July 21, 2008

 

Dog Breath

Tooth and gum problems are the most common medical condition I see in pets. Because bad breath in dogs and cats go hand in hand with other health problems it is best to treat this problem even if the breath is not objectionable to you.

Why does my pet have bad breath?
The most common cause of bad breath is tartar buildup surrounding the teeth. As in people, small particles off food remain in the mouth after eating. These particles decompose creating conditions where oral bacteria thrive. These bacterial grow to form plaque which is a combination of bacteria, mineral and decomposed food. Plaque and associated oral infections give the pet’s breath an objectionable odor. Plaque also clings to the base of teeth causing the gums to become inflamed and recede. Inflamed gums leak blood serum with combines with and increase the amount of plaque. This plaque or calculus is visible as a hard yellowish coating on the outer base of the teeth.

Remarkably, pets with this condition rarely eat less. Early in the disease, the plaque is no more than a thin b rownish or yellowish coating on the sides of the teeth. It is most noticeable on the outer (lateral) surface of the larger molar teeth – the side adjacent to the cheeks and lips. In severe cases the margins where teeth and gums meet become highly inflamed and bleed when they are touched.

For reasons we do not understand, these problems are most severe in toy and smaller breeds of dogs and in purebred cats. Maltese have the highest rate of tooth and gum disease of all breeds.

This buildup of calculus causes the gum margins to recedes past the tooth enamel exposing the softer dentine material that covers the tooth roots. Dentine is much more porous and rougher than enamel and so holds infection in place. Once dentine is exposed periodic tooth care must be done more frequently and the teeth are eventually lost. This is why successful tooth care and good dental hygiene needs to begin early before these processes are advanced. Another great, non-evasive remedy, is giving the dog plenty of chewable dog treats, like lamb ears.  The constant chewing action helps to remove the tarter and plaque that builds up on the dog’s teeth.


Chewing and Digging

Author: gibbywmu
July 19, 2008

Digging

It is natural for puppies to explore their environment, however, their natural curiosity often leads to frustration on your part when they chew your favorite slippers or dig up your flower bed. While you may be tempted to punish your naughty pup, reinforcing good behavior is much more effective and will keep you and your dog happier.

Chewing
Destructive chewing may be related to anxiety. It is important to train your dog to lie on its bed or in a crate, rather than constantly at your side. Teaching your dog that he or she cannot always receive attention on demand may lessen anxiety. For dogs with separation anxiety, begin with short departures and then gradually increase the length of your time away to lessen their anxiety.

Chew treats are a great way to keep your puppy busy as well as relieve pain associated with teething. Present your puppy with a variety of treats, like lamb ears, to determine which types he likes best, but never give your dog chew toys that resemble household items that you do not want him to chew, i.e. a toy shaped like a shoe. Rotate different treats to keep your puppy’s interest and reward your puppy with praise when he chews on them.

Digging
There are many reasons why dogs dig: to cool off, search for rodents, bury and recover bones or other toys, escape confinement or just for fun. Dogs may be more prone to dig when they are left alone without another diversion. To keep your dog stimulated and occupied, provide him with chew toys and increase play and exercise time to tire him out. You may also consider getting a second dog.

You can discourage digging by changing the groundcover (replace dirt with rocks or concrete) or use remote punishment (turn on a sprinkler or toss a tin can filled with pebbles next to your pet to startle him). If your dog continues to dig, you may want to provide a digging area for him to reinforce appropriate digging.


Puppy House Training Tips

Author: gibbywmu
June 19, 2008

puppy training

 by Sallie McConnell

House training a puppy is very important for the well being of both the puppy and the owner. The number one reason that dogs are surrender to animal shelters is problems with inappropriate elimination, so it is easy to see why proper house training is such an important consideration.
It is important to establish proper toilet habits when the puppy is young, since these habits can last a lifetime, and be very hard to break once they are established. It is very important for the owner to house break the puppy properly. In most cases, true house training cannot begin until the puppy is six months old. Puppies younger than this generally lack the bowel and bladder control that is needed for true house training.
Puppies younger than six months should be confined to a small, puppy proofed room when the owner cannot supervise them. The entire floor of the room should be covered with newspapers or similar absorbent materials, and the paper changed every time it is soiled. As the puppy gets older, the amount of paper used can be reduced as the puppy begins to establish a preferred toilet area. It is this preferred toilet area that will form the basis of later house training.

The Do’s of House Training Your Puppy:
1.  Always provide the puppy with constant, unrestricted access to the established toilet area.
2.  When you are at home, take the puppy to the toilet area every 45 minutes.
3.  When you are not at home or cannot supervise the puppy, you must be sure the puppy cannot make a mistake. This means confining the puppy to a small area that has been thoroughly puppy proofed. Puppy proofing a room is very similar to baby proofing a room, since puppies chew on everything.
4.  Always provide a toilet area that does not resemble anything in your home. Training the puppy to eliminate on concrete, blacktop, grass or dirt is a good idea. The puppy should never be encouraged to eliminate on anything that resembles the hardwood flooring, tile or carpet he may encounter in a home.
5.  Praise and reward your puppy every time he eliminates in the established toilet area. The puppy must learn to associate toileting in the established areas with good things, like dog treats (such as lamb ears), toys and praise from his owner.
6.  Always keep a set schedule when feeding your puppy, and provide constant access to fresh, clean drinking water. A consistent feeding schedule equals a consistent toilet schedule.
7. Using a crate can be a big help in helping a puppy develop self control. The concept behind crate training is that the puppy will not want to toilet in his bed area.
8. And finally, it is important to be patient when house training a puppy. House training can take as long as several months, but it is much easier to house train right the first time than to retrain a problem dog.

The Don’ts of House Training Your Puppy:
1.  Never reprimand or punish the puppy for mistakes. Punishing the puppy will only cause fear and confusion.
2.  Do not leave food out for the puppy all night long. Keep to a set feeding schedule in order to make the dog’s toilet schedule as consistent as possible.
3.  Do not give the puppy the run of the house until he has been thoroughly house trained.

House training is not always the easiest thing to do, and some dogs tend to be much easier to house train than others. It is important, however to be patient, consistent and loving as you train your dog. A rushed, frightened or intimidated dog will not be able to learn the important lessons of house training. Once you have gained your puppy’s love and respect, however, you will find that house training your puppy is easier than you ever expected.