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Dogs + Care & Wellness

  • The general condition of your dog's skin and coat are good indicators of its health. A healthy coat should be shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse, and healthy skin should be supple and clear, not greasy, flaky or bumpy. Selective breeding has led to the development of dogs with a myriad of different coat characteristics requiring varying grooming needs. In order to maintain the skin and hair in a healthy state, your dog also requires a properly balanced diet.

  • Constipation is infrequent or difficult passage of stool or feces and is typically a temporary condition. Though there are many causes of constipation in dogs, most cases are caused by ingestion of irritating or indigestible substances. Constipation is usually diagnosed through a physical examination and medical history. A rectal exam to rule out rectal strictures, tumors, foreign bodies, or other abnormalities may be done. Abdominal radiographs, blood tests, and urinalysis are valuable for a full diagnosis and development of a treatment plan. Biopsies may also be recommended if a rectal mass or stricture is suspected. Most cases of constipation are relatively easy to treat through the use of manual removal, enemas, and medications. The prognosis for constipation is determined by the exact cause.

  • Dogs who are overweight have an increased risk of many health conditions including diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. Your veterinarian can recommend a weight loss plan include a specific weight loss diet and exercise. This article discusses many tips to discourage begging and help promote healthy weight loss in dogs.

  • Hospitals providing curbside care have restructured their practice to avoid the need for clients to enter the lobby and exam rooms. This is designed to promote physical (social) distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Curbside care offers a number of benefits for you and your pet. By eliminating the need for you to enter the hospital, potential COVID-19 outbreaks are reduced. The veterinary team is protected under a curbside care model, and in turn, so is your pet. Even in curbside care, you will have an opportunity to speak with your veterinarian in order to discuss findings and recommendations. To help the curbside appointment go smoothly, bring a written list of concerns or fill in any forms your practice has sent to you prior to the appointment. Curbside care truly is in the best interests of you and your pet.

  • Dog food labels can certainly be confusing to interpret. In the United States, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has developed model laws and regulations that states use for animal feeds. In Canada, pet food labeling guidelines are regulated by the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act administered by Industry Canada. The Canadian government's Competition Bureau also has an extensive working group that upholds a voluntary code of conduct for the labeling and advertising of pet food. The most important information when comparing one dog food to another is the guaranteed analysis. Ingredient lists are somewhat useful when evaluating a particular dog food, but it is important to recognize the limitations. Talk to you veterinarian about the ingredient list and nutrient profile to help choose the diet that is right for your dog.

  • Your veterinarian wants to keep your pet healthy and the fact is that people who are better informed take better care of their pets. Do not be overwhelmed by “medicalese”. Try your best to understand this foreign language and if you cannot quite decipher it, ask your veterinarian to speak more plainly.

  • Degenerative joint disease is arthritis caused by deterioration and degeneration of tissues lining joints. Treatment includes regular gentle exercise, anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications, omega fatty acids, chondroprotectants, and possibly other nutraceuticals. Emerging therapies include rehabilitation therapy, acupuncture, and stem cell or platelet rich plasma therapies. Maintaining your dog’s weight can help prevent degenerative joint disease.

  • Plaque and tartar forms on teeth daily and if allowed to accumulate will cause progressive periodontal disease. Cleaning your dog’s teeth every day at home will help prevent plaque and tartar build-up. For proper dental evaluation and care, your dog must be safely placed under general anesthesia. The examination usually includes dental X-rays and probing to evaluate gum bleeding and periodontal pockets. Tooth scaling will be performed, using both hand and ultrasonic scalers, to remove tartar above and below the gum line. Removing plaque and tartar before disease occurs is the foundation of preventative dentistry.

  • Dental disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition in which the tissues supporting the teeth become inflamed. When a pet develops dental disease, significant quantities of bacteria reside within the mouth and the oral tissues. These bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other areas, specifically the heart, liver, and kidneys, causing distant or systemic effects. The bacteria that are found within the mouth of pets with dental disease are the same bacteria associated with both endocarditis and valvular disease in dogs and cats.

  • According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, over 80% of dogs have signs of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Dental pain in dogs may take on a wide variety of appearances, but in many cases a dog may not show any outward signs of pain. Sometimes dogs may exhibit signs such as decreased interest in eating dry food or hard treats, chewing more slowly than usual, dropping food while chewing, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, new or worsening resistance to having the face or mouth touched. The only effective treatment for dental pain is to address the dog’s underlying dental disease. The best way to prevent dental pain is to ensure that your dog receives regular dental care through a home dental care plan and regular veterinary dental care.