Tip of the Week
Most pet parents enjoy hugs and kisses from their canines. But while your best friend is showering you with love, have you wondered if his teeth are clean? Or about how his dental health affects his overall well-being? Good oral care is as essential for dogs as it is for humans.
By the time they’re 3 years old, 80 percent of dogs develop periodontal disease, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. While veterinarians recommend daily brushing for dogs’ teeth, studies by the American Animal Hospital Association reveal that nearly two-thirds of pet owners don’t provide their pets with recommended dental care.
By taking care of your dog’s teeth, you can help spare him many of the discomforts that come from periodontal disease – from lost teeth and infections to heart and even kidney damage. You’ll be sparing your wallet, too. It costs much more to treat periodontal disease (about $300 to $500 per visit) than it does to provide the veterinarian-recommended amount of preventive care ($150 to $300), according to PetMD. Just think of the money you can spend on things your pup will really enjoy, like a new ball for playing fetch together.
“Dental health is vital to a dog’s total health, and regularly cleaning teeth plays an essential role in preserving a dog’s oral health,” says Dr. Jan Bellows, a board-certified veterinary dentist and president of the American Veterinary Dental College. “Fortunately, in addition to getting their dog’s teeth professionally cleaned, pet parents can do a lot more to care for their dogs’ teeth.”
Dog-owners can show their love for their four-legged companions by taking some preventive measures, Bellows says, including:
* Learn and watch for the signs of periodontal disease, including abnormal drooling, gums that are red and inflamed (healthy gums should be pink), lesions or cysts on gums and the tongue, loose teeth and “doggie breath.” If your pup avoids certain foods he used to gladly eat, or seems uncomfortable when eating, closely examine his gums and teeth.
* Brush your dog’s teeth – daily if you can. Daily brushing of a dog’s teeth can be a challenge, even for the most diligent pet parent and the most cooperative dog. Talk to your veterinarian about the best way to brush. You can also find canine tooth brushing kits and plenty of online advice from organizations like the ASPCA to help make the process as comfortable as possible for both you and your pet. Dental chews can be an easy way to complement annual dental care by a veterinarian. They are specially designed to reach down to the gum line, even way in back. When fed to dogs daily, clinical trials have shown they are as effective as brushing your dog’s teeth twice per week, based on the reduction of tartar build-up and bad breath.
* Don’t ignore bad breath, especially if you’ve been diligent about keeping your dog’s teeth cleaned. Periodontal disease is not the only health issue associated with doggie breath. Bad breath in a dog that has had good dental care may indicate other conditions, such as digestive problems. Talk to your veterinarian about your concerns.
* Get your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year. There’s no substitute for dental care from a veterinarian, and while your pet doctor is cleaning your dog’s teeth, he or she will be best able to spot any potential problems and make treatment recommendations.
Family Movie Night
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Rated: PG-13 Length: 136 minutes Synopsis: Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. Violence/scary rating: 4 Sexual-content rating: 1.5 Profanity rating: 1.5 Drugs/alcohol rating: 1.5 Family Time rating: 2.5. This is your typical superhero movie - heavy on the action and fine for the family otherwise.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“National Geographic Kids Get Outside Guide”
Ages: 9-12 Pages: 160
Synopsis: This fun-filled guide inspires kids to get out of the house and explore the great outdoors, where they can discover the wonder and amazement of the world around them, whether in their backyard, across the country or around the world. Full of fun activities, kids will learn how to make backyard bird baths, explore their local state parks, participate in an outdoor community event and much more. Activities for every season, spring, summer, winter and fall are included to keep kids engaged throughout the year. - National Geographic Children's Books
Tips for parents of toddlers:
- Give your child water and plain milk instead of sugary drinks. After the first year, when your nursing toddler is eating more and different solid foods, breast milk is still an ideal addition to his diet.
- Your toddler might become a very picky and erratic eater. Toddlers need less food because they don’t grow as fast. It’s best not to battle with him over this. Offer a selection of healthy foods and let him choose what she wants. Keep trying new foods; it might take time for him to learn to like them.
- Limit screen time. For children younger than 2 years of age, the AAP recommends that it’s best if toddlers not watch any screen media.
- Your toddler will seem to be moving continually — running, kicking, climbing or jumping. Let him be active — he’s developing his coordination and becoming strong.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Family Time: Take care of your dog's teeth
Tip of the Week