Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

About Goldens - Medical Blog

Gracie Lou and Margaret

Your dog’s health is vital to a long-lasting quality of life. Many health-related situations may arise with your dog over the course of his/her life, requiring you to educate yourself on how best to help and what resources are available. The following articles and links are intended to help with some of these health-related issues you may face.

Adult dogs living in the southeastern U.S. are highly likely to contract heartworms from mosquitoes if the dogs are not regularly treated with heartworm prevention medication. About 15 percent of the adult dogs that come into our rescue program are found to have heartworms. Heartworm is a serious illness and can be fatal if left untreated.

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Brush on, Brush off

by User Not Found | Feb 18, 2015

It is February and I’m sure you have heard it from a million and one billboards and marquees that it is Pet Dental Awareness month.  I feel inspired to talk about teeth. Teeth are not something we think about too often when it comes to our dogs….mostly because we have so many other obvious things to worry about, but taking care of your dog’s teeth is really important. Issues with teeth and jaws tend to happen over a long period of time and not in an emergency situation so we don’t take notice as often as we should.

Your dog’s mouth?  Full of bacteria….shocking I know. That bacteria can multiply out of control and begin to cause redness, swelling, bleeding and that lovely “doggie breath” odor. It’s a pretty big deal too as it becomes painful, causes loss of teeth, more pain, inability to chew and even jaw fractures.  If it goes on long enough, this chronic inflammation can also cause problems with the liver, kidneys and heart. Those organs are top on my list of must haves, so let’s take this seriously….Brush. Your. Dog’s. Teeth!

The most economical route to keeping your dog’s chompers healthy is to brush them every day. Be sure to use a soft bristled brush and doggie toothpaste.  Soft brushes make things more pleasant for your dog (and in turn for you) and toothbrushes made for dogs are better suited for their mouth shape and size and reaching nooks and crannies where Fido may be saving cookie crumbs for a bedtime snack.  Human toothpaste is a big NO, NO because it contains Flouride which is extremely poisonous to dogs. Dog toothpaste is flavored like beef, chicken and even peanut butter and choose one that contains chlorhexidine gluconate, which is a clinically proven antiseptic and antimicrobial, or enzymes like glucose oxidase or lactoperoxidase, which have antibacterial properties that decrease plaque. Dogs can have dental disease by the time they are 3 years old, so let the thought of not brushing your own teeth inspire you and your dog to get used to a routine.

There are plenty of other products out on the market to help you take care of those pearly whites. Some plastic toys, bones and other items can actually fracture teeth.  The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) determines if a product meets label claims and gets data from the manufacturer on a rolling basis for review and then bestows its seal of approval. Their list of approved products are listed on their website like anti-plaque gel and sprays, water additive, sealants and chews.   Remember to be careful with raw bones and other chewing toys that your dog is supervised and kept out of danger of choking, blockages and upset bellies. IF you use a water additive, be sure to watch your pet for the first few days to make sure they are drinking. Sometimes they are not fond of the taste of the additive and may stop drinking all together. Your vet may have some other options available, particularly if your dog won’t let you get anywhere near his mouth. Don’t think that’s an excuse to do nothing.

I have no reason to lie to you, I don’t brush my dog’s teeth every day, but I do make an effort by delegating the task to my significant other. Think of how proud your vet will be when you tell him/her what you have been doing to try to care for your dog’s teeth. (It's cool, you can take the credit) After the constant pleading with clients, you may have to help them to a chair before they collapse from shock and awe and more importantly gratitude.

Fortunately we have regular vet exams and the ability to take our dogs for routine cleanings if needed.  Just to reiterate the theme, every dog is different, some need a dental every year and some many be able to go several years between cleanings.  They have to be put under anesthesia for a cleaning which is not without risk. The alternative is to brush their teeth....I like that option.

Brush on everyone!

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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