Dental Care For Your Dog

Our furry little friends are likely to develop dental disease if their dental needs are ignored. Periodontal disease is not uncommon among dogs, particularly small dog breeds. And just like with humans, these problems can result in bad breath, yellowed teeth, and in the worst of cases, even progress to loss of teeth.

The development of such problems usually begins with such signs as swollen, red, and painful gums. Your pet may have less of an appetite as well. These signs indicate a need for immediate professional care.

Tooth decay and/or the loss of teeth usually indicate the presence of bacteria in the mouth. If left untreated the damage can progress from only involving the mouth to further damage that can include serious complications related to the kidneys, lungs, and heart, all of which can lead to a shortened lifespan. Periodontal problems usually start with the formation of plaque.

Plaque builds on the teeth and in thirty-six hours or less, plaque can harden and tartar can form. This problem usually develops first and the worst in the upper back teeth. Unfortunately, once tartar has formed, it cannot be brushed away.

The good news is that these problems can be avoided. Although healthy routines can be started with any dog at any age, it is always best to start healthy routines with a young puppy. If the dog is older you should insure that he has a professional dental cleaning and then begin the healthy dental routine at home.

If you have a regular routine of brushing your dog’s teeth on a daily basis you can avoid most of these problems. The routine should be established while the dog is young if at all possible. He will then accept the brushing as part of his regular care.

At first the dog will wonder what you are doing so it is best to allow him to taste the doggie toothpaste. These special pastes are formulated to be appealing to dogs. You can use your finger or a special dog toothbrush. Don’t forget to clean both the teeth and the gums. Begin in the back and work in small circular motions. The entire brushing process will take less than a minute.

Providing such things as chew treats, hard dog biscuits and bones, and even soft toys for your pet can help to prevent dental problems. Besides keeping the teeth strong and healthy many of the items are specially formulated to freshen the breath. Feeding crunchy food items on a regular basis is another way to keep your pet’s teeth healthier. Another tip is that while warming your dog’s food will often make it more appealing it is important to insure that the food is only slightly warm and never hot. On the flip side, dogs should not be served cold food.

Dental Care For Your Dog courtesy Dog Articles.

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The Top 5 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Dog Healthy

1.  Water.  You probably already know that dogs need fresh, clean water at all times.  All of us do.  But if you want to remove as many toxins as possible from your dog’s water and do everything possible to keep him healthy, think about using a water filter.  Tap water can contain many unhealthy chemicals such as lead and low levels of prescription medications.  A water filter or purifier can help remove as many toxins from the water as possible and make the water healthier for you and your dog.

2.  Food.  There are an amazing number of dog foods on the market today.  Unfortunately, many of them are not made from very healthy ingredients.  They may technically pass government standards but they can contain ingredients that you wouldn’t want your dog to eat.  You can choose healthier food for your dog by doing some research and learning to read dog food labels.  Look for foods that contain more meats than fillers.  Most of the better foods contain much less corn and other cereal products.  It’s not necessary to go completely grain-free but you should look for foods that have named meat sources, such as lamb, lamb meal, chicken, chicken meal, and so on.

You should also avoid foods that contain the preservative ethoxyquin.  This same ingredient is used in making tires.  It’s not something that you want your dog to eat.  Instead, look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, citric acid and rosemary.  These natural preservatives all have antioxidant properties and are healthier for your dog.

3.  Vet care.  Good vet care is, of course, important for your dog’s long term health.  This means flea control, heartworm prevention and receiving the necessary vaccinations.  However, all of these issues are the subject of some debate.  Flea control and heartworm prevention often involve using strong chemicals.  Some people feel that pets are being over-vaccinated.  You should familiarize yourself with these issues and discuss them with your veterinarian.  We are not advising you to leave off topical flea control or chewable monthly heartworm prevention.  Heartworms can kill dogs and flea infestation can make a dog’s life (and their human’s) miserable.  Vaccinations are necessary, at least at some intervals.  We are recommending that you do further reading and talk to your vet about what is necessary for the health of your dog.

4.  Exercise.  It’s very important that your dog gets the proper exercise.  As much as 40 percent of the dogs in the United States are considered to be overweight or obese.  This is often because owners overfeed them, give them too many treats and table scraps, and because the dogs don’t get enough exercise.  Taking your dog out for a daily walk is a good way to help your dog stay in shape.  Add a weekly run and your dog will be a much healthier dog.

5.  Spend time with your dog.  All of the other things you do for your dog’s health — providing him with good water, food, vet care and exercise — will be meaningless if you don’t spend time with your dog.  Enjoying your time together can do more than almost anything else to keep your dog healthy and happy.  Dogs have been shown to have a beneficial effect on human health.  The same is true of humans and dogs — we have a beneficial effect on their health.  Just petting a dog can improve the way he feels and acts.  Spend time with your dog and he will be a happier, healthier dog throughout his life.

The Top 5 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Dog Healthy courtesy Dog Articles.

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Do Dogs Need Vitamins?

There are literally thousands of different vitamin products for dogs sold in the U.S. each year, each of them claiming to be something that can make your dog healthier.  On the other hand, dog foods are sold as “complete and balanced,” and “nutritious.”  If the dog food we buy for our pets is so nutritious, do we really need to buy extra vitamins?

Dog food comes in all different kinds of quality.  Some dog food may be made from food that is not much above the level of road kill.  Other dog food is better quality than some of the food that people eat.  Some of these foods will have more nutritional content than others.

If you are feeding your dog a high quality food then it’s unlikely that you need to add vitamins or supplements unless your dog has a health issue of some kind that requires something that’s not normally found in dog food.

When you buy dog food in the United States you should look to see if if has a label that says it meets AAFCO nutritional standards or meets AAFCO testing standards.  AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials and they provide nutritional recommendations for dog food in the United States,  To obtain their label a dog food company must show, either through feeding trials or through nutritional data, that their food can provide a complete and balanced diet for a particular set of dogs for six months.  The formulation can be for puppies, for pregnant or lactating mother dogs, for adult dogs, and so on.  AAFCO provides the minimum guidelines that companies need to meet in order to obtain their label.  Many good companies far exceed these guidelines, but if they meet the AAFCO guidelines then you know that they have at least met the basic requirements.

A particular dog food may still be something that you wouldn’t want to feed your dog, but it technically meets the nutritional guidelines if it has the AAFCO label.

So, should you buy poor quality food and spend your money on vitamins?  That’s not really a good choice.  Should you buy gourmet food for your dog?  That’s not always the best choice either.  Price isn’t a guarantee that your dog is getting the best food.  There are many very expensive dog foods made from organic products which follow the latest fads, and which may be produced by very small companies, but they may be subject to food recalls.

Often the best food for your dog is a good quality food, with good ingredients, made by a well-known company that has a reputation for quality control.  It often pays to look for a company that does not have a history of having to recall its pet food products.  This may not be the most expensive dog food around but it’s probably a food that you and your dog can rely on.

Should you add vitamins to a good quality food?  If you are concerned about hip dysplasia or if your dog is elderly, then you may want to consider adding glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM to your dog’s diet.  Most dog foods do not contain these ingredients, or, if they do, only in very small amounts.  There is some evidence to suggest that they may help dogs with arthritis or hip problems.

Otherwise, most good dog foods are supposed to be properly balanced in terms of vitamins.  If you begin adding a lot of extra vitamins then you run the risk of throwing off your dog’s body chemistry.

However, if you are cooking for your dog or feeding a raw diet, then you will need to find a good mix of vitamins to add to your dog’s food to make sure that he’s getting all of the vitamins and minerals he needs.

But, for most dogs who eat a kibble or canned food diet, it’s really not necessary to add a lot of vitamins to the diet.

Do Dogs Need Vitamins courtesy Dog Articles.

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