While all pet owners should schedule regular dental checkups for their animals, individuals can adopt a number of habits at home to ensure good dental health. Pet stores sell toothpaste and toothbrushes especially designed for pets. Brushing a pet’s teeth regularly significantly reduces buildup of plaque and tartar. Owners should always introduce brushing slowly to allow a pet to gradually build up a tolerance to the motion and taste. Veterinarians can teach owners the best brushing techniques.
Pet owners may also want to consider food and treats designed for tooth health. Some foods have a specific size and matrix that gently scrubs the tooth as the pet chews. Many manufacturers also make treats designed to do the same. Giving these treats regularly encourages healthy teeth. Some sprays, rinses, and gels also exist on the market, but not all of them prove equally effective. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) rates these types of products according to their effectiveness. Individuals can access this information on the VOHC website.
A canine and feline oncology specialist, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince offers a range of veterinary services through the Elmhurst Animal Care Center.
Applying more than 30 years of experience in veterinary care, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince serves as partner in the Elmhurst Animal Care Center of Illinois. He firmly believes in the value of preventive care to maintain the health of a pet. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince received his DVM from the University of Illinois.
An extremely contagious viral illness, parvovirus aggressively attacks a dog’s digestive system and white blood cells. The disease presents with vomiting, lethargy, and a bloody diarrhea that can cause fatal dehydration. It is transmitted through contact with the feces of an infected dog and can remain in the environment for several months before infecting its next host.
The best way to prevent this disease is to ensure an up-to-date vaccination history. Because parvovirus is extremely dangerous, puppies should receive their first vaccination at six to eight weeks of age. The puppy should also receive boosters spaced four weeks apart for the subsequent two to three months, then another at around the dog’s first birthday. Older dogs may also be vaccinated if they have not received the puppy series. Because some dogs, particularly immuno-compromised and ill animals, are not suited for vaccination, owners should consult with their individual veterinarians before beginning any vaccination series.
As most people know, scratching comes naturally to felines. However, it can be annoying and potentially destructive when your house cat turns his or her claws on your furniture. Joel Todd Leroy Prince, D.V.M., a partner at Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, provides tips on how to handle a cat-scratching problem.
1. Give your cat a variety of scratching surfaces. Some cat owners wonder why their cats continue to scratch the furniture after they have provided a scratching post. It may be because the cat enjoys scratching a variety of textures and surfaces. Provide a variety of scratching surfaces, such as carpeted posts and wooden boards, to give your cat a range of scratching options.
2. Make your scratching surfaces more attractive. Using catnip to scent the cat’s approved scratching surfaces or adding play toys to the area may entice your cat to use the scratching posts more often.
3. Make your cat’s nails less destructive. Remember to clip your cat’s nails regularly. In extreme cases for indoor cats, consider getting nail coverings that fit over the cat’s nails. They do not harm the cat, and they protect surfaces from scratching.