Monthly Archives: February 2015

How to get your dog in shape

Weight loss is tough for anyone—two- or four-legged. But losing weight and getting in shape not only adds years to your pet’s life, it can also make those extra years more enjoyable.

Why a healthy weight is important for your dog?
If a dog is just five pounds over its ideal weight, it’s at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. When a dog is overweight or obese, it’s not a question of if it will develop a related illness, but rather how many and how soon.

Veterinarians expect overweight dogs to live shorter lives than their fitter counterparts. Heavy dogs tend to be less energetic and playful. It’s common to think dogs that lie around are just lazy, making it easy to overlook the lethargy that results from being overweight or obese. If your dog doesn’t run and jump, it might be overweight. But don’t worry, your veterinary team can help your pooch get in shape!

Start with calories
A weight-loss formula seems simple: fewer calories, in plus more calories, out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. First, never put your dog on a diet until it’s been examined by your veterinarian. A medical condition may be causing your dog’s excess weight. The veterinarian will rule out these diseases before putting your dog on a diet.

Once the veterinarian prescribes a diet, the next step is calculating the calories your dog needs. First, the veterinarian will calculate your dog’s ideal weight. Your veterinarian will use your dog’s initial target or ideal weight to figure out how many calories your dog should eat each day. To figure out how many calories are in your pet’s food, check the label. If it doesn’t tell you what you need to know, ask your veterinarian.

The art of changing foods
You’ll most likely need to offer your dog a diet food if its overweight. When you’re introducing a new food, allow several days for the transition. We recommend gradually adding the new diet over a one- to two week period. Start by substituting one-quarter of your dog’s diet with the new food for two or three days.

Then give your dog a diet that’s half old food, half new for the next two to four days. Then increase to feeding three-quarters new food for the final three to five days before completely switching to the new diet. To make dry food more appetizing for your dog, try warming the food, adding ketchup or oregano, or even adding a splash of an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or salmon juice on top of the food.



How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

What to know when your dog needs a dental cleaning.

Dental Prophylaxis for Dogs

A dental, also sometimes called a “prophy” or prophylaxis, is a cleaning and polishing of a dog’s teeth. It is important to realize that dental disease does not reach a particular level and remain there. Dental disease continuously progresses. As dental disease progresses, the treatment becomes more involved, meaning longer and more elaborate (and more costly) dental procedures. This means that sooner is better than later when it comes to addressing your pet’s dental disease with an appropriate treatment.

What Are the Indications for Performing a Dental Procedure?

A dental cleaning should be performed on your pet when gingivitis (red area along the gum lines) is seen or bleeding during brushing is noted. Many pets get their teeth cleaned once a year. A yearly cleaning is not necessarily appropriate for all pets. Diet, chewing behavior and preventative care (daily tooth brushing) are among the important factors affecting the potential of your pet getting dental disease and how fast dental disease can progress.

Larger breed dogs, who often eat only dry food and do a fair amount of recreational chewing, are not as prone to periodontal disease as are smaller dogs. Small dogs have more crowding of their teeth, are less likely to be eating only dry food and do less recreational chewing, all of which lead to increased risk of periodontal disease. Any damage of either the tooth or gums along the gum line will increase the likelihood of periodontal disease.

What Preoperative Examinations or Tests Are Needed?

A proper dental procedure for your pet requires him to be placed under general anesthesia. Prior to such a procedure, your veterinarian should perform a complete physical examination. Some basic blood tests, including evaluation of liver and kidney function and red and white blood cell counts, may also be done before an anesthetic procedure. If there is any concern of kidney disease, a urinalysis should also be part of the work-up. Concerns about heart function, such as the presence of a heart murmur, may need to be addressed.

What Type of Anesthesia is Needed?

Your pet needs to be under general anesthesia for a dental procedure for several reasons. A complete examination and cleaning of all teeth cannot be performed efficiently and safely (for both your pet and the veterinarian) if your pet is awake. Dental radiographs (x-rays) may be helpful for appropriate evaluation of dental disease and are impossible to perform on an a pet that is awake. Any tooth extractions that may be necessary most definitely require an anesthetized patient. Even the most routine dental cleaning is a fairly wet procedure and our pets are not very good at the “rinse and spit” aspect of dentistry.

How Is the Dental Procedure Operation Done?

After your pet has been placed under general anesthesia, your veterinarian will examine all of the teeth and gums. If any periodontal pockets (loss of bone around the tooth, below the gum line) are found, dental radiographs may be done to assess the extent of damage. Appropriate treatment of diseased teeth is done. Using an ultrasonic instrument, your veterinarian will remove the tartar on the teeth by scraping the tartar with a vibrating probe. This allows minimal damage to the tooth enamel. After all the tartar and plaque has been removed, the teeth are polished with a special tooth polish.

How Long Does the Dental Procedure Take?

The length of a dental procedure can vary greatly. A straightforward cleaning may take 20-40 minutes. Any dental disease that requires more treatment than just a cleaning or any necessary tooth extractions will, of course require more time.

What Are the Risks and Complications?

The risks of a dental procedure are usually minimal. Anesthesia is never completely without risk, but advances in anesthesia protocols and monitoring can greatly reduce risks. Appropriate evaluation of your pet prior to the procedure and addressing any medical problems can also go a long way towards reducing risks of anesthesia. Other risks include excessive bleeding following tooth extractions, fracture of the tooth root or the surrounding bone, or damage to neighboring healthy teeth. The potential for these risks is remote.

What Is the Typical Postoperative Care?

Care for your pet after a dental procedure depends on the extensiveness of the procedure. Special care is usually not required after a simple cleaning. If tooth extractions or advanced periodontal treatment was performed, feeding softer food, administering antibiotics and using an oral rinse may be recommended while healing occurs.

How Long Is the Hospital Stay?

Most dental procedures are complete within one hour and your dog may only spend one day in the hospital. Any concern of recovery from the anesthesia may warrant an overnight stay in the hospital for observation.

By: Dr. William Rosenblad