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PETS DO NEED DENTAL CARE!

According to the AVMA periodontal disease in dogs and cats is the most common health problem found in pets.  80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from some type of dental related problem.  Untreated periodontal infections often lead to more serious health problems because of chronic pain and infection, and subsequent stress on the immune system. These untreated conditions can then lead to heart valve disease, kidney disease, and even diabetes and cancer, not to mention the significant discomfort associated with dental infections.  Face pawing, inability to eat dry food, and of course the telltale awful breath are signs your pet is suffering from dental disease.  We try to encourage all pet parents to bring their pets in at least annually for a thorough dental checkup.  We stress the important of at least attempting to brush your pet's teeth regularly, and our friendly staff can help you learn the proper techniques for successfully accomplishing this.  We can also recommend a dental diet and appropriate dental treats that will actually help keep your pet?s teeth cleaner longer.  Studies are showing that pets are developing periodontal disease very early in life and we are seeing dogs and cats as young as three with dental disease beginning.  Again if your pet demonstrates any of these symptoms they may be having serious dental issues:

 

Bad breath
Discolored teeth and red inflamed gums
Face or mouth pawing
Reluctance to eat
Signs of blood on chew toys
Excessive drooling
Nasal discharge

 

Any and all of these signs mean your pet is having dental problems that need addressing as soon as possible.  We carry a full line of dental care products that includes toothbrushes, specially flavored toothpastes, rinses, and of course dental diets and chews, for both dogs and cats.  Be sure to ask our staff about what you can do to help prevent periodontal disease in your pets.  Prevention really does work and will help keep your dog or cat healthy and with you longer!

 

KEEP YOUR SENIOR PET HEALTHIER LONGER

We all know how hard it is to see our once active pet start to noticeably slow down and begin having health issues.  Standard age that most pets become seniors is around seven years; however, with cats this may be a little older, around say eight to ten years of age.  Many clients ask what they can do to help their older pets stay healthy and possibly live a little longer.  We recommend that senior pets be seen at least twice annually and that a blood panel be run that targets seniors specifically.

A senior blood panel consists of an extensive chemistry panel that helps your veterinarian determine how various organs, such as the kidneys, pancreas, and liver, are currently functioning.  The panel also includes a Complete Blood Count; this common test measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a given sample of blood. The numbers and types of these cells give the veterinarian information needed to help diagnose anemia, infections and leukemia. Your vet will also run a urinalysis that is a tool used to detect the presence of one or more specific substances that normally do not appear in urine, such as protein, sugar, white blood cells or blood. A measurement of the dilution or concentration of urine is also helpful in diagnosing diseases. Urinalysis can assist the veterinarian in the diagnosis of urinary-tract infections, diabetes, dehydration, kidney problems and many other conditions.  Common age related issues with pets can be:

 

Slow to rise, obvious stiffness and pain
Drinking excessive water
Change in eating habits or problems chewing and swallowing, very bad breath
Problems with coat and skin, such as, rashes, cysts, or noticeable tumors
Vision and hearing problems
Lack of wanting to do those things they love; play, walks, active time
Urinary problems or house soiling
Excessive weight gain or loss

 

If your pet is demonstrating any of the above symptoms it is very important to have your vet do a thorough examination.  We stress the importance of bi-annual checkups to ensure your senior pet is maintaining good health.  Prevention is key here and these checkups can help detect disease processes that you may be completely unaware of.  Dental disease is a huge problem with most pets over the age of three and most senior pets of some type of dental issue.  Senior pets need extra monitoring to prevent serious illness, and if left untreated dental disease can lead to a spreading infection throughout the body that can affect the heart, kidneys, liver, and other organs.  This infection can shorten your pet's life substantially.  If we can stress one very important thing that is to have your pet's teeth cleaned at least once a year.  Senior pets have different nutritional needs than younger pets, and because they are less active, obesity and diabetes affect many senior pets.  It is important to feed a healthy well balanced diet that addresses the needs of the older pet.  A diet that is formulated specifically for the older pets is a good way to ensure that your senior is getting the right amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals in their diet.   Ask your veterinarian about the best possible diet for your aging pet, they can absolutely help you make the right choice.

Go to Pet Health Network and view "Behavioral Problems in Senior Pets" in the dog area of the page.

 

 

KEEPING YOUR PET A HEALTHY WEIGHT

We see it everywhere; most American adults are now becoming very overweight or obese.  Well it is not surprising that more and more pets are suffering from the very same thing.  Very overweight pets are on the rise, and with this comes a host of health issues for the pets.  Diabetes, heart and lung diseases, bone and joint diseases, skin conditions and different types of cancer are more common in overweight animals, as is a shorter life expectancy.  Ask your veterinarian about how much your pet should eat each day and what treats are appropriate for the size and age of your animal.  Commercially produced pet treats can be high in fat, sugar, and even salt, and can contribute to rapid weight gain.  Over feeding seems to be a common problem for many owners and we as the veterinary healthcare team need to be able to educate our clients on a healthy weight management program.  As our pet's age they tend to become less active and with this inactivity their weight can escalate very rapidly.  The more weight the pet gains the more stress is put on joints thus creating a cycle of inactivity.  Traveling Tails carries excellent diets for weight loss and maintenance, as well as, treats that are healthy and calorically balanced.  We also carry special diets to help your senior pet maintain his or her ideal weight.  We caution feeding people food as many animals have allergies so it is best to feed a diet formulated for your pet and keep the cheeseburgers and fries to the humans.  Dogs can be fed things like fresh green beans or baby carrots as snacks to help avoid those empty calories from those not so healthy grocery store treats. Overfeeding is a very real problem and sometimes it is a touchy subject for many owners who do not want to acknowledge that their pets are dangerously overweight.  We recommend Royal Canin diets, so ask us about these diets and how feeding them can help keep your pet healthy and happy. A great source of pet weight information can be found on the website www.petobesityprevention.com