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12 Tactics to Help Your Pet Have a Fear-Free Veterinary Visit

By Hannah Feinsilber
Intern at Atlantic Veterinary Hospital

It’s not a surprise that some dogs and cats dislike vet visits. The different sounds and smells, as well as getting poked and prodded, can upset their routine of playing, sleeping, and eating.

12 Tactics to Help Your Pet Have a Fear-Free Veterinary Visit | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Our Pets Are Just Like Us

The way some humans think about dental visits – or even yearly doctor check-ups – is similar to the way some pets think about vet visits: uncomfortable, stressful, but unquestionably necessary. Pet owners know that annual checkups and vaccinations are crucial to their pet’s long-term health, yet some dread the anxiety-laden trip that comes with it.

According to The American Veterinary Medical Association:

“Thirty-eight percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are fearful of vet visits, even more fearful than kids are of going to the dentist. Even 38 percent of cat owners and 26 percent of dog owners are stressed just thinking about it.”

Twenty-eight percent of cat owners and 22 percent of dog owners would visit the veterinarian more frequently if it wasn’t so stressful for the owner and/or the pet.

Fear Free Takes the “Pet” Out of “Petrified”

Fear Free is an organization that helps alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. Fear Free provides online and in-person education to pet owners, veterinary professionals, and the pet professional community. There is so much YOU can do to help your pet(s) have the safest and most productive vet visit EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Why You Should Care

Veterinarians and pet owners take the physical health of pets very seriously, yet the pet’s mental health is sometimes overlooked. Reducing anxiety, stress, and fear in cats and dogs will significantly reduce their sensitivity to pain, and create a safer and more productive visit for everyone involved.

Fear vs. Anxiety

Fear and anxiety are two different problems, and can be often reduced in quick and easy ways. Fear is the instinctual feeling of apprehension resulting from a situation, person, or object presenting an external threat – whether real or perceived. Anxiety is the anticipation of future dangers from unknown or imagined origins that result in physiologic reactions.

Be Educated in Fear Free Practices

In order to provide pets with long, happy, healthy lives, regular visits to your veterinarian for both preventive and acute care are crucial. By becoming educated in Fear Free techniques, you can help to brighten and enrich your pet’s life to the fullest.

Veterinary visits are a crucial part of Fear Free Happy Homes. Reducing the anxiety, fear, stress, and pain sensitivity for the pets we care about will create a more productive and safe environment for everybody involved – pets, pet owners, and veterinary professionals.

Here are 12 easy steps you can take that will make a huge difference in the long-term health of your pet:

For Cats

12 Tactics to Help Your Pet Have a Fear-Free Veterinary Visit | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Be Prepared

Do not wait until the day of or the day before to prepare for your cat’s visit.

After working on creating positive associations with various predictable aspects of the vet visit, like getting in the crate, riding in the car, and being handled by new people, if your cat still seems anxious about the visit, talk to your vet about other methods for soothing them.

For example, pheromones, supplements, or medications may help to manage your cat’s fear, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, before you take your cat to the vet, work with your veterinary team to discuss your cat’s emotional health during their visit, and patterns you have observed at home. Little changes, such as waiting in your temperature-controlled car until an exam room is ready, can make a huge impact on your cat’s mental health and reduce their anxiety and stress levels.

Create a Safe Carrier

Get your cat accustomed to being comfortable in her carrier.

If the only time your cat gets in her carrier is when going to the vet, chances are she will fear and reject it. Instead, try creating a link between the carrier and safe and happy feelings by incorporating her carrier into her daily life.

Use the carrier as a place for your cat to sleep or eat, as well as rewarding her with treats once inside.

Additionally, try leaving her carrier open throughout the day, incorporating it into playtime with feline friends.

Provide a Comfortable and Safe Car Ride

Try spraying Feliway® (a pheromone that has a calming effect on cats) in your car’s interior 30-60 minutes before you will leave for the vet visit. This spray will reduce your cat’s anxiety and stress, making kitty more calm once he heads in for his appointment.

During the drive, try to avoid sudden braking, stopping, acceleration, or sharp and fast turns.

Tuning the radio to a soothing channel like classical music can also calm your cat, causing a more relaxed visit.

Finally, once you arrive at the vet, make sure you have brought a blanket or large towel to cover the carrier to reduce visual stimulation of seeing other pets.

Manage the Waiting Room

Some veterinary waiting rooms can be a scary place for your cat, especially when shared with other anxious, loud, and unhappy pets who aren’t thrilled to be there either. In an ideal world, your cat should be able to be moved to the exam room right upon arrival; ask the front desk whether this is possible.

To make the waiting room experience more tolerable, try positioning the carrier so that it faces the back of a wall, chair, or couch.

Additionally, cover the carrier with a towel and stay with your kitty – reassure by talking to them and letting them smell your fingers. If possible, seek out a place to sit that is animal-free.

Timing is also very important, too. Be on time. Do not arrive too early, and do not arrive late. Waiting a long time for the vet can cause a buildup of stress, anxiety, and fear that will not make the vet visit as easy and productive as it could be.

Consider Anti-Anxiety Medications

If your cat still has an anxious mind, your vet can prescribe or suggest prescription medication or over-the-counter remedies that can help take the edge off during the vet visit. Talk to your vet for specific recommendations.

Implement Regular “Happy Visits”

Cat’s visits to the vet shouldn’t just be limited to when they are hurt, sick, or need vaccinations.

The more familiar they become with the environment of the vet, the more comfortable they will feel going to the vet.

Even just popping in occasionally for a reward of treats and a friendly hello from the veterinary staff can make your cat feel more safe and relaxed at the vet.

For Dogs:

12 Tactics to Help Your Pet Have a Fear-Free Veterinary Visit | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Bring Toys

Does your dog get stressed out by unfamiliar or presumed unsafe environments? Like the cartoon character Linus’s famous blanket, some dogs benefit from bringing their favorite toy to provide a familiar scent and a dose of comfort at the vet’s office.

Implement “Happy Visits”
Taking your dog to the vet clinic even if they do not have a scheduled appointment can make them less fearful, stressed, and more comfortable with the veterinary environment. Many veterinary clinics encourage “happy visits” where the staff will pet your dog and feed him treats. As a result, this can make your dog feel more relaxed at their vet visits.

Arrive Hungry

You may be thinking, “Why would I ever want my dog to be hungry?” Arriving at the vet visit with a hungry dog can encourage them to take treats for good behavior, which has been scientifically shown to decrease anxiety, fear, and stress.

Bring their favorite treats from home if you are not sure if they are going to like the vet treats.

Take Joy Rides

Does your dog associate car rides with going to the vet? If yes, after they are finished with their visit, take your dog on a car ride that ends with a treat or a stroll in the park. As a result, your dog will not associate the car with only vet appointments.

Medications from your vet to treat car-sickness for your pet is also a great option, and is highly advised if applicable. Additionally, it is unsafe for your dog to be in the front seat of the car due to possible inflation of airbags, so put them in the back for optimal safety.

Create a Safe Crate

Crates can be a scary place for some dogs, increasing their anxiety, stress, and fear levels when placed inside of it before the appointment. Try to avoid taking out the crate only when going to the vet. Alternatively, at home, leave it out as a safe place for your dog to sleep or eat in, instead of an unsafe/negative environment.

Most veterinarians recommend crate training when your dog is a puppy as well to make this process easier. As a result, your dog will hopefully go inside when you need them to, will not associate the crate with only going to the vet, and will feel safe and secure.

Make a Difference

Reading body language for detailed cues, playing specific music, and providing short-acting anti-anxiety medication are just three examples of the many ways to reduce anxiety, stress, and fear in the pets we love.

The emotional and physical health of the ones we care the most about is the #1 priority, and each of us can play a vital role in in helping vet visits become Fear Free.

Why Indoor Pets Should Be Vaccinated for Rabies

All mammals, including bats and humans, can contract rabies through a bite or contact with saliva from a rabies-infected animal (alive or dead). Unfortunately, bat bites in humans can be tiny and often go undetected.

Bat Facts

According to the Washington State Department of Health, the incidence of rabies in wild bats in Washington is estimated to be 1%.

However, the incidence of rabies in bats found indoors and submitted for testing is as high as 10%.

While rabid raccoons, skunks, foxes or coyotes have not been identified in Washington, the virus can be transmitted from bats to these mammals. In the past 20 years, two humans and several domestic animals have died of rabies in Washington.

Bats are a tremendously important part of our ecosystem and found on every continent except Antarctica. Thanks to flight, they are one of the most widely disseminated groups of animals in the world.

There are more than 1000 different species of bats throughout the world, ranging in wing span from 5 inches to 5 feet. Many species of bats help control noxious insects, like mosquitoes and insects that damage food crops. Other species are important to fruit pollination.

How Bats Enter Homes

Washington bats, for the most part, are quite small, and can squeeze through an opening as small as 1-inch by 5/8-inches, according to information found on Bats Northwest. Attics and walls provide good roost sites and bats often enter homes where the sides of a house meet the roof or chimney.

“Cats are especially susceptible because they are natural hunters of flying creatures and often catch bats. The bat’s only defense is to bite.”

“It is very important to have your pets vaccinated against this disease, even if they are ‘indoor’ pets. Bats sometimes find their way into houses and an unvaccinated pet that is exposed may have to spend months in quarantine or be euthanized,” the website states.

Beware the ‘Winged Mouse’

Even the sleepiest house cat cannot ignore the Call of the Wild when a “winged mouse” is flapping around the house, looking for a way out. If you find a bat inside your home or outside on the ground, don’t touch it with bare hands or release it outside. Trap the bat under a container and contact your county health department to have the bat tested for rabies.

If a bat is found in the house while you’re sleeping but escapes before you can trap it, health officials often recommend rabies prophylaxis for people and pets in the household to safeguard against a potentially unknown bite.

State Rule Requires Rabies Vaccine

Since 2012, rabies vaccines have been mandatory for all cats, dogs, and ferrets living in Washington State.

We typically recommend puppies and kittens receive their first rabies vaccine at 16 weeks of age. A booster vaccine should be administered one year later, and then every 3 years for dogs and annually for cats (who receive the gentler modified live rabies vaccine).

To schedule a rabies vaccination for your cat, call Atlantic Veterinary Hospital at 206.323.4433 or e-mail us.

Access Your Pet’s Medical Records 24/7 on Your Phone or Computer

Access to your pet’s medical records can be a lifesaver in case of an after-hours emergency or when traveling.

With your complimentary subscription to Petly, you can access your pet’s exam summaries, discharge instructions, laboratory results, and X-rays, 24/7.

Petly also allows you to:

  • review your pet’s vaccine and preventive health recommendations
  • request appointments, boarding reservations, and prescription refills
  • receive important medical alerts and hospital news
  • communicate with your pet’s doctor
  • update your personal contact information

Petly includes other features, including a library of reliable information on a wide range of pet health topics. We provide this service FREE to all Atlantic Veterinary Hospital clients with active email addresses.

Learn how to access your pet’s medical records.

4 Remedies for Hairballs in Cats

Did you know that cats spend up to a quarter of their day grooming themselves?

4 Remedies for Hairballs in Cats | atlanticvetseattle.com

Their rough tongues catch loose hair, which is swallowed and usually passes unnoticed through their GI tract. When a larger amount of hair has accumulated in the stomach, however, cats have a unique talent of vomiting up a trichobezoar, or “hairball” (although it’s hardly shaped like a ball).

This is protective measure that usually works just fine to rid the cat of excessive hair in its stomach. Occasionally, the trichobezoar grows so large it cannot pass out of the stomach or blocks the intestinal tract, requiring emergency surgery to remove it. Fortunately, these occurrences are rare.

Other times, cats are vomiting hairballs more frequently than normal, indicating some other underlying medical problem that needs to be addressed (besides having the carpet cleaners on speed dial).

Cats that vomit hairballs more than once a month (except in May and June, perhaps twice a month), may be grooming excessively. Or, the frequent hairballs may be a result of inflammatory bowel disease, food sensitivity, or an intestinal motility problem. It’s time to give us a call and schedule an appointment.

4 Common Remedies for Hairballs

Here are four ways to remedy hairballs.

1. Hairball diets

Over the past 15 years, “hairball diets” and “hairball treats” have become common place in the world of cat food. These diets and treats are usually higher in fiber and are thought to help cats pass swallowed hair in their stool. Whether they actually work as advertised seems to vary amongst cats.

2. Hairball Laxatives

Another common remedy is hairball laxatives, typically petrolatum-based (think Vaseline) or oil-based, that is also meant to help a cat pass swallowed hair in their stool. We suggest the oil-based hairball laxatives, but only once a week (not daily). Oil-based hairball laxatives can be harder to find than the petrolatum-based products.

3. Regular Grooming with a Cat Comb

The very best remedy for hairballs (not caused by an underlying medical problem) is regular grooming. During May and June, “regular” can mean twice a day.

Our favorite grooming tool is a nylon comb from the drugstore, or you can purchase a cat comb from a pet store. Nylon combs are inexpensive, their teeth are rarely sharp, and they can be tossed in the dishwasher to clean.

Try dipping the comb in a tumbler of water, tap it on the edge of the glass to remove most of the water, then comb your kitty in the direction the hair grows.

Most, but not all, cats enjoy grooming if it doesn’t hurt. It’s a social thing cats do for each other when they like each other. The damp comb helps pick up more hair, keeps it from flying around your home, cleans the kitty, and prevents static electricity so you don’t “zap” your cat (who would no longer find grooming much fun after that!).

It’s best to start regular grooming as a kitten so your cat, however, even many adult cats like it if you’re gentle.

4. Lion Cuts

Some extra furry kitties come see us for a lion cut because their heavy coats cause them to shed A LOT.

Our nurses love doing lion cuts, and most extra furry cats like them too (however, occasionally we have to provide light sedation to accomplish the task).

Lion cuts involve clipping the fur on the trunk, but leaving the fur on the “ruff” (neck), head, legs, and tail, thus making the cat look like an adult male lion. Older cats usually act pretty kittenish after a lion cut.

Is My Cat a Senior? How to Care for an Aging Cat

When is a cat considered a senior?

According to Pet Health Network’s feline age chart, a 4-year-old cat is considered to be equivalent to a 26-year-old human being. The process slows down after that.

Beginning at around age 9, a cat reaches senior status (the presumed equivalent of a 52-year-old human). At age 14, a cat is considered to be geriatric.

How to determine whether your cat is a senior | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

As cats age, they’re prone to some of the same conditions aging humans face:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Organ failure
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis and cognitive disorders

At Atlantic Veterinary Hospital, we offer Adult Pet Wellness Plans. These include yearly or senior wellness checkups, vaccinations, intestinal parasite screening, and routine wellness laboratory screenings at a significant discount to you.

How to determine whether your cat is a senior | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

For your senior cat, we recommend:

  • Twice yearly thorough physical exam, including oral health and mobility assessments
  • Intestinal parasite screening, at least once a year
  • Vaccines tailored to your pet’s lifestyle, health & environment
  • Comprehensive parasite preventive (internal & external)
  • Blood pressure screening and senior laboratory assessment

Give Atlantic Veterinary Hospital a call to schedule a wellness exam for your senior cat: 206-323-4433

Acupuncture: This Ancient Healing Art Helps Pets, Too!

An ancient healing art developed in China more than 4,000 years ago, acupuncture is a therapeutic technique that enhances a body’s natural healing abilities.

Acupuncture: This Ancient Healing Art Helps Pets, Too! | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Dr. Munroe uses acupuncture to treat a dog.

What is Animal Acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves inserting very fine, sterile needles into specific points mapped over the body. The needles stimulate circulation, stimulate the release of hormones, and help restore the body’s natural balance.

Dr. Tricia Munroe | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Dr. Tricia Munroe, cVMA, CCRT, completed her training and certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2015.

Animal acupuncture should only be performed by a trained and certified veterinary acupuncturist. Dr. Tricia Munroe, cVMA, CCRT, completed her training and certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2015 and has been using the technique to provide our patients with an additional therapy option.

Conditions that Acupuncture Can Improve

More and more pet owners are trying acupuncture for their furry family members. Pain management is one of the most common uses for acupuncture, often in conjunction with a more traditional treatment plan.

Several common conditions effecting animals can improve with the addition of acupuncture treatment, including:

  • arthritis and back pain
  • immune disorders
  • decreased appetite
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • skin conditions
  • intestinal problems (diarrhea and constipation)
  • metabolic problems (liver and kidney disease)
  • anxiety
  • urinary incontinence

During Therapy…

Pets typically relax and enjoy acupuncture therapy. The tiny pinch caused by the needle insertion is very tolerable and often unnoticed. Many pets relax and fall asleep while they wait the 15-30 minutes before the needles are removed.

Acupuncture: This Ancient Healing Art Helps Pets, Too! | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Dr. Munroe uses acupuncture to treat a dog.

Initially, Dr. Munroe recommends acupuncture on a weekly basis, but as a pet’s condition improves, treatment sessions are often changed to a monthly or as needed basis.

About Veterinary Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the safest medical therapies, using no chemicals or medications. Veterinary acupuncture was approved as an alternative therapy by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1988. A new development in animal acupuncture is the use of therapeutic lasers instead of needles.

Weight Loss Tips for Dogs and Cats

Many of us make resolutions that pertain to decreasing the size of our waistline.

Sadly, many pets need their owners to make – and keep – resolutions pertaining to their waistlines too. Obesity rates in pets are increasing and now parallel the growing number American adults with a weight problem.

Weight Loss Tips for Dogs and Cats | atlanticvetseattle.com

Fifty-five percent of dogs and 59.5 percent of cats are overweight or obese, according to reports from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).

Fat Cats

Fat is a biologically active tissue, and excess fat tissue can wreak havoc on a pet’s metabolism. Cats with excessive body weight are at significantly higher risk for developing insulin-dependent diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.

Plump Pups

Overweight and obese dogs also have increased risk of arthritis, diabetes, heat exhaustion, and cancer. Obese animals also have increased anesthetic risk should they require surgery.

Weight Loss Tips for Dogs and Cats | atlanticvetseattle.com

Weight Loss Tips for Pets

Losing weight involves strategically and carefully decreasing calories (while preserving critical nutrients) and gradually increasing exercise. Sound familiar? Yes, we humans go through the same process to lose weight!

Please consult us before starting your pet on a diet. We will help you determine the proper number of calories, the type of diet, and the amount of exercise your pet needs each day, based on several factors:

  • your pet’s weight and metabolism
  • whether your pet is spayed or neutered
  • your pet’s age
  • typical daily activity your pet currently gets
  • whether your pet is indoors or outdoors, or both

Measure & Track

Once you know how many calories per day your pet should be eating, you’ll want to measure and track how much you feed your pet. Studies show that feeding even 10 extra tiny kibbles per day can add up to a pound of weight gain per year in small dogs and indoor cats!

Avoid Sugary Treats

Cut back on the treats, please! You don’t want to sabotage your efforts to help your pet lose weight by “rewarding” him with sugar- and fat-laden treats. As little as 30 extra calories per day can result in a weight gain of more than three pounds a year (kind of like humans gain weight when we inhale high-calorie drinks, donuts, and snack crackers).

When you give your pet a treat, look for healthful low-calorie, no-sugar goodies. Some treats offer the added bonus of helping keep your pet’s teeth clean. Ask us to recommend healthy goodies.

Monitor Serving Size

Break those treats into teeny-tiny pieces. Your pet can’t do math — she won’t realize that you’re rewarding her with half a treat!

Healthier Options than Store-Bought Treats

  • Dogs: small slices of apple, banana, baby carrots, broccoli, green beans
  • Cats: a flake of tuna or salmon
How to Take Advantage of Our 'Green' Discount | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Exercise With Your Pet Every Day

Of course, daily exercise is a must. Exercise helps regulate weight and behavior, boosts your pet’s immune function, and improves cardiovascular health.

Take your dog on a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes.

Actively play with your cat for 5 to 15 minutes per day, using a cat toy, remote-controlled battery mice, practice golf balls (the ones with holes in them), or a wad of paper.

The health benefits of exercising with your pet will rub off on both of you!

Ask for Help

At Atlantic Veterinary Hospital, we have an arsenal of creative and time-proven strategies that may be helpful in your efforts to improve your pet’s weight, including what to do if some members of your family have a hard time accepting or adhering to a pet’s new health régime.

Please call us at 206-323-4433 for an appointment if you’d like to discuss your pet’s weight and set up an exercise plan.

Here’s to the health of you and your family, both human and furry.

Diabetes in Dogs and Cats: What You Need to Know

We usually think of diabetes as a human disease. But it’s becoming more prevalent in dogs and cats.

Diabetes in Dogs and Cats: What Pet Owners Need to Know | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes in dogs is usually classified as Type 1, where the body is not producing enough insulin, a hormone crucial to metabolism. Untreated, diabetes mellitus (DM) can be fatal.

Female dogs are twice as likely to develop DM than male dogs, as are older dogs, aged 7-9. Certain breeds are more predisposed to DM, including:

  • Australian terrier
  • Beagle
  • Bichon Frise
  • Cairn terrier
  • dachshund
  • Keeshond
  • miniature pinscher
  • poodle
  • Samoyed
  • Schnauzer

Diabetes in Cats

One in every 200 cats may be affected by DM. More male cats have DM, as well as cats aged 8-13 and Siamese cats.

Diabetes in Dogs and Cats: What Pet Owners Need to Know | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs and Cats

  • Always thirsty
  • Always hungry
  • Urinates frequently, or urinates in the house/outside of litter box
  • Good appetite and possibly overweight, yet continually loses weight (particularly over the back)
  • Cloudy eyes (dogs only)
  • Dry or dull coat
  • Poor skin condition (such as excessive dandruff)
  • Blindness
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy

Treatment

Dogs and cats with diabetes usually require life-long insulin injections, careful bloodwork monitoring, and frequent re-evaluation.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth (Video)

We humans brush and floss our teeth daily (hopefully!). Brushing your dog’s teeth every day will help keep his smile healthy.How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth | atlanticvetseattle.com

Acclimate your dog to the tooth-brushing process when he’s a puppy, if possible, so he becomes comfortable with you looking at his teeth, opening his mouth, and smelling his breath.

Establishing a “normal” baseline is important, because it’ll help you recognize changes, such as reddened or puffy gums, cracked or broken teeth, growths, swellings, discharges from the teeth and gums, or a change in breath. (If you notice any changes, schedule an appointment with us so we can do a thorough exam.)

Here’s a 7-step process  to help your dog get used to having his teeth brushed:

Step 1:

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth | atlanticvetseattle.com

First, you’ll want to get your dog used to having your hands near his mouth. For a few days, gently run your fingers around his lips and the outside of his mouth (muzzle) until he gets comfortable with you touching around his mouth (praise your dog and reward him with a treat).

Step 2:

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth | atlanticvetseattle.com

Once he’s comfortable with that, gently lift his lips and run your fingers along his teeth and gums for a few days.

Step 3:

Find out which pet-approved toothpaste your dog likes. Don’t use human toothpaste, which usually contains fluoride, a substance that can be toxic if swallowed (and dogs can’t spit in the sink, nor do they rinse their mouths after brushing). Some toothpastes for humans contain a sweetener called xylatol, which can be deadly for dogs.

Get a couple of enticing-to-dogs flavors such as beef and poultry. Let your dog taste-test the toothpaste. Put a pea-sized dab of toothpaste on your clean finger, and allow your dog to lick it off your finger. If he likes the flavor, the tooth-brushing experience will be more pleasant for both of you.

Step 4:

Using a veterinarian-approved toothbrush that’s the correct size for your dog’s mouth, add a dab of toothpaste to the brush and gently brush his front teeth and the adjacent gum line for a couple of seconds, using a small circular motion. Do this for a few days to help your dog get used to the tooth-brushing experience.

Step 5:

Over the course of several days, slowly work your way to the back of the mouth, brushing on the outside of the teeth. Ninety-six percent of tartar is on the outside of a dog’s teeth, so don’t worry about brushing the inside of your dog’s teeth; his tongue will keep the inside of the teeth fairly clean.

Step 6:

Gradually work up to brushing both sides of your dog’s mouth for 30 seconds per day.

Step 7:

After every session, lavishly praise your dog and reward him with a crunchy veggie treat.

Monthly and Yearly Checks

Once a month, do a thorough check inside your dog’s mouth to see whether you notice any unusual changes.

Once a year, schedule an oral health exam. Every 1-3 years (depending on your veterinarian’s recommendation), schedule a professional dental cleaning.

Wellness Plans Make Routine Dental Healthcare Affordable

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital’s Wellness Plans are a program we designed to save you money on important preventive healthcare services for your furry family members.

Each Wellness Plan provides all essential preventive healthcare services we recommend for one year, plus discounts on any additional care your pet may need. Some of our plans include additional services like a professional dental cleaning and full-mouth digital dental radiographs.

Wellness Plan costs have some built-in discounts and spread the cost of care over 12 months with zero interest, allowing you to budget for your pet’s care. If you’d like to learn more about our affordable wellness plans, give us a call at 206-323-4433.

Related articles:

Why do Pets Get Dental Disease?

Dental Checkups and X-Rays: An Important Routine to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy

Sources:

5 Tips for a Healthier Dog Smile

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth (video) – White Cross Vets

Why Smooshy-Faced Dogs and Cats Require Additional Dental Care

Smooshy-faced breeds of dogs and cats, technically called brachyocephalics, require additional dental care when compared to their longer-faced cousins.

Why Smooshy-Faced Dogs and Cats Require Additional Dental Care | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

Frenchies, Pugs, Bostons, Boxers, English Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Chihuahua, Chow Chow, Bull Mastiffs, Pekingese, Persians, Exotic Shorthairs, Himalayans, British Shorthairs, Scottish Folds, and the like have been bred to have shorter faces.

However, although their jaws are shorter, their teeth are still typical size, resulting in dental crowding. Instead of their teeth lining up in a straight arcade, their molars and premolars are turned sideways, creating valleys where food can lodge.

Unless it’s removed within 24 hours, that food becomes plaque, which in turn becomes tartar, causing gingivitis.

Left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, then tooth loss and pain.

Fortunately, with good dental hygiene and routine professional teeth cleaning, these fun, adorable breeds of dogs and cats can enjoy excellent dental health and keep their teeth for a lifetime. It just takes a bit more effort, but they’ll thank you for it.

Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Seattle serves the following neighborhoods: Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Valley, International District, and Georgetown.