We love our pets! But how do we keep them healthy? I’m going to fill you in on the most common issues pet owners face, and give you advice to avoid those pitfalls! Here are the top issues that come up for my furry patients:
1. Weight gain
Obesity in animals is becoming more common and can really affect their overall health. Annual examinations with your veterinarian will help you keep an eye on weight gain trends and intervene early to reduce food intake and increase activity to maintain that healthy weight! Also, it’s a good idea to avoid lots of treats or dinner table scraps because those calories add up fast for our little friends. It is much easier to maintain weight than to lose it.
2. Ear infections
Wowza, I see a lot of ear infections. Many breeds are predisposed to ear infections (due to allergies, narrow ear canals, or excessive ear hair) and many dogs are susceptible to ear infections due to their lifestyle (outside in the rain for walks, swimming, etc.). For my patients who are predisposed, susceptible, or dealing with frequent infections I recommend a maintenance ear cleaner. These ear cleaners can be used once weekly or as needed to try to keep the ear canals healthy and free of infection. Your veterinarian can help you choose the right maintenance ear cleaner for you, and certainly if you think your pet has an active infection your veterinarian should examine the ear canal to see what the best treatment will be.
3. Dental issues
Oh man. This. Obviously at Forever Pet Dental we deal with a lot of dental disease, and so much of it is preventable! Our goal is to help you prevent disease in your pet’s mouth and keep them healthy. Here are my two best tips to do that:
a) Remove access to chewing on hard things.
We see a lot of broken teeth, and sometimes we don’t know what caused the fracture, but more often than not it is one of the following culprits: bones, rocks, sticks, or antlers. Avoid these items! Contrary to popular belief, chewing on bones is not good for your pet’s teeth. Fractured teeth can cause pain and infection and often need to be surgically extracted.
b) Prevent disease, start with dental care young.
My best advice regarding pet dental health is to start dental cleanings at 1 year of age. I have seen pets (especially small dogs) with SEVERE dental disease and many tooth extractions recommended by 4 years of age. Don’t wait. Starting annual dental cleanings at 1 year old will help us evaluate your pet’s individual mouth, address areas of concern early, and create a plan for keeping their teeth healthy. If you are interested, we can help you with this. Forever Pet Dental has locations in Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon to help you specifically with dental care for your dogs and cats. We keep our dental cleaning package costs as affordable as possible so that we can provide annual care to your pets and help keep their mouths healthy and free of disease and pain. Check out our home page for more information or for our contact info.
Well alright! You are now armed with knowledge that can help you and help your furry loved ones! I hope this helps and as always, just give us a call if you have questions or would like to discuss your pet’s veterinary care needs!
-Jacqueline Myers, DVM
Owner, Forever Pet Dental
Beaverton location: 503-621-9107; 10194 SW Park Way Portland, OR 97225
Vancouver location: 360-859-3790; 615 SE Chkalov Dr. Ste. 14 Vancouver, WA 98683