How to Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean Part 2

In order to keep your dog healthy, it’s important to keep their teeth healthy.

For many dog parents, remembering to take their dog on a walk, feed them high-quality food and give them any medications they’ve been prescribed is easy. What isn’t so easy to remember, though, is taking care of your dog’s dental health. Your dog’s oral health plays a huge role in their overall health, and luckily, there are lots of things dog moms and dads can do to keep their fur baby’s teeth clean and healthy, and in our last blog, we went over a couple of tips to help you do just that. Keep reading for more helpful, doggy dental care tips:

#3. Trade in processed store-bought treats for whole fruits and vegetables.

In the first part of this series, we talked about how feeding your dog the right kind of food is important for their oral health. However, you shouldn’t stop with their food; it’s also important to look at the quality of treats you’re giving your dog. Many of the processed dog treats you find at pet stores contain cereal grains, sugar and fats, which are not exactly healthy ingredients for your dog, and they are prone to sticking to their teeth, causing plaque and eventually tartar. There are plenty of dog-friendly fruits and vegetables that make wonderful dog treat alternatives, like carrots, apples, pumpkins, bananas, blueberries and strawberries, just to name a few. These fresh, all-natural treats are packed with nutrients that are great for your dog, and some of them can even help to clean your dog’s teeth, like apples and carrots.

#4. Give your dog a prescription dental dog food.

The food you feed your dogs can play a big role in their dental health. One great option for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and their tummy happy is prescription food designed with a brushing mechanism that helps to clean the teeth, like options by Hill’s and Royal Canin. If you’re interested in giving your prescription food designed to keep their teeth clean, talk to your veterinarian!

#5. Give your dog plenty of things to chew on.

In nature, no one is there to brush a wolf’s teeth, so they have to keep their teeth clean on their own. There are a number of reasons as to why wolves can keep their teeth clean in the wild but dogs require teeth brushing. As we’ve talked about in both this blog and Part 1 of this series, diet plays a huge role. But, another thing wolves do that dogs typically don’t do is chew on the bones of their prey. This helps to naturally break up plaque. You don’t want your dog taking down a buffalo in your backyard, but making sure your dog has plenty of things to chew on will accomplish similar results. Bully sticks and chew toys are all great options, just make sure that you supervise your dog while they chew, especially if they’re an enthusiastic chewer. To prevent your dog from breaking his teeth ensure the chew isn’t too hard. If you can’t make an indentation with your fingernail, or if you hit it on your knee and it hurts, you run the chance of it breaking your dog’s teeth. Femur bones, antlers, and sterile bones will fracture your dog’s teeth. Ask your veterinarian about prescription dental chews, which help remove plaque when the dog chews.

#6. Trade in your dog’s treats for dental treats.

We’ve already talked about all of the nasty sugar, fat and cereal grains found in your typical dog treats, but fruits and vegetables aren’t the only great treat option when you’re looking to improve your dog’s oral health. Dental treats are designed to help keep your dog’s teeth clean, and some of them can even help to combat bad breath. But, keep in mind that not all doggy dental treats are made equal. It’s always a good idea to read the ingredients on any food product you plan to give your dog.

#7. Take your dog to the vet to get their teeth cleaned.

There are lots of things you can do at home to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, but brushing your dog’s teeth is probably the most important. However, if every time you attempt to get near them with a toothbrush, your dog has a meltdown, you probably won’t be able to effectively brush their teeth on your own. In these cases, getting your dog’s professionally cleaned is a great option. Small breed dogs typically need their teeth cleaned on an annual basis, and larger dogs need their teeth professionally cleaned every other year. Every dog is different and our veterinarians will guide you through their medical requirements. Regardless of how you choose to take care of your dog’s teeth at home, it’s important to make sure that your veterinarian examines your dog’s teeth at their regular checkups. This will help to ensure that, even if your dog does start to develop periodontal disease or another oral health problems, it will be caught and treated right away. Is your dog due for a dental checkup? Schedule your appointment with our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today! When you rely on The Vet Set for your dog’s care, you can rest assured that your fur baby is in the very best hands.

How to Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean

A big part of keeping your dog healthy overall includes keeping your dog’s teeth healthy.

As dog moms and dads, we all want our dogs to be as healthy and as happy as possible. But, unfortunately, many of the best dog parents overlook or forget about their dog’s oral health, and that can be problematic for many reasons. Not only can oral health problems lead to infections inside the mouth, but the infections can spread throughout your dog’s body, leading to a whole host of other health problems. But, for some pet owners, providing their pet with the dental care they need can be easier said than done. That’s why our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens has come up with these tips for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy:

#1. Brush your dog’s teeth!

One of the best things you can do to take care of your dog’s oral health is to brush their teeth. Typically, it’s not necessary to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but the more you do it, the better off they’ll be. At first, your dog may not like it, and it may not feel like the most natural thing in the world, but you and your dog will both get used to it over time. Here’s a little, step-by-step guide to make brushing your dog’s teeth just a bit easier.
  1. Pick the right toothbrush - There are many toothbrush options available, including those long, thin toothbrushes and toothbrushes that fit right over your finger. Finger brushes are preferred by many dog parents, because they are easier to control when you have to balance holding a toothbrush with keeping your dog’s mouth open.
  2. Pick the right toothpaste - Never use toothpaste designed for humans for your dog, as it contains harmful chemicals that can put your dog in danger if swallowed. Toothpastes designed specially for dogs are not only safe, but they are often flavored like salmon, bacon or other treats dogs love, which will make the experience a bit better for your pup. Be sure to let your dog taste a small amount of the toothpaste before putting it in their mouth.
  3. Let your dog get used to you taking care of their teeth - If you’ve never put your fingers in or around your dog’s mouth before, and one day, you suddenly shove a toothbrush in there, they probably won’t be too happy about it. Get your pet used to the idea that you’ll be brushing their teeth by rubbing their teeth with gauze or even just your finger at first. Once they get acclimated, then switch to a toothbrush.
  4. Be gentle when brushing - Don’t brush your dog’s teeth too vigorously. Instead, use gentle, circular motions to clean their teeth, paying special attention to the canines and upper molars, as these teeth tend to have more tartar buildup than other teeth. Your dog probably won’t let you clean the inside of their teeth, but cleaning the cheek-facing surfaces will go a long way.
  5. Reward your dog - One of the best things you can do to get your dog used to regular teeth brushings is to make it a point to reward them every time you brush their teeth. This way, your dog will associate getting their teeth brushed with getting a treat or another reward.

#2. Be mindful about the kind of food you give your dog.

Up until a few years ago, most people’s dogs lived off of kibble their owners bought at the grocery store, and not much thought was given into what kind of ingredients were going into dog food. But, dog owners today are much more conscious about what their dogs are eating. Not only is this important for your dog’s overall health, but believe it or not, the quality of food you’re giving your dog also has an impact on their oral health. Dog foods that contain cereal grains and by-products are more likely to stick to your dog’s teeth, causing plaque and eventually tartar to form. Ideally, your dog should be fed a diet that consists of a variety of whole, natural foods, but barring that, look for foods that don’t contain by-products or cereal grains to keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

When at-home dental care won’t cut it, turn to your neighborhood veterinarian at The Vet Set.

Dental care at home is essential for preventing oral health problems, including gum disease; however, if your dog has already developed a dental issue, at-home dental care won’t cut it anymore. In cases like these, your best bet is to talk to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. And, luckily, our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens provides professional dental care for pets! Schedule your appointment today! In our next blog, we’ll be going over a few more helpful tips for keeping your dog’s teeth clean at home, so be sure to stay tuned!

Is Your Pet Due for Dental Care?

Believe it or not, proper dental care is just as important for our pets as it is for us!

Just as it’s important to brush your teeth to prevent dental decay and infection in your mouth, it’s also important to do the same for your furry friend. But, unfortunately, your pet can’t exactly tell you when they have a toothache. If your pet is in need of dental care, it’s important not to put it off, but how will you know? There are many tell-tale signs that pet owners should be aware of and watch out for, including:

Sign #1. Your pet has bad breath.

When the only tools you have to groom yourself are your own paws and your tongue, your breath probably won’t smell minty fresh. That being said, it’s not normal for your pet’s breath to be overly stinky. In fact, bad breath is often the first and most common sign of periodontal disease (gum disease) in pets. If you’re unsure of whether your pet’s breath is natural or the result of a dental problem, consult with your veterinarian! Left untreated, periodontal disease is only going to get worse, so it’s in neither your best interest nor your pet’s to take a chance.

Sign #2. Your pet’s teeth are stained.

You brush your teeth every night to get rid of a build-up on your teeth, called plaque. If plaque isn’t removed by brushing or flossing, it will start to harden and form tartar, which gets attached to the teeth, usually, right below the gumline. The same thing happens in our pets, and if you’re not diligent about brushing their teeth or giving them plenty of stuff to chew on, that tartar can lead to yellow or brown stains forming on their teeth. Unfortunately, this staining often goes hand in hand with bacterial infections, but your veterinarian can typically remove it through dental cleanings.

Sign #3. Your pet’s gums are swollen or bleeding.

Have you noticed that your pet leaves behind a little bit of blood when they chew on toys or bones? Or, do your pet’s gums look red or inflamed? These kinds of gum problems are often a sign that your dog has a bacterial infection in their gums, and they can cause your pet to experience significant discomfort. Luckily, though, the pain can be treated or reversed with dental care.

Sign #4. Your pet has difficulties eating.

Has your usually ravenous pet suddenly stopped caring about eating during mealtimes? Any changes in your pet’s behavior are important to watch out for, but changes in eating patterns are particularly concerning, especially in terms of their dental health. Besides not eating, a couple of other changes in their eating patterns you should be aware of include chewing on one particular side of their mouth or eating slower or more carefully than usual. Eating difficulties like these could be a sign that your pet has inflammation or even an infection, which was likely caused by periodontal disease. If you notice any changes in your pet’s eating patterns, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Sign #5. Your pet has been pawing at their gums or drooling excessively.

If your pet has a tooth abscess, it can cause a significant amount of pain. Although your pet can’t come right out and tell you they’re in pain, excessive drooling or a frequent pawing of the mouth are often indicators of oral pain. Abscesses are quite common, and they can be caused by periodontal disease or trauma to the tooth from fighting or chewing a bone or a toy that is too hard. As we mentioned, tooth abscesses are incredibly painful for your pet, and if you suspect that your pet has one, take them to your veterinarian as soon as you can.

Sign #6. Your pet has broken or loose teeth.

If your pet’s teeth are broken or feel loose, it’s a sign that their oral health problems have escalated. If bacteria is left to run rampant in your pet’s mouth, it will start to eat away at the bindings that hold their teeth into place, which can cause the teeth to become loose. Additionally, a tooth that has been broken due to some kind of trauma is highly prone to becoming infected due to the access the break gives bacteria to the tooth’s root. And, bacterial infections aren’t confined to the mouth; they can spread throughout the rest of your pet’s body, leading to more health problems for your pet.

Sign #7. Your pet has tumors or growths on their gums.

Pets, like people, can develop mouth cancer. If you’ve noticed that your pet has growths of tumors on their gums, don’t wait to get them checked out by your veterinarian. The tumors may be benign or malignant, but you won’t know until they get tested by a professional. If mouth cancer is present, the treatment might involve removing some of your pet’s teeth, as well as part of their jawbone. These growths can only be spotted if you are familiar with your pet’s mouth, which is just another reason to make it a point to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis.

A little bit of dental care at home goes a long way.

While pets are just as prone to dental problems as people, the good news is that dental problems in pets are also just as preventative as they are in people. Caring for your pet’s teeth properly at home should be a priority, not only so that you can keep their teeth clean and prevent dental problems, but also so that you can catch dental problems when they’re early and still easy to treat.

Find the pet dental care your pet needs in Carroll Gardens with The Vet Set.

At The Vet Set, we’re proud to say that our new animal hospital is equipped with everything we need to provide next-level care for your pet, including pet dental care. If you think your pet is in need of dental care, please contact us to schedule your appointment today!

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet Part 3

Living in an apartment with a pet can be challenging

With neighbors all around you looking for some peace and quiet, a landlord to contend with and the inconvenience of not having a yard to let your pet out into, owning a pet when you live in an apartment can seem like more hassle than it’s worth. But, if you ask almost any pet owner, they’ll you that they wouldn’t trade their fur baby for anything. The truth is that that the love of a pet is worth any struggle or inconvenience raising them may cause, and there are lots of things that you can do as a pet owner to make living in an apartment with a pet easier on you both. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series to learn about the steps we’ve already covered for apartment living with a pet, and keep reading to learn about the last few steps.

Step 6. Devise a plan for smells and waste.

A kitty litter box in a small space can quickly make your entire apartment stink to high heaven, so it’s important to have a plan in place for keeping those odors at bay. One of the most important things you can do to reduce odors is to make it a point to scoop out your cat’s litter box on a daily basis and replace the litter every week. The box itself should replaced on an annual basis — or sooner if it starts to smell. You could also consider investing in an air purifier or plants that help to purify the air (just make sure they aren’t toxic to cats in case your cat tries to chew them). If you are raising a puppy who can’t quite hold it until you get home, section off a small area of your home so that they don’t have accidents all over. Consider investing in absorbent puppy pads to prevent your new puppy from ruining the flooring in your apartment, and change them after every accident. And, when accidents do occur, make sure that you clean them up completely.

Step 7. Develop a routine.

Regardless of where you live, developing a routine for your pet is important, but it’s especially important for people living in apartments. Make sure that you feed your pet, take them outside for bathroom breaks and exercise them at the same time every day. But what makes developing a routine for your pet so important? For starters, both cats and dogs are creatures of habit, and it will be easier and less stressful for your pet to get through the day when they know what to expect. To put it simply, when your pet has a set routine, they will more secure in the world around them, which is important with all of the noises in a typical apartment.

Step 8. Socialize your pet.

Socializing your pet is important no matter where you live, but when you live in an apartment with other people close by, the need to socialize your pet becomes even greater. Chances are, many of your neighbors have pets too, or there are other pets being walked and played with in your neighborhood. Having an anti-social or aggressive pet will make every single trip outside difficult and nerve-wracking for both you and your pet, so socializing your pet is of the utmost importance. Scheduling play dates with friends who have pets, enrolling your pet into daycare with other pets and taking your dog to the dog park are all great ways to encourage your pet to be more social. We hope that this guide will help to quell some of your concerns about living in an apartment with a pet, and make it easier on both you and your pet. If you have any questions or concerns, contact our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today! We’re always happy to help!

Your Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet Part 2

Are you considering bringing in a pet to live with you in your apartment in Carroll Gardens?

When it comes to owning a pet, people who live in homes with fenced-in yards definitely have it the easiest. When you have a backyard, exercising your pet can be as simple as throwing the ball around, and you don’t have to stand outside in the cold to let them relieve themselves. However, just because you live in an apartment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the happiness that pet ownership brings to your life. In fact, there are lots of things you can do to make the entire experience easier on both you and your pet. In Part 1 of this step-by-step guide to living in an apartment with a pet, we went over the importance of talking with your landlord, finding the right breed and pet-proofing your apartment. Keep reading to learn about the next couple steps:

Step 4. Make sure that there is plenty of room in your schedule.

When you have a backyard with a doggy door that allows your pet to come and go as they please, it’s less important that you are able to make it home every few hours to let them out, but it’s still essential that you give them plenty of love and attention. However, when you live in an apartment, it’s much more important that there is room in your schedule to come home and take care of your pet at regular intervals during the day, especially if you have a dog. And, while older, properly trained dogs may be able to hold it for long periods of time, that doesn’t mean that they should have to. Just like in people, dogs can develop health issues, including urinary stones and urinary tract infections, when they are made to hold it too long too often. Although cats are known for being independent, solidarity animals, they are more social than you might realize. Your cat’s litter box may eliminate any physical need for you to make special trips home in the middle of the day, but on an emotional level, cats still need plenty of cuddles and affection.

Step 5. Keep your pet properly entertained.

Typically, dogs sleep anywhere from 12 to 14 hours per day; cats sleep anywhere from 12 to 16 hours per day, and for puppies and kittens, it’s more like 20 hours. However, all of that time spent sleeping does not mean that your pet is immune to boredom. And, a bored pet is often a mischievous pet, and it could lead to the development of bad habits, like chewing up your shoes, destroying your furniture, constant barking, whining, getting into the trash can and a whole host of other, not-so-nice behaviors. Preventing your pet from getting lonely and bored is one of the reasons why it’s so important that you make sure there is enough room in your schedule to actually take care of a pet before you get one. In addition, you can also make it a point to provide your pet with plenty of toys to keep them entertained while you are gone. And, a stringent exercise routine every day will help to drain a lot of that excess energy. We just have a couple more steps to go over to help you master apartment living with your new furry friend, and as always, if you have questions or concerns about the information provided, or about how to care for your new pet, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As your neighborhood veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens, your pet’s health is our number one priority!

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