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August 22, 2012

Pet Health: My Dog's Breath Is Atrocious

This week, I've decided to focus upon pet health. We've got a couple of issues here at home that we're trying to address, so I thought I would share them here, and maybe help other pet shepherds who may be having similar issues.

Our Beagle/Chihuahua mix, Lily, is an absolute love, but her breath is atrocious. Unfortunately, she has a tendency to develop tartar on her teeth very easily and this contributes to gum disease and bad breath. Keeping her teeth and gums healthy will not only improve her breath but also keep her heart healthy and prevent unnecessary pain and potentially painful and debilitating oral infections and tooth loss later in life.

Our vet can clean her teeth. It's an expensive prospect and it requires anesthesia which always comes with risks to an animal's health. So why put her through that stress? Our vet recommends brushing her teeth and giving her enzymatic dog chews or Bully Sticks. We use VIRBEC and believe me, they're cheaper on-line, almost 1/3 the price found on store shelves here in NYC. Our vet told us to avoid rawhide chews because they are bacteria traps and can even carry salmonella.

And they're working! We give them to Lily once a day as a treat. As for brushing her teeth, our vet says 15 seconds on her uppers in adequate. I'm not so sure - those lowers in the back look pretty scuzzy. So, when I think to do it, the "toothbrush game" is a big hit and allows for bonding time between us. I can't just leave her to chew on the toothbrush without supervision because she pulls all the bristles out with her incisors. As for the enzymatic toothpaste - go for the shrimp flavor: apparently it tastes the best and can be used for cats, as well.

Posted by linda at August 22, 2012 8:08 AM

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