Thursday, August 13, 2009

Danielle said... (in a recent comment)
I've been noticing my dog has bad breath. I can see plaque on my dog's back teeth...what can I do to keep my dog's teeth healthy? How often should I brush my dog's teeth, and will it help with the problem now?

Danielle's question is a common one. We are all interested in keeping our dog's teeth healthy, and yes, their breath fresher! Brushing your dog's teeth is the best way to contribute to improving their breath and minimizing plaque accumulation And daily is best. veterinary dentists say that a minimum of 3x/week is needed to make a significant difference. There are many different lines of edible dental paste for dogs available. I happen to like the CET paste as there are also enzymes that help with minimize plaque in addition to the action of brushing. A dog dental paste is recommended over human products as dog products are edible (human products are not meant for consumption), and dog products do not contain flouride which may be harmful for consumption in larger amounts. Dental chews such as rawhide strips, greenies, and firm chew bones (e.g. Nylabones or Gummabones) can also help with plaque and tartar on the rear teeth, but the front teeth really require brushing to minimize tartar, plaque and periodontitis. Professional cleaning under general anesthesia is usually required periodically as well. A common misconception is to think that because we did not do as much for dog dental care in the past, that it is not necassary. On the contrary, it has always been a good idea, but we now know more about how to better take care of our pets' teeth, and provide them with better care than ever before. If you can work daily brushing into your routine, you and your pet will definitely see a difference!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Puppies Behind Bars

I learned about a remarkable program recently called Puppies Behind Bars. Matching inmates with puppies in a program where inmates raise and train service dogs for returning veterans, these dogs bring unconditional love and a newfound respect to a group of individuals who have often never had an opportunity to experience these emotions. The end result for veterans is equally remarkable. These service dogs help to bring two people (the inmate they bond with as their trainer, and the veteran who needs assistance) closer to integrating with society in as positive a manner as you can imagine. You can learn more about this unique program, and find out how to help support it at