Is Your Pet Protected?

Keith Erickson, Oxyfresh Worldwide, Inc. – Sep 25, 2009

Bad breath could be a sign of pet dental disease

October is National Pet Wellness Month and the perfect time to focus on educating pet owners about the importance of preventive pet health care.

Did you know that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over age 3 have some kind of dental disease? Left untreated, this can cause bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth and difficulty eating. Even more troublesome, it can lead to heart, liver and kidney disease — shortening your pet’s life by up to 5 years!

That’s why pet dental disease is known as the “Silent Killer of Pets.” Don’t let this happen to your furry friend.

What can you do?

Protecting your pet’s health starts with a healthy smile!

3 Ways to Promote Optimum Pet Dental Health

1. Pets have teeth, too … brush them!

Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is the best way to fight dental disease. The great thing is that you only need to brush for 30 seconds a day to make a big difference in the dental health of your pet. Brushing scrubs away plaque and tartar that can’t be removed naturally with saliva or by eating. On top of the health benefits, developing an in-home brushing regimen could save you a bundle on professional cleanings — which can cost between $70 and $350, depending on whether anesthesia is needed!

2. Add some TLC to their water bowl

Pets need water anyway, why not nourish it? There are several safe and effective products that freshen pet breath and help reduce the formation of plaque and tartar. Brushing is always best, but for an added benefit use a water additive. Just pour the recommended dose into your pet’s water bowl daily and your work is done — it’s that easy!

3. Use a pet toothpaste for extra cleaning power

Imagine brushing your own teeth with just water. It would do nothing toward freshening your breath and you certainly would not receive the same teeth-cleansing benefits as with toothpaste. The same is true for pets. Using a specially formulated pet toothpaste (human toothpastes can cause stomach upset and should not be used) takes dental care to the next level, promoting a healthy mouth, freshening breath and helping fight dental disease.

Celebrate National Pet Wellness Month in October by making a commitment to adopt a year-round dental home care plan for your pet. It will make him happier and more huggable … and it could even add years to his life!

Why risk it?

Keith Erickson, Oxyfresh Worldwide, Inc. – Sep 25, 2009

Protect your pet’s oral health with Oxyfresh

A healthy smile and fresh breath are the unmistakable sign of an Oxyfresh pet.

Formulated with our exclusive ingredient Oxygene®, Oxyfresh pet dental products are 100 percent safe and positively proven to freshen breath while fighting plaque and tartar buildup that can threaten your pet’s health.

Eighty percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over age 3 have some kind of dental disease, which can lead to heart, liver and kidney disease — shortening your pet’s life by up to 5 years!

Protect your pet with Oxyfresh by following these simple dental care steps at home:

Step 1 — Just add water!

Add one teaspoon of Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to one quart of drinking water and pour into your pet’s drinking bowl; freshen daily. You can also use a sprayer bottle to mist the same solution into your pet’s mouth twice daily. Pet Oral Hygiene Solution is completely safe, tasteless and odorless so your pet will readily drink it. In about three to five days, you will notice an obvious improvement in your pet’s breath. Oxygene® goes to work, destroying bacteria in the mouth and breaking down sulfur compounds that cause bad breath. Oxygene® is also proven to reduce the plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to dental disease.

Step 2 — Brush those choppers!

Apply Oxyfresh Pet Gel daily to the gums and teeth with the Oxyfresh Triple•Pet Toothbrush. Pet Gel further helps freshen breath and has a phenomenal healing affect with continued use. Formulated with aloe to soothe, plus Oxygene® to cleanse and deodorize gums, Pet Gel is an important part of your home pet dental care program. And the uniquely designed Triple•Pet Toothbrush has a triple-sided head to make brushing quicker, easier and more effective.

Oxyfresh’s life-enhancing two-step program is easy and very beneficial for all pets. You love your pet. Why not give him the best products possible to support his overall health and well-being?

Adopting a Disabled Pet

Jack L. Stephens, DVM – Sep 25, 2009

Adopting a disabled pet is not for everyone, but can lead to great satisfaction and joy. If, however, you are not ready and willing to spend the additional time a disabled pet requires, it can lead to anxiety and frustration.

The most common disability causing pets to be placed for adoption is dogs with a paralysis of the rear legs. This paralysis is usually due to a “slipped disc” in the back causing pressure on the spinal cord, such that the cord can become permanently damaged, leading to paralysis of the rear legs and even loss of bowel and bladder control. If treatment (which often include very expensive invasive surgery) is implemented soon after symptoms develop, it can often be reversed.

As pictured, there are carts or doggy wheelchairs that allow a paralyzed dog to be ambulatory and get around surprisingly well. Schatzie was a dog my wife fostered for about a year after being abandoned. The owners could not afford the necessary surgery. We purchased a cart and cared for him for nearly a year, until we found a permanent home with a veterinary technician who also had her own grooming business. Today he runs around her business daily as she grooms dogs, bringing joy and hope to everyone who meets him.

In Schatzie’s case there were special requirements, such as manually expressing his bladder, otherwise he would build up urine until his bladder was so full he dribbled or leaked urine. Occasionally he acquired bladder infections. And of course, he had to be placed into his cart from a crate, otherwise he would drag himself around with his front legs and create sores.

While all of this extra work is not for everyone, I can say we saw him as a blessing during the time he was in our lives. He taught us many valuable lessons, not the least of which is to be thankful for our health and the inner joy for helping pets live out their lives. We are the richer for it, and you could be, too.


Jack L. Stephens DVM

How to introduce your dog to your new baby

Introduce Your New Baby to Your Dog

Introduce Your New Baby to Your Dog

My wife and I know a young couple, I’ll call them “John” and “Marsha.” John called me up the other day, very excited to tell me that Marsha was pregnant. They were going to be first-time parents! Parents of a human baby, I mean. Their first child, Kody, is a three-year-old Siberian Husky. They’ve raised her from a puppy, and she’s still as fun-loving and frisky as ever.

“Congratulations, that’s great!” I said.

“Yeah,” he replied, “We’re totally stoked. But I’m really going to miss Kody.”

I was surprised. “Why? Did something happen to her?”

“No,” he sighed, “but Marsha’s worried that Kody might hurt the new baby. Plus she doesn’t want the baby exposed to all the germs.”

I can definitely understand Marsha’s fears – my wife and I had been in the same boat when we were expecting our first baby. We had tons of questions, scared to death that if we did something wrong, we would damage our new baby in some way. But it horrified me that they thought they had to get rid of their beloved dog.

Yes, it’s true that there are some illnesses (called zoonotic illnesses) that can be passed from pets to people and vice-versa, but the truth is, your kid is more likely to catch a sickness from exposure to people than from pets. And with the right kind of preparation, your dog will probably accept your family’s new addition.

How to introduce your dog to your new baby? For John, and anyone else in his shoes, here’s an important checklist, based on my experience and the research I did when we were getting ready for our first baby:

  • Training is the most important thing. Work with a professional trainer. You’ll find the basic commands, like “heel,” “sit,” “down,” “stay” and “come,” valuable in everyday situations with your baby. Manners, such as not jumping or nipping, will be the key to a happy household.
  • Make sure your pet is well socialized with other dogs and with children, too. If possible, introduce them to your friends’ babies.
  • Desensitize your dog to the kind of touching a toddler is likely to do, including tugging at the dog’s ears and tail.
  • Get your dog used to the sights, sounds and smells that will soon invade your home. Put a baby doll in the crib and pretend it’s the real thing. Apply any lotions or baby powder you’re planning to use and put a real diaper on the doll. Play a tape of a baby crying.
  • If you’re planning on keeping the dog out of the baby’s room, get a mesh gate to close off the doorway – that way, your dog can still see what’s going on.
  • As soon as possible after the new baby is born, bring a blanket home with the baby’s scent on it, and let your dog become familiar with the smell.
  • When the new baby comes home, make sure to give your pet some attention and a treat to let them know you still love them and that they haven’t been replaced.

I just want John and Marsha to know that there is hope. In our case, after our dog got used to the idea of the new baby, he became very protective and loving, sometimes acting like the baby’s third parent. And once the baby started eating in a high chair, messily slopping much of his food onto the floor, the two became friends for life.

Should I feed bones to my dog?

“Of course you need to feed bones to your dog,” says Steve, who works at my favorite pet-supply store. He seems to think I’m crazy for even asking the question. “I thought everyone knew that. Bones are crucial for your dog’s health.”

“Absolutely not!” says my wife’s Aunt Evelyn when the subject comes up at our annual family pot-luck. She’s has been breeding Standard Poodles since Ronald Reagan was President and knows for a fact that bone fragments are a choking hazard, not to mention the fact that dogs who swallow larger chunks of bone have to have painful, costly operations to remove them.

Hm, interesting. Later, I tell Steve about Evelyn’s advice. “She’s talking about bones that have been cooked. Raw bones are perfectly safe. I’ve been feeding them to my dogs for years,” he states.

Via e-mail, Evelyn says “Cooked, raw, it makes no difference. They can kill your dog. And by the way, tell your friend Steve that he’s an idiot.”

Are they nutritious? Are they deadly? I’m so confused! To settle the argument, I consult my veterinarian. The answers, I find, are far from black-and-white.

Yes, she explains, dogs do seem to get nutritional benefits from a diet that includes raw bones, especially compared with a diet of nothing but cheap, corn-based dog food.(Most of the dog food on the shelves at your local grocery store falls into this category.) That’s because domestic dogs, like their wild ancestors, are primarily carnivores. Though they can digest a variety of foods, their bodies were never designed to run on a diet of vegetables like corn.

On the other hand, my vet points out, the nutrition dogs get from bones does not come from the bone itself. It only comes from the meat, cartilage, fat and connective tissue that happens to be along for the ride. The scant amount of protein in the solid parts of the bone mainly exists in the form of collagen, which dogs are unable to digest.

But if you’re feeding your pet a quality, meat-based dog food (look for meat, such as chicken or lamb, as the first item in the ingredient list), they’ll get all the nutrition they need without having to scrounge for it by gnawing on bones.

Are there other benefits from chewing on bones? Well, yes. For wild dogs, the act of chomping on some poor animal’s femur helps to scrape plaque and tartar from the teeth—this is absolutely necessary when it comes to a long, healthy life. But many domestic dogs have their teeth professionally cleaned, and experts recommend that you brush their teeth on a regular basis to prevent the plaque that can lead to tartar build-up.

Next, I ask if bones are dangerous for dogs. My vet tells me that they can be. “Gnawing on bones can crack of the tips of the 4th premolars,” she notes. It’s something she sees fairly often in her practice. These cracks can lead to root infections and abscesses that require dental treatment.

Plus, dogs who ingest chips of bone occasionally experience severe constipation. The chips can also become wedged between teeth or stuck in the dog’s throat or intestinal tract, making for a very painful situation which may need medical treatment. The good news is that, if your dog has a Pets Best policy in force, the treatments will be covered, but that doesn’t mean the process will be enjoyable for your pet.

So what’s the answer? Are bones a nutritious necessity or a deadly menace? I guess what I discovered is that bones can be part of a healthy diet, but aren’t necessary for my dog’s health. And while they might be mildly dangerous, they aren’t deadly.

This is a lot to chew on, but ultimately the choice is up to you. Here at my house, we’ll keep feeding our dog a high-quality, meat-based diet. When he wants something to gnaw on, we’ll just throw him a rawhide bone. It’s safer, and he’ll be just as healthy. No bones about it.

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