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The Importance of Dental Health for Pets

Dental health for pets is super important!

Going to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning seems standard now for us but did you know that it is just as important for your dog or cat? Your pet may not be able to tell you that their mouth hurts so it’s up to you to advocate for your pet’s best health by having them go visit a dentist! Here is a list of some of the benefits of maintaining dental health for pets! 

Avoid Periodontal Disease

Plaque buildup, or calcified bacterial growth near the gums, is a frequent cause of periodontal disease. This is such a common problem that statistics show that 4 out of 5 adult dogs have periodontal disease. Some of the warning signs to watch for are red gums and uncommonly bad breath. In more advanced cases, the bacteria can affect the teeth’s roots as the gum recedes and leads to an abscess. Signs that this complication has occurred are swelling of the face, different chewing or eating patterns, pain, or even unexpected tooth loss. Proper dental health activities for your pets such as annual professional cleanings and regular at-home brushing are great ways to remove plaque and avoid periodontal pain. Periodontal disease is not reversible, so it’s best to catch it before it happens. 

Dental Health Can Help Avoid Heart, Kidney, and Liver Disease

Not only does periodontal disease affect the mouth, but the bacteria that builds of the teeth can, of course, get ingested. It then can infect your dog or cat’s heart, kidneys, and liver and cause other severe problems. 

Avoid Teeth Pain 

No pet owner ever wants to see their beloved animal in pain. There are many reasons why a pet may experience tooth pain. Some pets can retain their baby teeth which leads to gum irritation or stress related to overcrowding. In other cases, a lack of dental hygiene can cause teeth to painfully fall out or get worn down. This makes it difficult for them to do the activities that they love, such as playing fetch, nibbling on a favorite bone, or even eating. Cavities are often quite common. Unfortunately, tooth pain is often only noticed by owners when it’s severe and sometimes much more difficult to treat, so regular dental checkups are important! 

In addition, your pet can suffer from inflammation or ulcers. Some of the symptoms include bad breath, bloated gums, and of course, changes in eating habits. Good dental health for pets can help prevent some of these painful conditions! 

Better Breath

This may be more for you than your pet, but all owners know the struggle of wanting to be close to your dog or cat while their breath causes you to recoil. Regular dental cleanings can lead to fewer bacteria in their mouth and, as a result, better breath. A win-win situation, indeed! Taking your dog or cat to the dentist is an easy way to improve their quality of life and even prolong their life span. Though some pets may find a visit to the dentist stressful, in the right hands, it can be smooth and easy. With decades of experience and great care for our animal community, Cherrelyn Animal Hospital is dedicated to keeping your dog and cats happy and healthy. Call us or visit us online to schedule your pet’s dental visit!

Taking your dog or cat to the dentist is an easy way to improve their quality of life and even prolong their life span. Though some pets may find a visit to the dentist stressful, in the right hands, it can be smooth and easy. With decades of experience and great care for our animal community, Cherrelyn Animal Hospital is dedicated to keeping your dog and cats happy and healthy. Call us or visit us online to schedule your pet’s dental visit!

Four Tips on Keeping Your Dog’s Weight in a Healthy Range

Keep your dog's weight in a healthy range!

One of the questions that we get asked the most from patients is, “Is my dog’s weight healthy?” Just as for humans, maintaining a proper diet and exercise routine is essential in ensuring that we stay within our recommended weight range. Weight isn’t just about the looks. It can indicate heart health, respiratory health, musculoskeletal condition, and overall well-being.

In this article, we’re going to be focusing on diet tips for your dog! Nutritional requirements vary greatly based on breed, size, age, gender, pregnancy, and more so what works for one dog may not be the best for another. As always, these are general suggestions and should be discussed with your veterinarian before incorporating any change. 

Know How Much and When to Feed Your Dog

It may be easy to forget if you’ve fed your dog and hand out an extra serving accidentally or eyeball what goes in their bowls but keeping your dog on a strict schedule is much better in the long run than caving into their puppy eyes at the dinner table. An extra treat occasionally won’t hurt but if they’re consuming more than 5 to 10% of their daily diet in table scraps or treats, this may lead your dog’s weight to trend toward obesity. Also, try to train your dog to respond to forms of praise that aren’t food-related, such as a verbal affirmation and a warm belly scratch. That way if you begin cutting down their snack profile, they won’t treat it as a punishment. 

For puppies younger than six months, they should be fed three to four times daily. This changes to twice a day when they pass the six-month milestone. When they are adults, their eating pattern changes to one or two feedings. The meals should be in the morning and at night. Do not leave the bowls out for them, even if they haven’t finished all of the food. As a rule of thumb, ask your veterinarian. They can better adjust how many meals and how much based on how active your dog is as well. 

Know What Foods to Avoid to Keep Your Dog’s Weight Healthy

Avoid feeding your dogs chocolate, chicken on the bone, salt-rich foods, raw meat, grapes, raisins, and onions. Eating too many of these kinds of foods can negatively affect your dog’s weight and health.

Learn How to Read the Ingredient List 

The packaging on a product may be deceiving but the ingredient list doesn’t lie. The first item listed is always the ingredient that appears the most all the way down to the least. When meat, such as beef, chicken, etc., is listed as the first ingredient that’s usually indicative of a higher quality and more protein-dense meal. Rice is the ideal main grain. In addition, if your dog has a preexisting heart problem, incorporating more foods rich in taurine can help not only with their heart but also with their muscles and vision. 

Don’t Neglect the Fruits and Vegetables

Dogs are omnivores but some pet owners can tend towards providing a carnivore diet. Your dog should be eating a diet with 15% fruits and vegetables. We know that each dog is different and what one works for another pup of a similar breed and size may not be the best option for yours. These are good guidelines to help you design a better diet – and lifestyle – for your dog to help them achieve better gut health, healthier weight, and a longer life span.

If you have any questions about your dog’s weight or any other aspect of your dog’s health, consult your veterinarian for a more tailored plan. We at Cherrelyn Animal Hospital have been serving our animal community for years and have the expertise to help your dog. Contact us today!

6 Important Questions To Ask At Your Pet’s Next Vet Checkup

cat at vet checkup

As the kids head back to school, they’re not the only ones that should have an annual checkup. To keep your pet in good health for years to come, he or she needs a vet checkup at least once a year. The financial benefits alone of yearly checkups are staggering. According to Petplan, the average cost of emergency medical care for a dog or cat is between $800 to $1500. We can’t stress the importance of annual checkups enough, but it’s important to know what to expect and also what questions to ask to make the most of your next checkup. We at Cherrelyn Animal Hospital have created a list of questions to keep in mind. 

1. Is His or Her Weight Healthy? 

The yearly vet checkup is a perfect time to discuss your pet’s weight. Whether your pet is on the slightly leaner or chubbier side, it’s important to consult a veterinarian’s perspective instead of eyeballing if your pet is in a healthy weight range. If your pet could benefit from a change in exercise or diet routine, your vet is the one to make the proper suggestions. Rather than rely on dog blogs that suggest trendy pet food swaps for information, your vet can answer definitively whether switching pet food brands will help. 

Also, it can be stressful to change your pet’s routine on both you and your beloved animal. Not only that, changing your pet’s food or treats many times can upset their digestive system and cause stomach upset so before you try a change, ask your vet first. They can give you the proper recommendations and also any potential behavior changes from your pet during the transition period to give you peace of mind. This question can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life for years to come and also prevent future more costly health problems, such as heart disease or joint stress from excess weight, from emerging later on. 

2. Is His or Her Behavior Normal? 

If your pet’s behavior has changed recently, even if it seems inconsequential, bring it up to your vet–and you definitely don’t have to wait for the annual checkup to do so. Sudden shifts in temperament, such as a social cat that becomes quite withdrawn, or unexpected repetitive actions, like a dog that behinds pawing their ear incessantly, can actually be a sign of an underlying health condition. On the flip side, a vet who has seen a vast array of other pets with different personalities can reassure you in the event it’s just a quirk. 

3. Is This Lump Okay? 

Similar to the behavior question, if you notice an unexpected mark on your pet’s skin that doesn’t seem to have an external cause, like a scratch, ask your vet to check it out. You never know when something that seems inconsequential to you might actually need attention.

4. Should My Pet Have Blood or Urine Tests Done at Their Vet Checkup? 

If your vet suspects cause for further internal medicine inspections, having blood and urine lab work done can tell you more concretely what the status of your pet’s health is. Behavior and appearance are good indicators of health but they aren’t definitive either. 

5. Can My Pet Have a Rectal Exam? 

Requesting a rectal exam for your pet during their vet checkup can be a good preventative measure against gastrointestinal illnesses or prostate cancers. 

6. Which Vaccines Does My Pet Need? 

Keep your pet’s vaccines up to date. In the event that you need to travel, this eases a lot of the headache when you need to do just that. Also, a vet will likely be up to date regarding any potential animal illness outbreaks in the area and can alert you to what protections your pet needs.

 
It’s important to remember that your pet can’t always tell you when they’re not feeling well so before they are in a painful or dangerous situation, keep them healthy with an annual vet checkup. Our trusted team at Cherrelyn Animal Hospital have been serving pets with top of the line care and exceptional equipment and training for over 60 years. We love to see the pets in our care happy and healthy and we go the extra mile to do just that. Contact us today to schedule a visit!

What to Know Before Taking Your Pet on a Road Trip

Taking Your Pet on a Road Trip

We know that your dog is more than just a pet — he’s family. That’s why so many of your favorite summer vacation memories involve him or her, such as going to the lake or taking a hike with your beloved furry friend. However, before planning that next trip, make sure you have the knowledge and resources to keep them healthy. Here are some tips to make sure that your pet is safe while on a road trip! 

Familiarize Yourself with the Foods They Shouldn’t Have 

Your family’s Fourth of July barbecue wouldn’t be complete without your pup, but remember that as tasty as some of your grill classics are, they shouldn’t be given as treats. Corn on the cob can easily get lodged in your pet’s digestive tract and cause pain. Also, gristle seems like a delicious snack for your dog, but eating it can actually increase their risk of pancreatitis.

Keep Them Safe in the Car  

We can’t stress this enough: a pet should not be left in a hot car, no matter how quick you think you’ll return to the car. The heat inside a parked car can rise quickly enough and have lethal effects in just five minutes. 

Also, your pup should have enough space and mental stimulation in the car. Though many owners love watching their pet hang their head out in enjoyment in the shotgun seat, if you have to stop suddenly, they risk hitting the dashboard or sustaining wind-damage to their eyes. It’s much safer and more comfortable for everyone to either have them rest in their kennel crate in the back or secured with a pet seat belt in the backseat. We recommend that if they do remain in the backseat, they aren’t placed on the lap of another passenger. Keeping your pet secure and comfortable prevents them from roaming and causing a general driving distraction. 

Have Toys, Food, and Water Easily Accessible

If the ride is long enough for you to have your mind wander or feel hungry or thirsty, then your pet is probably feeling the same. Keep them entertained and sated with a chew toy and treats. One of our favorite tips is to convert an over-the-door toiletry organizer into a pet road trip toolbox! This prevents them from getting too rowdy during the trip and having to take more frequent breaks. 

Take Rest Breaks 

Any time you take a rest stop while driving, so should your pet. Your pets need bathroom breaks and time to stretch their legs just as often as you do. We recommend a ten-minute walk for each hour in the car, which will also give them plenty of time to do their business. This also reduces the risk of them becoming car sick.

Make Sure You Have the Proper Documents   

Hopefully, it never happens but be prepared for the chance that your dog might wander away during a rest break or get lost. Having up-to-date tags and a microchip can give you peace of mind knowing they can easily be found. Also, if you’re planning to stay at a hotel or other accommodation, they may request medical records and vaccination certificates for your pup. Request them early on from your vet. 

Know the Location of Local Animal Clinics Along the Way

Emergencies happen unexpectedly and when they pop up, you want to know that you have access to a proper vet who can get your pet the treatment they need. A quick Google search of vets around different pit stops you intend to take can save you time later on. 

Commit to Safety While Taking Your Pet on a Road Trip

We’re committed to making sure that pet owners have the right information to keep their pets happy and healthy for years to come. If you are looking to get a microchip, receive up to date medical records, or any other medical or grooming needs for your road trip buddy, contact Cherrelyn Animal Hospital today. We have a reputation in our community for knowledgeable and patient care that will keep your pets comfortable.

Summer Health for Pets: Top Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe This Summer

Our precious pets enjoy having fun in the sun as much as we do, which is why we have to take the summer health of our pets seriously. If you are fond of taking your dogs on walks or giving your cat more time to wander outdoors, their wagging tails are sure signs of their warm weather excitement! Here are some tips to make sure that your pets are as healthy as they are happy this summer. 

Familiarize Yourself With the Warning Symptoms of Overheating 

As temperatures soar, our pets risk overheating. Some of the symptoms to keep your eyes peeled for include dry or very red gums, heavy panting, increased heart rate, drooling, or seeming weak and fatigued. In the event that your pet faints, has a seizure, bloody diarrhea or vomit, or their body temperature is above 104 degrees (for dogs) or 102.5 degrees (for cats), they are having a heat stroke. Relocate them to a cooler area, put a damp towel over them (not cold water!), and bring them to an animal hospital ASAP!

Prevent Dehydration 

Part of being careful about your pet’s health this summer is making sure he drinks enough. Though your dog may seem ready for several rounds of fetch, when the weather is too hot or humid, carry a water bottle and prepare bowls of clean water for them so they can refresh when needed. 

Keep Your Pet’s Outdoor Environment Safe 

Consider walking your dog in the morning or evening when the asphalt is cooler and less likely to sting their paw pads. Purchasing some pet boots can offer additional paw protection. Keep your pet away from potential antifreeze car leaks, which can be fatal if ingested.

When playing outside, find a spot where there is some shade so you and your pet have a place to cool off. Though some dogs are avid swimmers, not all pets are so capable so supervise closely when around an outdoor pool. If you are fond of boating or other water activities, consider investing in an animal life vest.

Common summer celebrations like Fourth of July fireworks or barbecues have many potential dangers for pets, such as being scared off by loud sounds or ingesting something poisonous, so keep fire products and unsafe foods away. 

Keep Your Pet’s Indoor Environment Safe, As Well

Summer health and safety precautions for pets aren’t just relevant to time spent outdoors. When indoors, many cats and dogs enjoy perching on a windowsill to enjoy the sunlight. However, there’s a risk of injury if they accidentally fall! Check that your windows have their screens in or are properly secured. And as a rule of thumb, never leave your animal in a parked vehicle because scorching temperatures put them at high risk of heat stroke.

Take Care of Their Fur 

Some pet owners assume shaving their furry friends will help them cool off more easily. However, this actually increases the risk of overheating and sunburn so avoid the shears! Ask your vet to recommend an animal safe sunscreen to prevent burning. And as your pet is outside more, make sure to rinse off any possible chlorine or animal safe insect repellent they may be exposed to. 

Visit the Vet for a Check-Up: An Important Piece of Summer Health for Pets!

Schedule a visit to the vet so your pet can be protected against the risk of tapeworm and other illnesses, which are more easily transmittable in the summer as your pet is exposed to more ticks and mosquitoes in the outdoors. 


Dogs and cats can have a fun-filled summer but they can also experience a host of unwanted dangers or injuries. If you want to keep your pet healthy this summer, schedule a visit with Cherrelyn Animal Hospital today. We’ll make sure that they receive the most attentive and compassionate care, backed by over six decades of experience!

How To Welcome Your New Cat To Your Home

New Cat

When you adopt or bring home a cat, you’re probably full of excitement for what’s ahead – cuddles, playtime, and lots of petting. But before you get ahead of yourself, we’ll give you a gentle reminder that your new pet will need some time to adapt to the new environment of your home. In order to reduce stress on your new cat and facilitate his or her adjustment, we’ve compiled some quick tips to cat-prep your home.

Select A Small, Quiet Room For Your Cat

Chances are that your cat has been living in a shelter cubby or some other type of confined space. So, naturally, he or she might be overwhelmed and intimidated by the sudden exposure to your entire home. Picking a place like a bedroom or even a bathroom is a great place for him to start calling “home.”

Furnish The Room With A Litter Box, Food, And Water

Add approximately two inches of litter to a litter box and set it in a corner. This reduces the chance of any litter box problems. Then set up a water and food bowl away from the litter box. We recommend welcoming your pet with some canned wet food, which will help to stimulate his appetite. By adding these basic amenities to the room, your cat will know where to go when he needs to use any of these items.

Give Your Cat Some Hiding Places

Cats love hiding themselves away in their own little safe haven. If your new cat came in a carrier, leave it available for him in his room. Many shelters will include the cat’s own blanket, which will feel and smell familiar to him. You could also give your cat the simple and beloved cardboard box, which he is sure to enjoy. Make sure that it is large enough for him or her to turn around in. No matter what type of hiding place you give him, just be sure to situate it in a place where your cat can still see the door. This reduces the chances that someone will startle him and will help him to feel safe.

Include A Scratching Post

Cats need to wear down their claws by scratching on things. If you want to do your furniture and floors a favor, we recommend adding a scratching post for your cat. Options range from inexpensive corrugated cardboard to vertical posts that encourage your cat to stretch.

Go At Your New Cat’s Pace

When the exciting first day finally arrives, we cannot stress this tip enough. Do not be alarmed if your new feline is hiding, eating or drinking less, or is avoidant. He is simply adjusting to a new environment (and a new family). Give him or her time to explore, and try to control your urge to spend all of your time with your new pet!

Keep in mind, however, that there are some causes for concern. A study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery detailed causes and signs of stress in cats. If your cat has not been eating for several days, is overgrooming, urine marking, or demonstrating other behavioral abnormalities, we recommend contacting your veterinarian.

Like our own annual checkups with our doctors, all cats will benefit from receiving dedicated attention from a professional. More likely than not, your cat may need to receive additional vaccines and immunizations. Therefore, within the week of your cat’s arrival, be sure to schedule an appointment with a trusted veterinary clinic, like Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, to ensure the health of your new pet!

The Complete Guide to Seasonal Allergies in Pets

For those of us with seasonal allergies, spring means pollen, pollen, and more pollen. Runny noses, congestion, teary eyes, and constant sneezing are some of the things that we have to look forward to in the upcoming months. But did you know that pets exhibit different signs of allergies? If you notice any of the following signs in your dog or cat, it is likely that he or she may be suffering from seasonal allergies

Signs of an Allergic Reaction

Constant Scratching

In dogs and cats, allergy symptoms tend to take the form of skin irritation, otherwise known as allergic dermatitis. To relieve the itching, pets almost always resort to the most natural reaction: scratching. Excessive scratching or biting is a sign that you should easily notice. Pets may also rub their bodies against furniture or the floor in an effort to relieve the itching.

Inflamed Skin

As the scratching worsens, your pet’s skin will grow inflamed, red, and tender to the touch. Open sores and scabbing might result. Cats, in particular, tend to engage in vigorous scratching, which can lead to the development of tiny lesions on their skin.

Dandruff and Excessive Shedding

Because allergies can severely dry out the skin and cause it to flake, you may notice an increase of dandruff from your pet. Scratching can also result in hair loss and shedding, sometimes in patches.

Lesions on Paws

If an environmental allergen is the root cause of the problem, check your pet’s paws. If you notice lesions on the underside or top of their paws, the culprit is likely to be pollen or dust that is collected as they trot outdoors.

Ear Infection

Ear infections can be related to allergies, especially when it comes to dogs. As part of a generalized allergic response, ear canals may be itchy and inflamed. Alternatively, yeast or bacteria may grow. If you notice signs of scratching at the ears, head shaking, and red ears, take note. You may also see discharge or an odor coming from your pet’s ears.

Treatment of Seasonal Allergies in Pets

If you suspect that your pet has seasonal allergies, it’s important to bring him or her to see a medical professional. Allergies are usually multi-factorial, which means that diagnosis is not always easy. Even with treatment, it can take eight to twelve weeks to see improvement.

Veterinarians usually opt for an intradermal skin test, meaning that small amounts of test allergens are injected under your dog’s skin. This can help to pinpoint exact allergens, as well as the severity of the allergy. After identifying which injections cause redness or hives, an immunotherapy shot can be developed by your vet. The treatment requires injections over the course of about a year. Nearly 70% of dogs see improvement using this method.

Home Remedies

Home remedies are not meant to replace a visit to a veterinarian, which is absolutely necessary in the case of seasonal allergies in pets. However, if your visit is a few days away, there are some ways you can temporarily relieve symptoms until a thorough treatment plan is developed.

Frequent Baths

A simple bath using mild shampoo will provide your pet with immediate relief from itchiness. If your pet is allergic to pollen or dust, a bath will also wash away any allergens collected on skin and fur.

Foot Soaks

Washing your pet’s feet can drastically reduce the amount of the allergens carried into the home and spread about. After a walk outdoors, be sure to give your pet a simple foot bath.

Omega-3 Supplements

Adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements, like fish oil, can help to reduce inflammation and build up the skin’s barrier. This is beneficial to both the allergic reaction and the overall health of your pet.

For those of us who personally experience allergies, we can only imagine how difficult the experience is for pets who cannot communicate or understand what is going on. It is recommended that pet owners keep an eye out for symptoms of an allergic reaction and quickly contact a professional team, like the one at Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, if an allergy is suspected.

5 Simple Ways To Ward Off Fleas

With spring right around the corner, both you and your dog might be looking forward to the great outdoors. But before you head for the brilliant sunshine and lush grass, take the necessary steps to prevent fleas and ticks from latching on. These simple steps are easy, effective ways to protect your pet and home from fleas come springtime.

Keep Your Yard Trimmed

It turns out that maintaining your lawn is great for both your home’s curb appeal and your pet’s health. This means something as simple as keeping your lawn mowed and shrubs trimmed. The closer that shrubs and trees are to your home and windows, the greater chance fleas have of moving indoors. Less shrubbery on your lawn means fewer hiding spots for pests.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the appearance of raccoons, stray cats, and other feral animals. If you have the habit of placing bowls of food outdoors for these animals, you might want to reconsider it. They are almost always infested with unwanted fleas.

Oral Flea Medication

Oral flea medication, arguably the most effective and convenient way to eradicate fleas, comes in the form of chewables or pills. Whenever a flea bites your pet, the active ingredients in the medicine are transmitted to the flea to kill it. The unique chemical ingredient in each type of oral flea medication targets fleas in different ways. Some target adult fleas, while others target larvae. Some act to prevent fleas from laying eggs. The type of medication that’s best for your dog depends on the stage of infestation and his or her own health. That’s why it’s important to work with your veterinarian to identify the best plan of action. He or she will also be able to warn you of side effects that may be seen, especially if your pet uses other medications.

Clean, Clean, Clean (Your Home)

Even if fleas have been eradicated, it’s likely that eggs and larvae have accumulated unnoticed in your yard or home. That means that they can infect your dog a second time if left untreated. In the home, eggs and larvae are often found in carpeting and rugs. So, be sure to vacuum these areas several times a week, especially if you’ve experienced a recent flea infestation. Also remember to vacuum under furniture, cushions, or anywhere in the home that your pet frequents. According to the Agrilife Extension Service of Texas A&M University, taking these steps can eliminate 30% of larvae and 60% of flea eggs. After vacuuming, make sure to empty the vacuum bag and change it frequently.

Spot-on Treatment

Due to their convenience, many pet owners reach for spot-on treatments that are simple dabbed onto the skin of your pet. However, different products are designed for different types of dogs and will vary in potency. Therefore, you must follow the provided instructions on the label carefully. It is generally recommended that you consult your vet prior to use to identify the best course of action.

Inspect Your Dog After Each Walk

Immediately after returning home from time outdoors, take a few minutes to visually inspect your pup for fleas or ticks. Check in between the toes, in the ears, and around the neck area. If you have a long-haired dog, be sure to spend some extra time looking through fur as well. This simple step can help you prevent an infestation before it ever begins.As for most other things, prevention is the best policy. We encourage you to be proactive in protecting the health of your dog. Simple preventative measures can save your pet from itchy bites and potential infections, while also saving you from expensive medical bills down the road. If you want to get started on protecting your dog from fleas, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a veterinary professional as soon as possible. A reliable and experienced team, like that of Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, can recommend the best methods and products for you and your furry friend.

Why You Should Have Yearly Dental Checkups For Your Pet

This month you may have given smooches to your Valentine, but how about your pet? Whether you receive many kisses from your dog or cat (or a rare few) have you noticed anything about their breath or teeth? You may want to pay attention to how often you go on dental checkups for your pet. Many pet owners may not take special note of their pet’s dental hygiene, but dental health is one of the most commonly neglected areas in pet health.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Four out of five dogs over the age of 3 years old have a kind of dental disease called periodontal disease. In fact, by the time your pet is 3, it is very likely that he or she has at least some early evidence of its onset. If preventative measures aren’t put in place, the disease will worsen.

Periodontal disease starts with something that is familiar to most of us: plaque. At first, plaque is soft and can be removed by simple brushing or, in pets, chewing hard foods and toys. However, plaque that is not removed will harden into tartar. When this happens above the gumline, removal is still relatively simple.

The problem for your pet will occur when plaque and tartar build up below the gumline, setting the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and other surrounding tissue. At its most viscous, periodontal disease destroys the tissue surrounding the tooth and the bony socket that holds the tooth in place. Ultimately, the tooth will become loose. Advanced periodontal disease can also cause health problems in your pet’s kidney, liver, and heart muscles.

Fortunately, these problem can be avoided by simple dental checkups and cleanings. A regularly scheduled dental checkup is the most effective way of monitoring your pet’s dental health and preventing more serious complications down the line. It is recommended that all pets undergo dental examination and cleaning once a year.

What Happens During a Checkup?

A routine dental checkup consists of an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Because most dental disease begins and festers below the gumline where it cannot be seen, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. X-rays can also be used to examine the health of the jaw and tooth roots.

Why Does My Pet Have to Undergo Anesthesia?

At our own dentists, we have to sit still and hold our mouths open in order for the dentist to work on us. However, our pets are less able to understand the concept and may react by moving, trying to escape, or even biting. Anesthesia on your pet will make the dental examination and cleaning much safer and less stressful for you, your pet, and the veterinary team.

The American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend dental cleanings without anesthesia. These types of procedures do not allow for cleaning or inspection below the gumline. Furthermore, “anesthesia-free” dental cleanings require pets to be restrained, which can be uncomfortable and frightening for your pet.

How Can I Take Care of My Pet’s Teeth At Home?

Prevention of dental disease in your pet is simpler than you think. The idea is to regularly remove plaque and tartar from his or her teeth. Regular brushing is the single most effective way you can keep their teeth healthy. While daily brushing is best, brushing several times a week is effective nonetheless.

If you haven’t brought your furry friend for a dental checkup in a while, we recommend that you do so as soon as possible to minimize future complications and pain. Find a trusted and well-staffed animal hospital near you, such as Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, and make an appointment for a dental checkup for your pet today.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Blood Work For Your Pet

Most of us aren’t experts in our own health. That’s why we visit the doctor when we’re sick and go in for our yearly checkup. We feed ourselves, bathe ourselves, and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible. The same should go for our beloved pets. Our furry companions don’t have the same autonomy as us, and it’s up to us to give them the best life we can – healthcare included. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at a veterinarian’s office, we’re here to help you understand why blood work for your pet and annual checkups are some of the simplest and easiest things you can do to ensure your pet’s wellbeing.

What’s The Importance Of Blood Work And Checkups For Your Pet?

For better or for worse, our pets cannot speak. Naturally, this means that they cannot tell us about any pain and discomfort. In particular, cats are especially good at hiding illness. According to a 2016 survey with over 2,000 respondents, 21% of cat owners said that their cat had age-related health issues. The real number is probably higher. That’s why it is always better for a trained professional to examine your pet from head to tail on a regular basis.

Also remember that our pets do not have the same life span as us. Because they age at a different rate, we have to be extra diligent in regularly examining their health. Adult dogs should have a check-up and blood test annually, while older dogs should visit their vets twice a year.

Having your pet’s health documented, especially when they are healthy, will help your veterinarian understand his or her baseline health. As your pet ages, we will be able to keep track of changes within his or her body. Understanding their unique biological makeup will also allow your vet to provide you with the best nutrition or activity recommendations as they age.

What Kind Of Tests Should My Pet Have?

When veterinary professionals speak of standard, routine blood work for your dog or cat, they are generally referring to two different tests: the CBC and blood chemistry.

CBC: Complete Blood Count

This test counts and analyzes the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in a given amount of blood. In addition to red blood cells, the CBC will also measure hemoglobin levels, which is the molecule responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. Low red blood cell count and low hemoglobin levels may indicate that your pet is anemic, while high red blood cell count and high hemoglobin levels may be a sign of dehydration. These levels give us information about the functioning of your pet’s bone marrow, spleen, and other organs.

The CBC also counts white blood cells, as well as the numbers of each type of white blood cell. These numbers help us to paint a picture of your pet’s immune system, which will provide us with invaluable information in times of infection or crisis. The CBC also measures platelets, cells that help your pet to form clots when bleeding. Low levels of platelets can be a serious problem, especially if surgery is needed down the line. It could also indicate life-threatening diseases or infections.

The CBC also gives us important insight on the color, size, and shape of these cells, which play a huge role in how they function. The information provided from this test allows veterinary professionals to optimally monitor your pet’s health, properly diagnose problems, and administer the best treatment, if needed.

Blood Chemistry

Blood chemistry aims to take a look at the fluid that blood cells move around in. A breakdown of this fluid gives us information about its chemical components and the functionality of the organs that filter or produce these chemicals. Some of these organs include the liver, the kidneys, and the pancreas. Furthermore, this test also looks at glucose, total protein, and calcium levels in your pet. The many chemicals and proteins we look at helps us to build a health portfolio for your beloved pet.

For many of us, our pets are part of our families. They completely depend and trust in us as their owners, and it’s up to us to take on that responsibility. With the joy and company that they provide us, the least we can do is give them standard healthcare. Here at Cherrelyn Animal Hospital, we like to make sure that all pets are taken care of and loved. Find a trusted and experienced veterinary office or animal hospital near you and start off 2019 with your pet’s yearly checkup.