Look at those beautiful white teeth!
Keep the teeth of your puppy or kitten healthy with regular brushing. Stats on a lack of the habit look grim: by the age of 5, about 85% of all pets show signs of gum disease. But knowing that we should brush and actually doing it are two different things. How do you even get started on this important part of good oral care for your pet?
Start Early. Your introduction will probably be easier with a kitten or puppy, so it’s recommended that you start early. Helping an older dog or cat get used to the habit of teeth brushing may take a little more time and patience, but it’s not impossible.
Start Slow. No matter your pet’s age, the key to starting any good habit is to start slowly and be persistent. One way to introduce the concept is to leave a pet toothbrush with a little pet toothpaste on it within your pet’s reach – like on the floor. Your sweet kitten may sniff it and walk away while your precocious puppy may enthusiastically lick the toothpaste off the brush in three seconds flat. Your mature regal pet may ignore the whole thing in hopes it will disappear. (“Toothbrush? What toothbrush?”)
Any of these reactions is perfectly normal – you’re only concerned with a happy introduction. After a few days of the random toothbrush within reach, you can start to actually brush your pet’s teeth. Your tool of choice may be an angled toothbrush, a “finger” brush that fits over your index finger, or even a clean rag that’s wrapped around your finger.
Choose your time wisely. After a good long walk or play session, your pet should be settled down, more relaxed and hopefully ready to try something new.
If you only brush one or two teeth and your dog starts to back away, your time’s up. Put away your brush or rag, hand over a treat and praise her with your soothing voice. You want to continue with your happy introduction, and tomorrow’s another day.
Slowly, your pet should get used to brushing. Aim to brush your pet’s teeth once daily. At least once every week or so, examine inside your pet’s mouth and look for:
1. Unusual or new bumps in mouth
2. Increased drooling
3. Red or swollen gums
4. Missing teeth
Watch for any change in appetite or eating habits. Pets should visit the vet to have teeth examined professionally every six to twelve months.
Just as in humans, bad oral health can lead to problems like heart, liver or kidney disease. The fringe benefits of brushing your pet’s teeth are certainly worth your time – good oral health positively affects the life span of your pet. That’s why we’re offering free oral exams between right now and the end of March.
When you come for your pet’s appointment, you can find out more about your pet’s dental health with complimentary educational materials, help with a home dental plan, and if needed, an estimate for a professional cleaning.
Give us a call – and let’s get started!
Town N Country employees spent their Saturday at the CanSculpt event at Holly Hill Mall in Burlington. The event provides food donations to Allied Churches of Alamance County’s food pantry, for example, our Snoopy sculpture is made of 987 items: cans of veggies, pork n beans, boxes of cereal, bouillon, mac & cheese and chocolate bars! We’ve named our masterpiece “Paws for a Cause”.
If you like what you see, please stop by the mall and give us a vote for the People’s Choice Award. Simply pick up a ballot at the Allied Church of Alamance County food pantry, located across from the cookie stand.
Voting starts Sunday, February 10 through Friday, February 17 from noon to 6 pm!
Here at Town 'N' Country Animal Hospital, we strongly encourage all pet owners to give heartworm prevention medication to their dogs and cats, year long. We see heartworm disease in both dogs and cats each year at our practice. Incidence maps from the American Heartworm Society show that we are in an area with a moderate number of cases of heartworm disease.
Highs Temps and Lows. We have our share of strange weather here in North Carolina. We might have a high of 65 degrees one day, and a low of 30 degrees two nights later. With weather swings like this, it is very difficult to predict what the mosquito population will do. It doesn’t take many days of warm weather for mosquitoes to be out and about again. Any time there may mosquitoes around, it is important to have pets on year round prevention.
Prevention – Sort Of. We talk about heartworm prevention medication as if it prevents your dog from getting heartworms. That’s sort of true, but not exactly. Your pet can be bitten by a mosquito at any time. If that mosquito is infected with heartworms, it will pass the heartworms to your dog. The heartworm “prevention” that you give your pet will kill the heartworms before they have a chance to develop into adults, causing disease in your dog or cat's heart and lungs. So, preventions don’t exactly prevent your dog or cat from getting heartworms, but it does prevent them from getting heartworm disease.
If you give your pet a dose of heartworm prevention on October 1, and they get bitten by a mosquito on October 10, but you don’t plan to give them another dose of heartworm prevention until April 1, he or she could very easily contract Heartworm Disease over the winter.
Cross Your Heart and You're Entered! We want to spread the word that heartworm prevention IS necessary during the winter, even in the South. That's we we've teamed up with Elanco® (the makers of Trifexis®), to bring you the Cross My Heart Pledge. We will be have the pledge on our Facebook page.
From now until February 13th, share the image on your Facebook page, then come back to our page and leave a comment that you have taken and shared the pledge. Each person who shares will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win one of those amazing RTIC Soft Pak 30 Gray Cooler*, one of those coolers that keep ice cold for up to five days! We will announce the winner on our Facebook page, on February 14, 2017.
So – make the "Cross Your Heart" pledge, share, then cross your fingers that you're the winner of that RTIC cooler! Either way, when you keep your pledge and consistently give your pet heartworm prevention, you and your pet really do win.
Go here to share!
*Valued at $139.00.
When it comes to resolutions, pet grooming is right up there with teeth flossing – we know we should, but it’s no fun, so it’s on our low priority list.
If grooming is something you’ve resolved to improve upon this year, here are some tips.
Bathing. There’s no set amount of time between dog bathings. Some are fine only being bathed once every six months. Others, such as dogs who like to hike, can easily require a weekly bath, but you can rinse without soap some of the time. Bathing more than once a week can dry out a dog’s skin. We have some tips on bathing to help you.
Brushing. Whether your dog has long hair or short, you should brush her every few days. It removes dead hair, makes for a clean and shiny coat, and helps circulation. Regular brushing also allows you to feel changes in your pet’s body, like lumps or weak muscles. You may also find fleas or ticks that you may not otherwise notice.
Nail Trims. Dogs nails need to be clipped often; if you can hear clicking as your dog walks across the floor, it’s probably time. If you’d rather not tackle the clipping, we do this here at the office.
Ears. Routinely wipe out your dogs each with a dry cotton ball (no swab!) or piece of guaze. If you notice any bad odors, let us know right away.
Cats. Most cats should be groomed rarely, because most cats do a good job of taking care of themselves, but there but there are exceptions. Some cats have medical or weight issues that make them less able to groom themselves. Some long haired cats need to have excess hair removed every 3 to 4 months.
Of course, we know that you may not have time to do all of the grooming and bathing and nail clipping that your dog or cat needs, which is why we have a Pet Spa right on site at Town N Country. We’ll set you an appointment with Tish, she’ll groom your pet, and you can call that resolution done!
It’s true: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This year, resolve to do the small preventative things that add up to huge healthy benefits for your pet – and for you.
Flea Prevention. Fleas are present all year round, and in cold temperatures, they look for warm places…like your indoor (or outdoor!) cat.
Routine Dewormings. Indoor and outdoor cats should be dewormed regularly. Almost all cats become infested with worms at some point in their lives.
Flea prevention. Again, fleas are no respecter of seasons. They thrive all year long, especially in the South. If you’ve ever had fleas on your pet – or in your house, you’ll agree that the prevention is a lot easier than the cure!
Heartworm prevention. There are several easy options to prevent this mosquito-borne disease. It’s hard – and expensive – to cure heartworms. We’re going to be talking more about heartworm prevention in February, and asking you to ‘cross your heart’ and promise to give your dog this basic, life-saving prevention.
Routine fecal analysis. Every year, we recommend that your dog be screened for parasites. If you have an older pet, senior lab panels can help us to gauge your pet’s health.
So this year, make a resolution. Promise yourself that you’ll do these simple, easy things that will keep your pet healthy and happy in 2017- and beyond.
Year after year, the number one resolution made (and probably broken) is “lose weight”. Weight loss for humans is pretty complicated, and we couldn’t even begin to give you advice on how to shed your pounds.
For your pets, however, there are two words that sum up everything you need to know to get your dogs and cats back to a healthy weight: diet and exercise. No one wants to admit that the family pet is overweight because she overeats or isn’t active enough. But if you hear yourself saying some of the following, you may need to give yourself a good talking to:
1. “One cup in the morning, and one cup in the evening: that’s it.” We hear a lot of statements in a given week that are just this side of the whole truth. Maybe the cups at their house are bigger than ours; something doesn’t add up! If the regular kibble is truly at a reasonable level, the problem may lie in the treats. It’s very easy to fall into a pattern of rewarding good behavior with Beggin’ Strips, Busy Bones and sausage links, but they add up to too many calories! If you’re not sure about the food, talk to us about Purina OM for your dog.
2. “My cat’s very picky. She only eats…..” Cats can be finicky, but they are natural hunters. Maybe you’ve received offerings of a dead bird or a dead mouse that your cat proudly placed somewhere you’d notice…like the bathroom rug. It’s their not-so-subtle way of letting you know that they really, really like meat. A high protein, low carb diet is best for your kitty. We recommend Purina DM for cats, and cats really love it!
3. “Nah, we don’t need to walk her. She’s in a huge yard all day!” How interesting is the same old space all the time? Dogs are not so different from us in regard to exercise. Keep it fun! A walk around the neighborhood trumps the yard every time. Dogs can easily become couch potatoes when they only dash in and out of the doggie door to do their business. In the wild, a dog would be motivated to either catch prey or avoid becoming prey by running very fast. In a confined area, a dog will stop when he’s tired and fail to get an elevated heart rate for any length of time.
In a word, if we’ve talked to you about your pet’s weight, you need to work “diet” and “exercise” into your vocabulary – and your daily habits. We’re happy to have words with you about a specific plan for your pet. Let us help you and your pet get healthy and happy for the year 2017 – and beyond.
If warming your car up is the most exposure you have to cold weather, your dog’s probably not too happy with you. Rain, snow or shine, your dog behaves better and feels more content when a little exercise makes up part of the day.
So Lace up your sneakers and grab a leash – or a ball or your car keys. Exercise can happen nearly anywhere. Take a look at 10 ways to keep your dog cheerfully panting – even when the weather outside is frightful:
1. Fetch it! When inclement weather makes an outdoor jaunt impractical, a rousing indoor game of fetch can get your dog’s heart rate up. Toss the ball or toy up the stairs or in a totally different direction to keep him guessing.
2. Do some dog-friendly shopping. Since your car’s warmed up already, there’s probably something you need from your local pet store, right? Your dog will appreciate a car ride and a change of scenery. Allow your dog to walk up and down the aisles for exercise, and you both can check out the latest toys or food puzzles like a classic Kong or a Goodie Bone.
3. Make a food challenge. When’s the last time your dog had to sniff out dinner? Keep things interesting by hiding her bowl of food in a different location in your home. You can also use various products (see #4) to get her to work for treats. Or you could simply hide a few small treats in different parts of your home.
4. Sign up for a class. An agility class could be a lot of fun for your dog and you. Depending on your pet, a simple obedience class or a canine citizenship class also might meet your needs. You’ll both get exercise and spend time together. No doubt you’ll have exercises and skills to perfect during the week when you’re at home.
5. Try new tricks. Learning a new skill can be a great activity for you and your dog. Can your dog roll over? Can she pull off your sock? Will he jump through a hoop? Take a look here for fun ideas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C98zf6rUFAo
6. Play hide and seek and tag. Where does your dog want to be more than anywhere else? With you, of course! Distract your pet with a small treat – and run away to hide. Your dog can get a good bit of exercise running around the house to find you. When she finds you, run! You just started a great game of tag. You can switch things up and be the one who chases rather than the one who’s chased.
7. Discover Town N Country’s Doggie Day Care. For those days when you have too much going on, don’t leave your pet sulking at home all day. Doggie day care offers your dog supervised active time with other dogs. You’ll both be happier at the end of the day.
8. Town N Country’s walking service. When you’re away or whenever you need it, you can hire a Town N Country staff member to walk your dog. (The price stays the same – rain or shine.)
9. Walk anyway. Even when it’s snowy, most dogs still like to get outside. Tell yourself you’d pay a lot for an Alaskan dogsledding trip and embrace the cold for an active 20 minutes. Your dog will adore you even more, and you’ll get a good workout. (And don’t forget to wash paws to remove salt from his feet when you come back inside.)
10. Insert YOUR idea here. And then go to our Facebook page and share it.
If you have questions or would like to discuss your dog’s fitness needs, give us a call. We’d love to help your pet live a long, healthy life – no matter the weather.
There’s something about the New Year that makes us want to make a fresh start. The clean slate of a new calendar gives us hope to make changes for the better. This year, as you’re making resolutions for yourself, we’d like to suggest a few to make for your pet. Consider it a sort of New Year’s countdown…
FIVE. Time. We’ve started with the easiest resolution to keep – and that’s to spend more time with your pet, because time is what your beloved pet needs the most. Spend 15 minutes a day teaching a new trick, brushing or simply playing with a favorite toy. Set aside time each day to do something special for just the two of you.
FOUR. Dental Care. Dental care is the most overlooked part of a pet’s overall health regimen. Make this the year that you take better care of those pearly whites.
THREE. Prevention Meds. We know. It’s hard to remember those prevention medicines, but it’s crucially important to protect your pet against fleas, heartworms, and other parasites.
TWO. Exercise. Every pet needs exercise, even those that are not overweight. Exercise helps your pet’s behavior, aids in digestion, and generally helps overall health.
ONE. Lose weight! Obesity is a huge problem for pets as well as humans. Resolve to help your pet lose that puppy – or kitten – fat! Studies show that over half of pets are overweight, and this is a great time to tackle those extra pounds.
And since it’s (wayyyyy) easier to make resolutions than to keep them, we’ll be posting some practical details on how to keep these lofty goals. Watch our website and our Facebook page, and turn your countdown to the New Year into some new habits that will benefit you and your furbabies in 2017 – and beyond.
When we’re talking dogs and cats, a lot of us think chubby’s okay, but is it really? Without a doubt, pets weigh more today. A recent study* found that 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats would be classified as overweight or obese. More troubling is the fact that most pet owners aren’t aware their pets are fat.
The dangers of being overweight for your pet don’t differ much from the dangers of humans being overweight:
1. Type 2 Diabetes
2. High blood pressure
3. Kidney disease
5. Breathing problems
6. Shortened life span (by 2.5 years)
The bigger problem is that pets don’t gain weight independently. The human mamas and papas of pudgy pets enable their excessive food habit. Outside of a Superbowl commercial, when’s the last time a pet opened the fridge and served herself snacks and a beverage?
It’s never too late for a healthy beginning, and the New Year presents the perfect opportunity for a new diet. Town N Country stocks several varieties of specialty pet food that can help. If you’re unsure how much food your pet should receive each day, or you’d like more information about pet nutrition, give us a call.
*Fifth annual Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) survey