February 25, 2008 Winter Salt Hazards

February 25, 2008

Winter Salt Hazards

I belong to an internet group of groomers who often consult each other when we find a client or our own dog with an issue that just doesn’t seem to be resolved any other way. I’ve come to know, meet and trust many of these fine people and their advice to me and others has proven itself more times than I can count. These people are genuinely helpful and concerned whenever someone presents them with a problem.
One groomer, Linda in Dodgeville, Wisconsin emailed the group when she had a client that had some terrible symptoms that vets just couldn’t figure out. The dog had stopped eating and drinking, became very lethargic and had sores in his mouth, not like canker sores, but all over the mouth and throat. Their vet ran tests on the dog’s blood and urine which didn’t show anything abnormal, and IV’s were given and the dog appeared to be getting much better. The dog went back home and as soon as the dog went out walking, the symptoms began again.
Another groomer mentioned that it could be poisoning from road and sidewalk salt. When the dog licks his paws, he ingests some salt and that can cause such symptoms. Well, it was winter and worth a shot to check into it. Linda passed along this advice to her client and the dog is now wearing boots outside and has not had a recurrence! Linda learned that her road salt also has chlorine in it to treat the roads and animals do lick their feet to get the ice and I’m sure the salt tastes good to them. Ingesting the salt and chemicals were what caused her clients dogs’ symptoms and she learned that other dogs had similar symptoms but not as severe, no sores but some weight loss. After protecting the dog’s feet from the salt and insuring the dog didn’t ingest anything from the road or sidewalk, those dogs gained back the weight they lost and became more energetic. Kidney failure and dehydration can occur from ingesting road salt and chemicals.
There are pet safe sidewalk salts you can buy but they are also expensive and not readily available in Attica. I have another simple and easy solution to prevent poisoning from salt by using something we can all get, baby wipes. Baby wipes are not just for babies and diaper duty. In fact, I’ve found so many uses for them on pets! When your pet comes in from outside use a baby wipe to remove the salt chemicals and clean off the mud! Be sure to wipe all his paws and between his toes and pads.
Baby wipes can also be used to clean out your pets ears, you can add some ear cleaning solution to them or just pour it into your dog’s ears and wipe out the ear with the baby wipe. You can use baby wipes to clean out the corners of your dog’s eyes when they accumulate goo. Also a few swipes on your pet’s hair will leave your dog smelling a little less “doggy” in between baths. Baby wipes are wonderful for cleaning under your dog’s tail too, yes I know, nobody wants to think about that but it has to be done from time to time, nobody wants “cling-ons” under the tail! Keep some baby wipes in your car too, so when you take your dog to the car to go visit someone, you can wipe off her paws in the car to prevent salt poisoning. Keep a few in a plastic zipping sandwich bag in your purse, because you just never know when you may need one.
If your dog really likes to lick things off the floor, be sure to keep your floors free from the salt you track in. That can be another source of the salt poisoning even if your dog never walks on it. Give your shoes a quick rinse to get if off from between the treads before your dog does. You just never know where we are going to run into a hazard for our pets.
Sometimes we find the simplest things can be the cause of major health issues in our pets. If you are experiencing symptoms similar to those mentioned above, keep a close eye on your dog and see if ingesting road salt could be the problem. If not for Linda’s asking about her client’s dog and passing along this information, the dog may not be here. Now he is still able to go for his walks and sports a pair of boots to protect his feet.

February 11, 2008 February is Pet Dental Month

February 11, 2008

February is Pet Dental Month

How many of you notice that your dog has pretty awful breath? Now unless your dog has just eaten something really rank, I can tell you that is not just doggy breath. The first thing I notice when I groom dogs is often bad breath and you can’t get rid of that with a mint, doggy dental bones or any other kind of cover up. You have to look at the gums and teeth and I mean ALL of the teeth. Go ahead and pull back your dogs lips in the corner of his mouth and take a good look at those back molars. Are the gums reddened above the teeth? Do you see some nasty tartar on the teeth? THAT, my friend, is the source of your dog’s bad breath.
Here’s the scoop, there is NO food or treat, canned or dry that will prevent tartar. Argue with me all you want, but the bottom line is if you eat crackers everyday and never brush your teeth, what do you think your teeth would look like?
Yeah, yeah I know, brush your dog’s teeth? What am I crazy? It can be done, but if you are like me, you are lucky to have time to brush your own teeth let alone your dogs’. I manage to get the job done occasionally because I have 3 dogs and I know what happens if you let the teeth accumulate tartar and the gums become infected. I’m not talking bad breath, I’m talking an infection that not only affects the dog’s gums, but becomes systemic and can damage your dog’s heart and other internal organs.
Bad breath is just the most common sign of tooth and gum problems. Drooling and difficulty eating dry food are sometimes noticed. I’ve heard people say, “well he is still eating”, well heck, you have to eat to survive! Eating isn’t a sign your dog doesn’t have a problem. Eating can be painful for your dog. Remember, dogs don’t show pain like people do. We whine and carry on when we hurt. They don’t. If they did, something would eat them, from your dog’s perspective.
The other thing I hear quite often is the owner fears having the dog get a dental under anesthesia. I understand that you fear losing your dog, but by letting his gums become so infected, he is dying now already, but it’s a slow painful death. I’ve also seen many senior dogs ages 15, and 17 years of age undergo a dental procedure at the vet, (after years of me begging their owners) and completely turn around! Old dogs with rotten teeth become lively again! They get the sparkle back into their eyes! They gain some weight and feel so much better! Dental procedures and anesthesia are safe when a blood workup is done beforehand to assess your pet’s health for undergoing this procedure. I’ve had many senior pets that have had it done with much success.
Sometimes your pets teeth may be so far gone they need to be extracted. I’ve seen dogs with teeth so bad; the tartar was the only thing holding them in! Relax! Your dog can still eat without many teeth. I have a near toothless dog myself that requires a softer diet, but he still munches on dry food too. Thankfully, that means I don’t have to worry about doggy dentures either! Whew!
So what causes dogs to get such awful tartar? Eating does. If your dog eats then his teeth are gonna get dirty, just like yours. If your dog doesn’t eat then you can safely assume you won’t have to worry about his teeth, because your dog is either dead or a stuffed animal. Some dogs seem to have more trouble than others do with tartar accumulation simply due to their anatomy. The way their mouths and teeth are shaped affects how food will accumulate on their teeth. That’s the way God made them and just be thankful they aren’t kids and you have to pay for braces!
If you want lessons on how to brush your dog’s teeth then please stop by and I’ll happily show you how to get started. In fact, I’ve found some products that really work to dissolve tartar and help keep your dogs teeth clean. This won’t replace a dental for dogs with bad tartar and gum disease, but I’ve seen some amazing results with my own dogs and my clients’ dogs with Oxyfresh® products that you add to their drinking water daily. I carry it in my salon but you can find it online at http://www.oxyfresh.com/ .
I’ve also partnered up with Attica’s own veterinary clinic Country Critter Care for February Dental Month and am offering coupons for grooming and photography when you have your pets teeth cleaned! Call them today at 762-6212 and schedule your pet’s dental and beautify her teeth and then call me so I can make the rest of her look good too!
Your pet will thank you for it!