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Remember Your Pet’s Oral Health During National Pet Dental Health Month

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has chosen the month of February for its National Pet Dental Health Month campaign to promote awareness of the importance of taking care of your pet’s teeth. Unfortunately, many pet owners do not think about their pets’ dental health until they notice that their dog or cat has bad breath, which is a sign of teeth and gum problems. Taking good care of your pet’s dental health is essential because, just like us humans, tooth decay and gum disease can lead to problems in the overall health of your dog or cat. Not only should you brush your pet’s teeth at least a couple of times a week, but you should also schedule a veterinary cleaning once a year. This month is the perfect time to make this appointment, and you can count on our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital to properly clean your pets’ teeth and gums. We would like to tell you a bit more about the importance of good oral health habits for your pets.

What can I expect from a veterinary cleaning?Remember Your Pets Oral Health During National Pet Dental Month Image - Nashville TN - Five Points Animal Hospital

A dental cleaning appointment with our veterinarians will include cleaning, adjusting, filing, extracting, or repairing your dog or cat’s teeth. First, your pet will get an oral exam, and if we find problems, we can perform an x-ray to examine the condition of the jaw and the roots of the teeth below the gum line. This x-ray is important because most dental diseases are located in this area, which cannot be easily seen. In order to keep this area healthy, we will conduct a thorough dental cleaning that includes scaling to get rid of any plaque and tartar. In order to keep your pet comfortable while we are cleaning his teeth and gums, we use anesthesia during this procedure. While anesthesia can be risky, we take great care to ensure your pet’s safety. Our staff will discuss the effects of anesthesia with you before the cleaning, and we will be available to you if you notice any problems after taking your pet home after the procedure.

What are the signs of pet dental problems?

Of course, you should have your pet’s teeth cleaned once a year, but if you notice any of the following signs of dental problems, please contact our office as soon as possible. According to the AVMA, these signs include bad breath, broken or loose teeth, stained teeth, problems with chewing food, refusal to eat, bleeding in the mouth, and swelling in the mouth and surrounding areas.

What sort of dental health problems can my pet have?

Your pet can suffer from the same oral health issues as humans can. While pets do not seem to get as many cavities, they can develop abscesses and infections, cysts or tumors, misaligned teeth, defects of the palates, and periodontal disease.

Besides the annual veterinary cleanings, what else can I do to prevent pet oral health problems?

Frequently removing the plaque and tartar that builds up on your pet’s teeth is the most important preventive measure you can do at home. 5 Points Animal Hospital recommends that you brush your pet’s teeth every day, but we understand this is not always possible. Brushing your pet’s teeth several times a week can be just as helpful in preventing problems.

Keep your pet’s mouth healthy by scheduling a veterinary cleaning appointment this month. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for more details as well as suggestions for pet dental products and treats.

Dealing with Aggression in Dogs

Although your dog is as sweet as can be with you, there may be times when your pet shows too much aggression towards other dogs, cats, and people. Even though dogs have been domesticated for years, they are still animals with the “fight or flight” instinct when faced with a potential threat or danger. Any breed of dog can be aggressive, but, fortunately, the majority of this aggression can be both prevented and treated through behavior modification. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we feel that dog owners should know the signs of aggressive behavior as well as how to understand the different types of aggression, which can help you treat this behavior. We would like to talk a bit more about the different signs and types of aggression to help you get the best treatment that can prevent any aggressive behavior.

What are the signs of dog aggression?

Dealing with Aggression in dogs Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Of course, growling, snarling, baring teeth, and barking are obvious signs of aggressive behavior in dogs, but there are some other signals that can alert you. If you ever notice your dog suddenly becoming still and rigid, VetStreet says that this is a sign of aggression. Your dog may lunge at a target without making contact and punch the target with his or her nose. There is no set sequence of aggressive behaviors that they follow, but the previously mentioned actions should warn you before any biting occurs as dogs rarely bite without warning.

What are the different types of aggression?

Knowing what causes your dog to become aggressive is key for treating this behavior.

  • Dominance aggression – If your dog threatens or attacks people who try to correct his or her behavior, your dog’s aggression has to do with dominance.
  • Fear aggression – If your dog urinates or defecates during the aggressive behavior, he or she is most likely responding out of being afraid.
  • Maternal aggression – Mother dogs can become very aggressive if she feels someone is threatening her puppies.
  • Pain aggression – If your dog becomes aggressive when you try to touch him or her or pick him or her up, pain is generally the cause of this behavior.
  • Possessive aggression – This behavior occurs when your dog feels someone or another dog is trying to take away food or a toy.
  • Protective aggression – Even if a person or animal does not pose a threat to you, your dog may be aggressive when guarding you from this person or animal.
  • Territorial aggression – Similar to protective aggression, your dog could become aggressive towards people and other animals while protecting your house or yard.
  • Redirected aggression – If your dog cannot attack his or her intended target, he or she may take out the aggression on another target.

 

Early and frequent puppy socialization is the best way to prevent aggressive dog behavior. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital if you need recommendations for behavior modification treatment for your dog.

January Is National Train Your Dog Month

We begin each year with resolutions to make improvements in our life, and, very often, at least one of these resolutions has to do with our pets, including training your dog. Since so many families adopt or purchase a new puppy over the holidays, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) started a campaign to make the public aware of the importance of dog socialization and training and dedicated the month of January as National Train Your Dog Month in 2010. of At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we celebrate along with APDT, and as part of our commitment to this campaign, we wanted to tell you more about how important socialization is in the training process of your puppy.
January Is National Train Your Dog Month Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Socialization includes so much more than people and other animals.

When you think of dog socialization, you probably just think about getting your puppy together with the other members of your family, your friends, and other dogs and cats. However, socialization includes places, things, and activities. Your new puppy will be very curious and eager to explore the world. Whenever possible, you should bring your dog along when you to visit friends and family. If you have kids who play outdoor sports, bring the puppy with you to watch the games. You will also want to take advantage of nearby parks for walks with your dog. Your new pet will also take some time getting used to everything about your home. Certain appliances may startle your dog at first, but as your dog gets used to your family’s and home’s daily routines and habits, he will become more comfortable.

Socialization requires positive thinking.

In order to keep this process stress-free for you and your new dog, APDT has some tips for safe socialization.

A positive attitude equals fun for your puppy.

Allow your puppy to explore on his own. You can give your dog opportunities to take his time to approach new things.

Be respectful of your puppy. If your puppy seems afraid of something or is reluctant to do a certain thing, do not push or force him to do it. You can try to help your dog overcome his fear by laughing at the object or doing the action yourself.

Use common sense, but remember to stay positive. You want everything your new puppy experiences to be good and happy. If you think a person or experience may upset your dog, avoid these situations.

Studies have proven that well-socialized dogs are more secure and confident. To find out more information about getting started on training your new puppy, contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital. Take advantage of National Train Your Dog Month and start socializing and training your dog properly.

Learning How to Feed Your Puppy

Along with the excitement and joy of having a new puppy in your home, you will have the responsibility of taking care of your new pet. One of the most important things you will need to learn is how to properly feed your puppy. With all of the options available for puppy food, it can be a bit overwhelming to select the best food for your pet. You will also need to be sure you are feeding the puppy the right amount of food throughout the day. Providing your puppy with the best possible nutrition is essential to build strong teeth, bones, and muscle and to give your puppy the required energy for learning and playing. As your puppy gets older, he will need extra nutrients for growing. Learning how to feed your puppy can be challenging, but 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to answer some frequently asked questions to help you get your puppy into a healthy feeding routine.

Learning How to Feed Your Puppy Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

How do I choose the right food for my puppy?

Our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital is here to make recommendations for the best kind of puppy food. We know which puppy foods have the right ingredients to fit the nutrient needs of your pet. You can also look for the statement on the food packaging from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that says this food has met the AAFCO nutrient guidelines to provide balanced and complete nutrition.

How much food do I give my puppy and how often should I be feeding my puppy?

According to WebMD, from four to six months, puppies should be eating three times a day. After six months, two feedings a day should be sufficient. As for the amount, puppies grow quickly during their first five months and need twice the amount of calories per pound as adult dogs. To find out the recommended amount, check the label on your puppy food for the feeding chart, which will tell you how much to feed your puppy based on his age and weight.

How do I know I am feeding my puppy the right amount?

At 5 Points Animal Hospital, our vets use a body conditioning score to monitor weight. The range of scores is from one (emaciated) to five (obese), and puppies should be a two after eight to ten weeks. You can also check your puppy’s body condition by taking a look at your puppy and by feeling its ribs. When your puppy is a two, you may be able to see his ribs. You can easily see the top back bones. When you feel his ribs, you should not be able to feel any fat. When you look down at your puppy, you should see a waist, and when you look at your puppy from the side, an abdominal tuck should be visible. After your puppy reaches the age of five months, he should be looking lean after passing through the most rapid growth period.

What about puppy treats?

We know that you will want to treat your dog with extra goodies, but you should limit these treats. Puppies need food with a balanced and complete nutrition, and puppy treats usually do not provide this. Try to keep only five percent of your puppy’s calories from treats that are the right size for his breed.

5 Points Animal Hospital wants to help you give your puppy the best nutrition possible. Contact us if you have any questions about feeding your puppy.

Avoiding Cat Obesity

Even though the Internet is filled with memes featuring fat cats to be humorous, the reality of cat obesity is not very funny. The best way of preventing your cat from reaching the point of obesity is to keep up with the appropriate feeding schedule that is recommended for your cat. Our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital can tell you how often and how much to feed your pet, and this will depend on your cat’s age and activity level. By not allowing your cat to gain excess weight, you are avoiding the obesity problem because cats can have a hard time losing extra pounds. We would like to give you some tips from Doctors Foster and Smith about how to keep your cat at an ideal weight.

Avoiding Cat Obesity Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Have fun with your cat and play!

Playing with your cat with interactive toys is not only a lot of fun, but it is a perfect way to get your cat to exercise. Exercising daily has many benefits for cats. They burn calories, of course, but physical activity also provides a way to relieve boredom, release energy, and stay active mentally. Their respiratory and circulatory systems are strengthened, and it tones muscles, keeps joints flexible, and aids in digestion.

Feed your cat the best food and the right amount.

The age of a cat has the most influence on diet. When cats are young, they need more protein, energy, and minerals. Older cats do not need to eat as much, even if they remain active. Whether or not your cat lives indoors can also make a difference on how much your cat can eat. Outdoor cats need to eat more in cooler weather because they need more energy to keep warm. The best way to monitor how much your cat eats is to not leave food out all the time. Provide food as meals to keep up with the amount of food eaten.

Make a habit of checking your cat’s weight.

It can be challenging for you to know if your cat has gained several pounds without actually weighing him or her. Make a regular habit out of weighing your cat at the same time during the day, and use the same scale every time. You will be able to see any increases in weight, which you can stop early to prevent it from becoming a worse problem. Start this habit when your cat is young as younger cats that are overweight can easily become obese adults, if this weight gain is ignored.

Pay attention to the amount of treats you give your cat.

One of the biggest causes of cat obesity, treats have excessive calories and little nutritional value. Giving your cat too many treats can be dangerous and add unneeded extra weight to your cat. Keep an eye on how many treats you offer your cat everyday. Honestly, cats prefer your attention over a treat, so take some time to groom or play with your cat instead of always reaching for treats.

Concerned about how much weight your cat has gained? Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to find out the best food and feeding schedule to keep your cat from becoming obese.

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