The Importance of Pet Oral Health

  • By Pets in Need
  • 02 Oct, 2017

Consequences of poor pet dental health:

Healthy oral hygiene is important for our pet for multiple reasons. Clean teeth are not only cosmetically pleasing; they also promote good smelling breath and better long-term health.

If poor oral health causes an infection in our pet’s teeth or gums, it can spread to their kidneys. This is especially true in cats. Older cats often suffer from   kidney failure, which can be caused by an oral infection spreading to kidneys. Valvular   heart disease   can also be caused by poor dental hygiene. Bacteria from a pet’s mouth can travel to its heart valves, causing them to change shape and become leaky.

When does your pet need a teeth cleaning?

During your pet’s annual check-up your vet should inspect their mouth and recommend a cleaning when needed. All pets will eventually need their teeth cleaned, but the timing is different based on the individual. Signs your pet may need a teeth cleaning or oral exam include   consistent bad breath,   visible tartar build up or tooth discoloration, broken or loose teeth, tenderness around the mouth and/or teeth, increased drooling or dropping food, bleeding from the mouth, and loss of appetite. Also, if there’s   red inflammation where the teeth meet the gum, there’s likely an infection that should be evaluated and cleaned.

Promote healthy oral hygiene between cleanings:

Every pet will eventually need his or her teeth cleaned,  there’s simply no way to avoid it. However, to promote good oral health between cleanings, try a few of these tips:

  • Dental chews sold for dogs and cats do actually work in helping to eliminate some bacteria and plaque build-up
  • Pets that eat  hard food usually need their teeth cleaned slightly less often, because the hard food helps to remove tarter and plaque build-up.
  • Brushing your pets teeth with pet approved toothpaste can also help, but only if your pet enjoys it.  If it’s a struggle to get your pet to cooperate, it’s not worth the fight , because their teeth will eventually need cleaned no matter what. The worst thing a pet owner can do it engage in unnecessary, repeated negative interaction with their pets. This can cause pets to avoid their owners altogether, in fear of another negative interaction, like getting their teeth brushed.
  • Pet owners are usually better off just avoiding table scraps all together, but they should definitely  avoid sugar. Not only can it be upsetting to a pet’s stomach, it can also contribute to poor oral health.

Benefits outweigh risks:

Pet owners often say they don’t get their pet’s teeth cleaned because of the risks associated with anesthesia. It’s true that a pet must be put under general anesthesia to have their teeth cleaned. However,   anesthesia is so sophisticated today that it’s very safe and there’s very little risk   to a healthy pet. All veterinarians are taught to weigh the benefits to the risk when caring for a pet, and   the long-term health benefits of healthy oral hygiene far outweigh the very small risk associated with anesthesia.

About Pets In Need:

Pets In Need, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, is committed to helping pets stay healthy and together with the people who love them. Pets In Need provides low-cost veterinary care and food for pets from homes in which income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. The clinic is the only resource of its kind in Greater Cincinnati and currently serves cats and dogs from hundreds of low-income households. To learn more about Pets In Need and the services it provides, please visit   .

Cincinnati Dog Knowledge Center

By Pets in Need 08 Jan, 2018

Education is the first step  in pet poison prevention

Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The  Pet Poison Helpline  provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:

By Pets in Need 11 Dec, 2017

Outdoor Animals:

Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by  clicking here

A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.

By Pets in Need 27 Nov, 2017

Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.

Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the   National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.

In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The   ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack   that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.

By Pets in Need 14 Nov, 2017
First, let’s learn a bit of information about pet diabetes. Just like in humans, there are 2 types or diabetes in pets, which veterinarians typically refer to as insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent. One is caused when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, which is a hormone created by the pancreas that allows glucose (or sugars) to move from the blood stream into cells to create energy. With non-insulin dependent diabetes, the body is making enough insulin, but it can’t utilize the insulin efficiently. This can be caused by high body fat content, chronic cortisone administration, and/or certain hormones such as progesterone (produced during a pet’s heat period).
By Pets in Need 30 Oct, 2017

Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.

If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information.  Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.

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