How Oral Health Affects Your Dog’s Overall Health
How Oral Health Affects Your Dog’s Overall Health

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How Oral Health Affects Your Dog’s Overall Health

Oral care is a key component of your pet’s overall health: A smart regimen can help prevent the development of serious conditions. Keeping your pet’s teeth clean and bacteria-free results in more than just healthy teeth and fresh breath. With a little know-how and effort, you can protect your pet for a lifetime of companionship.

 

 

Practice the 3Ds

Tartar and gingivitis are the most common problems seen by veterinarians. The majority of dogs will develop these problems. Unchecked, these can lead to periodontitis and serious health concerns for your pet, up to and including, tooth loss and serious illness. But you can take action to control this and promote good oral health by incorporating the 3Ds: Daily Brushing, Dentistry. and Diet.

 

 

Daily Brushing

Daily brushing of your pet’s teeth will remove plaque and slow the development of tartar. When first beginning to brush, be gradual and make it a pleasant experience. Start by using your finger. Later, introduce a toothbrush. Be sure to praise and reassure your pet while brushing. Also, reward your pet afterward with play or a walk.

 

 

Dentistry

Talk with your veterinarian about annual or semiannual teeth cleaning—a dental prophylaxis or prophy for short. Teeth cleaning, performed by your veterinarian, is the only way to remove tartar.

 

 

Diet

Diet is important to good oral health. The mechanical, brushing action of dry, crunchy kibbles helps remove plaque and works to scrub teeth clean. Some diets also might include ingredients such as hexametaphosphate (HMP) that can help block tartar formation. Diet, daily brushing, and dentistry helps break the plaque-to- tartar cycle and optimize oral health.

  • Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On
    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

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    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active

    It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health

    At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite

    Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines

    Continue to use preventive medicines.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Dental Health

    Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Exercise

    Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Diet

    Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.

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