Category Archives: Health

Dead in Minutes: Dogs and Heatstroke

 


 dog drinking water from sprinklerEven very fit, athletic dogs can suffer heat-related illnesses during the sizzling days of summer.

Dogs with compromised health are at even greater risk.

Common sense strategies to protect your pup during a heat wave:

  • Keep him inside during the hottest part of the day
  • Scale back vigorous outdoor exercise
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day, not even for a minute

The heat-related death of a beloved pet is a tragic, completely preventable situation.

There are no statistics on how many dogs die every year from heat exposure, because the majority of cases go unreported. But estimates are several hundred pets suffer this slow, agonizing and unnecessary fate every summer.

The loss of a dearly loved pet is difficult enough when death is expected and the passing is painless. But losing a canine member of the family to an avoidable case of heatstroke is an event many pet owners never forgive themselves for.

 

 

Signs and Symptoms of Heatstroke

On an 85-degree day it takes only 10 minutes for the interior of your parked car to climb to 102 degrees. In a half hour, it can reach 120 degrees.

Leaving windows partially open doesn’t help to cool things down inside the vehicle.

To make matters worse, dogs have a higher body temp than people and they don’t cool down as efficiently as we do. Your canine buddy is designed more for insulation from the cold than for cooling down.

You have sweat glands all over your body, but your dog’s are confined to her nose and the pads of her feet. A dog that is heating up can only normalize her body temperature through panting, which just doesn’t get the job done under extreme conditions.

In a very short period of time, an overheated dog can suffer critical damage to her brain, heart, liver and nervous system.

Symptoms of overheating include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Glazed eyes
  • Vomiting and bloody diarrhea
  • Bright or dark red tongue, gums
  • Staggering
  • Elevated body temperature (104ºF and up)
  • Weakness, collapse
  • Increased pulse and heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Excessive drooling
  • Unconsciousness

If your dog’s body temperature gets to 109ºF or higher, heatstroke is the result. The cells of the body rapidly start to die. The brain swells, causing seizures. Lack of blood supply to the GI tract creates ulcers. Dehydration leads to irreversible kidney damage. All these catastrophic events take place within a matter of minutes.

In the early stages of a heat-related illness it can be difficult to assess your dog’s condition, since it’s normal for him to pant when he’s warm or while exerting himself.

I recommend you learn from your dog’s vet how to take his temperature (rectally – I’m sorry), and invest in a digital thermometer that you designate for doggie use only. It could come in handy if you’re ever concerned your dog is overheated and need to know his body temperature.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for dog owners to take every precaution to keep their pets from getting overheated.

By the time a dog is exhibiting symptoms of heatstroke, it’s often too late to save him.

Dog Dies Inside Sweltering Van; Bronx Man Arrested For Animal Cruelty

Police say the man feigned ignorance, saying he didn’t know leaving his dog in the van could be harmful to the animal.

Yorktown, NY

Dogs at Higher Risk

If your dog is one of the following, you’ll need to be extra vigilant about keeping her safe from heat-related illness:

  1. Dogs with flat faces and short noses, also known as brachycephalic, like Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekinese, Boxers, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus – these breeds don’t pant as efficiently as breeds with longer noses
  2. Older dogs
  3. Puppies
  4. Sick dogs and those with chronic health conditions like heart disease
  5. Dogs not acclimated to warm weather
  6. Any healthy dog left outside in hot weather
  7. Dogs that are over-exercised or are allowed to overexert themselves in the heat

Two dogs rescued from overheated vehicles

Two Nanaimo dog owners were lucky to avoid charges after their German shepherds were found in stifling hot vehicles in mall parking lots.

Vancouver, BC

What to Do If Your Dog Gets Overheated

If you think your dog (or any dog) is suffering from heatstroke, you need to take immediate action:

  • Move him immediately to a cool area – either into the shade or preferably into air conditioning.
  • Assess his condition – is he able to stand? Is he conscious and panting? If so, offer him small amounts of water to drink and take his temperature if possible.
  • If he’s at 104ºF or lower, remain with him in a cool environment, watch him carefully and keep offering small drinks of water. A large volume of water all at once might cause him to vomit, which will add to the risk of dehydration.
  • When he seems more comfortable, call your veterinarian for next steps. The doctor may want to evaluate your dog even if he seems fully recovered.
  • If your pet is unable to stand on her own, is unresponsive to your voice, touch or the sight of you, or is having seizures, check for breathing and a heartbeat.
  • At the same time, have someone contact a veterinary hospital (or make the call yourself if you’re alone with your pet) to let them know you’ll be bringing her in right away. It’s important to alert the clinic you’re on the way so they can prepare for your arrival.
  • Begin cooling procedures by soaking her body with cool water – cool, but not cold. Use a hose, wet towels or any other source of cool water that is handy. Take her temperature if possible.
  • Concentrate the cooling water on her head, neck and in the areas underneath her front and back legs. Carefully cool her tongue if possible, but don’t let water run into her throat as it could get into her lungs. Never put water in a dog’s mouth that can’t swallow on its own. Put a fan on her if possible – it will speed up the cooling process.
  • After a few minutes, re-check her temperature. If her temp is at or below 104 degrees, stop the cooling process. Further cooling could lead to blood clotting or a too-low body temperature. Get her to a veterinary clinic right away, even if she seems to be recovering.

Two Dogs Die in Heat; Owner Charged

Two charges of animal cruelty have been filed against a woman who let her dogs out early this morning, and fell asleep while they died in the sun.

Buffalo, NY

How to Keep Your Dog Safe from the Heat All Summer Long

Dogs can dehydrate very quickly, so make sure yours has plenty of fresh, clean water available at all times. If he’ll be outside on warm days for any length of time, he should have access to complete shade.

Give your dog a shorter summer ‘do. A long-coated dog can be shaved to a one-inch length to help him weather the hot temperatures. Don’t go any shorter than an inch, though, because his fur protects him from the sun. If you don’t want to cut your dog’s coat, regular brushing, bathing and grooming will help prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

Exercise your pup early in the morning or after the sun goes down, during the coolest parts of the day. Stay in the shade if possible, and if it’s 90 degrees or hotter, your dog should be kept indoors.

Play in the sprinkler with your dog or hose him down with cool water if he must stay outside and can’t avoid temperatures over 90 degrees.

Don’t overdo exercise or play sessions, regardless of the time of day. Over exertion in hot weather — even after dark — can bring on heat-related health problems.

Don’t allow your dog on the hot pavement – it can burn his paws and the heat rising from the concrete or asphalt can quickly overheat your low-to-the-ground pet.

And, of course, never leave your dog alone in a parked car on a warm day. Leave him where he’s cool, hydrated, and eagerly awaiting your return.

Charges Likely After Dog Dies From Heat-Related Injuries

Animal found passed out in afternoon heat

Hamilton, Ohio

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Cutting Toe Nails

trimming your dog's toenails

 

The most common reasons for avoiding nail trims are that the owner is afraid of “quicking” the dog, or that the dog fusses and creates bad feelings around the procedure. Nail cutting becomes an event surrounded by angst and drama. For very active dogs who run all day long on varied surfaces, cutting nails may not be necessary. High mileage wears them down naturally. But among city or suburban dogs who are lucky to get a mile or two walk daily, excessively long toenails are more common than not.

Consequences Of Long Toenails

So what’s the big deal? The first consequence of long toenails is painful feet. When a dog’s toenails contact hard ground, like a sidewalk or your kitchen floor, the hard surface pushes the nail back up into the nail bed. This either puts pressure on all the toe joints or forces the toe to twist to the side. Either way, those toes become very sore, even arthritic. When the slightest touch is painful to your dog, he will fuss when you pick up his paw to cut nails.

The second consequence of long toenails is more serious. All animals rely on information from nerves in their feet to move through the world and process gravity accurately. For millions of years, wild dogs have run long distances while hunting and worn their nails short. The only time their toenails would touch the ground was when climbing a hill. So a dog’s brain is evolutionarily programmed to associate toenail contact with being on a hill, and he shifts his body posture accordingly: leaning forward over his forelimbs, up the imaginary hill as reported by his toes. Since the hill is not real, a secondary compensation with his hind limbs is necessary to avoid a face plant. This abnormal compensatory posture can be called “goat on a rock,” because it brings his paws closer together under his body.

Normal neutral posture is a nice show dog “stack,” with vertical legs like a table. Recent research shows that standing with limbs “camped-in” is hard work to maintain. These goat-on-a-rock dogs get over-used muscles and eventually over-used joints, especially in their hind limbs, making it difficult to jump in cars, climb stairs and even hard to get up from lying down. Sounds like a lot of older dogs we know! Cutting toenails short can be like a miracle cure for your dog whose hind end has become painful, weak and over-used.

That’s the “why.” Now for the “what and how.”

How To Trim The Toenail

Toe nail maintenance requires a trim every two weeks, just like maintaining human fingernails. If you can hear nails clicking on your kitchen floor, they are much too long. But don’t despair, the technique shown here will make short work
of getting your dog’s nails back to their correct shape. The concept is easy: trim around, never across the quick, which is actually your dog’s finger.

 

Tools Of The Trade

NAIL CLIPPERS 

DogClawsFig2a

  • Use only “scissor” type clippers. Guillotine style clippers crush the toe, which is painful. Never put the whole nail in a clipper.
  • Use small size clippers for better control. Only giant breed dogs will need large ones.
  • Keep your tools sharp: either replace or sharpen your clippers regularly.
  • “Quick-guards” obscure your view of the nail. If possible, remove them, or at least tape them back so that they won’t interfere with your work.
  • “Pedi-paws” type grinder: Smooth out your trim afterwards with a rotating emeryboard.
  • File only the insensitive nail around the top and sides of the quick: “Sharpen the pencil” where the nail is the wood and the quick is the lead.

IF YOU CUT THE QUICK

  • Use corn starch to staunch the bleeding if you make a nail leak. With shallow cuts, this will be rare.
  • It’s easiest if you use a small container with tightly packed powder.

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Trim nails outside or in a well lit room.
  • If you need “cheaters” for reading, use them for toenail clipping too.
  • It’s actually easier to see the nail structures on pigmented nails than on white ones. The insensitive nail will show as a chalky ring around the sensitive quick.
  • Keep clipper blades almost parallel to the nail – never cut across the finger.
  • Don’t squeeze the toes – that hurts! Use your fingers to separate the toes for clipping and hold the paw gently. Use a pair of blunt edged children’s scissors to remove excess toe hair: nothing dulls clippers quicker than cutting hair!
  • Remember, no dog ever died from a quicked toenail. If you “quick” your dog accidentally, give a yummy treat right away.
  • Make nail trimming fun: always associate nail cutting with cookies and praise.
  • For maintenance, cut every two weeks. To shorten, cut every week.

Once the insensitive nail is thinned out and isn’t supporting the quick, the quick will dry up and recede. This will allow you to cut your dog’s nails even shorter. Each dog’s nails are different, but very long toenails often become dry and cracked, with a clear separation of the living tissue and the insensitive nail. This will make it easier to trim back longer nails.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.58.53 PM

What’s inside your dog’s toenail? (image above) On the left, the interior structures are shown, along with the suggested angle to remove the “roof” of the nail, while not harming the sensitive quick. On a black claw, the interface between sensitive and insensitive nail is usually chalky and white – very easy to discern. On the right is a close-up view of the inside of the nail. On cross section, the sensitive quick will look translucent and glossy, like living flesh. In untrimmed claws, there will often be a “notch” below the tip of the quick. It is usually safe to initiate your angled cut at the notch.

Some dogs act like cutting their nails is their worst nightmare. This may be a learned behavior from their painful, overstimulated toes, which will slowly dissipate along with the pain once the nails are short. Use all your best restraint and behavior modification tricks to get through the initial phase, whether your dog is a squirmer or a drama queen.

Start on the hind feet, because the nails tend to be a little shorter and less sensitive than the front. But remember you can’t make an accurate cut on a moving target so get help from your dog trainer or groomer if needed. Make nail trimming “quality time” you spend with your dog. Lots of kisses, lots of treats and a positive attitude go a long way. If you dread it, your dog will too, so learn how to be a good actor until you succeed in believing it can be a loving experience for you both. If your dog loses patience quickly, try cutting one nail a day. As long as you keep the order of toes consistent, this will be a good maintenance schedule, giving every toe a trim every 16 days.

Short toenails are critical to your dog’s health and soundness. Failure is not an option!

(Illustrations by Michael A Simmons MFA)

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) in Corgis

What is Degenerative Myelopathy?
Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The breeds most commonly affected include German Shepherds, Welsh Corgis, Irish Setters, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. This can first occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to buckle and has difficulty standing. The weakness gets progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk. The clinical course can range from 6 months to 1 year before dogs become paraplegic. If signs progress for a longer period of time, loss of urinary and fecal continence may occur and eventually weakness will develop in the front limbs. Another key feature of DM is that it is not a painful disease.


Degenerative myelopathy is a devastating and heartbreaking disease causing progressive paralysis in a large number of dog breeds. New research has identified a gene that is associated with a major increase in risk of the disease.

Pembroke Corgis are generally between 8 and 14 years of age when the disease starts but it can progress rapidly – leaving your Corgi unable to walk in 6 to 12 months. The one plus to this disease is that the nerves that control pain disappear along with the nerves to control movement, so your Corgi is not in physical pain with this.

In Cardigans, the onset of DM seems to be slightly later, typically at around age 12 to as late as age 15 or so.

However, most Corgis are not old at 10, 11 and 12 and so it is very distressing when DM is diagnosed and many Corgis seem very upset by the fact that they can no longer get around well.

Dogs Can Smell Cancer

Australian National Kennel Council
Media Release
4 November 2009

For further information or interviews, please contact:
Tomas Ganderton 0401 927 653 or PublicRelations@ankc.org.au
Dr Peter Higgins 0410 67 63 65
Dogs ‘Smell Out’ Cancer

Dogs are normally loyal companions and much-loved family members but, according to research, they
may have the ability to detect certain types of cancer by smell. Specially trained dogs can detect certain
proteins occurring in cancer patients’ breath. The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
believes that this research further exemplifies the value of properly trained dogs in society both as
companions and as working dogs and looks forward to future research being undertaken in this area.
“Breast and lung cancer have been confirmed in people who are already diagnosed by conventional
testing methods by trained dogs using their highly sensitive nose in research studies. Our canine
companions are still not officially used in clinical detection but with further positive research this would
be a likelihood.”, says veterinarian and ANKC spokesman Dr Peter Higgins.
Studies undertaken in the United Kingdom, the USA, and Canada took a large group of people, half with
a certain type of cancer, and half without to conduct the tests. Dogs were trained to signal by sitting or
lying down when they smell a person’s breath who they suspect has cancer. Success rates were extremely
high, with up to 97 percent of cases being successfully reconfirmed by the dogs.
“Dogs not only have a hardworking and loyal temperament, but an incredibly strong sense of smell.

Many breeds, such as Beagles, are able to be of great assistance to the police, customs officials at airports,
and farmers, among others. It’s astonishing to know that their assistance in the world of science could
potentially help to save the lives of cancer patients.”, states Dr Higgins.
Anecdotal evidence of dogs having this ability has been rumoured by dog owners for decades. In the
past, people have sought medical advice because their pet dog has taken an unusual interest in a
particular mole on their skin, or provided signs to compel owners to visit the doctor to check. Current
conventional screening tests vary between types of cancers and include biopsies, physical examinations,
and blood tests
.

“This represents a less invasive form of detection, and a quick and efficient way of helping to confirm
early detection of cancer. Conventional tests aren’t always 100 per cent accurate, so this provides
another means of confirming test results to allow greater scope for early intervention.”, believes Dr
Higgins.
“I hope to see this research develop in the future, and if this success continues, look to integrate it with
current cancer testing methods. What is even more exciting is the possibility that dogs could detect some
cancers that conventional methods cannot detect.”, exclaims Dr Higgins.

Knuckling Over Problem

Dr. W. v. Kerkhoven about “knuckling over” in young dogs

Did you see examples of knuckling over (bowed limbs) or other bone deformations on young growing dogs in your kennel or at home ? Of course, but what are the reasons ? Can we solve the problem or not ?
Following conditions are the most common seen in young growing puppies and can be categorized as ‘Developmental Orthopedic Diseases’:

Carpel Flexural Deformity or “Knuckling Over or Bowed Legs”,
HOD – Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy,
OCD – Osteochondritis Dissecans,
Panosteoitis.

Knuckling over (bowed limbs) is the main problem normally seen and is not genetic, it happens to all breeds, large or small and it is due to how you are managing your dogs dietary needs and the flooring you are keeping them on to develop. Poor quality diet or too much of a good food, poor footing/slick floors with no rugs, and missing trace minerals. All things that contribute to this problem. If caught early enough it can be reversed with no problem. If left, it causes permanent damage. Knuckling over is first noticed in the area of front leg on a puppy, or the growth plate (wrist or carpal but also shoulder; the dog can be lame) area due to a lack of integrity in the muscle, tendon and ligaments. It is due to uneven growth pattern between the bone and tissue/muscle of the puppy. A diet can cause uneven growth patterns between muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. They are all developing at different rates – the end results are severe knuckling over and this grotesque deformation can be permanent if not taken care of a proper diet in the early stages. Under 8 weeks of age, it is not a problem and very common because the large and giant breeds grow quickly during the early stages of development.

Inappropriate feeding as a cause of bone deformations – Don’ts !:

a combination of two different types or brands of dog foods – feeding (50/50)
change the brand or type of food several times (3-4) times
the addition of poor quality vitamins/minerals to a diet (not from whole foods)
feed human foods in amounts enough to disrupt the calcium/phosphorus balance
feed too many calories vs. the amount of free exercise the dog et on a daily bases
feeding a pet food that has minerals that are not very available to the body – crude forms
feeding diets lacking in vital micro minerals or trace minerals
feeding too much of a well-balanced, high quality-food

Summary

Most of the growth problems in puppies are linked to a too high calorie intake (over nutrition) or not adapted calcium level of the diet to the breed size.

Supplementation for puppies is still a need in avoiding other problems as for example skin or gastro-intestinal disorders. But please make sure those supplements are adapted to puppies in their growth period : calcium level must be adapted to the breed size (1.2% for small & medium breed dogs, 0.8% for large & giant breed dogs) and may not provide too much calories to the puppy.

Viyo Elite, a high palatable nutritional drink, is safe to feed to growing puppies. Beside the positive effects on skin & coat health, gastro-intestinal health, muscle tone and joint health, it is also adapted to growing puppies due to the low calorie content and adapted level of calcium to the breed size.

Dr. Wim Van Kerkhoven – Viyo International
Website: http://www.viyo-elite.com

Dentition in Puppies & Adults

Puppies have 28 baby teeth. 14 teeth are in the upper jaw and 14 teeth in the lower jaw. They do not have any molars or premolar 1.
When the puppy is about three to four weeks old, the milk teeth start to drop out because the permanent teeth are growing more and more upwards.
Welpen haben 28 Zaehne; 14 im Ober- und 14 im Unterkiefer.Sie haben keine vorderen Backenzaehne und keine Backenzaehne.
Mit drei bis vier Wochen fangen die Milchzaehne an auszufallen, weil die bleibenden Zaehne mehr und mehr nach oben wachsen

Side view of a puppy dentition/Seitenansicht eines Welpengebisses

When do milk teeth leave?/Wann fallen die Milchzaehne aus?

Incisors/Schneidezaehne 4-6 weeks
Canine/Fangzaehne 5-6 weeks
Premolars/vordere Backenzaehne 6 weeks

When do permanent teeth grow?/Wann wachsen die bleibenden Zaehne?

Incisors/Schneidezaehne 3-5 months
Canines/Fangzaehne 4-6 months
Premolars/vordere Backenzaehne 4-5 months
Molars/Backenzaehne 5-7 months

Dentition in an Adult Dog/Gebiss des eausgewachsenen Hundes

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has a scissor bite with four different types of teeth; each has its certain duty.Altogether he has 42 teeth.

Der Cardigan Welsh Corgi hat ein Scherengebiss mit vier unterschiedlichen Zahntypen;jeder hat seine bestimmte Aufgabe.Zusammen hat er 42 Zaehne.

Incisors– are used for cutting food and chewing; these are the 6 front teeth in the upper and again 6 teeth in the lower jaw.
Canines – used for holding and tearing prey/food. There are two upper and two lower canines.

Schneidezaehne – werden zum Zerschneiden des Futters und Kauen gebraucht; dies sind die jeweils sechs Vorderzaehne in Ober- und Unterkiefer.
Fangzaehne – werden zum Halten und Zerreissen des Futters gebraucht.Jeweils zwei Fangzaehne sind im Ober- und Unterkiefer.

Premolars – used for cutting, holding, carrying and breaking food into small pieces; these teeth are situated between the canines and molars; puppies do not have P1 teeth, only P2, P3, P4; adults have 8 premolars on the top and 8 on the bottom, 4 on each side of the upper and lower jaws.
Vordere Backenzaehne – werden fuer Schneiden, Halten, Tragen und Zerbrechen des Futters in kleine Stuecke benoetigt; dese Zaehne sitzen zwischen Fang- und Backenzaehnen; Welpen haben keine P1 Zaehne, lediglich P2,P3, P4; ausgewachsene Hunde haben jeweils 8 Vordere Backenzaehne im Ober- und Unterkiefer;davon 4 auf jeder Seite oben und unten.

Molars
– used for grinding food into small pieces The molars are situated behind the premolars and are the last teeth in the back of the jaw; puppies do not have molars; Adults have four molars in the upper jaw, two on each side and 6 molars in the lower jaw, three on each side.
Backenzaehne
– werden zum Zermalmen des Futers in kleine Stuecke. Die Backenzaehne sitzen hinter den Vorderen Backenzaehnen und sind die letzten Zaehne im Kiefer; Welpen haben keine Backenzaehne;ausgewachsene Tiere haben 4 Backenzaehne im Oberkiefer, zwei auf jeder Seite und 6 Backenzaehne im Unterkiefer, drei auf jeder Seite.


Perfect teeth for perfect show dogs

Beautiful and healthy

Presenting valuable show dogs at national or international Kennel Club meetings or Dog Shows is a full-time job: not only must the four-legged candidates be healthy, in top-shape and perfect form – also cosmetical aspects play an important role to win the Show and be a CHAMPION!

No Dog Show allows unhealthy dogs to be presented in the ring, and every effort must be taken to avoid any possible hazard of spreading infectious diseases between the show dogs. Effective control mechanisms, mostly under the supervision of veterinarians, are established at least in the larger and more important shows, to sort out dogs with diseases, fever or non-tolerable behaviour.
But who looks into the mouth?

Very often the judges inspect the oral cavity very meticulously, because a healthy, clean and correctly developed dentition and skull is a paramount part of the general appearance and status of any candidate. Skull, alveolar bones and dentition have to match the breed “Standard” of every registered breed. Missing or discoloured teeth, covered with slimy unhygienic masses or unpleasant odour from the mouth would not be a favourable precondition for a successful presentation.





Malinois 7 Ja  no plaque
© Roger Sjølstad UP: This 7-year old Malinois shows signs of use and wear (abrasions) but his teeth are clean, gums and periodontium are in excellent condition.

Gebiss schmutzig

© Roger Sjølstad DOWN:An “average mouth”: no signs of severe gingivitis or periodontitis are present, but unattractive discolorations and biofilms (plaque) are obvious; not good enough for a CHAMPION.

An unhealthy and unattractive dentition is in most cases caused by periodontal disease, which is the most common of all diseases in mammals. More than 80 % of all adult individuals – may that be cats, dogs or humans – suffer from it. The prevention of periodontal disease is a life-long struggle which includes home-care, appropriate nutrition and – if unavoidable – professional veterinary treatment.
As always – prevention is better than cure

Only approximately 10 % of pet dogs receive daily oral hygiene, this means that many dogs suffer from a very poor condition in their mouth, continuous active infection, associated with permanent pain, finally loss of function due to lost teeth and or even organ infection.

As a precondition for successful work with breeding dogs and show dogs, owners of these animals have a by far higher motivation (and education) and take good care of the overall health and dental condition of their precious dogs. Regular tooth brushing, appropriate nutrition, systematical controls and health checks at the veterinarians are of paramount importance. For every showdog, daily tooth-brushing with special toothbrushes and tooth-pastes is highly recommended. Never use human tooth-pastes, they are not only badly accepted by dogs, but also contain ingredients, which can damage the gums. If discolorations are detected, tartar-build up or halitosis is present, the veterinarian should be contacted.
Bad teeth – bad ranking

Not too long before important shows, the dog should be seen by a vet and – if necessary – get a complete dental check and prophylaxis , which means a thorough cleaning and removal of all soft biofilms (Plaque) and hard mineralised debris on the dental surfaces (Tartar, calculus). The teeth should be polished after cleaning to avoid rough dental surfaces after the procedures, which would allow new plaque to recolonise again very quickly, making repeated procedures necessary year after year. Dental plaque is highly pathogenic and the primary cause of both gingivitis and periodontitis or even tooth loss. In addition these aggressive plaque bacteria can enter the blood stream and be spread across the whole body, which may cause septicaemia and organ disease.

The accumulation of dental plaque on the dental surfaces is the primary cause of Gingivitis and Periodontitis, thus the key for success in preventing such periodontal conditions is control of the plaque -> no plaque – no gingivitis/periodontitis!

The benefit of professional periodontal therapy is short-lived unless followed by effective home care. Regular tooth brushing is the best method to achieve that, but both owners and dogs are not always able to handle this, also oral medications can help to reduce plaque.

The role of nutrition

Foods which encourage plaque build-up should be avoided. This includes snacks between meals, high carbohydrate foods such as table scraps, sweets and others unnatural food for dogs. Feeding specially formulated nutrition (specific dental diets, diets with an included dental benefit across the range, dental chewing sticks) is an additional effective way to reduce the amount of plaque in the oral cavity.

I recommend:

Regular professional check-ups and cleanings at your vet, once or twice a year
Daily tooth brushing and chewing toys
Feeding a diet that reduces plaque and tartar build-up

Dr.med.dent. Dr.med.vet. Peter Fahrenkrug
Dentist, Veterinarian and expert in Veterinary Dentistry

Dr. Dr. Fahrenkrug is one of the internationally leading experts in canine dentistry.

This educational article has been brought to you by EUKANUBA