Food is something we think about a lot. TV shows, books and blogs all cover it from every angle and every celebrity has their own version of the optimum diet. So it should be no surprise that there are trends in pet food also...
These days there are multiple pet diets all spruiking their benefits because they are lower, higher, newer, older, rarer or more or less refined. It's hard to get a handle on!
Even when you start to get your head around it, a new diet comes up and it all starts all over again.
As a vet I see and hear a lot of opinions on how to care for animals. I hear from breeders, owners, lecturers, food reps and veterinary specialist among others. Often there is no ‘Best Way’ and what works in one situation or for one animal, might not work for an other. Rarely though, there are some instances where the answer is black and white and one of those is that cats need meat!
Dogs eat a lot of things, which isn’t the same as saying you can feed your dog anything, far from it!
Dogs are living longer and longer lives and this has much to do with the diets we feed them now. Modern foods are well balanced and provide dogs with age appropriate nutrition. Even though there are a number of great foods out there that dogs thrive on, many owners can’t resist giving their pets a few treats off the plate as well.
Sniff your dog’s breath. Go on, I dare you.
Odds on, the odor is hardly enticing.
And that’s okay, within reason. Your average, healthy, happy dog, as a rule, get their jollies chowing down on a veritable shopping list of things too unspeakably revolting to contemplate printing, including, but not limited to: refuse, dead things, cat poop, horse poop and their own poop. Or maybe that’s just mine.
Any way you slice it, most dog’s breath is less than minty fresh. But there is a definite line between a regular, doggy smell, and a distinctly unpleasant bouquet that tends to go hand in hand with tooth issues.
Dental disease is far and away the most common affliction of dogs, cats and people. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can, or should, do about it.
Unhealthy teeth and infected gums are constantly, chronically painful, and sap the joy from chewing, eating, scrapping, playing, fetching, tugging, and hanging off things with you teeth, which is roughly 80% of what gives a canine life savor.
The other 20% would probably be cuddles and pillow hogging, both of which take a serious back seat in the day-to-day dealings of even the most beloved pooch when a certain stink threshold is reached.
So we owe it to them to help them make the most of life with a blissful abandon that would be the envy of the most hardened hedonist.
ALL dogs can get dental disease, but some are more predisposed than others. So if you’re the proud parent of anything small and fluffy with a short face and a crowded jaw, I AM TALKING TO YOU.
The shorter the face, the more jumbled together the teeth, and the higher the likelihood of scraps getting stuck and encouraging bacteria. The more squished the nose and airways, the more chance there will be of some degree of mouth breathing, which dries up bacteria fighting saliva.
Pugs, spaniels, malteses, poodles, shih tzus, yorkies, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, papillions, dachshunds, and, perversely, greyhounds, are massively at risk of developing crippling dental disease. So part of sharing your life and your heart with one is budgeting your time and your finances to keep it from getting out of hand.