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Proper Pet Dental Hygiene

As much as you love your dog, sometimes his breath can be bad enough to keep him at arm’s length (or even further). Although this can mean it is time to brush your dog’s teeth, extremely bad breath can also be a sign of gum disease. Just as it can in humans, according to Vet Street, gum disease can lead to serious health issues for your pet, including tooth loss and organ damage.

Since your pets cannot brush their own teeth, it is important to know the guidelines for proper pet dental hygiene to keep their mouths healthy. 5 Points Animal Hospital not only provides professional pet dental hygiene services, but we also can help you with learning how to properly take care of your pets’ teeth and gums. We would like to share with you a few tips on practicing proper pet hygiene.

Have your pets’ teeth professionally cleaned by a veterinarian at least twice a year.

Because of the dangers of gum disease, you should bring your pets into 5 Points Animal Hospital at least twice a year to have their teeth cleaned. According to Vet Street, at least 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats over the age of three will have some sort of significant dental issue that requires treatment. You can avoid this health issue by keeping up with regular professional teeth cleanings.

Brush your pet’s teeth every day.

Another important thing you can do to promote good pet dental hygiene is to brush your pet’s teeth daily. Although this may sound challenging, it is completely doable if you have the right tools. You will need either a soft-bristled or a finger toothbrush for pets as well as a toothpaste that is especially made for pets. Our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital is happy to show you the best way to do this task, if you need assistance. The best advice for brushing your pet’s teeth is to be patient as it may take some time for your cat or dog to get used to this important part of proper pet dental hygiene.

Provide the right chew toys.

If you want to help your pet keep a healthy mouth, you can give him chew toys that can actually help keep his teeth clean. Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal when shopping for chew toys. Additionally, you should avoid giving your pet treats that can harm his teeth, such as pig’s ears, cow hooves, and real bones of any sort. Tennis balls can also be abrasive to dogs’ teeth, so keep that in mind when selecting a fetch toy.

Following these three steps can help your pet have a healthy mouth and avoid gum disease. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital today to schedule an appointment to have your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned.

Safe Treats for Your Pets’ Stockings

Since many pet owners consider their dogs and cats to be an important part of their families, it is only natural to include them in holiday celebrations with family and friends. Hanging stockings for pets is a very popular way to give them some holiday fun, and this can also be a great distraction for curious dogs and cats as your family is opening presents on Christmas morning. To keep your pets healthy and happy, it is important to know how to choose stocking stuffers wisely. 5 Points Animal Hospital wants you and your family to have the best holiday season ever this year, which is why we would like to share with you some suggestions for safe treats to put in your pets’ stockings.

Homemade Dog Treats

If you love baking Christmas cookies every year, why not make a few healthy treats for your dog as well? If you are not sure how to make homemade dog treats, you do not have to look very far to learn more about it. According to Healthy Paws, you can find tons of recipes for dog treats online with many different types of main ingredients, including peanut butter, pumpkin, oats, and bacon. You can even find recipes for homemade doggie breath mints.

To-Go Water Bowl

A must for active dog owners, a to-go water bowl snaps onto your dog’s leash or your belt loop to easily keep him hydrated when you go for long walks. This essential stocking stuffer can be found in every imaginable color, and many of these bowls are BPA-free. You will want to look for a bowl with a screw-on lid that will keep the water from spilling during your adventurous outings with your dog.

Fun Toys for Cats and Dogs

One of the favorite playtime activities of cats is chasing and pouncing on whatever they can find. A top choice of cat health experts, a feather dangler is guaranteed to make even the most particular cats happy. With an arrangement of feathers dangling from a stick, this festive toy might bring out your cat’s tiger instinct. This toy can be found in countless color and style varieties to entice your cat. If you are looking for dog toys, consider an organic rope toy. Dogs love to chew on this type of toy; however, not every chew toy is a safe choice. You can feel confident about your dog’s safety when you stuff his stocking with an organic rope toy since it is made from the safest materials that will not harm your dog as he happily chews on it for hours at a time.

5 Points Animal Hospital would like to wish you and your pets a very happy holidays. For more of our recommendations for safe treats for your pets’ stockings, contact us to learn more about the best stocking stuffers for your cats and dogs.

Think Twice Before Giving Your Dog Table Scraps

There may not be a smell more enjoyable to your dog than dinner cooking, and many dogs will run into the kitchen in hopes of eating the food that you are preparing. You may be familiar with your dog watching your every move from the beginning of your dinner preparation to the moment when you serve it to your family at the table. While his sweet eyes may tempt you to give him a sample, you should think twice before indulging him. The digestive system of dogs is quite different from that of humans, which is why feeding your dog table scraps can lead to stomach distress. Certain foods can lead to very serious issues, including death. 5 Points Animal Hospital wants your dog to live a long and healthy life, so we would like to share with you some of the reasons why you should consider feeding him a healthy diet that does not include table scraps.

Why are table scraps so harmful to dogs?

According to Senior Dog Lovers, the fat content in many human foods is much higher than your dog’s digestive system is able to handle. When your dog eats too much fat, it slows down his digestion process. This can make your dog lethargic and unwilling to move around. I can also lead to weight problems that can negatively affect his health. Eating table scraps can also cause digestive distress such as constipation or diarrhea. Another concern involves the possibility of choking, especially if you give your dog leftover bones. Chicken bones can be particularly dangerous since they become brittle when cooked and can splinter in your dog’s throat, stomach, and intestines.

Which foods are toxic to dogs?

A very serious concern regarding feeding your dog table scraps has to do with certain foods being deadly when ingested by him. You should never feed your dog grapes, raisins, peaches, persimmons, plums, onions, garlic, chocolate, corn on the cob, or macadamia nuts as these can be poisonous to canines. You should also refrain from ever giving your dog any foods with high-fat content to avoid severe gastric distress.

What type of diet should I feed my dog?

5 Points Animal Hospital recommends that you provide your dog with a well-balanced diet that has been specifically prepared for dogs. There is a wide variety of healthy brands of dog food available, but it is helpful to know exactly what to look for when choosing a type of food. You want to find a diet that is higher in natural fats and meat-based proteins from a named animal source and lower in carbohydrates. The food should also provide the essential vitamins and minerals and be free of preservatives and artificial flavors and colorings.

If you are unsure of the best diet for your dog, 5 Points Animal Hospital can give you suggestions of the right type of food for his particular health condition. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a nutritional consultation with our professional veterinary staff that will keep your dog healthy and happy.

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.

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.

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