only clipping one nail a day.
* Clip a small amount at a time to avoid the quick.
* If I have serious problems, or don’t feel comfortable, let a professional do it.
She reminded me of all the dangers of long nails:
* They can easily catch on things and break or tear.
* Long nails are prone to infection and disfiguration.
* In extreme cases the joints in the toe, ankle, and elbow can be damaged.
She went on to explain just how a nail trim works. The quick is the blood supply that runs under the nail. The goal is to clip right up against it being careful not to nick it. Traditional clippers give the nail a blunt edge but get the job done. A nail grinder (like a Dremel) can get a lot closer and round out the edge of the nail making it much smoother. She told me how Lucy’s nails had gone too long without a nail trim so using a Dremel to get close and trimming her nails about every 2 weeks would help the quick recede back to its normal length.
After playing with Charlie and Lucy’s feet regularly I can finally get a nail or two clipped a day. It’s a slow but sure progress. And Charlie doesn’t mind them at all. He looks forward to the belly rubs he gets during them. I still have them done when we go in for our grooming appointments at Central Bark in Seattle since it is part of their grooming process. Thanks Andrea, and Central Bark, for all your help and care!
If you have to start taking your dog to doggy daycare in Seattle–either on a daily basis or just for a few days while you go on a trip–you should avoid just dumping them and leaving. You need to prepare your dog for this new environment so they don’t experience extreme anxiety. Here are a few quick tips for doing just that. (more…)
Your pooch is your best friend and a constant companion, but keeping Fido’s coat groomed and cleaned is a challenge for even the most experienced dog owner. This is one reason many a pet owner chooses to take his best friend to a professional groomer rather than attempting a DIY cut and clean. Here are a few things dog groomers wish their clients knew about dog grooming. (more…)
Though dog grooming experts in Seattle focus on keeping Fido looking great, we sometimes notice when it appears your best friend is suffering from allergies. When we notice these symptoms, we recommend pet owners schedule a visit to the vet. Here are the 4 common types of allergies your dog can suffer from, the symptoms, and what to do about them. (more…)
The sun is finally shining, bees are buzzing and flowers are blooming. Our incredibly wet Seattle winter has turned into spring and here at Central Bark we could not be more excited for the warmer weather. Spring also prompts us to spend more time in our yard or the outdoors but this also exposes some unexpected health risks to our dogs if they ingest plants. With April being National Pet First Aid Awareness Month as well as Lawn and Garden Month, here’s a list of common toxic plants to keep an eye out for in your yard and gardens.
Flowers are beautiful to look at but they can be toxic if ingested by our dogs, here’s a list of toxic plants that might be in your yard or garden:
Lily of the Valley
Do you have a fruit trees or vegetable/herb garden? Below are some of the toxic (if ingested) plants to look out for:
Apricots*/Plums*/Peach*/Cherry* (stem, leaves and seeds)
Apples*/Cranberries (stem, leaves and seeds)
Sweet Potato Vine
*These fruits do contain pits/seeds; in addition to being toxic they can cause intestinal obstructions if ingested depending on size of pit and dog.
This isn’t a complete list of all the toxic plants to dogs, if you want more check out ASPCA’s extensive list which includes pictures, the toxic component and the scientific name of all the plants.
The spring weather is starting to arrive in Seattle and here at Central Bark we could not be more excited for it but with the warmer weather comes the beginning of the dreaded flea season; which many veterinarians say has come earlier in 2016 than previous years. Thankfully with a little knowledge we can all avoid the battle of the fleas!
First, how do we know if our four-legged friend has fleas?
- Are they excessively scratching, licking or biting at their skin?
- Take a flea comb and run it down the length of their back, if there’s fleas you will see small brown oval shaped insects on the comb.
- Check their fur for flea dirt (flea dropping), spread their fur back to the skin and if there’s a chance of fleas you’ll see small black flakes resembling pepper on the skin. If you’re lucky you might see a flea scurry away as you look at the skin.
Are we positive for fleas? Don’t worry, here’s what to do next:
Treating our pup: First we want to get them a bath! During the bath you want the shampoo to sit on them for approximately 10 minutes to ensure the killing of all fleas on them. Following the bath we want to wait at least 24 hours before applying any topical flea medication; these medications are spread using the dog’s natural oils in their skin which are removed during a bath.
Treating the house: If you have caught the invasion of fleas early you may not have to treat the house but I would recommend at the least washing your pet’s bedding and any other blankets they regularly frequent. A non-toxic way to kill flea eggs, larvae and adults in the house is to sprinkle food-grade* diatomaceous earth (crushed diatoms) on any bedding, couches, carpet and dark corners especially around baseboards. Fleas thrive in dark warm climates so focus on spreading the diatomaceous earth there. The longer you can wait the better before vacuuming all of it up but shoot for a couple hours to overnight before vacuuming it all up. The best thing to do in the following days and weeks is to vacuum, vacuum, vacuum!
Our four-legged friends and our house is flea-free so how do we keep it that way?
1.Use a monthly preventative flea treatment; there is a wide variety of options for monthly flea control and it really depends which you prefer and what works best with your dog. Options include: flea collar, spot-on topical treatments, oral pills, natural oils, flea powders and flea spray.
2. Keep the grass in the yard short, some also regularly sprinkle diatomaceous earth through their yard on a regular basis to keep any fleas out of the backyard.
3. Wash your pet’s bedding regularly
Want more information on Diatomaceous Earth? Check out this article or this article.
We want to hear from you! What are your favorite methods for flea control? What’s your experience with the all-natural flea repellents?
*There are a couple types of diatomaceous earth, you want to make sure you get food grade diatomaceous earth which can be purchased at most pet stores at a local hardware store.
February is Pet Oral Health Month! Clean teeth and gums are an important part of keeping your dog happy and healthy but it’s one area that a lot of pet parents let fall to the side. As daunting of a task as brushing your dog’s teeth may seem, it’s doesn’t have to be! Below are some tips and tricks to help make developing an oral care routine an easy, fun task for you and your dog!
Let’s first start with the supplies:
Don’t have a dog toothbrush? Dog toothbrushes designed for dogs are great but in a pinch you can also use a soft bristled children’s toothbrush, a finger toothbrush or a clean sock wrapped around your finger.
Worried about the chemicals/ingredients of dog toothpaste you find the pet stores? There are multiple DIY dog toothpaste recipes available online all of which contain ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen.
Thinking about using human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth? Don’t do it! Never use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth- it contains ingredients that are harmful to your dog when ingested.
On to the actual teeth brushing:
We’re new to teeth brushing, where do I start? Start off with letting your dog lick the toothpaste off your finger for a couple teeth brushing sessions. Graduate to rubbing their teeth/gums with your finger for a couple sessions. After that let them lick the toothpaste off the toothbrush for a couple sessions. Then you can try and brush a couple teeth working your way up each session to brushing more teeth. If your dog protests at a certain step then review the previous step. We want to make sure that it’s a positive experience so always make sure to end any session with positive reinforcement i.e. treat, toy or attention.
My dog won’t let me brush all his/her teeth! Don’t get discouraged, if your dog is already comfortable with letting you brush only a couple of teeth at a time, do short sessions making sure to end each one with positive reinforcement i.e. toy, treat or attention and work your way up. There’s no rush and no need to force teeth brushing on your dog; take your time and it’ll pay off in the end!
How often should I brush my dog’s teeth? Vets suggest daily brushing of dog’s teeth but brushing 3-4 times a week will help prevent the buildup of plaque.
Are there certain areas to focus on when brushing the teeth? Yes! Make sure to get the canine’s and the upper back molars where food tends to get caught.
Lastly, the entire oral care routine:
Do I have to do more to maintain good oral health for my dog? Yes, in conjunction to regular teeth brushing you also want to get a veterinarian to checkout your dog’s teeth. Some dogs even with regular teeth brushing will need a professional teeth cleaning to remove built up plaque. There are also more you can do at home to aid in good oral health, see question below.
What else can I do at home to maintain good oral health for my dog? In addition to regular teeth brushing, you can feed supplements (check out your local pet store for options) or provide treats/chews that help reduce plaque buildup. When purchasing chews and toys make sure to take into account the size of your dog and how active of chewer they are. Not sure which one to get your dog? Ask your local pet store and they’ll be able to give you the best toys for your dog.
Lastly and most important, make sure whatever your oral care routine includes, to make it a positive experience for your dog! Incorporate toys, treats and playtime as rewards and it’ll make developing as well as maintaining an oral care routine a breeze!
Still have questions about dog oral health? Leave your comments below!
Do you know everything you should about Canine Influenza?
We at Central Bark have not had any cases of the Canine Influenza H3N2 (dog flu) but want to make sure that all our clients are well informed and have all the knowledge to keep their dogs safe. Below is some general information; we are encouraging all dog owners to speak with their vet about preventative care.
What is it?
Canine Influenza H3N2 is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by Influenza A virus in dogs.
Is my dog at risk?
Dogs who are routinely around other dogs in daycare, dog parks, grooming salons or social settings are at a higher risk for exposure to the virus. H3N2 is a relatively new virus in the United States, therefore dogs, regardless of age or breed, lack immunity to this specific influenza virus. The American Veterinary Medical Association says almost all dogs who are exposed to the virus will become infected and approximately 80% will show symptoms. Much like the human influenza infection, dogs who are puppies, older or with health issues are most susceptible to showing severe symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
There are two groups of symptoms: mild and severe. There is a 2-4 day incubation period for the virus before dogs generally show symptoms.
•Soft, moist cough lasting 10-30 days
• Reduced appetite
• Discharge from nose and/or eyes
• High Fever
• Clinical signs of Pneumonia:
o Increased respiratory rate
o Trouble breathing
Is there a vaccine for Canine Influenza H3N2?
A very effective vaccine is available through your veterinarian; the vaccine does require a booster before full immunity is obtained. Central Bark is not requiring a vaccine for daycare or boarding but is strongly encouraging everyone to get their dog vaccinated if they regularly attend dog parks and/or daycare/boarding.
Should I be concerned about my dog coming in for daycare/boarding at Central Bark?
Everyone at Central Bark is keeping a very close eye out for symptoms on all dogs who come in for daycare, boarding, and/or grooming but we are urging parents to also keep an observant eye out and not bring in any dog(s) who are exhibiting symptoms and to call their vet immediately.
Want more information? Check out American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Website for more information:AVMA WEBSITE
Happy Howl-O-Ween! This spooky time of year brings candy, costumes and a haunting good time but not always for our dogs. Below are some quick tips to ensure you and your dog have an enjoyable Halloween.
The best part of Halloween is dressing up in whatever costume you choose! We may enjoy dressing up but our four-legged friends may not. If you are dressing your dog up and they are not used to wearing outfits try and make it as an enjoyable experience as possible; make sure the costume doesn’t restrict movement, breathing or barking and remove the costume if they are showing sign of abnormal behavior or stress. Start trying on the costume days before Halloween, only having the costume on for 5-10 minutes at a time and praise them for cooperating with treats and lots of pets. Build the time up over a course of a week and your pet will be much more inclined to keep their costume on if they know it’s not a scary experience.
Trick or treaters:
Some dogs are protective of their home and their family; making trick or treaters coming to the front door a stressful experience. If your pup isn’t comfortable with strangers regularly coming to the front door, have them rest in a crate or room away from the busy commotion. Add their favorite toy or treat (as long as they don’t need to be supervised while enjoying it) and put on some classical music or television to help them relax.
A great option for keeping their minds preoccupied would be a Kong filled with peanut butter or their favorite wet dog food.
Don’t forget chocolate is poisonous to dogs so Halloween candy needs to be put out of reach. Chocolate contains components that humans can quickly breakdown but dogs break these components down much slower which can result in a built up to a toxic level. Although non-chocolate candy may not be poisonous to dogs, the high sugar content isn’t good for them to digest. Best to get your dog their own dog-friendly Halloween treat like pumpkin dog treats.
With all the fun of Halloween comes the pranksters too; most of the pranks are harmless but keep an eye out for dangerous ones. Keep your dog (and all pets) inside the night of Halloween. For outdoor pets, bring them in a couple days prior to Halloween and a couple days following just to be safe. Check your yard the morning after Halloween for anything out of the ordinary that could be dangerous to your pet.
Pumpkins and corn stalks are fun Halloween decorations but can be harmful for pets if ingested in large quantities leading to blockages. When decorating keep in mind of the height of your pet; tails can easily knock things over and paws can trip over electrical cords. Always keep open flames away from being knocked over, hide exposed electrical cords and monitor your pet closely when they are around decorations. <>/body>