Pet health tips for the month

Feb 28, 2024 | PET BEHAVIOUR, PET CARE INFO, Puppy care

Pet health should be top of mind when adopting a puppy or kitten as the sooner you adopt healthy habits, the longer and healthier your pet will be with you. These pet health tips come courtesy of our friends at Rogz Pet Insurance

Pet health must include teeth 

Your pet’s dental wellbeing plays a crucial role in their overall health. Periodontal disease, or inflammation of the tissues supporting the teeth, is a common issue. It can lead to gingivitis and, in severe cases, tooth root abscesses or jaw bone infections. Surprisingly, almost 90% of dogs develop periodontal disease by two years of age, whilst between 50 and 90% of cats over four years of age experience some form of dental problems.

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition caused by bacteria in the mouth which harms the gums, bones and tooth supporting structures. Early preventive care is essential, as visible signs of gum disease often appear in advanced stages. The disease has four stages, ranging from mild to severe, with diagnosis typically made via periodontal probing and x-rays during general anaesthesia.

Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs and Cats

The main indicator of periodontal disease is halitosis or bad breath. Additional signs often include red or puffy gums, gums that bleed during brushing or chewing, receded gums, and behaviour changes such as acting more withdrawn or aggressive, or a reluctance to play with chew toys.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

A professional dental cleaning which is performed under general anaesthesia involves scaling the teeth above and below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar, and is the standard treatment for periodontal disease.

Left untreated, gum disease is not only painful, but it can negatively affect your pet’s health due to the effects the bacterial toxins have on the different organs in the body. Periodontal disease is known to increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, liver disease and heart disease in dogs and cats.

Prevention is key, and involves regular daily brushing of teeth, use of dental chews (EberVet Vetshops stock a wide range) and prescription dental diets (ask our vets for advice) as well as preventative professional dental cleanings.

Training Tip Of The Month

Pet health includes training your puppy as this is crucial for their growth and development, aiding in the transition from puppyhood to adulthood. Consider it an investment in your dog’s future wellbeing and the bond you share. This training establishes the groundwork for a lasting, positive companionship that spans their lifetime. So what types of training are seen as a good starting point for your pup?

Potty training

Potty training is a vital aspect of responsible pet ownership, providing benefits for both pet owners and their dogs. Apart from the advantage of maintaining a clean, odour-free home, teaching puppies to use the bathroom outside promotes discipline and control, which positively influences other aspects of dog training. Try to establish a routine by taking your puppy out several times a day, such as first thing in the morning, and after meals, and make use of puppy pads in specific areas of the house whilst training, so they know where to go to the bathroom.

Leash training

You likely know that your new puppy requires regular walks, however just putting a leash on your pup and letting him wander about freely isn’t sufficient. Leash training is essential to helping foster discipline and control, and encouraging your pup to walk calmly, safely as well as to respond to commands.

Basic commands

Learning basic commands is essential for every dog’s well-being. Basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come” establish effective communication between pet and owner, strengthening their bond and understanding, whilst other commands such as “leave it” are vital for their safety.

Behaviour Tip Of The Month

Cats have their own individuality, and they often prefer to communicate in their own way. But understanding why your cat meows or yowls can be challenging, and sometimes it is their way of telling us that they are in distress or not happy about something. Here are some reasons why cats may yowl:

Separation anxiety

Pets are part of the family, and whilst their human family may be out during the day at work or school, being apart from them can affect them negatively, causing separation anxiety. Try to enhance your cat’s environment with fun, interactive toys to help keep them entertained during the day whilst you are out.

Stress

Cats like routine, so whenever something changes, be it in their environment or something as simple as using a new type of litter or changing their regular brand of food, this could be their way of communicating that they are not happy.

Medical conditions
Certain health conditions such as high blood pressure and hyperthyroidism can cause cats to yowl. In addition, as your cat ages, their cognitive function may start to decline, resulting in dementia, which can cause them to vocalise a lot more. If you notice a change in their behaviour, it is essential to chat to your veterinarian so that they can rule these out.

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