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DOG CARE

Just like ourselves, our dogs need daily care. And as their owners, it is our duty to make informed decisions about the best kind of healthcare they can receive. That’s why we have created this web page, so you can receive information from a reliable source.

As always, please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. You can find our phone number and hours of operation on our Contact Us page.

Brushing their Teeth

I know this seems a little over the top, brushing my dog’s teeth??? The reason why this is important is because of their current diets. Long before we domesticated dogs, the hides of other wild animals removed plaque and tartar. Today, there is only one kind of prescription food that can remove plaque and tartar to the same degree. If you brush your pet’s teeth daily, this will remove plaque. Tartar is plaque that had hardened and cannot be removed by brushing your pet’s teeth. The only way to remove tartar is by performing a dental prophylaxis, which is a surgery done under general anaesthesia at your local animal hospital or clinic. And yes we do perform dental prophylaxes! So if you regularly brush your dog’s teeth, you can prevent the build-up of yellow tartar.

It is important not to use human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth. Human toothpaste contains fluoride as you may know, however if you were to read your toothpaste bottle it will say “do not ingest”. This is because it will induce gastrointestinal upset and may cause vomiting. After we brush our teeth, we spit out the toothpaste, however dogs cannot do this and inadvertently swallow the fluoride. All pet toothpastes are specifically formulated to not contain fluoride and are safe for your pets to swallow.

If you purchase a toothbrush kit, it will include a little rubber finger toothbrush. This is a training tool for your pet only, and is not abrasive enough to remove plaque from your pet’s teeth. Most plaque is removed by the brushing action of the bristles as opposed to the toothpaste itself; therefore we do not recommend you use the rubber finger brush for more than a week.

Brushing their Coat

Some dogs have longer coats than others and they will require more frequent brushing. The standard coat may only need to be brushed once a month plus whenever they get exceptionally dirty. Some dog breeds would include any pointers, any shorthaired hounds such as greyhounds and beagles and most toy breeds and terriers. A regular bristle brush from the pet store should sufficiently remove the dead hair from your pet’s coat and leave them looking shiny and feeling soft.

Medium-haired coats may need to be done as often as every 2 weeks. These would include dog breeds such as Golden and Labrador Retrievers. We would recommend either a pin brush or a regular bristle brush for these coats.

Long-haired coats need to be done much more often. These breeds often have long, wispy coats and include many breeds such as Newfoundlands, Bernese mountain dogs and Saint Bernards. These dogs will require a pin brush to penetrate down to the skin to remove all their dead fur

Some dog breeds also have what is referred to as a “double coat”, meaning they have a standard, usually long-haired coat but also have a very dense undercoat that was originally developed for insulation in cold weather. Most Huskies have this coat type. We would recommend using the type of brush called a rake or slicker brush. This will be able to cut through the dense undercoat to remove dead hairs and keep their skin breathing properly.

Nail Trims

Although this does not need to be done daily, it does need to be done about once a month and should not be overlooked in the regular grooming schedule of your pet. If your pet’s nails get too long, they can crack and break and a broken nail can get infected if it has broken as far back as the “quick”. The quick is where the blood supply is to the nail, so infection can enter the body through the blood stream in your pet’s paws. Similarly nails can become ingrown into the foot pad and this can cause an infection of the paw.

Also, just as in human nails, if you let your nails grow long the quick tends to grow with the nail. This means that in order for us to trim the nails back to a safe length it may require a few trimmings. The next time you bring your pet into our clinic we can give you a tutorial on the proper way to clip your dog’s nails. We can also do regular clipping of your pet’s nails if you are uncomfortable doing so yourself. Please give us a call and we would be happy to set up regular nail clipping appointments for you and your pet.

Nutrition

Pet nutrition is a HUGE topic that we cannot possibly cover here, but there is one tip we can provide to help you narrow down your choices of pet food. Some food companies choose to have their products regulated by AAFCO. If you find a bag of food without an AAFCO Statement, this means they have not chosen to have their food meet nutritional guidelines set out by AAFCO.

If your pet food has an AAFCO statement, there are a few different labels this AAFCO statement may say. The first portion of the statement may say that the food is “formulated to meet nutritional guidelines…”, meaning the food company has met the nutritional guidelines of AAFCO’s nutrient profiles based on calculations. The first portion may instead say “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures…”, indicating that the food company has chosen to pay for a feeding trial to be done and the feeding trial has adhered to specific specifications laid out by AAFCO.

Feeding trials are the preferred method as it gives the opportunity to see that the chosen pet food does not have any ingredients that would adversely affect your pet’s body systems, which is something that a calculation cannot show you

The second portion of the AAFCO statement will tell you what lifestage this food is intended for. “…all life stages” seems like it would be a safe choice, however it is not always the best choice. In order for a food to be suitable for all life stages, it must have sufficient nutrients and energy for the most demanding life stage, which is “…gestation/lactation”. This is the period of pregnancy and the period after birth of milk production. This amount of energy is not suitable for the lesser demanding life stages, like “…mature” or even “…adult maintenance”, especially if your pet has weight issues.

In conclusion, the best AAFCO statement you would find would say “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (enter food name here) provides complete and balances nutrition for (enter appropriate lifestage here). Please be aware that for the mature lifestage AAFCO does not do feeding trials and that you would only find a “formulated” AAFCO statement for that lifestage

In regards to the popular fads of “no corn” etc., we recommend you visit www.petfoodnutrition.com/ingredients and read through the topics list in the upper right-hand corner to learn more about the most common misconceptions about cat and dog food ingredients.

Microchipping

Microchipping is a procedure that is best done under anaesthesia, for example if your pet is already at the clinic for spay or neuter, but can be done while the pet is awake too. The procedure involves inserting a needle underneath the skin that is slightly larger than the average needle used for injections and injecting a chip which is about the size of a large grain of rice.

This chip has a unique tracking number that we then enter into a database. You then log onto the internet and submit your address and contact information and the database stores it with your pet’s unique tracking number.

It has become customary for clinics and humane societies to keep a chip reader on site, which is a handheld device that when scanned over your pet activates the chip to send the unique tracking number to a screen on the chip reader

It is the clinic’s opinion that the benefits of microchips far outweigh the negative side effects. Many lives are lost at humane societies across the world due to the inability to connect an individual pet to their original owners. Tags and collars can be removed not only by pets but by humans interested in kidnapping pets.

There is a small risk of “post-injection sarcoma”, which is the development of a tumor around an injection site, however this is also a risk associated with vaccinations and as with vaccinations the benefit far outweighs the potential for negative side effects.

After all, wouldn’t you love to get the phone call from your local humane society saying they found your lost pet?

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