Every dog will have their day, and this is where you can find dependable information on your canine companion. From puppyhood to the golden years, from behavior basics to the latest developments, here’s where you can find the reputable resources you need to help your dog live their best life.
Chew on This: A Comprehensive Guide to Canine Dental Health
Pet lovers understand that when it comes to the health of their small canine friends, every detail matters, even the seemingly inconsequential ones. In this particular discourse, we’re referring to an often-overlooked facet of their health: dental hygiene. Although we tend to associate dental care with aesthetics and fresh breath, its importance goes beyond giving your petite pet a dazzling smile or minty breath. It plays an indispensable role in your pet’s overall health and longevity.
It may come as a surprise to some that dental disease tops the list of the most common ailments among our beloved dogs and cats. Far from being a minor issue, the dental disease could pave the way for severe health complications, such as heart, liver, and kidney diseases, if left untreated.
The size of your pet, contrary to popular belief, is a crucial factor when considering dental health. Small dogs, with their compact jaws, have teeth closely packed together. Consequently, the accumulation of the same amount of tartar or plaque that might appear on a larger tooth could create significantly more problems in a smaller one. This means that smaller breeds generally need dental cleanings more frequently than their larger counterparts.
So, how does one ensure that their petite pooch’s oral health is on par with the rest of their adorable little bodies? The answer lies in professional dental cleanings under anesthesia. At first blush, this might seem a daunting prospect. The image of your beloved pet under anesthesia might tilt its adorable head in confusion or even fear. However, rest assured that it’s perfectly safe and is indeed recommended by all major animal organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association.
Here are a few reasons why anesthesia is strongly advocated for in dental procedures:
Safety First: Anesthesia ensures that your pet remains motionless during the procedure, significantly reducing the risk of accidental injury. This is particularly important during delicate procedures like dental cleanings, where sudden movements could potentially cause harm.
Comfort Is Key: Even though our furry friends are quite resilient, dental cleanings can sometimes be uncomfortable. Anesthesia guarantees that your pet experiences no pain during the process, allowing them to comfortably sleep through the procedure.
Thoroughness Matters: Cleanings done when the pet is awake often only take care of the visible parts of the teeth. Anesthesia allows veterinarians to meticulously clean beneath the gum line – the hotspot for most dental diseases. This is something that cannot be achieved with awake cleanings.
A Stress-Free Experience: Let’s face it. Few pets, if any, enjoy having their teeth cleaned. The sight and sound of dental tools can evoke stress and fear. Anesthesia provides a way around this, allowing your pet to be completely unaware of the procedure, thus avoiding any associated trauma.
At South Park Animal Hospital, we prioritize the well-being of your furry friends. We are committed to ensuring your pet undergoes a safe, comfortable, and stress-free dental cleaning. We understand that your small-but-mighty pup is an integral part of your family, and we treat them with the care they deserve. After their dental cleaning under anesthesia, they’ll wake up with clean, healthy teeth and gums, ready to flash that bright smile.
Ensuring that your pet’s oral health is in top-notch condition is an investment in their overall quality of life. So, let’s keep those doggie kisses fresh, their smiles gleaming, and, most importantly, their health in optimal condition. Reach out to us at 415-523-4404 today to schedule your pet’s dental cleaning.
Your Role in Your Pet’s Dental Health: At-Home Care!
While professional cleanings under anesthesia provide a thorough, in-depth solution for maintaining your small dog’s dental health, there are measures you can take at home to complement these efforts. Indeed, a well-rounded approach to your pet’s oral hygiene involves professional veterinary care and daily at-home maintenance.
To start, incorporating teeth brushing into your dog’s daily routine can make a significant difference. Pet-friendly toothpaste (never use human toothpaste as it can be toxic to dogs) and a dog-specific toothbrush are essential tools for this task. Remember, small dogs often have small mouths, and a toothbrush designed for their size will make the process easier for both of you. It may take time for your pet to adjust to having their teeth brushed, so patience and consistency are key. Start by letting your dog taste the toothpaste, and slowly introduce the toothbrush over a few days or weeks. Be gentle and use this time to bond with your pet, ensuring they associate tooth brushing with positive experiences.
Dental treats and chew toys are also effective in promoting dental health. These products are designed to mechanically scrape off plaque while your dog chews, functioning like a toothbrush. Dental treats can also contain ingredients that freshen breath and reduce tartar buildup.
Diet plays a critical role in dental health as well. Feeding your pet a balanced diet specifically formulated for their size and life stage supports their overall health, including dental health. For some small dogs, a dry kibble diet may help reduce plaque build-up, as crunching can scrape off the plaque.
Drinking water additives, designed to fight tartar and freshen your dog’s breath, can be another component of your at-home dental care routine. Always consult your vet before introducing new products into your pet’s regimen.
Don’t overlook the importance of regular check-ups with your vet. Oral examinations should be part of your pet’s annual health assessment. These visits can help spot potential problems early before they turn into significant health concerns.
As always, if you have any concerns about your pet’s dental health, contact us at South Park Animal Hospital. We are here to guide you in ensuring your small but mighty companion enjoys a long, healthy, and happy life.
Leptospirosis: keep your dog safe from this backyard threat!
Leptospirosis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be transmitted to your dog through contaminated soil, water, or urine, and is often spread via the urine of infected wildlife. It can live in water or moist soil for months, and your pet doesn’t even need to encounter wildlife to catch it—merely drinking contaminated water or ingested contaminated dirt can be enough to make your dog sick. And in addition to pets, it can also make people ill.
Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs include:
- Shaking and muscle tenderness
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
Once contracted, leptospirosis can potentially be fatal—even with aggressive treatment.
Does my dog need the leptospirosis vaccine?
We strongly recommend the leptospirosis vaccine for all dogs. Cases of leptospirosis in dogs are occurring at greater frequency in the Bay Area, and more veterinarians are including it as part of a dog’s core vaccine series.
Your veterinarian will help you decide if the leptospirosis vaccine is right for your dog. Any dog can contract leptospirosis, but dogs that are at the highest risk include:
- Dogs that hike near or swim/wade near natural water
- Hunting dogs
- Dogs that are frequently near areas where wildlife such as squirrels, racoons, or foxes may be present
- Dogs who travel or have frequent exposure to other dogs at dog parks, dogs shows, or boarding facilities
If you have any questions or would like to schedule your dog for their leptospirosis vaccine, give us a call at (415) 429-1202 today!