5 Ways To Keep Pets Active This Winter

Mastiff wearing hat and sweater

 

Are your pets getting cabin fever? Here are 5 quick tips on how to keep you and your pets active this winter.

  1.  Hide and Seek

Beagle sticking nose out from bottom of couch

Position your dog in a different room in the house, preferably with a staircase or a couple rooms between you and them. Then call your pet to come and find you and reward him with a treat when he finds you. Each time your dog (or cat!) finds one family member, the other person changes location so your dog has to seek them out again.

 

  1. The Searching Game

Two beagles under bed with back end sticking out

Hide your pet’s favorite toys with treats inside or even just treats around the house and then prompt your dog to go search to find them.  Here is a short video on how to train your pet to search for treats. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSa3JMjq5EI )

 

  1. Teach Your Pet New Tricks

Collie dog "high fiving" a person's hand

Keeping pets mentally stimulated is very helpful in beating the winter doldrums. There are endless tricks and training sessions that you can do from home.  Start with simple tricks, such as “stay” or “shake,” then move on to more complicated tricks like “roll over” or “high five.”  Keep training sessions to about 15 minutes so it is fun for everyone. Teaching your pet new tricks helps encourage good behavior and helps you bond with your pet.

 

  1. Make Mealtime Fun

Blue food ball filled with food

Pets like to scavenge to look for their food. Try offering his meals in a feeding toy rather than just in a food bowl. They will not eat as quickly and it will help to keep them busy.

 

  1. Create an Indoor Agility Course

Basset jumping over bar

Build obstacles for your pet to navigate, like an agility course, with household items. You can use chairs as weave poles to navigate around, place a blanket over the tops of chairs to create a tunnel for your dog to run under, or a hula hoop in your hands for your pet to jump through.  Train your pet to run through the course with a hand target and use a lot of treats and praise as a reward. These obstacles encourage your pet to be more active and help you bond with your pet too.

We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic want to encourage healthy relationships between pets and their owners. Cold weather and short days make it easy for us and our pets to become a bit lazy in the wintertime. We hope these 5 tips help you and your pets stay busy this winter.

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

February Is Dental Month!

2 dogs sitting with toothbrush in mouth

February is dental health month, which means it’s time for your pet to open wide for a dental examination!  Just like in people, if plaque and tartar build up and are left untreated it can progress to painful periodontal disease.

Dupont Veterinary Clinic offers a discount for dental exams during the month of February to honor dental health month. Be sure to schedule your pet a dental exam soon because spaces do fill up quickly!

 

Signs of oral and dental disease in pets

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • Your pet avoiding having his or her mouth touched
  • Drooling or dropping food from the mouth
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight
  • This combination can be due to many different diseases and it is important to have an examination by a veterinarian right away.

 

Performing a feline dental procedure

Here are five tips on how to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy:

  1. Bad Breath

If you cannot stand your pet’s breath, do not ignore it! Bad breath in pets is a warning sign for periodontal disease. The tartar and bacteria that build up cause this foul odor and it is important to remove the bacteria sooner rather than later. The bacteria eat away at the gum line and work their way into the blood stream, showering your pet’s body with a lot of bacteria! Here is a before and after image of a pet with significant tartar and periodontal disease (notice the red and inflamed gum line at the base of the teeth on the before image).

Before and after photo of dog's teeth

  1. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

It may be difficult at first to start this routine, but with enough patience and tasty treats, you can gradually train your pet to accept the tooth brush and pet toothpaste. Start by letting your pet smell the toothbrush and the toothpaste, then gradually work your way to brushing for 30 seconds on each side of the mouth at least every other day.

Caution: Human toothpaste is not safe for pets! Be sure to use a pet approved product.

Demonstrating brushing teeth

  1. Consider Dental Toys, Treats, and Food

There are treats, toys, and food specifically designed to promote oral health; however, they are not as effective as brushing your pet’s teeth. Be sure to look for the Seal of Acceptance from the Veterinary Oral Health Council to make sure that the product meets the standards for effective plaque and tartar control.

Logo of VOHC - Veterinary Oral Health Council

Stop in to see your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to ask them about the prescription diet specifically designed to promote oral health.

Dog with toothbrush in mouth and T/D food

  1. Dental Exam

Pets need to have their teeth and gums checked regularly by a veterinarian, just like humans do. A cursory exam can be performed by your vet without sedation, but for a complete dental evaluation your pet will have to be placed under anesthesia. During the dental exam the veterinarian will check the head and neck for any abnormalities, look for any broken or cracked teeth, stage your pet’s dental disease (the severity of tartar, gum disease, redness and inflammation), and look for any other abnormalities in the oral cavity, such as cancerous lumps or bumps.

Photos and diagram of periodontal disease

  1. Don’t let Anesthesia Stop you From Getting a Dental Cleaning

Technician performing dental prophy

In order to perform a thorough examination of your pet’s teeth and gums, remove the plaque and tartar, and really clean your pet’s pearly whites, anesthesia is required. Placing your pet under anesthesia sounds scary, but in fact, the procedure has never been safer or more comfortable for your pet. Before the anesthesia even begins, we perform pre-screening blood tests to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for the procedure. There are numerous benefits of dental cleaning that outweigh the risks of anesthesia.

We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic will keep you informed throughout the procedure. There will be a meeting at the time of drop off with a veterinary technician; after the bloodwork is performed, if any health conditions are encountered, you will be contacted prior to anesthesia.  After your pet’s teeth are examined and cleaned you will again be contacted when your dog or cat has recovered from anesthesia.

We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic aim to provide the best possible care for your pet, which includes regular dental examination and cleaning. Contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding dental cleaning and to schedule your pet’s dental exam today!

By Ashley Dawes, DVM