More than just bad breath, poor oral health can lead to more serious disease as well. Contrary to popular belief a dogs mouth is far from sterile and a cats mouth is frequently much worse (thats why dog and cat bites are treated with antibiotics). As our pets’ teeth become covered with plaque and tarter the oral environment deteriorates to a bacterial breeding ground. The onset of gingivitis (red and swollen gums) allows bacteria wider access to the body through the inflamed and susceptible tissue. These bacteria can travel throughout the body in the bloodstream and lead to bacterial colonies forming in the liver, kidneys, heart or lungs. If this should occur, your pet’s health is put in jeopardy. The best way to prevent this unfortunate problem is to maintain a clean and hygienic oral environment. At home preventative measures include daily brushing, dental treats, chews or diets. Eventually, despite your best efforts, most pets will need to have a professional cleaning where the build up of plaque and tarter is removed and the teeth are polished and returned to their previous clean and healthy state. These cleanings usually need to be performed annually to maintain good oral health in most pets. As you take preventative measures to protect against dental disease you will make your pet more enjoyable to be around and improve his or her quality of life.
The year end brings many happy times filled with family, friends, fun and lots of food. There are decorations and lights and smells that enrich this time of year. Can you imagine the excitement and or anxiety that your dog/cat may feel as they are reintroduced to new things? Just think of the things to smell, to taste, to chew on or just flat out destroy. O the joy that must fill their little hearts as they see new things to explore. For others it is a time of defending the home from marauding carolers and well wishers.
For the fun loving or the defenders the Holidays bring much change, albeit fleeting, to the life of the average(or above average) cat or dog. These changes can add up to trouble. The fruit cake, taken a little at a time may be delightful to some, but when hurriedly engulfed can cause GI distress, that may leave us wondering out of which end (or both) did this come.
Besides some of the known toxic exposure risks that we bring into our homes this time of year (chocolate, poinsettias), the shear quantity of food brings increased opportunity for what we like to call “Garbage Gut” or dietary indiscretion. Another toxic risk comes with the cold weather and the need to get our cars ready for the cold. Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze) is an extremely toxic substance. Due to spillage (even small amounts) and a sweet taste, curious outdoor pets get into trouble.
Please take the necessary precautions to keep your pets safe this season by keeping plants, chocolate, antifreeze and other pet unfriendly substances out of their reach.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!