Friday, April 25, 2008

Pet Advice Column for April

You love your pets and only want what is best for them. This monthly advice column is designed to give you advice on a variety of pet issues.

Is it really necessary to brush my dog’s teeth?

Yes, it is important to brush your dog’s teeth. A dog’s dental health can actually affect the health of your dog. If your dog’s teeth are not healthy, he will not be able to eat nutritious food. Obviously, not eating healthy will affect his health.

Plaque will begin to build up on a dog’s teeth. Plaque consists of a mixture of saliva, food particles and bacteria. Plaque begins to harden over time and change into tartar. If nothing is done to care for your dog’s teeth, tartar will spread to his gum’s which could result in gum infection. At this point, a tooth will loosen and eventually fall out. This is not a good thing to happen to dog.

Brushing a dog’s teeth is rather easy. There are actually special toothbrushes available for brushing your dog’s teeth. Brushing his teeth is the best way to prevent infections and tooth decay. However, for those dogs that simply refuse to let you brush their teeth, there are chews and special bones available that will rub on the sides of their teeth.
How can I get my dog to stop barking all of the time?

A dog who barks continuously can not only drive you crazy, but it is probably driving your neighbors crazy, too. It is quite normal for a dog to bark on occasion, but if he barks constantly, you need to determine what could be the cause of all of this “dog talk”!

Is your dog bored or lonely? If so, you could spend a little more time with him. Take him for a walk twice a day. If you have a park nearby, pull out your dog stroller and take him for long walk. Get him used to people. Some dogs simply just need to be around people.
Is your dog territorial? If so, you could teach your dog the quiet command. To do this, allow him to bark two or three times. Then you should say “quiet” and find a way to startle him to stop barking instantly. An example would be to squirt him with a squirt gun or shake something loud like a chain or glass full of money or candy. This is not to scare him, by any means. It is only intended to get his attention so that you can say “quiet” ‘good ________ (name)”, and give him a treat. If what you do to distract him scares him, you should find another way to get his attention.

Is your dog afraid of something? If he barks when he hears loud noises, such as the vacuum cleaner or thunderstorms, or he shows physical fear, such as his ears go back, his tail is low and his hair is sticking up, you should try to determine what it is that is bothering him. Once you determine what it is, you need to find ways to help him through his fear. If he is afraid of thunderstorms, you could try to drown out the thunder by leaving on the radio, television or a loud fan.

No matter what your issue is with your pet, your pet deserves your unconditional love, as your pet would love you. Spend time with your pet – play games, go for a walk, buy him fun toys, a special coat and give him his own bed to nap in after your special time together. Most of all have fun!

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