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Bloat in Coonhounds

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on August 14, 2015 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)





Coonhounds, like other deep-chested breeds, are at the greatest risk for bloat or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), which is second only to cancer as the main killer of dogs.



There are many theories as to why GDV happens, but there are still no clearly defined causes for the condition, which can occur in two stages: the first being gastric dilatation and the second being gastric torsion. Dilatation occurs when the stomach suddenly fills with air, placing severe pressure on the diaphragm and surrounding organs. Not every episode of stomach bloating automatically results in gastric torsion or volvulus– a twisting of the stomach. Your coonhound’s stomach can fill up with gas and air and yet remain in position.



In bloat, gas or food stretches the stomach beyond its normal size, pinching off both sides of it, causing your dog excruciating pain and leaving no room for the trapped gas to escape.



The earliest signs of bloat include a hard and swollen abdomen; repeated unsuccessful efforts to belch, retch or vomit; restlessness, pacing, and increasing anxiety. In full GDV, your dog can rapidly go into shock. His gums will be pale, his breathing rapid and shallow, and he can lose consciousness. All within 20 to 60 minutes.



If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, transport him IMMEDIATELY to your vet or to an emergency animal clinic. Every minute is crucial and none can be wasted. If your dog has been suffering for an hour or more, the damage may be so severe that he CANNOT be saved. Even with timely surgery, up to one-third of all dogs will die.



As soon as your dog is seen, an IV line will be established in an effort to both regulate his blood pressure and administer medications to combat the pain and shock. A vet will then try to release the air in your dog’s stomach -- either with an esophageal tube inserted through into his mouth, or with a long, sharp needle inserted into his stomach to relieve the pressure and keep the stomach from rupturing.



X-rays will determine whether your dog’s stomach is simply bloated or if there’s full GDV. If his stomach is indeed twisted, once he’s stable, he’ll require surgery to repair the twist and attach his stomach to the body wall (a procedure called gastroplexy) to prevent a recurrence of the condition. Studies show that, without this procedure, over 50 percent of dogs with bloat will bloat again within three months, while 76 percent will bloat again in their lifetime.



As a preventive measure, many owners of predisposed dog breeds such as coonhounds will opt to have gastroplexy performed when their dog is either spayed or neutered.



Other preventive measures include feeding your dog two or three smaller meals a day, training him not to gulp his food, giving him small amounts of water afterward, and only allowing him to exercise an hour after eating. Providing him with fresh water throughout the day or pre-soaking his kibble can help to prevent bloat as well.



Choose your coonhound’s food very carefully. Most commercial dry dog foods contain carbohydrates like corn, wheat, rice, soy and oatmeal, which are highly fermentable. And because fermentation produces gas, the more carbohydrates your dog consumes, the more gas will be produced.



To slow down your dog’s eating, spread his food out on a cookie sheet or purchase a bowl designed specifically for that purpose. A slower, more even rate of food consumption will help reduce the amount of air your dog swallows and reduce the chance of bloat occurring.



Two other preventive measures? Minimize your dog’s stress level by ensuring he gets enough daily physical exercise, and reduce the amount of chemicals you put INTO and ONTO your dog.



By taking these risk factors into consideration and modifying your coonhound’s diet and lifestyle, you and the dog you love can, hopefully, be spared the nightmare scenario of GDV.


Hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on August 7, 2015 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers



Hemangiosarcoma, a common form of cancer arising from the lining of blood vessels, mainly affects older, large breed dogs, with Golden Retrievers being one of the more vulnerable. Of the three basic forms of hemangiosarcoma: dermal (skin), hypodermal (under the skin) and visceral (splenic or cardiac), visceral is the most common and the most deadly.



A disproportionate number of Goldens suffer from hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, and because this highly malignant cancer develops slowly and without symptoms in its early stages, by the time Goldens are symptomatic, they are usually in an advanced stage of the disease. Unknown to either pets or pet owners, small ruptures in the tumors can develop, allowing blood to escape into the abdomen, chest or the sac around the heart. This blood loss causes some dogs to show intermittent symptoms uncluding: lethargy and weakness; decrease in appetite; mild anemia, and if tested, a slight elevation of liver enzymes. Signs of a life-threatening internal hemorrhage may include: weakness; pale colour to the tongue; panting; rapid heart rate and a weak pulse; distended, fluid-filled abdomen and finally, collapse.



Sadly, there has been no significant advancement in the treatment of splenic hemangiosarcoma in decades, and the standard treatments only moderately extend the affected Golden’s life. Removing a healthy spleen to prevent the development of the disease is unlikely to provide any benefits, because this type of cancer cell originates in the bone marrow, and it will simply find another organ to invade. And although dogs can function without a spleen, removing it will have other, negative impacts on their health.



Once the disease is diagnosed, the standard treatment is surgery to remove the infected spleen, followed by aggressive chemotherapy -- providing the cancer has not spread. The average survival time for dogs undergoing surgery alone: 1 to 3 months. The average survival time for dogs both undergoing surgery and receiving chemotherapy: 8 to 9 months. Chemotherapy slows the growth of new tumors and, despite the silent progression of the disease, affords the Golden a high quality of life during those added months.



Some veterinary experts find that one of the most important tools in the early detection of splenic hemangiosarcoma is an ultrasound, because of how easily the spleen can be seen. They recommend starting regular ultrasounds on Goldens at 5 years of age, with testing repeated at least once a year. However, ultrasound equipment is expensive and not all veterinary offices offer the procedure, and for those that do, the cost to Goldens’ owners can be significant.



Other tools in the preventative arsenal are vet checks on older Goldens every six months for careful palpation of their abdomen to check for any abnormalities or changes. Complete blood counts should also be done every 6 months, because mild


anemia often points to a more serious underlying issue that may require further exploration.



In their search for ways to make their beloved Goldens as comfortable as possible, many owners will add alternative treatments to conventional ones. But they must first find an experienced holistic veterinarian or a western vet who is open to alternative medicine. Along with various high potency vitamins, supplements and natural herbs prescribed in the appropriate amounts, a specific cancer diet is recommended, as are ongoing sessions of acupuncture.



Although nothing can alter the inevitable outcome of this dread disease, if Goldens can enjoy the time left to them with a minimum of discomfort, that is what matters most – for them and for the people who love them.



Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 27, 2015 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)




 The Shih Tzu may have several names, including Chinese Lion Dog, Lion Dog and Chrysanthemum Dog, but they all add up to the same thing. One very adorable, personable, often stubborn but always loyal and loving companion.


 With his sweet-natured temperament, the Shih Tzu is less demanding and less yappy than most toy breeds. Although solidly built and lively, his exercise needs are few – some short walks each day or some brief romps in the yard. Primarily a lover of comfort and attention, what this breed enjoys most is cuddling on laps and snuggling into soft pillows.


 Friendly and feisty, these small, flat-faced, silky coated sweethearts are usually trustworthy around older children, but their small size puts them at risk for unintentional injury around toddlers and very young children.


 Shih Tzu are generally healthy dogs, living to 15 years or more, but like every dog breed, they have their own distinct temperament and are prone to certain conditions and diseases.


Because a Shih Tzu is difficult to housebreak, consistency is key, and crate training an essential aid. Never let a puppy roam your place unsupervised until completely housetrained. 


A Shih Tzu seems particularly prone to eating his or other dogs’ feces. Monitoring your dog’s behavior and cleaning up his poop promptly will prevent this from becoming a habit. 


The dense, double coat of a Shih Tzu should be combed or brushed daily to keep shedding and matting to a minimum.


 The Shih Tzu tends to snore, wheeze and reverse sneeze, and the flatness of his face makes him susceptible to heat stroke (the air entering his lungs isn't cooled as efficiently as in longer-nosed breeds). It’s wise to keep your Shih Tzu indoors in air-conditioned rooms during hot weather. And walk him in a Y-shaped harness that wraps around his chest, not his throat. A collar puts pressure on his windpipe and makes it harder for him to breathe.


 Reverse sneezing can occur when a Shih Tzu suffers from allergies, becomes overly excited, or gulps food too quickly. Nasal secretions drop onto the soft palate, causing it to close over the windpipe, creating that wheezing sound. Some experts suggest the fastest way to stop this is to pinch your dog’s nostrils closed, thereby forcing him to breathe through his mouth.


Because of their undershot jaws, Shih Tzu are prone to dental and gum problems, such as retained baby teeth, missing and misaligned teeth, and must have their teeth brushed and vet checked regularly.


The drop ears of the Shih Tzu create a dark and warm ear canal, leaving them prone to infection. To help prevent this, check and clean your dog’s ears weekly and keep him on a grain-free diet. 


 Eye problems are not uncommon among Shih Tzu because of their large, bulging eyes. These disorders include keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye (a dryness of the cornea and the conjunctiva), distichiasis (abnormal growth of eyelashes on the margin of the eye, resulting in the eyelashes rubbing against it), proptosis (the eyeball is dislodged from the eye socket and the eyelids clamp shut behind the eyeball), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea that can lead to a corneal ulcer and blindness), and progressive retinal atrophy (degenerative disease of the retinal visual cells leading to blindness). 


 Also common are bladder stones and bladder infections, hip dysplasia (abnormal formation of the hip socket possibly causing pain and lameness) and patellar luxation, (dislocation of the kneecap), in which the knee joint slides in and out of place, causing pain and again, possible lameness.


 Health concerns aside, the Shih Tzu simply doesn't care where he lives, as long as he's with you. A highly adaptable dog, he can be equally comfortable in a small city apartment, a large suburban home or a cozy country cottage.


 If you want a dog who lives to love and be loved, whose primary characteristic is affection, and whose favorite destination is your lap, look no further than the Shih Tzu cuddled next to you.








Being Cautious is Cool This Summer

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 15, 2015 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Picture yourself on a sweltering summer day wearing a long winter coat.


Are you hot yet? Itchy? Thirsty? Looking for shade?


Now picture your dogs on that same summer day. And you’ll have some idea of how THEY feel.


Protecting them from the hot sun, air and ground is essential to keeping them safe outside. All it requires is common sense and some advance planning.


Here are some suggestions:


For dogs with particularly thick or heavy coats, have a groomer lightly trim them back.


Guard against sunburn by applying either a child’s SPF 45 sun block or a specially formulated animal sunscreen to the tips of your dog’s ears, the nose and the belly.


Whether on a porch, patio or lawn, create a shaded area using planters or shrubbery.


Set up a makeshift canopy using a blanket draped across two chairs.


Limit your dog’s outdoor exercise. Take your walks early in the morning or when the sun is setting. If the day’s particularly hot and humid, forego your walks altogether.


Turn on a garden sprinkler and let your dog run through it or fill a small wading pool with water


Keep your dog’s water bowl filled, cool, and free of floating debris.


Avoid hot asphalt, which can quickly burn the pads of your dog’s paws. Place the back of your hand to the sidewalk or pavement. If you can’t keep it there for seven seconds, then it’s too hot for your dog. If possible, walk your dog on the grass instead.


Never leave your dog unattended in the car. Whether in the shade with the windows cracked or with the motor running and the air conditioning on, your car can become a deathtrap within minutes.


Watch your dog for signs of heat exhaustion. Because dogs don’t sweat, their only way of cooling down is by panting or releasing heat through their paws. Warning signs include exaggerated panting, excessive salivation, a vacant expression, restlessness or listlessness, trembling and skin that’s hot to the touch.


If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, get him into the shade as quickly as possible. Give him cool water to drink and either hose him down, cover him with cool, damp cloths or put him in a bathtub filled with cool water. If your dog’s condition worsens, seek immediate medical attention.


To be a responsible pet owner is to be an informed pet owner.


The list of safety rules may seem long, but the hot days of summer are even longer.

???It Was Just For a Minute???

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on July 3, 2015 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Sadder words were never spoken.



Because an errand meant to take that proverbial minute is 60 seconds too long when a dog is left unattended in a car in the heat.






Because, even on mild summer days, with a car parked in the shade and the windows cracked, the INSIDE temperature can rapidly reach dangerous levels.






Because a car acts like a greenhouse, trapping and magnifying the sun’s strength and heat. Both the air and upholstery temperature can rise so rapidly that a dog can’t cool down.






Because a dog’s normal body temperature is about 102 F. Raise it briefly by only two degrees, and heat exhaustion, brain damage, even death may occur.






Because dogs don’t sweat. They can only cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws.



Despite repeated warnings in the media, flyers distributed by animal welfare groups, and word of mouth, countless animals still die needlessly each year from heatstroke. Despite the axiom that one person can’t make a difference, in this type of situation, one person can make ALL the difference. And that person may be YOU.



If you see a dog in distress inside a car parked on the street or in a parking lot, note the make and model of the car, as well as its license plate number. Call the police, your local ASPCA branch, Humane Society or animal control immediately.



Watch the dog closely for the more obvious signs of heatstroke: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting); an anxious or staring expression; restlessness; excessive salivation, tremors and vomiting. While waiting for help, you maywherever possiblechoose to act on your own.



If a window is opened or a door unlocked, extricate the dog cautiously and carefully -- either alone or with assistance. Then, get him into an air-conditioned car or nearby building. Otherwise, lay him down in a cool, shady place. Wet him with cool water, but never apply ice to his body. Fan him vigorously to speed the evaporation process, which, in turn, will cool the blood and reduce his temperature. Give him cool water to drink or even ice cream to lick.



Hopefully, by now, help will have arrived, and you may have saved some neglectful owner’s family pet.



A gentle reminder: don’t YOU become that same neglectful owner.



Remember there’s no such thing asjust for a minute.“


Tick Alert: Pet Owners Beware

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on June 1, 2015 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

With the arrival of summer comes the arrival of an annoying and possibly fatal pest: the tick.


What was once considered a nuisance found only in the wooded countryside has been persistently and increasingly invading cities both large and small. Now ticks can be as close as your neighbourhood park or your neighbour’s backyard.


What, precisely, is a tick? A tick is a fairly common, external parasite that embeds itself in the skin of both animals and humans. Once it lands, it inserts its mouthparts into the skin and feeds on the blood. And that single tick has the potential to pass on multiple diseases.


Deer ticks and Western Blacklegged ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which animals (and humans) can contract.


Prevention and early detection are the best ways of protecting your pets against Lyme disease. The intent is to stop it before any symptoms appear. Should the disease progress, symptoms can include stiff, painful and swollen joints, and a limp that comes and goes, often appearing to switch sides. Some dogs have an arched back and a stiff walk. More serious, however, are fever, difficulty breathing and kidney failure. Heart and neurological problems are rarer.


To help protect your pet, there are several preventatives available – such as K9 Advantix – which stops ticks BEFORE they bite, killing, not only all of the major tick species, but acting as a flea treatment as well. A product meant only for dogs, K9 Advantix must NOT be applied to cats.


Such preventatives are particularly important for high-risk animals such as hunting dogs, cottage dogs, and dogs hiking through fields. But it’s important to remember that dogs (and cats) can pick up ticks in the city as well.


When bitten, the skin of some pets may become red and irritated around the site, while others may not even notice the parasite attached to them. It is imperative then, that you inspect your pet thoroughly when returning from areas known for ticks.


Should you find a tick on your pet, it must be removed very carefully to ensure that the mouthparts are fully removed. If left behind, they can abscess and cause infection. Kill the tick by placing it in a zip-lock bag and pouring rubbing alcohol over it. For the uncertain owner, special tick removal devices are available, while the squeamish can have their vet remove the tick instead.


Some experts now advise that when your pet is tested annually for heartworm, the same test include screening for Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis (both bacterial infections). A positive test result enables you to start treating your pet early -- before the onset of any symptoms.


Never was the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” more true.

Article written by Nomi Berger





Posted by saskatoondogrescue on May 5, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)


A single bite from a single infected mosquito can cause an otherwise healthy dog to develop heartworm disease and potentially die.


A heartworm is a parasitic worm (Dirofilaria immitis) that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an affected dog. The worms travel through the bloodstream, damaging arteries and vital organs as they go, before arriving at the lungs and heart approximately six months after that initial mosquito bite. Several hundred worms can live in a single dog from between five and seven years, and if left untreated, can prove fatal.


The best protection against this insidious disease? Prevention. Prevention is both safe and effective, whereas treating the disease itself is complicated, costly, and can, like the disease, have serious, even fatal, effects on the stricken dog.


Preventives work by killing the heartworm larvae before they can grow and mature into adult heartworms. Although a variety of preventives are now available to conscientious pet owners everywhere, the first step in the prevention process is a visit to the vet.


Most vets recommend yearly testing for heartworm in dogs older than 6 months, usually in late spring. If your dog is heartworm negative, inexpensive, chewable pills are available with your vet’s prescription. The pills, which are palatable to most dogs, must be given to your dog monthly, and are manufactured by several companies. These pills can also be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test.


Besides pills, there are specially designed, chemical preventive products that you apply directly onto your dog’s skin. Application of these topical preventives should begin June 1st and continue for six months. Some heartworm preventives contain additional ingredients that will control other parasites, such as roundworms or hookworms, while the topical preventives prescribed by your vet will protect your dog against fleas and ticks as well.


If you choose the vet-prescribed pill, you can opt to give it to your dog only during mosquito season (from spring through the first frost), but the most recent recommendation from the American Heartworm Society is to keep giving them all year round. And remember, although your dog may not go outside, mosquitoes can still get INside.


For those preferring to NOT use either the pill or the topical preventive, homeopathic

veterinarians advise testing your dog for heartworm twice yearly.


In short, consult with your vet. Protect the dog you love against these invasive, potentially fatal parasites, and this summer, all of you can rest, assured.

Article written by Nomi Berger



Posted by saskatoondogrescue on March 2, 2015 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Dogs may nip or bite for a variety of reasons. The following are the most common:



When these dogs bite, their likeliest targets are the ones nearest to them: members of their own human families. The expression “Let sleeping dogs lie” is never more true than in the case of an owner stepping over a dog napping in an inconvenient place or brushing one off a chair, couch or bed. Push down too strongly on a dog’s rump to reinforce the “sit” command or attempt to stare down a dog who seems oddly unsettled, and a warning bark may all too quickly be followed by a bite.



This response is usually directed toward strangers. Much like people, dogs are, by nature, fearful of unfamiliar and potentially threatening situations. In old cartoons and movies, it was always the postman who was at the receiving end of a bite. But, in reality, it can be anyone. Anyone the dog doesn’t know, anyone innocently “invading” a dog’s space, or anyone who seems particularly menacing. If a series of cautionary barks doesn’t fend off this perceived danger, a lunge and a bite may result.



Well-intentioned, but ill-advised attempts to break up a dogfight often cause the referee in question to be bitten. When two angry dogs are squaring off against each other, baiting, barking and air snapping, and a hand reaches in to seize a collar or a coat, either dog may suddenly whip round and lash out with his mouth at the “intruder.”



Even the sweetest and gentlest dog can -- if the pain is severe enough -- bite the hand that’s trying to help. Whether a novice owner, an experienced trainer, or a seasoned vet. Every dog has his own particular threshold and tolerance for pain. Cross it with a normally soothing touch or a tender pat of reassurance, and that nursing hand will need a doctor.



This category is reserved for people who either don’t respect a dog’s boundaries or don’t understand that every dog has his limits. Thoughtless behaviors, inconsiderate overtures, constant pestering, poking or prodding – and the perpetrator will be punished with a bite.



Dogs chosen by families either for personal protection or for the protection of their property may find themSELVES the unwitting target of their dogs’ over-zealous guarding. Trained to defend everything of value – from the family house and car to the family itself – from outside threats, some dogs will even “protect” one family member from another by biting the one they considers a threat.


Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at greatest risk for dog bites. To minimize these risks, they should be taught to:

Report a strange dog wandering through their yard or neighborhood to an adult.

Never approach a strange dog.

Never approach an eating or sleeping dog, or a mother caring for her pups.

Never look directly into a dog's eyes.

Stand as still as a statue if approached by a strange dog.

Never scream at or run from a strange dog.

Roll into a ball and not move if knocked down by a strange dog.

Never play with a dog unless in the company of an adult.


To help reduce the incidences of dog biting:

All responsible dog owners must learn about and understand fully the complexities of canine behavior.

All responsible dog owners must obedience train and socialize their dogs – the sooner, the younger, the better.

All responsible dog owners must teach their children to respect ALL dogs, starting with the ones in their own homes.


It’s said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In the case of dog biting, however, a little knowledge is less dangerous than no knowledge at all.

Article written by Nomi Berger



Posted by saskatoondogrescue on February 2, 2015 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The problem of dog overpopulation is a global one and requires a solution on a global scale. But like every journey that begins with a single step, this particular journey must begin with every dog owner in every town and every city in the country. Those conscientious owners who act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cherished family pets.


Spaying (removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog) and neutering (removing the testicles of a male dog) are simple procedures, rarely requiring so much as an overnight stay in a veterinary clinic. Because half of all litters are unplanned, and because puppies can conceive puppies of their own, spaying and neutering them before the age of 6 months can help break this cycle.


According to SPAY USA, an unspayed female dog, her unneutered mate and their offspring (if none are spayed or neutered) result in the births of a staggering 12,288 puppies in just 5 years.


The inevitable outcome? Hundreds of thousands of dogs being euthanized through no fault of their own. Why? Because they are the tragic, but avoidable, result of over breeding and overpopulation. Why? Because there are too few shelters to house them and too few homes to either foster or adopt them. Why? Because there are still too many dog owners unwilling to spay and neuter their pets.


The positive effects of spaying and neutering far outweigh the negatives. Females spayed before their first heat are much less likely to develop mammary cancer than those left intact. Early spaying is also their best protection against conditions like pyometritis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the uterus, as well as ovarian and uterine cancers. Early neutering of males protects them against testicular cancer, and helps curb both aggression and other undesirable behaviors. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions, 70 to 76 percent of reported dog bite incidents are caused by intact males.


For years, reputable rescue groups have been spaying and neutering the animals in their care before even putting them up for adoption. More recently, in an effort to address at least part of this ongoing problem, various organizations -- large and small, urban and rural, public and private -- have been springing up across the country. From the ASPCA to local humane societies, spay/neuter clinics are opening and operating. Mobile spay/neuter clinics are reaching out to those unable to reach them. Many rescue groups now offer their own Spay Neuter Incentive Programs (SNIP), which provide assistance to low income households.


Imagine if there were more regional, local and mobile spay/neuter clinics. More Spay Neuter Incentive Programs. Imagine entire communities across the country, where every pet owner took personal responsibility for spaying and neutering their pets. Imagine what we, as part of the global community, could accomplish then.

Article written by Nomi Berger



Posted by saskatoondogrescue on January 27, 2015 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Protect Your Pet: Provide Proper Doggy Dental Care


Did you know that 80% of dogs over the age of 4 have some form of dental disease?


As with people, the main culprit is a build-up of plaque, which eventually hardens into tartar, leading to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontal disease.

The result? A bacterial invasion of the gums and tissues supporting the teeth, damaging them and ultimately causing tooth loss. This bacteria can also invade the bloodstream, potentially damaging the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver.


Did you know that, as responsible owners, you can lower your dog’s risks by following a program of conscientious oral care.


Before you start, have the vet examine your dog’s mouth for signs of hardened plaque and/or dental disease. If your dog suffers from either condition, once the dental disease is treated and/or the plaque professionally removed, your home care program can begin.


Ideally, you should begin caring for your dog’s teeth while he’s still a puppy. Brushing his teeth is the most effective way to control plaque by breaking it up before it hardens into tartar.


Choose only those toothbrushes, tooth pastes and oral gels designed especially for pets. For the more difficult ones, there are “rubber finger brushes.” If your dog refuses to accept any of these “tools,” use your own finger. It’s the act of brushing or rubbing which provides the most benefit.


Brush your dog’s teeth at the same time every day. Begin slowly, praising him often, stopping if he becomes agitated, then beginning again. Increase the amount of brushing time slowly, day by day.


If your dog absolutely refuses to have his teeth cleaned, add specially formulated antiseptic oral rinses (although they’re more effective when combined with cleaning) to his water.


Dogs love to chew, and this has the added benefit of helping to keep their teeth clean. There are dozens of specifically formulated oral care products for them, including dental chews, chew toys and treats.


There are also special dental diets shown to reduce plaque and/or tartar build up. They work by physically cleaning the teeth more efficiently than regular kibble (theirs is less likely to crumble upon chewing) or by the addition of chemicals to prevent the hardening of plaque into tartar.


Weekly inspections of your dog’s entire mouth can also help avoid both dental disease and costly and invasive medical procedures in the future. Ensure that your vet includes a thorough examination of your dog’s mouth, gums and teeth in each annual check up.


Be alert to such problems as bad breath, drooling, red or puffy, bleeding gums, yellow tartar crusted along the gum line, discolored, broken or missing teeth, bumps in the mouth, and changes in chewing or eating habits.


If you’ve been neglecting your dog’s dental health up to now, it is never too late to start.

Article written by Nomi Berger