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What's one of the first things you do every morning? Brush your teeth, of course. Most of us can't imagine missing a day of dental care. Yet the same diligence does not hold true for many pets in the United States.
You can protect your pet from dental disease, not to mention, bad breath, by effectively brushing his teeth for only 1 or 2 minutes at least two or three times a week; daily brushing is best, if possible. All you need is a little patience and the right accessories to get the job done smoothly. Besides using the right accessories, it's important to start brushing your pet's teeth early. The sooner you start a home dental routine, the easier it will be for your pet to adjust to the process. And although it is best to begin brushing your pet's teeth when he is a puppy or kitten, it is never too late to start.
The two key components in your dental arsenal are your pet's toothbrush and toothpaste. Dr Brook Niemiec of Southern California Dental Specialties advises clients to always use toothpastes and toothbrushes made especially for pets. "Toothbrushes designed specifically for pets are smaller and softer and have somewhat a different shape, making them a better fit for your dog of cat," he says. Dental care is an important and simple way to prevent disease in your cat or dog. This small commitment can make a big difference to your pet's well-being. Besides, by brushing your pet's teeth daily, he will have a healthier and sweeter smile. With regard to toothpastes, those made for people contain ingredients that are not appropriate for pets. "Pet toothpastes are specially formulated not only to taste great but also to be safe for pets to swallow," Niemiec notes. In general it is most helpful for pet owners to ask their veterinarian's advice on the best dental products for their pet. Your veterinarian can help work together to take a bite out of this problem.
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Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.
The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.