Small Dogs Need Diets Made Just For Them!
We all know the old adage – you are what you eat. This philosophy applies to the furry
members of our families as well. Personalized healthcare has the ability to go beyond the exam room and into every meal, with ingredients tailored towards optimal health for dogs of every size. Small dogs are predisposed to different diseases than their giant breed counterparts – for example they are more likely to suffer from urinary tract infections and dental disease. Not only are these diseases painful for your pet, but they can be costly to treat; dental disease requires surgical intervention and can lead to whole body infection if left untreated. But why treat these diseases when they can be prevented through diet?! A number of veterinary pet food lines such as Royal Canin and Hills offer preventative foods that work to reduce the likelihood of these diseases developing. Below are some of the benefits of feeding a diet specific to your small dog’s needs:
Dental Benefits: Hills and Royal Canin both offer dental specific food that have ingredients that actively prevent plaque – which is a film of bacteria that naturally builds up on teeth over time – from calcifying into disease causing tartar. Even kibble size is designed to maximize these dental benefits for your pet.
S/O Index: Royal Canin also formulates their small breed diets with s/o index – a fancy way of saying these diets prevent the accumulation of struvite or oxalate crystals from forming in the urinary tract of your pets and causing painful infections.
Come in and talk to a Guelph Animal Hospital team member today – we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have!
Demystifying Dental Disease in Cats
As an owner of three amazing cats, their dental health is important to me as I have learned of the risks associated with it. Dental disease in cats is one of the most common conditions seen by our veterinarians. It includes periodontal disease, gingivitis, and resorptive lesions that can lead to other conditions such as heart or kidney disease.
Dental problems can be below the gum line where they are not seen even in exam, the full extent of the disease is not clear until the cat can have x-rays and undergo dental surgery. (Rachel explained to us earlier in the month why we perform dentals under anesthetic.) Bacterial plaque builds up first and if not removed becomes tartar which leads to infection and gingivitis. If left untreated, it can lead to irreversible periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is when the bone and ligaments that support a tooth are destroyed resulting in the loss of teeth. It can also cause infection around the tooth socket which can become a painful abscess.
Cats also commonly suffer from ‘resorptive lesions’, which are the gradual destruction of enamel leading to “holes” in the affected teeth. Once the sensitive part of the tooth is exposed, they can be intensely painful. The only method of treatment is extraction.
If your cat is experiencing dental disease you may notice physiological signs as well as changes in their behaviour. Common signs of dental disease include:
- strong smelling breath with bad odour
- red and/or swollen gums
- tartar build up on teeth
- difficulty chewing, dropping kibbles or swallowing whole, food refusal or reluctance to eat
- pawing at mouth or shaking head
- weight loss
- grumpy or decreased sociability
A home dental care plan is important but cats should have their teeth regularly examined by a veterinarian. Because teeth can have such an impact on the health of your cat and the function of their internal organs, yearly exams are highly recommended with regular bloodwork to check their organ function. Pets, especially cats, often manage their pain in silence. If you suspect your cat may have dental disease, call and schedule an exam, catching it early is key.
Taking The Mystery Out Of Dental Surgery
We see a lot of patients come in with dental disease; statistics show that approximately 85% of pets over one year of age have some form of dental disease. (Verhaert Wetter 2004, Kyllar Wiiter 2005)
There are places out there that offer Anesthetic Free Dentals – we do not recommend this, and I will tell you why! The last thing we would want is a pet that is head shy; doing dentals while a pet is awake can be dangerous. I was once told – no self-respecting animal is going to sit still while we put sharp instruments in their mouths – One quick movement of the pets head can cause cuts, scratches, pain and ultimately a pet who doesn’t want you to look in its mouth!
The other down side of anesthetic free dentals is that you are only cleaning 50% of the teeth! Sure the outside of the teeth that we can see look clean but what about the other side? When under anesthetic we are able to probe around each individual tooth and assess to make sure there are no issues hiding.
Dental disease is painful! Dogs and cats are just so stoic, it is their natural instinct not to show discomfort. We have to remember this and remember that lifting those lips to assess oral health is vital for our pets!
Still unsure if your pet should have a dental? Ask our team at your pets next exam to assess the overall oral health.
Dirty Teeth? Smelly Breath? Try These!
We all know how important it is to take care of our teeth, and the same principles apply to our pets’ teeth as well. It would be so easy if our pets could brush and floss their own teeth but the responsibility falls upon their loving owners. Many options are available to help ensure your pet’s mouth is clean and fresh, here are some easy to use products:
Virbac CET Chews for cats and dogs are treated with an enzyme which helps to break down and prevent plaque on their teeth, and they taste great! When used as part of a daily dental routine they can help reduce signs of dental disease. $11.22-$32.28
The Toothcleaner toy from Hunter is a fun and easy way to clean your dog’s teeth while they play! The rubber nubs and small spaces brush your dog’s teeth as they chew, providing a mechanical plaque removal system. $13-$15
Medi-Cal Medi-Chews are a great tasting chew for dogs that provides mechanical and enzymatic tartar control. They also have anti-bacterial green tea extracts which help promote nice breath! $8.02-$12.00
The best way to help prevent dental disease is to brush your pet’s teeth daily (just like our own!). CET makes a variety of yummy toothpaste flavours and different types of toothbrushes to ensure that you can find the one that makes brushing time as easy as possible. $4.76-$8.86
All of these items are available in the Guelph Animal Hospital boutique, come and speak with a staff member about which one would be best for your pet!
Sara – Boutique Specialist