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Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language

Many times you may wish your dog could talk so he could tell you exactly how he is feeling and what he needs from you. However, if you know how to read your dog’s body language, you may be able to get a deeper understanding of his feelings. 5 Points Animal Hospital wants you to know how to read your dog’s body language by sharing a few tips with you. Knowing what to look for can help you get to know your dog better.

Tail

You probably know that your dog wags his tail when he is happy and wants to play, but he uses his tail to express other emotions as well. If you ever see your dog tuck his tail between his legs, your dog is fearful of something painful that could happen to him. Another sign to look out for is when your dog holding his tail low and swaying it back and forth. You may want to go outside and play with him because this means he is feeling unsure. Having a bit of fun with you will be enough to get his tail wagging happily again.

Ears

When your dog holds his ears straight up or slightly forward, he is very alert to what is going on around him, according to WikiHow. This can be a great time to be curious with your dog and help him explore his surroundings. If you notice your dog’s ears lying flat against his head, this is another sign that your dog feels fearful and may need reassurance.

Mouth

If you have ever thought that your dog could be smiling at you, you were probably right as this means he is relaxed and happy. Your dog also uses his mouth to express anger. Be on the alert when you see your dog curl his lips, wrinkle his muzzle, and bear his teeth as this means he is ready to fight. You may notice your dog opening his mouth and baring his teeth around his food. He is protecting his territory when he does this. Your dog may also let you know that he wants you to tone the intensity level down if you see him tightly close his lips with his mouth pulled back.

Understanding your dog’s body language can strengthen the bond you share with him. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to learn more tips about how your dog expresses his feelings.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Your Outdoor Pets?

As colder weather is now approaching, you need to know how to keep your pets safe this winter, especially if they like to spend a lot of time outside. You may not realize how much your cat and/or dog is affected by the cold temperatures. Just because they have fur coats does not mean they are protected from freezing weather. So, exactly how cold is too cold for your outdoor pets? 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to tell you more about cold weather safety practices you should keep in mind this winter.

Bring your pets indoors when it drops below freezing.Too Cold for Your Outdoor Pets Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), you should keep your cats and dogs inside when the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them safe from frostbite and hypothermia. This includes long-haired breeds like huskies.

Provide shelter if your pet must be outside for a period of time.

Of course, it is not recommended to leave your pet outside in cold weather for a long period of time, but if your dog must be outdoors at all, be sure he has a sturdy and warm shelter that will protect him from the wind. It is important that the floor of this shelter to be off of the ground to minimize heat loss. Also, the door of the shelter should be positioned away from the direction of the wind. You can place thick, dry bedding inside the shelter, but make sure to change this regularly. Never use space heaters or heat lamps inside the shelter because of the risks of burns or fires.

Be alert to the signs of hypothermia and other cold weather ailments.

If you ever notice that your pet is shivering, whining, moving slowly, or seems weak and/or anxious, you should bring him inside as soon as possible as these are signs of hypothermia. When you suspect your pet has hypothermia, frostbite, or other type reaction to the cold weather, you should bring him into 5 Points Animal Hospital immediately.

Keep your pets safe and warm this winter. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to learn more cold weather safety practices for your cats and dogs.

Proper Dental Hygiene For Your Pets

In order to keep your teeth healthy, you need to go see your dentist twice a year. This is when your teeth are professionally cleaned and checked for any problems. However, did you realize you need to do the same thing for your pets? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), your veterinarian should check your pet’s teeth and gums at least once a year. Doing so keeps their mouth healthy. It additionally helps in looking for any early signs of problems. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, our staff can check out your cat or dog’s teeth and gums as part of a routine examination. We would like to tell you more about proper dental hygiene for your pets.

Dental Hygiene For Your Pets Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal HospitalWhat kinds of dental problems can my pet have?

You may think cavities are rare in cats and dogs. On the contrary, your pets can suffer from the same types of dental problems that you can. The most common ailment is periodontal disease, which affects the gums. By the time your cat or dog is three years old, it is likely that they will show signs of periodontal disease. This will worsen if left untreated. Advanced periodontal disease can result in extreme pain, as well as loose teeth for your pet.

Other dental problems your cat or dog may experience include:

  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors on the jaw
  • misalignment of the teeth and bite

What are the signs that I should bring my pet in for a professional dental exam?

Always schedule an annual dental exam for your dog or cat. This is especially true if you notice specific symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • discolored teeth
  • a reduction in appetite
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

What can I do at home to practice proper dental hygiene for my pets?

The single most effective thing you can do at home for your pet to prevent dental problems? Simply brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis to remove the tartar and plaque from them. Daily brushing is best. However, if this is not possible, it can still be effective to brush them three or four times a week. The AVMA recommends patience and training to help make regular teeth brushing a habit with your pets. Our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital is happy to show you the best practices to use when brushing your pet’s teeth.

Practicing proper dental hygiene for your pets is important to keep their mouths healthy and happy. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for our professional pet dental exam services!

Ticks: A Danger To Your Pet?

Does the thought of finding a tick on your precious pup causes you concern? If so, you may be right to be apprehensive. Why? Well, there is a possibility of a disease being transmitted from a tick bite! To avoid this possibility, the prevention of ticks and other parasites is key. This is especially true if your dog regularly walks in the woods or any area with tall grasses. Knowing how to keep ticks away from your dog, as well as how to safely remove them, is important. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to tell you more about the dangers of ticks to your dog. In addition, what you can do to protect your pet!

Ticks A Danger to Your Pet Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal HospitalCheck your dog for ticks as soon as you can to reduce the risk of dangers to my dog.

You may hear a lot about tick transmitting diseases. However, you should know that not every tick is carrying a disease, according to The Spruce. One can never know whether or not the tick who picked your dog as a host is passing along something that could make them very ill and uncomfortable. So, you should always be aware of the threat of ticks when your dog has been in the woods, tall grass, or any other area known for ticks.

Additionally, you should make sure to check your dog for signs of ticks as soon as possible! The greatest danger of ticks can be when one remains on your dog for several hours. By that amount of time, any disease present will have started transmitting to your dog. This is why it is so crucial to thoroughly check your dog as soon as you can after spending time in an area known for ticks.

Be alert to symptoms of tick-borne diseases in your dog.

Ticks can be so tiny and hard to find, especially if your dog has long fur. Does your dog spends a lot of time in tick-heavy areas? If so, you should be alert to symptoms like fever and lethargy. These can appear after hours, days, and months of your dog being bit by a disease-carrying tick. Other symptoms range from weakness to joint swelling. If you notice your dog having trouble walking, they could be suffering from tick paralysis. This is a temporary condition that tends to disappear once the tick has been removed.

Reduce the dangers of ticks to your dog! How? Checking their body for them as soon as you can; especially after being outside in an area known for these potentially disease-carrying parasites. Have questions about removing ticks or noticing any symptoms? Then contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for everything you need to know about ticks and your dog!

Introducing Your New Baby To Your Dog

With an endless list of things to do before their baby arrives, expectant parents often find it comforting to spend time with their pets. Although, during cuddle time on the couch with their dog, something happens. The realization of how this huge change in their household may affect them! This can lead to more anxiety for new parents. While cats seem to somewhat easily adjust to the addition of a baby, dogs can have problems getting used to the newest family member in the house.

Your New Baby To Your Dog Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal HospitalHowever, this process can go much more smoothly. How? By pet parents remembering a few steps to take before the baby is born. In addition, learn some tips to follow for when the baby comes home for the first time. 5 Points Animal Hospital has worked with many new parents on introducing their new baby to their dog. Therefore, we would like to share our recommendations.

Prepare your dog by teaching him new skills.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), it is important that your dog knows some basic skills. This includes how to follow commands – and how to behave politely. What if your dog cannot sit, stay, get down, or come when called? You will need to teach them these skills to ensure the safety of your baby. You never want your dog to jump on you when you are holding your baby, or to startle the baby by barking loudly.

Although it may sound harsh to first-time parents before the baby is born, the command “go away” can be a hard one for your dog to get used to. However, it is so necessary for the happiness and security of both your dog and your baby! Dogs do not always realize that they can move away if a baby crawling towards them makes them feel trapped and uncomfortable. That’s why teaching your dog to move to a favorite resting spot in another area or room is important. When you say “please go away,” it reduces their anxiety and need to react by growling or snapping at the baby.

Provide positive experiences with the baby for your dog from the very start.

When your newly expanded family comes home for the first time, you should ask your accompanying family and friends to go into the house first. This is so that your dog has time to express excitement at being around people. It allows you to calmly enter the house without alerting your dog to any worry you may have about him startling or disturbing the baby. Speak to your dog softly and gently. Also, have someone else be close by to give them treats for staying calm.

These tips should also be followed when you decide to let your dog check your baby out more carefully. When you allow your dog to take their first sniffs of the baby, you may feel more comfortable by directing him to start at your baby’s feet. Staying friendly and relaxed during this first encounter can set the stage for a happy relationship between your dog and baby!

Are you nervous about introducing your dog to your new baby? Teaching your dog some important skills can help you remain calm and relaxed when you bring your baby home for the first time. If you have any questions or concerns about this topic, contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for more helpful tips!

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