Keep Smiling! Pet Dental Wellness

Dog with toothbrush

Dog sits with toothbrush in bathroom sink – Jack Russell Terrier

Does your pet have a great smile? Most of us think so! Even with that wonderful smile, our pets can have dental problems that we can’t see, but sometimes we can smell them. Bad breath is a common sign that there is a problem brewing in your pet’s mouth.

Pet dental wellness is an important component of your pet’s overall preventive care program. Working together, Fairview Veterinary Hospital can tailor an at-home dental care program, coupled with annual professional cleanings, that will keep your pet healthy and feeling their best.

Periodontal Disease Basics

What’s all the fuss about? Well, simply put, it has been reported that 85% of all pets have some form of dental disease by the time they are 4 years old. Periodontal disease can cause bad breath, bleeding and infected gums, and tooth loss. It can even increase the likelihood of diseases of the heart, kidneys, and liver. Luckily, dental disease, although common, is preventable.

Periodontal disease begins when plaque forms on the teeth and causes inflammation of the gums, both above and below the gum line. Eventually, plaque hardens into tartar and bacteria can cause infection and affect the tooth structures, such as the root and the bone beneath.

Pet Dental Wellness

Pet dental wellness begins with a dental exam at your pet’s wellness visit. We’ll look into your pet’s mouth and grade their teeth, which gives a measurable score to the level of dental disease, if seen. We’ll show you what your pet’s teeth and gums look like and what concerns us.

Next, a professional dental cleaning may be recommended. Using the safest anesthesia possible, we will evaluate the entire mouth and all the structures, including teeth and gums. Each tooth will be examined and x-rays will be taken of any problem areas. You’ll be contacted with any significant findings that require treatment, such as tooth extraction, which is normally reserved for very diseased or broken teeth that are beyond repair.

Next, your pet’s teeth will be cleaned, both above and below the gum line. It’s crucial to clean below the gum line, since much of the plaque and bacteria collect there. Your pet’s teeth will then be polished to help prevent further plaque from collecting.

Your Part in Pet Dental Wellness

After your pet’s dental cleaning, it’s your turn at home! We can help you implement a tooth brushing routine that works to prevent dental problems in the future. It’s really not as hard to do as it sounds!

We may also recommend a dental diet, dental chews, or a water additive to further enhance your pet’s dental wellness plan at home. Each pet is an individual, so these recommendations will depend largely on your pet’s dental health, as well as their overall health, and what can be most beneficial to them.

Have more questions about pet dental wellness, at-home care, or a professional cleaning? Call us to schedule an appointment. We’re looking forward to helping you enjoy your pet’s great smile and to also ensure true dental wellness for a lifetime!

Tipping the Scales: Protecting Overweight Pets From Obesity

Overweight cat

With the holidays behind us (how did that happen so fast?), many people are looking ahead to 2018. Maybe we want to eat better, exercise more, or just become more fit overall. As we think about our own health, why not take your pet’s weight and health into account, as well? There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to take stock.

Is My Pet Overweight?

Did you know that over 50% of pets in the U.S. are classified as overweight or obese? This is true for both dogs and cats. We might think it’s no big deal, and some of us might even think our pudgy friends are cuddlier that way. In reality, however, overweight pets are at a greater risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. On the other hand, pets who reach and maintain a healthy weight reduce their risk of illness and injury, lead longer lives, and have better overall health.

So, how do you know if you have an overweight pet? Your veterinarian can assess your pet’s weight and overall health and make recommendations regarding weight, diet, and exercise. More than a simple number on a scale, a healthy weight is about body composition, breed, age, and general health. In our office, we can teach you how to determine your pet’s body condition by observing their shape and feeling certain parts of their body, which is a great tool in determining if your pet is at a healthy weight.

I Have an Overweight Pet – Now What?

Not to worry. First, this is not a reflection on you or your ability to care for your pet! A weight loss recommendation is just your veterinarian’s commitment to your pet’s good health. At Fairview Veterinary Hospital, we’ve put together a few ideas to keep your pet on the path to a healthy weight:

All in the family — Make a commitment as a family to your pet’s weight loss. A weight loss program won’t work if one or more family members are sneaking food to your pet! Those sad begging eyes can be tough to resist (we know!), but try to keep focused on your pet’s overall health to dissuade people from giving extra treats and meals.

The best quality diet —  Talk to us about your pet’s individual needs. We can help you choose a quality diet that meets your pet’s nutritional needs.

Measuring every meal — What you don’t measure, you can’t manage! We can determine exactly how much to feed your pet and provide you with a measuring cup to make sure your pet stays on track.

Regular exercise — Try a new activity with your pet! Swimming, hiking, or a fast game of laser pointer tag can be great exercise, both physically and mentally. Exercising together can also be a great way to bond with your pet.

Treating them well — Most of us love sharing treats with our pets as a way to express our love. However, all those extra calories can quickly derail weight loss efforts for your pet. Instead, try unseasoned fresh or cooked veggies and fruits like carrots, green beans, or apples.

Checking progress — Once a goal is set for your pet’s weight loss, it’s important to monitor and record your pet’s progress. Like any weight loss program, there will be wins and missteps. Together, we can ensure your pet stays on track and can help you make any necessary adjustments along the way.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an effective way to give your pet a healthier, longer life. Having some fun along the way is an added bonus! If you’d like to share any ideas for healthy pet weight loss or if you’d like additional help, please give us a call.

Support Lifelong Health With Regular Pet Wellness Visits

Urgent Care

If we can prevent the need for urgent or emergency care, we do whatever is needed, right? Sure, accidental injury or sudden illness aren’t always predictable, but when it comes to overall pet wellness, many health conditions are preventable. Between vaccinations, regular dental care, and parasite prevention, pet owners can protect their pets from all sorts of problems, and Fairview Veterinary Hospital is here to help.

The Big Picture

Maintaining regular pet wellness exams is key to lifelong health. Adult pets should be seen once a year, but younger animals, seniors, and those with existing medical conditions should be seen twice or more annually.

Together, we can support your pet’s overall health by preventing diseases before they become too costly or too tough to treat. By stopping or slowing the effects of illness, we can focus on other elements of long-term pet wellness, such as nutrition, weight, dental care, and more.

Head to Tail

Every time we see your pet, we conduct a physical examination. Comparing new data with previous results gives us insight into any changes. Weight fluctuations, behavior concerns, and emerging issues can be addressed before they get out of hand. Diagnostics, such as x-rays or bloodwork, can be extremely helpful in diagnosing and treating health problems.

It’s Routine

With our proactive approach to pet wellness, we hope to reduce the cost of emergency medical treatments. Preventing serious disease is much easier than treating or curing them. We’re always happy to discuss which vaccinations your pet should have based on his or her individual lifestyle.

Parasites and More

Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and intestinal parasites present unique threats to overall pet wellness. Regular blood tests and fecal screenings can help us administer the right type of preventives to protect your pet and your family.

Short-Term and Long-Term

Spaying or neutering your pet not only solves the problem of unwanted litters, but this procedure can also reduce behaviors associated with mating (like roaming or marking). Also, spayed/neutered pets are less likely to develop reproductive cancers.

Pet Wellness for All Ages

Whether you’re new to pet ownership or you’re caring for a pet you’ve raised since infancy, we welcome your questions or concerns. Lifelong health starts with routine pet wellness exams, and our team is happy to help you get started. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.