January 2020

True or False: Only Old Pets Get Dental Disease

Vet Examining Dog Dental Care

 

Let's play 'True or False' with our staff veterinarian, Dr. Jessica Vogelsang!

When I say “puppy breath,” what do you think of? It’s most likely a pleasant thought, right? People like puppy breath (well, at least dog lovers do!)

Now what about when I say “dog breath?” Not such a great thought! No one wants to be told they have dog breath, not even a dog. So what causes the transformation from the sweet smell of puppy breath to the putrid stench of dog breath?

It’s easy to combat bad breath with dental treats, but it’s important to monitor your pet’s complete oral health on a regular basis. Did you know that medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, and liver disease can also manifest in the breath?

In honor of February being National Pet Dental Health Month, we’re going to play ‘True or False’ to see what you know about your pet's pearly whites!

“Only old dogs and cats get dental disease.”

  • False: While dental disease is obviously more severe in older pets who have had years to accumulate the effects of periodontal disease, over 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop oral disease by the age of three. This is why it’s so important to begin preventive care early in life!

“It’s time to get your dog’s teeth cleaned when you can start seeing buildup.”

  • False: Dental disease is a progression that begins with signs invisible to the naked eye. The bacteria in our mouths combine with food bits to produce the invisible sticky film called plaque, which coats the teeth and sneaks up beneath the gum line. Over time, this plaque hardens into tartar, the visible brown stuff you can see on your pet’s teeth.

    This stews below the gumline and causes gingivitis, which results in the inflamed reddened gums most commonly visible on the back teeth. Left untreated, the bacteria begin to wreak havoc on the tissues and bone underneath the gums, and that’s when things get ugly.

 

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“Anesthesia-free dental cleanings are almost as good as a full cleaning.”

  • False: Now we’re getting into rough waters. Dogs and cats need anesthesia in order to have a full dental cleaning, because no pet likes the feeling of a dental scaler plunging into their sore gums. I mean, who can blame them?

    Without anesthesia, cleanings are limited to scraping off the plaque you can see with the naked eye. This type of cleaning makes the teeth look better, but they’re often no healthier afterwards. It’s like cutting a weed and leaving all the roots — it looks better temporarily, but you haven’t done anything to stop it from spreading.

“Some dogs are more prone to dental disease than others.”

  • True: Short-nosed breeds such as pugs and French bulldogs are more prone to disease due to their propensity for teeth overcrowding and misalignment. This creates a big net for food debris to stick around, no pun intended.

    Small dogs such as Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Poodles, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels also develop dental disease earlier in life. Their small mouths just struggle to fit all 42 teeth and often end up misaligned. Breeds such as Dachshunds, Boxers, and Shih Tzus have genetic quirks that impact their dental health as well.

“My vet’s going to judge me for this and it’s stressing me out.”

  • False (I hope!): Being vets, we are accustomed to seeing significant diseases. I don’t care about anything except helping the pet feel better! Everyone who comes into the clinic has done a tremendous thing by coming in and getting treatment.

    I can’t speak for every veterinarian on this earth, but I do know without a relationship of trust and working together, you’re not going to get the optimal results for your pet. If you don’t have a strong honest relationship, for whatever reason, I’d highly encourage you to seek out another provider. It’s fine! Both you and your pet deserve that bond.

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How’d you do? Let us know in the comments below.

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr V 

Tropical Chia Pudding Recipe

Bowl with Tropical Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

This recipe has become one of our favorites because of its few ingredients, minimal prep time, and delicious flavor. Whether you’re eating it for breakfast or dessert, chia pudding is a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Recipe:

Makes 4 servings

For Serving (optional):

  • Diced fresh peaches
  • Sliced banana
  • Walnuts
  • Honey
  • Sea salt

Instructions:

  • In a mixing bowl add coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup (to taste), and Minerals & Antioxidants. Whisk to combine. We used the container we would be storing the pudding in for less cleanup.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours). The chia pudding should be thick and creamy. If not, add more chia seeds, stir, and refrigerate for another hour or so.
  • Layer your serving bowls with cut peaches and one serving of chia pudding per bowl. Next, layer bananas and walnuts. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt, and enjoy!

Chia pudding will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, making this a great recipe for anyone with limited kitchen time. Even better, kids love helping with this recipe since the pudding turns pink once our Minerals & Antioxidants mix is added — it's also perfect for vegans!

5 Ways To Improve Bad Cat Behavior at Home

bad cat behavior

When you bring a dog into your home, you usually know what to expect—tail wags, belly rubs, and a personality that aims to please. Cat behavior, on the other hand, can be completely unpredictable!

We love our kitties dearly, but sometimes they can be downright frustrating, whether they are treating the expensive sofa like a cat scratching post or refusing to drink anything other than your glass of water.

Here are five common cat behavior problems and tips to thwart them:

1. Using furniture as a scratching post

This destructive behavior is perhaps one of the most common cat behavior complaints. There's nothing more aggravating than seeing everything from your footboard to your sofa scratched up by your cat.

You can do a lot to make kitty happy and save your furniture by providing her with her own scratching posts and pads. For a low-cost alternative, you can even attach a small piece of carpet to the wall. If nothing deters the behavior, talk to your vet about cat claw caps — these are little silicone covers that slip over your kitty's sharp claws.

2. Refusing to use the litter box

Felines have a good reputation for being easy to litter train — but sometimes, they will take it upon themselves to go in other places besides their designated box. Some cats are just extremely particular and don't want to get their paws dirty in a soiled box, so more frequent scooping may be in order.

If you only have one litter box for your cat, try getting a second one for another room. Certain cats may prefer one room over another, or just prefer to have options!
Other cats prefer their litter pan to be in a private spot, so try relocating it. Something as simple as the type of litter you're using could send a picky cat off in search of a new toilet space. If the problem persists, talk to your vet to ensure there's nothing going on health-wise that could be causing the issue.

3. Spraying around the house

Simply put, a spraying cat is usually just a feline trying to let others know where their turf is. Some cats spray because they're insecure, nervous or anxious as well.

If your cat is marking the corners of the windows, the opening to the litter pan, and everywhere else, you likely have a seriously territorial kitty. Spaying and neutering does tend to lower their drive to mark. A few other changes that may prevent cat spraying include:

  • Giving each cat in your home their own litter box, plus one extra for the household
  • Promptly cleaning sprayed areas with an odor remover (cats tend to respray the same areas)
  • Separating your cat from other cats if possible

bad cat behavior in litterbox

4. Eating your houseplants

Take a look at a cat in the wild and you’ll notice that they munch just about anything that offers some nutrition. Even big cats that prefer meaty main courses will occasionally nibble on some greens.

Keeping your houseplants out of the cat's view is best. If that's not a possibility, bring in some cat-friendly houseplants that are safe and fun for kitty to chew, such as wheatgrass or catnip plants. Make sure you avoid any toxic houseplants if your plant-curious kitty has issues. Incorporating nourishing cat food and healthy cat treats could better satisfy your little purr-factory and prevent them from making a meal out of your ferns.

5. Making yowling noises

Cat yowling is common when a kitty wants your attention, so this could be the cause. If the yowling and loud meowing has started out of nowhere, make sure your kitty is not in pain and pay a visit to the vet. Otherwise, set aside some time for play or petting at least a few times a day. It's possible that you landed yourself a needy feline that isn’t shy about demanding affection.

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Maybe there's no such thing as a bad kitty in your book, but some cats do have behavior problems that call for extra support, care and attention. Hopefully these tips can improve some of those pesky behaviors that drive cat parents across the globe crazy!

Bored of Water? Stay Hydrated With These Tips

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Do you know someone who says, “I’m tired of drinking water!” Maybe you even feel that way yourself. Getting past your taste buds can be a challenge, especially if you're not sure where to turn for healthy alternatives.

Whether we like the taste of water or not, hydration is an essential part of our health. Many people experience symptoms of dehydration and have no clue their body is craving water. Here are some telltale signs that you may be suffering from dehydration:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dark, yellow urine

While these are the first signs of dehydration, they can get worse over time. If your dehydration is not addressed, you may experience more serious symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, fainting, dry skin and lack of energy.

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How to fight dehydration

While flavored waters can be appealing, typically they include undesirable ingredients like artificial colors, flavors, and sugar.

A tasty way to enjoy water is with our Minerals and Antioxidants mix. Instead of a sugar crash from other “healthy” drink brands, our mix delivers a delicious boost of sustained energy from a blend of superfruits and sea vegetables with no added sugars, flavors or preservatives.

Here are some other foods you can try out that will help keep you hydrated:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Oatmeal
  • Juice
  • Soup
  • Coconut water
  • Yogurt
  • Popsicles

Don’t let the taste keep you from proper hydration. Without it, you won’t be able to function at 100% and it could even impact your long-term health.

Staying hydrated is a simple but important step to putting your health first. Put some of these healthy and tasty solutions to work for you and benefit from their nutritious qualities!