How do I brush my pet’s teeth?

  • It’s best to start when your pet is young, the earlier you introduce brushing the easier it will be for your pet to accept it. Handle your pet’s mouth from the time you bring them home. For puppies and kittens introduce the brush at about 6 – 7 months.

With patience, most grown dogs and cats can learn to tolerate brushing too.

Supplies:

  • You will need a toothbrush designed specifically for canine- it should be smaller than human toothbrush and have softer bristles.
  • A toothpaste formulated for canines is a must. Do not use human toothpaste, it contains detergents that will cause stomach upset.
  • Antiseptic rinses are also available for pets. Rinses tend to be very palatable and some have been shown to decrease gingivitis and periodontal disease in pets. They can be an excellent choice for feline dental care.

Getting Started:

  • A veterinary exam prior to beginning a new oral care routine may be helpful to find out if your pet’s gums are inflamed. If your pet has mild gingivitis brushing too hard can be painful.
  • Begin by getting your pet used to the idea of having his teeth brushed. Massage his lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to his tooth and gums.
  • When your pet seems comfortable having his mouth touched this way, put a small bit of canine toothpaste on his lips to get him used to the taste. 
  • Next, introduce the soft canine toothbrush. 
  • Finally, apply the toothpaste to the teeth and begin with a gentle brushing. 

Canine Brushing Technique:

Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and clean in small circular motions. Work on one area of your pet’s mouth at a time, lifting the lips as necessary. The side of the tooth that touches the cheek usually has the most tartar, giving a final downward stroke can help to remove it. If your pet resists having the inner surfaces of the teeth cleaned, don’t fight it – only a small amount of tartar accumulates there.

Be consistent.

Once your pet has become accustomed to having his/her teeth brushed, it should become a regular routine. 

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Preventing Destructive Behavior

Chewing is a natural part of canine behavior. This is a big reason why many owners decide to get rid of their dogs. This is unfortunate because it is a preventable and correctable problem. Many times pet owners give their dogs too much freedom and then they get into trouble. Owners feel that as soon as their puppy is housebroken, their problems are all solved and they let him out on his/her own. This is when the dog is teething and needs to be watched.

Chewing may be a natural development in your dog’s life, but it should not go unchecked. People who believe a puppy will outgrow his chewing habits are mistaken. A dog is a creature of habit. We have to develop good habits and change the bad habits. DO NOT give your puppy old socks, shoes, or slippers to chew on. He cannot tell the difference between your old ones and new ones. They all smell the same to him because your odor is present.

A young dog should always be supervised when out of his usual living space. He should have his own toys to play with and chew on. An excellent teething toy is a chew rope. Sometimes even wetting the chew rope and putting it in the freezer can help. The cold helps to soothe sore gums.

Do not let your puppy pick up any objects that are not his own. Do not let him grab an object and run through the house, expecting you to chase him. This is a bad habit waiting to develop. A short lunge line can correct these habits if they are already in place. When he runs, you can step on the end of the line with a firm command. The excitement is now over!

Ways to prevent chewing:

  • Pick up any objects you do not want your pet to chew on.
  • Keep your dog in a crate if you are not able to supervise him – if you are too busy watching what he is doing, he belongs in a crate.
  • Your dog has to learn to relax when you are away. If you are going to be leaving for a lengthy period of time, play with him before you leave. You need to tire him out so he is ready to nap when you put him in his crate. He has to learn to tolerate your absence.
  • Find a toy that will distract and entertain your dog from unsuitable objects.
  • Take obedience class – your dog will become more focused and relaxed.
  • Give your dog some constructive outlets by giving him toys that challenge him.
  • If you have any questions, give us a call. We are here to help. Remember that Animal Motel can be your information resource.

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Winter Pet Care Tips

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Pets should be brought inside when the temperature drops. If that is not possible, then shelter – a dog house, shed or barn – should be used to protect your pet from the wind, low temperatures, and inclement weather. Supply warm bedding material and make sure the doorway has at least a flap covering to keep out the wind.

Make sure pets have a clean and ice-free supple of water outside. Eating snow can cause diarrhea, so you want to have fresh water available. Just like people, dogs lose moisture when breathing in cold air – they can see their breath too! – and although dehydration is more common during summer months, it can happen in cold weather as well.

Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets, causing kidney failure. Unfortunately, it is also very appealing to them. With its sweet taste, dogs and cats will happily lap it up from the garage floor or parking lot. It only takes a little to be deadly. Clean up after getting your vehicle serviced, and watch for tell-tale green spills in public areas. There are environmental and pet-safe antifreeze products to use.

Snow and ice-removal products can also cause digestive upset and topic redness or chemical burns on tender pads and feet. Wipe your dog’s feet with a damp towel if he/she has walked through de-icing products.

On a similar note, hair growing between the pads on the bottom of the foot can collect snow and ice. Keeping the hair trimmed will keep your dog from “skating.” Booties are available from retail pet supplies to help protect feet from chemicals, snow, and cold.

Regular grooming during winter will keep your pet’s coat in top condition to fend off the cold. A groomed fluffy coat creates insulation against cold air. A dog with matted fur will get colder and suffer from hypothermia much faster than a pet whose coat is maintained with regular grooming. Your grooming may also recommend using a coat conditioner or moisturizer during a grooming visit – winter is often a time to see dry flaky skin on dogs as well as on people.

Animals that are active outside in the winter will need to eat more. They burn more calories keeping warm as well as those needed for exercise.

Cats will crawl into warm places – especially in and under automobiles that have warm engines. A quick ban on the hood and looking underneath could save your (or your neighbor’s) pet.