Saving Your Furry Family. Be prepared!

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Hurricane season started on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes, including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5) is expected.

According to the National Weather Service, hurricane preparedness starts now, when you have the time and are not under pressure from an approaching storm. This is also applicable for your animals (small and large). Your pets are an important member of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan.

For all your animals, there are three basic points to consider:

  1. Prepare a disaster plan.
  2. Build an emergency kit.
  3. Stay informed.

Here, we will cover only these points to prepare your companion animals/pets for an emergency. However, keep in mind that many of these steps are also applicable in any emergency.

  • Develop an evacuation plan for all your animals and practice the plan. If local officials asked you to evacuate, that means your pet should evacuate too.
      • Identify alternate sources of food and water b. Keep vehicles well maintained and full of gas.
      • Keep emergency cash on hand.
      • Keep identification on your pets including rabies and license tags. Identification should provide your name, home address, and/or phone number(s) i.e., collar tags, microchips, tattoo.
      • Make photocopies of important veterinary documents and proof of ownership.
      • Assemble an animal evacuation kit.
      • Prepare your emergency contact list now, before disaster strikes. Include addresses and 24-hour contact numbers, if available.
  • Just as you do with your family’s emergency supply kit, think first about the basics for survival, such as food and water. Have two kits, one larger kit if you are sheltering in place and one lightweight version for if you need to evacuate. Assemble the kit in easy-to-carry, waterproof containers. Store it in an easily accessible location away from areas with temperature extremes. Replace the food, water, and medications as often as needed. Consider the following to include in your kit:
      • Two-week supply of food (dry & canned). Spoon (for canned food)
      • Two-week supply of water in plastic gallon jugs with secure lids
      • Batteries (flashlight, radio)
      • Cage/carrier (one for each animal, labeled with your contact information)
      • Can opener (manual)
      • Copies of veterinary records and proof of ownership
      • Emergency contact list
      • Familiar items to make pets feel comfortable (favorite toys, treats, blankets)
      • Flashlight
      • Diet: record the diet for each individual animal, including what not to feed in case of allergies.
      • Medications: list each animal separately, and for each medication include the drug name, dose, and frequency. Provide veterinary and pharmacy contact information for refills.
      • Leash and collar or harness (for each animal)
      • Litter, litter pan, litter scoop
      • Maps of local area and alternate evacuation routes
      • Muzzles (dog or cat)
      • Newspaper (bedding, litter)
      • No-spill food and water dishes
      • Paper towels
      • Radio (solar and battery operated)
      • Stakes and tie-outs
      • Trash bags
      • Pet shampoo
  • A first-aid kit for your pets is also important to prepare. Talk to your veterinarian about what is most appropriate for your pet’s emergency medical needs. The list below is not comprehensive and serves as an example.

        • Anti-diarrheal liquid or tablets
        • Antibiotic ointment (for wounds)
        • Bandages, bandage tape
        • Disinfectant
        • Cotton bandage rolls
        • Cotton-tipped swabs
        • Elastic bandage rolls
        • Flea and tick prevention and treatment
        • Gauze
        • Alcohol
        • Saline or mild wound and body cleanser
        • Medications and preventatives (such as heartworm prevention)
        • Non-adherent bandage pads
        • Styptic powder (clotting agent)
        • Syringe or eyedropper
        • Thermometer
        • Towel and washcloth
  • Stay informed and be prepared for changing conditions. Plan with neighbors, friends, or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Lastly, keep in mind that the Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.


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The Elephant in the Room (Part 2)

As we discussed in part 1 of this blog, the main medical concern of obesity relates to the many disease associations that accompany this condition. Obesity prevention in pets is very important because excessive fat accumulation in the body can lead to serious health consequences. There is a need to increase awareness of companion animal obesity as a severe medical concern within pet parents and the veterinary profession.

In the past, adipose tissue (fat) was considered an inert tissue; however, now we know that fat is an active producer of hormones, such as leptin and resistin, and many inflammatory cytokines that can harm different organs including, but not limited to pancreas and heart.

To control and reduce our four-legged companion’s body weight, pet parents must approach their pet obesity in a multimodal manner. The main therapeutic options for obesity in companion animals include dietary management and increased physical activity. A weight-loss program is a team effort and getting everyone in the family to understand its importance is critical in producing successful results.

There are several steps that you can take to assist your pet’s weight loss program. The following list includes a plan to help your furry friend shed some pounds. Remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach to pet weight loss. And as with humans, a weight loss plan should be tailored to each pet and owner.

  1. Your pet’ weight loss plan should be a team effort. Involve every member of the family and explain the risks of obesity in your four-legged family member
  2. Start by consistently measure feeding amounts. Even if your feeding the right amount for your pet, if he/she is overweight or obese, you may need to reduce his/her daily portion. Also, if you provide treats, these should be accounted in the daily ration. Total calorie intake is a good way of determining how much you should feed your pet. That way, regardless of the type, brand, or formulation of food you feed, you can determine how much to feed. Healthy nutrition is about feeding your pet proper nutrients, not ingredients
  3. Develop a regular exercise plan for your furry baby based on his/her breed, age, gender, and current physical abilities. Walking, swimming, agility, chase, ball retrieving, and remote-controlled toys are good alternatives. The general recommendation is that dogs need at least 30-minutes of physical activity a day and cats should strive for three 5-minute intense play periods. If you are unable to maintain this routine, consider hiring a pet walking service or taking your furry baby to a pet day care so he/she can interact with other pets
  4. So how much weight should your pet loss in a period? It is usually better to set a monthly weight loss goal. In general terms, a dog can safely lose 1 to 3-percent of its body weight and cats 0.5 to 2-percent per month. Many dogs can lose 3 to 5-percent and most cats should aim for about a half-pound per month.
  5. A word of caution: Be patient! Losing weight is not easy or fast for pets, especially cats. If you put your pet on a “crash diet,” they can develop serious medical conditions, including a life-threatening form of liver failure that can occur in less than 72 hours.

If you think that your furry baby is obese, a visit to your veterinarian maybe needed to perform a complete nutritional assessment. As with any weight loss plan, it is important to have a healthy weight target that eventually will lead to improved quality of life, mobility, activity, and comfort. The result might not be immediate but hang in there your pet will thank you and both of you will benefit with many healthy years of happy companionship

The Elephant in the Room (Part 1)

No, I am not referring to politics or religion or even to the coronavirus pandemic. What I am referring to has sneaked into our living rooms, homes and lives and it is affecting humans as well as companion animals…and ‘elephant’ is called obesity.

Obesity is defined as an accumulation of excessive amounts of adipose tissue in the body and is the most common nutritional disorder in humans and companion animals. According to the World Health Organization, in humans, obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 with 39% of adults aged 18 years and over overweight and 13% obese. In pets, at least 33% of dogs presented to veterinary clinics are obese and approximately 30-35% of the cat general feline population is obese, with 50% of cats aged 5-11 years old weighing in higher than their ideal weight.

Obesity is not just the accumulation of large amounts of adipose tissue but is associated with important metabolic and hormonal changes in the body. Few diseases in modern veterinary medicine are diet induced with one possible exception, obesity. The cause of obesity is multifactorial with genetics, physical activity, and diet energy content as predisposing factors. There are numerous concerns regarding obesity, the first one is that it seems to be increasing in prevalence.  Furthermore, excess body fat has adverse metabolic consequences, including insulin resistance, altered hormonal secretion, changes in metabolic rate, abnormal lipid metabolism, and fat accumulation in visceral organs. Numerous studies demonstrated that obesity could have detrimental effects on the health and longevity of dogs and cats. Like obese pet parents, obese companion animals may be predisposed to other serious conditions including orthopedic disease, diabetes mellitus, abnormalities in blood lipid values, cardiorespiratory disease, urinary disorders, reproductive disorders, reproductive and renal cancers. A lifelong study in dogs showed that even moderately overweight dogs were at greater risk for earlier mortality. Likewise, obese cats face increased health risks including arthritis, diabetes mellitus, fatty liver disease, and early mortality. The risk for development of diabetes increases in overweight cats and is about four-fold in obese cats.

Controlling our pet’s weight is one of the two (we discussed the other in this blog) most important thing we can do to help them live longer and healthier lives.


The bottom line: in order to have longer and healthier lives, we must modify our behavior to help our loyal, four-legged companions have a happier life. There are many ways to reach these goals, we will discuss these options in our next blog.





The Hidden Dangers of Summer

Summertime is one of the busiest times of the year filled with long road trips, beach days and all sorts of outdoor activities. However even a short excursion can become a dreadful incident if some precautions are not taking into consideration…

Heatstroke also refer as heat exhaustion in pets is a form of hyperthermia that occurs when heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive heat. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition characterized by an elevated core body temperature and the associated systemic inflammation that can potentially lead to multi-organ dysfunction. Any hot environment can cause heatstroke in dogs; however, it can also occur under other conditions, which could include being outdoors without adequate shade and water, confinement in a poorly ventilated area, strenuous exercise, and/or being left in a vehicle even on a relatively cool day as temperatures inside vehicles can increase rapidly regardless of the outside temperature. Heatstroke can affect all dog breed of any age but, long-haired and brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, Bulldogs and other flat-faced breeds) are more susceptible. Other predisposing characteristics include age (young puppies or geriatric dogs), obesity, pre-existing diseases and physical condition.

Elevated environmental temperature and humidity create the perfect combination to induce heat exhaustion even in dogs who enjoy constant exercise and playtime, like working dogs such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds.  Always monitor carefully for symptoms of heatstroke during hot and humid days. Watch your dog closely and avoid vigorous exercise on hot humid days.

Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat but eliminate heat by panting instead. Dogs have some sweat glands in the footpads, which help with heat dissipation, but only minimally. When panting is not enough, a dog’s body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly. Signs of heat stroke are excessive panting, signs of discomfort, unable or unwilling to move around, red mucous membranes, hypersalivation, rapid heart rate, dry nose, vomiting, diarrhea muscle tremors, seizures, ataxia (impaired coordination), coma and death.

If you suspect heatstroke, stop all activity and walk or carry your dog to a cool, shaded area with good air circulation.  It is essential to remove the dog from the hot environment immediately.  Let your dog drink as much cool water as he wants without forcing him to drink. If you have access to a rectal thermometer, you should take your dog’s temperature.  A dog’s normal body temperature is 98.5 to 102.5 F, and heatstroke is classically defined as a core body temperature above 105.8 F. If the temperature is higher than 105 F, using cool, not cold, water; sponge or hose your dog’s entire body, especially the underside, use of a fan is also helpful.  After a few minutes retake the temperature and repeat this procedure until the temperature is reduced to 103 F.  If the dog is unconscious, place a towel on his back and continue to soak the towel and your dog in cold water. Do NOT submerge your dog’s head in the water. Keep the head elevated to prevent aspiration pneumonia. If the symptoms do not improve quickly and you are unable to take your dog’s temperature take your dog to your veterinarian immediately. On the way to the veterinarian, travel with the windows open and the air conditioner on. It is important to remember that heatstroke in dogs can cause undetected problems, such as swelling of the brain, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding and abnormal blood clotting.

Heatstroke is also a serious problem in other companion animals including cats, even though it does not happen as often as with dogs. Cats are susceptible and more likely to get heatstroke in the following situations: becoming trapped in a clothes dryer, getting trapped in a shed or other structure during a hot period, confinement without ready access to water and shade or a cat left in a hot car for a prolonged period of time. Treating a cat with heatstroke is slightly different from the treatment in dogs: move your cat into a safe, shady, or air-conditioned environment, put a cool, wet towel or blanket underneath them. If they are alert enough and able to drink water, offer small amounts frequently. You can add some tuna water or chicken broth to the water to encourage them to drink. Avoid the following: forcing your cat to drink water or pouring water into their mouth, cooling its body with ice or extremely cold water, submerging him in water. Do NOT cool off your cat too fast or skip the trip to the vet. Temperatures can spike again, and there may be damage to internal organs. Unfortunately, cats can be exceptionally good at hiding health problems. If you notice your cat exhibiting any of the symptoms described in dogs and/or sweaty feet, disorientation, restlessness, lethargy and rectal temperature above 105º F bring your cat immediately for veterinary evaluation and care.

Heatstroke in dogs and cats can be prevented by taking caution not to expose them to hot and humid conditions. While traveling in cars, make sure that dogs are kept in dog crates that offer good ventilation, or use a dog seat belt, and never leave your dog or cat in a car with the windows closed, even if the car is parked in the shade. When outdoors, always make sure your dog and cat are in a well-ventilated area with access to plenty of water and shady spots. Have a happy summer!!




Beauty Really Is Skin Deep

Diagram of skin section

The adage “Beauty is only skin deep” may not be completely true. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that is absolutely accurate when pet owners look at their furry darlings and find them totally beautiful! However, even in the most wonderful furry baby, (and for that matter in humans too), dull skin is a major indication of a more severe condition. Skin, the largest organ in surface and weight, has particularly important functions including protection from mechanical, physical, and chemical agents. It also regulates several aspects of the body physiology such as temperature and fluid balance. Lastly, skin contains an extensive network of nerve cells or receptors that detect and transmit changes in the environment including receptors for heat, cold, touch, and pain. So, while people are constantly reminded of how important it is to “take care of their skin” our pet companions sometimes can be neglected in that department.

Healthy skin starts with good nutrition. A dog’s/cat’s skin and coat require vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients. A low-quality diet can leave their coat looking dry, cause dandruff and make the pet prone to skin infections. As with other health conditions, prevention is the best policy. Regularly brushing your furry babies prevents skin infections because it helps remove allergens and helps condition their skin. Start by petting your baby, next carefully inspect the skin taking notice of any lumps, bumps, cuts, scabs, or scaly skin. Regular bathing is also as important to maintain a healthy coat. If you are like most of us and tend to delay your furry baby’s bath because it is a struggle, make a habit of taking your doggy/kitty to a professional groomer. However, if you are a DIY-kind of person make sure that you use best quality dog/cat shampoos, conditioners and brushes specifically made for your pet’s breed and coat type.

Pet skin can also be affected by seasonal changes. In winter, pets are prone to dry skin and in summer hot spots and flea infestation/allergy are a big problem. Skin conditions present with obvious symptoms such as: itching, redness, irritation, dry, flaky skin, bald patches and swelling. Fleas, as well as ticks and other ectoparasites, can cause significant blood loss or anemia if left untreated. Thanks to advances in research in veterinary medicine, there are plenty of products to help prevent, control, and treat flea and tick infestations.

Other skin conditions that can affect your furry companion:

  • Pets can be allergic to several things in their environment, from food to shampoo to grass and weeds, to pollens, molds, and house dust
  • Picture of ringworm in a nose from a dog

    Yeast and fungal infections. For example, ringworm causes hair loss, scaling, and inflamed skin. Yeast often affects the ears, paws, and folds. Ringworm is contagious so avoid direct contact with the affected skin and wash your hands thoroughly.

  • Abrasions and cuts. These can become a major problem if not treated.
  • Picture of a hot spot in a dog

    Hot spots. These are caused by excessive licking, biting, or scratching one part of their body. Hot spots can have a foul odor as well as a discharge.

  • Lick granulomas. Are chronic self-inflicted sores caused by excessively licking an area of skin. These can be related to allergies, or a result of parasites, tumors, or other infectious causes. Anxiety resulting from separation, boredom, lack of socialization, and stress can also cause this disorder.
  • Other conditions including bacterial infections and cancer.

Skin conditions can be frustrating for you and painful for your pet. If you are faced or suspect your furry friend is affected by any of the above, consult your veterinarian immediately.

When dealing with skin, remember that with preventative care and quick effective measures, you can ensure your best friend always stays comfortable in his own beautiful skin.


Common Pet Poisons

Common household products, plants, and some natural products, can be poisonous for pets when consumed accidentally or given to the wrong pet, wrong medication or wrong dose. The following list is not comprehensive. To read more about the subject go to


Human foods and household items

Pets are not “mini people.” Animals react to substances in food and medicines differently from people. Most pets are much smaller than people, so what may seem like a harmless amount of a food or drug can make them ill

Several common ingredients in human food can be toxic to pets. These are some of them:

  • Avocados
  • Grapes and raisins (kidney damage in dogs, cats, and ferrets)
  • Baker’s chocolate and cocoa powder are the most dangerous because they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity. increased heart rate, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, and seizures
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions, garlic, and chives
  • Xylitol, a common sugar-free sweetener can lower the blood sugar in the body and cause life-threatening liver failure
  • Yeast dough
  • Coffee, caffeinated drinks and alcohol
  • Insecticides, cleaning products, fire logs, paints. Read the warning labels on these products and store as directed.

Plants, lawn and garden products

Plants: Many common plants found in flower beds, vegetable gardens, and indoor planters and arrangements can be toxic to pets. Tomatoes, lilies, azalea, cyclamen, daffodils, dieffenbachia, and hyacinth are examples of common ornamentals that can be toxic.

Pest poisons/rodenticides

Poisons meant to kill rodents, insects, or weeds are very common causes of poisoning in pets. Store any poisons around your home in a secured placed away from children and pets.

Garden products

Cocoa mulch, fertilizers, and compost piles are also unsafe for pets. Keep your pet out of areas treated with toxic products. Compost piles can grow bacteria and fungi that are highly toxic to pets, so if you have a compost pile, make sure your pet cannot get into it

Over-the counter medications/Human prescription medications

Many common over-the-counter drugs can be extremely toxic to pets. Never give your pet a medicine meant for people unless you’ve been told to by a veterinary professional.

Natural products are marketed toward humans as well as pets. However, natural products may be dangerous in overdose situations. Although many natural products are very safe others can be deadly after ingestion. The most dangerous ingestions include 5-HTP, alpha lipoic acid, hops and cholecalciferol. These products can cause life-threatening signs if timely treatment is not sought.

Essential oils are very popular in human and veterinary products. In general, they are very safe but if applied to wounds and abraded skin or in the ear can cause problems. Toxicity is dose-dependent.

Garage chemicals

Any chemical in your garage can be dangerous to pets. Antifreeze is very dangerous because of its sweet taste and severe irreversible renal damage can be deadly. Store all chemicals out of the reach of your pet and carefully clean any spills.

In an Emergency…

If your pet does eat something he or she shouldn’t, time is critical. Call your veterinarian or an animal poison hotline immediately.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s hotline number is 888-426-4435.

The Pet Poison Helpline number is 855-764-7661.





Congratulations on Your New Furry Bundle of Joy!

Well, you finally made the decision…whether this is your first puppy, or you had this experience before, this is an exciting time!! For the next few days, you will experience a wide range of feelings from “This’s the best decision of my life” to “OMG what have I done!” In other words you might feel that you entered the Twilight Zone…but just like bringing home your new born baby for the first time, this will be the beginning of many years of fun and love and licks that will fill your home with great memories of happiness and companionship!!

To avoid stress and disappointment, the best thing you can do is to get prepared. There are a few things that a puppy will need so get them in advance. Also, “puppy-proof’ your home. Puppies are curious and playful so just like their human counterparts they can get ‘in trouble” easily.

The following list will give you an idea of some of the most basic things your puppy will need when he gets home:

  • an appropriately sized crate,
  • a playpen,
  • dog chew toys,
  • a leash and a harness,
  • a food bowl, a water bowl,
  • good-quality puppy food and
  • finally an enzyme cleaner (even the best-trained puppy will have an accident at some point).

This bring us to the first important point: puppies do not have good bladder control yet, and excitement can make them need to pee or poop. As a rule of thumb, take your puppy out to potty after 15 to 20 minutes of play, after every meal. This should be the first thing you do with her in the morning and the last thing you do with her before going to bed. Praise and give her a treat when she goes. In the event of an “accident” make sure to clean it up within seconds, when possible.

The second point is feeding. Mealtime is a good time for bonding, and to get your puppy on a schedule that makes it easier for you to house-train her. If you want to change her food and avoid “tummy troubles” mix the food the breeder/shelter has been giving her with the new puppy food gradually for a period of one week to 10 days until you change it over completely. A regular mealtime as well as measuring her food helps prevent obesity and ensures that your puppy is receiving and consuming adequate food portions. Consider giving her pieces of kibble from your hand, this will help your puppy to develop a soft mouth, so she will not nip or bite when she takes things from your hands. Healthy treats should be reserved for training and to reward her for good “manners”. Jumping up, barking, or doing anything else you do not like should not be rewarded.

The third important point for you puppy’s life is bedtime. For the first few nights it might be a good idea to let your puppy sleep in your room (not in your bed). Take your puppy out for one last pee and then put him in his crate with a treat and his towel/blanket (make sure to provide a comfy blanket or towel that is always available at bedtime). Tell him good night and go to bed. Do not respond to any barking or whining. He will soon settle down, and your scent and the sound of your breathing will help to calm him. However, depending on his age, he might need another potty outing before morning but do not make the mistake of making this a playtime. You will regret it!

The fourth crucial event for your puppy is playing. As a rule, it is good to start with a variety of toys. It will take some trial and error to figure out what your new puppy likes best. This is a great time to start teaching her that it is okay for you to touch her paws, look inside or sniff her ears, rub her belly, touch her tail and groom her with a soft brush. Observe your puppy for a couple of days to have an idea what kind of toys will fit her personality. Most puppies like to chew so make sure you have plenty of dog toys for her to chew instead of your personal belongings and always offer a toy when you catch her chewing on something else. For curious puppies, we recommend puzzles that can be filled with food or treats and will keep your puppy entertain trying to figure out how to get at them. Remember it is important to supervise your puppy while she chews on toys or treats to avoid accidents.

Learning starts early. That is the next point. Depending on his breed and the breeder, your pup is between 7 and 12 weeks. This is a critical learning period that will last until he is about 16 weeks old, so make the most of this rapid learning stage. The goal is for him to have lots of positive experiences with friendly people, children, other dogs, and cats. During this time, your puppy should meet many different people, not just the same family members or friends. To get the numbers up, take your puppy for walks to different places, take him to short car rides and to do errands where you can introduce him to different people. Meeting new people and having lots of different experiences are important to help him cope and adapt to different situations. During these outings, take him to see his veterinarian for a short visit so he gets used to these visits. There are a few things your puppy should learn at this point: Meeting people is great; No teeth on people ever; No jumping up on people; Always potty outside.

These first few weeks at home can be a good time to start training him on easy commands such as sit, down, come, high-five, roll over and more complicated behavior such as walking with a leash. Get him accustomed to wearing it by letting him wear it in the house prior to going outside for walks. You also may want to check  on a good puppy kindergarten class. By the time he has had two sets of vaccinations, he will be ready to start school but check with your veterinarian first.

Finally, remember to have fun and make these experiences rewarding for you and your puppy. Your life has changed because it will be filled with love, joy, and a loyal friend forever?




All you need to know…

National Pet Dental Health Month

Teeth and gums should be free of tart, pink and healthy looking

February is Pet Dental Health Month, so it’s time to think teeth. Dental disease is the most common major health conditions in cats and dogs and according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will develop some form of oral disease by the age of three.

Beginning of dental disease
Severe tart buildup and gingivitis

Pets suffer from oral problems so effective dental care is critical

There are a few tips to help prevent serious dental diseases in pets including brushing regularly. By not brushing your pet’s teeth, formations of bacteria, food particles, and saliva combine and collect between the gums and teeth, which progresses into tartar buildup. Over time this can develop into periodontal disease, a common disease affecting adult dogs and cats, but it is also a very preventable disease. Periodontal disease requires that the pet parent/owner is actively involved in maintaining healthy gums and teeth. Signs of dental disease include: bad breath,  gingivitis (redness of gums), tart buildup, fractured teeth, and traumatic malocclusions.  Other severe consequences of periodontal disease are endocarditis (inflammation of the heart lining) and cardiomyopathy (heart conditions). Which takes us to why prevention is so very important.

To brush pet’s teeth, you will need a (soft) toothbrush and a toothpaste formulated for pets. You must use a pet tooth paste as the human toothpastes have a high fluoride content which can be toxic to cats and dogs. In cats, brushing can be difficult so rubbing the cheeks for about 10-20 seconds each day appears to be helpful in preventing tartar buildup and stimulates the gums in between professional dental cleaning. In addition to brushing, providing adequate nutrition and chewable treats and toys are also helpful. There are several excellent dental chews and specially formulated diets which can provide significant improvements to your pet’s oral health. However, maintenance of oral hygiene alone is not enough. Regular professional dental therapy. is a must. Like humans, many pets, particularly middle-aged and older cats and dogs, require periodic professional scaling addition to on-going plaque control.