The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

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June 10, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Dental Diets for the Oral Health of Your Pet

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Most pet owners have packed daily schedules and that makes it difficult for them to brush the teeth of their pets. Others have pets that are sweethearts except when it is time for them to get their teeth brushed. If you fit in to either of these two categories, or if your dog has problems with bad breath and tartar buildup, your vet might suggest a specially formulated dental diet.

Plaque is a natural part of the bacterial balance in the mouth. It is colorless, soft and can be easily removed with the help of a firm brush. However, it can harden the teeth if it is not removed regularly. When it becomes tartar, it can attach itself to the surface of the teeth and can irritate the gums, leading to eventual tissue loss. Once plaque turns into tartar, it can only be removed with the help of dental instruments. Dental diets are designed to reduce plaque accumulation on the teeth.

What should you look for?

Look for the seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council. That ensures that the product meets all the required standards. These foods need to be balanced and should have the same nutrient content as standard pet food. They also contain additional formulations to help clean the teeth of pets.

Most treat products and hard kibble that are manufactured for dental diets are large in size and have a fibrous and airy texture so that the kibble’s edges scrub at the surface of the teeth when the animal chews on it. Some of the food items also have additional coatings that are meant to reduce the dental plaque.

Is a dental diet the way to go?

Since dental diets have a good nutritional balance, most pets can have it as a part of their daily diet. However, you need to keep in mind that not all their needs can be met with a dental diet plan. They should never be made the main nutritional source for dogs or puppies with special medical or nutritional needs. At best, they should only be used to supplement an already well balanced diet.

What do you need to do before you switch?

You should consult with your pet’s vet before zeroing in on a dental diet. Dental diets are not always an effective alternative to brushing. A lot of factors can complicate it, including underlying health issues, your pet’s age and the current status of his gums and teeth.

Before you initiate a dental diet, your vet might even suggest a professional teeth cleaning among other procedures. If you are planning to switch to a dental diet, abstain from feeding extra treats or table scraps to your pet, as that will defeat the purpose. In the long run, it will benefit both of you.

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June 9, 2016
by Lynn Merton
0 comments

Choosing the Right Groomer For Your Dog

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It goes without saying that it takes a lot of careful handling to groom your dog in the proper fashion. You need to take the right precautions around sharp and dangerous implements like electric clippers and scissors, apart from a host of other things. A dog groomer will bathe your pet in soapy water and rinse him thoroughly. You cannot just trust anybody to do that job. Here are a few tips to choose the perfect groomer:

  1. Ask around – Talk to your dog’s vet, neighbor and kennel manager. If you notice a dog on the street with a style that you particularly like, ask the owner about where he got his pet groomed. People love to talk about their pets. Some vets have a policy not to refer their clients to a breeder or groomer. Do not despair. Make your questions more specific and ask the vet as to whether he/she has treated problems from a particular groomer, like clipper abrasions or cuts. If your vet has had a lot of complaints from a particular groomer, then that is a sure fire sign that you need to look further.
  2. Call the groomer that you are interested in – Grill your groomer thoroughly. Ask them whether they apprenticed with a professional or went to a grooming school. Ask them about their experience and inquire if they are part of a professional organization. There is a National Dog Groomers Association and a lot of the states have their own local organizations.
  3. Ask for certification – A lot of states require groomers to be certified and licensed in tick/flea applications. So make sure you get a good look at his/her certification. Better be safe than sorry.
  4. Be patient – You need to remember that groomers are usually on very tight schedules. If they do not have the time to answer your questions, ask them the appropriate time for a callback. It is hard to answer questions when they are fluff drying some dog. Develop a good rapport with your dog’s potential groomer and get an overall impression. If everything goes well, it will be a good impression.
  5. Trust your instincts – All you need to do is ask around to find answers to most of the questions you have. Going to a new groomer for the first time can be quite a disconcerting experience. If you do the right research though, you can place the trust in the groomer and you will see the results for sure. Then you can pamper yourself just the way you pampered your dog.

If your dog is anxious or scared when you take him to the groomer, you need to pay another visit to the pet to figure out the underlying cause of his anxiety. Once you treat that with medication and behavioral modification, you are all set to give it another shot.

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June 8, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Are Chlorinated Pools Safe For Your Pet?

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As the temperatures rise in the summer and your furry friend is in the mood for summer swimming, you might find asking yourself – Is it okay for my pet to go for a swim in the family pool? It is only natural for you to wonder whether it is possible for your pets to get chlorine poisoning. Read on to know all about it.

What exactly does chlorine do?

When you add it to the water, chlorine breaks down into hypochlorite ion and hypochlorous acid. These chemicals oxidize the microorganisms that are present in water by breaching their cell wall and destroying the structures inside. If you don’t add chlorine to your pools, they will turn black or green due to the buildup of bacteria and algae in the water.

Is it toxic for pets?

The hazards of exposure to chlorine are dose dependent. Pool water has very diluted levels of chlorine and is unlikely to end up poisoning you or your pet. From the standpoint of risk management, your pet is much more likely to fall ill from dunking in a stagnant pool of water, or from a lake that contains unknown microorganisms like amoeba.

Chlorine tablets

However, chlorine in its concentrated form poses a risk to both people and their pets. If you have chlorine tablets, make sure that you store them in their original containers. Keep it away from the reach of children and pets. Chlorine gas can be poisonous if inhaled accidentally, and direct contact with concentrated chlorine can damage both the eyes and the skin. It is not usual for a cat or a dog to ingest the tablets as their scent is very unappealing, but better be safe than sorry.

What are the risks of your pet’s exposure to chlorinated water?

Consuming chlorinated water can irritate the GI tract, but beyond that it does not cause any major issues. If your pets swim in chlorinated water for a long time, they will exhibit minor symptoms of sensitivity like itchy skin or red eyes. Pools that have high chlorine levels can irritate the airways due to the release of chlorine gas, especially if the ventilation is poor.

Frequent swimming in chlorinated water can lead to ear infections. While you might wonder if it is because of the chlorine, recurrent infections result from damp ears and not from the chlorine. Your pet’s vet can recommend a drying solution to clean the ear of your pet after swimming if he is prone to recurrent infections.

Are there alternatives?

Bromine is the most common alternative to chlorine for spa and pool use. It is less pungent and the side effects are not as severe. While it has milder properties, it is also more expensive than chlorine and less stable when exposed to sunlight, making it a bad choice for outdoor pools. Talk to a pool care professional to know if bromine is a good choice for your pool.

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June 7, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

How to Keep Your Dog From Getting Bored

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If you are left alone with nothing to do, it can really get to you. It isn’t very surprising then that cats or dogs end up doing things that they would rather not when they are left to their own devices. Some pets will meow or bark without pausing, while others will defecate or urinate in inappropriate locations, scratch, chew or tear things, or even mutilate themselves by neurotically licking, biting or scratching too much. Before you feel all guilty and decide to give up our pet, here are a few things you can do to relieve your pets of their daily loneliness and boredom.

  1. Stay active – Even dogs and cats that are shy respond really well to social activities. Make sure that your pet exercises daily and gets to relax together with you. If you walk your dog for 15 minutes before you leave for work in the morning, it would really help him to release all his pent up energy and will hold him till you get back home in the evening. It is not very different for cats. If you give them some playtime with feather toys or lasers before you head out the door, it will stimulate their body and mind.
  2. Hire a sitter – If your day is too hectic for you to spend time playing or walking your pet, or if your pet is excessively energetic, hire a pet sitter or a dog walker to come in and spend time with him. Dog care centers are an excellent alternative as well considering the fact that they are a growing trade. They provide daily activities and are a great opportunity for your dog to socialize with other dogs. Just like you would for your child, make sure you do your research and ask questions before you enroll your dog in one of those programs.
  3. Toy around – The pet industry is fast recognizing the need for keeping dogs and cats mentally stimulated. There are many puzzle toys that release treats at regular intervals or in response to a constructive activity. It is a great way to keep your pet from thinking about destructive matters. You can stuff plastic toys with food products such as kibble or treats that are meat flavored so that they keep at the game till they reach the goal. Cats also love finding places they can climb to and hide in to exercise their claws. A scratching post or a cat tower can provide the critical relief that your cat needs. It will take you a few tries to find the perfect material, but it is totally worth it, for the sanity and mental health of both you and your cat.
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June 6, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Kennel Training Your Dog

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From the perspective of the pet owner, a portable kennel seems like punishment and solitary confinement. However, owners do not consider the fact that dogs evolved from wolves and have been den animals since time immemorial. Unlike us, they seek out confined spaces under desks or tables for security. Portable kennels are an excellent way to curb the destructive behavior that stems from hyperactivity.

If you introduce it properly and make sure that your dog gets the daily exercise that he needs, he will take to it really well. It is also a safe place for your dog as it makes traveling in trucks or cars much easier. Some of the plastic kennels are in-flight approved. Wire kennels can be folded down for storage or transport. If you want to mimic a den, just pad the bottom and drape a blanket over the wire kennel.

Steps to Positive Kennel Training

  1. Introduce the bottom of the kennel as the dining room of your pet. Leave some food puzzles and feed him a few meals inside. You will not get a second chance to make a better first impression.
  2. When your pet is not busy having food, remove it and provide a comfortable bed. Lure him in with a chew or a treat to encourage him to rest there. Stroke and praise him when he is lying on the bottom without creating a problem.
  3. Assemble the portable kennel and leave it open. Toss treats to lure him inside. Insist that he stay inside with verbal and hand cues. If he comes back out, put him back in and forbid him to leave without your permission. Your dog should understand that it is your will and not the door that keeps him inside. Wait until he relaxes and then praise him for it. Keep repeating this until he goes in, waits and comes out under your control.
  4. Close the door when you are feeding him. Also, limit his access to his favorite chews till he is completely locked inside. This is a great way to teach him to chew on approved items. Make sure that the chew toys are big enough so that your dog does not swallow them.
  5. Once your dog gets relaxed with the routine, give him some extra exercise and close him inside the kennel overnight. Provide him with toys, but no water or food as that would excite his bowels. Make sure that he sleeps next to you on the first day so that he can smell you and hear you sleeping. If he fusses, tap the kennel and praise him if he quiets down.

If your pet panics a lot when you leave him inside the kennel, it could be because of separation anxiety. Take him to a vet to get him started on medication and a behavior modification program.