How Dietary Needs Vary in Different Dog Breeds

Puppy

No matter what breed your dog is, he or she can bring love and happiness to your life. You can help your pet live a healthy life by feeding a high-quality food that is appropriate for the pet’s life stage and individual needs. In addition to choosing food based on your dog’s life stage, you may also want to consider your dog’s breed when selecting a food. Consult with one of our doctors, or your regular veterinarian, about the best types of food for your dog, and consider the following information.

  Variations Due to Size

One of the major factors that can affect your dog’s nutritional needs is her size. Small dogs and large dogs tend to have different energy levels, so smaller dogs may need foods that are lower in calories but denser in nutrition than standard foods. Certain breeds that have short legs and long backs, such as dachshunds and corgis, may benefit from foods that promote a lean body, as excess weight can lead to back problems for these dogs.

Variations Due to Lifestyle

Different dog breeds were developed to lead different lifestyles. For instance, herding and working breeds like Australian shepherds and huskies tend to be very energetic and ready to complete a variety of activities throughout the day. Because of this, these breeds may need dog foods that are more calorie-dense. Dog breeds that were developed to be companions, such as Chihuahuas, may naturally be more sedentary and have unique nutritional needs.

Variations Due to Health Conditions

There are certain health conditions that tend to be prevalent in different dog breeds. Hip and joint problems, food allergies, and digestive issues are all health conditions that are more common among some dog breeds than others. In many cases, diet can play a major role in minimizing or preventing these conditions. Talk to your vet to learn about health problems your dog may be prone to and the steps you can take to find the perfect food for your dog.

Would you like more information about choosing the best food for your pet? If so, visit Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. Our   north Dallas area veterinary practices offer a variety of services, including wellness checkups, pet grooming, and pet boarding. For more information, call us at (972) 239-1309.

March Grooming Tip!

If you only have minimal time to spend on brushing try to brush underneath the rear area and under arms as well as the head and ears.  These are the areas that tend to mat the easiest.

dog brushing

Tips for Caring for a Dog with Sensitive Skin

Chihuahua scratching against white background

Have you noticed that your dog often seems to be itchy or has skin that is dry, red, or flakey? If so, your canine companion may be experiencing sensitive skin. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to minimize your pet’s discomfort and manage her skin condition.

Diet plays a large role in managing sensitive skin in dogs. Be sure to discuss different dog food options with us, or your regular veterinarian, and to look for a dog food that is high in quality and free of any allergens that affect your pet. To minimize the chance that your dog will experience an allergic reaction to her food, select a variety that only contains one protein source and one type of carbohydrate. Ingredients that are high in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, like fish oil, can help prevent itchy skin. Once you have selected the right food, be sure to pick out a gentle dog shampoo to keep your dog’s skin and coat clean. Some varieties contain moisturizing ingredients to help keep your dog’s skin healthy, and you can also find conditioners for dogs.

Would you like to find out more about keeping your pet happy and healthy? If so, turn to the veterinary team of Chastain Veterinary Medical Group in Dallas. With locations in both north Dallas and the McKinney / Frisco area, we are ready to serve you. For more information, please call either Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at 972-239-1309 or call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at 972-439-1344 .

How Do I Brush My Pet’s Teeth?

Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy with a toothbrush

Brushing a pet’s teeth is usually an easy and fun affair.
 
First, select a soft-bristled pet toothbrush or finger toothbrush. You can use a soft-bristled human toothbrush but the pet toothbrushes are designed with an angle at the head which makes them much easier to use in animal’s mouth.
 
Next, obtain a tube of pet toothpaste from your veterinarian. Do not use human toothpastes on pets because most of these products contain detergents or fluorides that are not intended to be swallowed.
 
Then, select a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet’s daily routine. Tooth brushing just before a walk or before a daily treat might encourage your pet to actually look forward to tooth brushing time. Allow a few days or maybe a week for the two of you to get used to the whole process. Keep everything on a fun, positive note. Always follow each tooth brushing session with loads of praise and maybe a walk or special.
 
Start by offering your pet a sniff, then a taste of the veterinary toothpaste. Next time, let him or her taste the toothpaste as before, then run your finger along the gums of the upper teeth. You may need to start by working with just the incisors – the tiny teeth at the front of the mouth. In time you should be able to work around to touching all the teeth. Then repeat this process using the toothbrush. Concentrate on brushing the teeth near the gum line. If possible, try to angle the toothbrush so that some of the bristles just barely go under the gums. Ideally, you should work from back to front, brushing near the teeth near the gums in small circles. With a cooperative subject, it should take less than 60 seconds to brush a pet’s teeth.
 
Even with the best tooth brushing, most dogs and cats will still need regular professional teeth cleaning, just like we humans. Still, the more you can do at home, the less we’ll have to do in the clinic. By brushing your pet’s teeth daily and restricting the amount of periodontal disease that develops, you may reduce the frequency, complexity and cost of professional veterinary dental cleanings and provide your pet with a healthier, sweeter smile.

12 Steps for Complete Small Animal Veterinary Dental Care

Yawning Cat

The Twelve Basic Steps for Complete Small Animal Veterinary Dental Care are as follows: 
 
1. General Physical exam 
 
2. Initial Oral & Dental exam 
 
3. Obvious Tartar Removal
  •  Removes obvious plaque, calculus, & tartar above the gum line. 
  •  Performed under “Low Impact” anesthesia with careful monitoring. 
  • This is the most visible part of the teeth cleaning process to pet owners. 
  • Yet this is one of the least important parts of the teeth cleaning process for the pet. 
  • This is the only step that can even be attempted by non-veterinary “no-anesthesia” canine teeth cleaning services 
4. Sub-Gingival Tartar Removal 
  • Removes plaque, and tartar below the gum line. 
  • This is the least visible part of the teeth cleaning process for the pet’s family. 
  • Yet, this is the most important part of the procedure for the patient. 
  • Sub-Gingival Tartar Removal may encompass any of these three sub-steps: a) Subgingival scaling 
  • (calculus or tartar removal); b) Root planning (smoothing rough surfaces); c) Subgingival Curettage 
  • (soft tissue debridement of the inside of the gingival pocket). 
5. Teeth Polishing 
  • Removes enamel surface defects and irregularities. 
  • Slows the re-accumulation of plaque and tartar. 
  • Makes the teeth look nice and pretty. 
6. Gum Irrigation 
  • This step helps remove all debris from below the gum line. 
7. Ancillary Treatments: Application of a whitening agent, followed by a dental fluoride treatment, and finally application of a crown sealant 
  • The whitening agent improves the cosmetic appearance of the teeth. 
  • The fluoride strengthens enamel, desensitizes exposed dentin and/or cementum and decreases the 
  • incidence of cavities.
  • The crown sealant helps prevent adhesion of the oral bacteria which create the dental plaque and tartar in the first place. 
8. Complete Tooth Charting to identify & document problem areas 
  • Many pets will have unexpected problem areas. 
  • All abnormalities are recorded in the pet’s chart. 
  • Example problems: Periodontal pockets over 3mm in dogs and 1 mm in cats; Receding gums, Furcation exposures; Tooth Fractures and areas of exposed dentin; Wiggly teeth; Dead / non-viable  teeth; Exposed tooth roots. 
9. Dental X-rays (Radiographs) 
  • All suspicious areas should be radiographed. 
  • About 80% of the important canine and feline dental anatomy is below the gum line and not visible  to the eye. 
10. Formulate & Implement an Additional Dental Treatment Plan, if need be 
  • Veterinarian determines what treatment beyond basic tooth cleaning, if any, is needed. 
  • Veterinarian determines what additional medications, if any, are needed. 
  • Pet Owner & Family are consulted for their preferences and insights. 
  • A final additional treatment plan is agreed upon and initiated. 
11. Formulate & Implement a Veterinary Dental Home Care Plan 
  • Veterinary Dental Home Care options are outlined for the family, discussed, agreed upon, and demonstrated. 
12. Follow-Up 
  • The next appointment for professional veterinary dental care – whether it’s a no-charge follow up or next part of a multi-stage treatment program – can be scheduled at the time the pet goes home. 
 

Identifying Dental Disease in Your Pet

Golden Retriever Grin

Just as your own oral health can affect your total body wellness, the health of your pet’s teeth and gums can have a major impact on his or her overall wellbeing. That’s why it’s important for you to schedule regular dental checkups and dental cleanings for your pet with your regular veterinarian and to take steps to treat any dental disease that does develop. Continue reading to find out how you can identify dental disease in your pet.

Gum Inflammation and Recession

One of the most common types of dental disease in pets is gum disease (gingivitis, and periodontal disease). This condition is caused by plaque that accumulates along the gum line and irritates the gum tissue, leading to inflammation. If gum disease is allowed to progress, the gums will begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where even more food and dental plaque can accumulate. If you notice that your pet’s gums seem swollen and red – even just a little – schedule a dental checkup with your veterinarian.

Foul Breath

A variety of dental conditions can lead to bad breath, or halitosis, in pets. For example, gum disease and tooth decay can both cause bad breath. While your pet’s breath may always have lingering odors from the food you feed him, the breath of a normal dog or cat should never be  foul.

Pain and Discomfort

As dental disease becomes more severe, it often causes pain or discomfort for the affected pet. This can be hard to stop at first, because dogs and cats naturally will hide signs of dental pain. You may notice that your pet is taking longer to eat and chews his food more gingerly than before. Your pet may also drop food out of his mouth while eating. Drooling is another common later stage sign that your pet is experiencing oral pain. Swelling in your pet’s face and nasal discharge can also be signs of dental disease or tooth root abscesses.

At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we offer a range of dental services for pets, including oral cancer screenings, tooth extractions, and periodontal surgery. Any of the Doctors at the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group can help you with a routine dental cleaning. With locations in both north Dallas and the McKinney / Frisco area, we are ready to serve you. For more information, please call either Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at 972-239-1309  or call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at 972-439-1344.

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