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Cure for Bad Breath in Dogs

For most dog owners, one of the favorite ways to spend time together is cuddling and being close together on the sofa, possibly even watching television together. Some of the appeals of being close to your pet can be diminished when you realize that your pet has such bad breath that you’d prefer to keep your distance.

Many owners have simply accepted this as a fact of life, something that is just natural for dogs, given the kinds of foods in their diet, and the fact that they don’t practice anything like the good oral hygiene that humans do.

While it may certainly be true that dogs don’t brush their teeth three times a day, it doesn’t necessarily mean that better oral hygiene wouldn’t improve their breath. Bad breath in dogs is not something that you need to accept as an owner, and it’s definitely something that can be managed if you’re willing to take the time and help your dog maintain a fresher mouth, so she can be a better company.

Causes of Canine Bad Breath

Your dog’s breath doesn’t smell bad because of the food it eats, nor because it doesn’t brush and floss afterward. The most common causes of unpleasant breath in your dog are really that bacteria is building up inside its mouth around food particles which have not been removed.

Dogs are really subject to the same kind of bacterial growth that humans are when food particles are left in the mouth, and not removed by brushing and flossing. Once those food particles stay a while, plaque builds up around them, and a yellowish-brown material called calculus eventually forms.

Both these substances give off an unpleasant odor, and they can cause even worse problems. If this situation goes on unchecked, it will eventually attack the teeth and gums in your pet, potentially causing gum disease and other problems with your pet’s teeth. Your dog will be irritated by the action going on inside its mouth, but of course, it has no recourse other than what you as master and friend choose to do.

If gum disease does is allowed to form, that will contribute greatly to the bad breath problem, and also jeopardize your pet’s teeth for the long-term. Needless to say, this should not be allowed to happen inside your dog’s mouth, and there are some very definite steps you can take to help alleviate this before it ever gets started in earnest.

an owner inspects their dogs teeth that has a build up of plaque which can cause bad breath.

A very common source of bad breathe in dogs is a build of plaque on their teeth.

More Serious Causes

In some cases, bad breath in your pet can be caused by a more serious situation, for instance, mouth problems, or issues which are developing in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, or even with internal organs. If you notice that your dog’s bad breath persists even after measures have been taken to remediate the unpleasant odors, it’s certainly worth taking your pet to the veterinarian for an examination.

If there is something serious going on internally, and you didn’t have it checked out, you would more than likely feel some major regret later on. Another telltale symptom of something potentially serious is when the bad breath condition develops very suddenly, where none was in evidence before.

When your dog’s breath is fruity or sweet, that could be an indication of diabetes, especially if you’ve noticed excessive drinking and urinating from your pet lately. If your dog’s breath smells like urine, that could be a sign of kidney disease, and any foul odor which is accompanied by vomiting might be a sign of a liver problem developing in your pet.

Treatments for Bad Breath

One of the easiest and most natural ways to help your pet maintain healthy gums, healthy teeth, and reasonably pleasant breath, is to provide it with products that aid in the cleaning process, and which are at the same time, at least tolerable to eat as food. There are a number of products on the market which help in this regard, and some of them even promote good health for the teeth by encouraging a good chewing action.

It might take a little bit of experimentation to find a brand of dog chews that your own pet will appreciate, but it’s certainly worth it, because if you can find one your pet likes, you’ll be able to make it part of the regular diet, and it can be a significant contributing factor to good oral health.

There are also some products which are not intended to be ingested by your pet, but which simply promote chewing action, along with at least modest cleaning action. Many of these are marketed as much toys or rawhides, and they can easily become your dog’s favorite chew toy.

You should be able to tell after a week or so of having your pet chew on one of these, whether or not it’s doing any good with oral health. There are also products on the market which are billed as tartar removal products, and if your dog will tolerate these, they can be very helpful also.

If you are a really committed master, you could even go all out, and buy your dog its own toothbrush and dog toothpaste, and try to establish a regular routine where you clean the dog’s teeth to the best of your ability.

While some dogs are not especially inclined to sit through such brushing sessions, if you can train your pet to sit at least semi-quietly through them, it will certainly go a long way toward improving its oral health and having much fresher breath for those pleasant evenings together on the sofa.

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Where Does Your Dog’s Food Come From?

Have you ever thought to read the label closely on the dog food which you purchase for your cherished pet? Does it matter who manufactures the food, and where the product is even made in the first place? In many cases, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’, and the discussion below will point up why it matters both to you and to your dog, and why you should pay close attention to the ingredients, and the process used to make the food which is intended to keep your dog active and healthy for its entire life.

You Owe it to Your Partner

When you become a pet owner, there’s a certain implied responsibility involved, because that dog is trusting you to provide it with the nourishment that it needs to live a full, healthy life. For its part, the dog will provide companionship and loyalty, and depend on the breed and personality of the dog, it may even provide a good amount of affection as well.

You can count on your dog being a reliable partner in all your endeavors, and even just for quiet times at home, so you need to be just as reliable in your support of that partner. A big part of your dog’s natural motivation in life is to eat, both regular meals and the occasional treats, which you supply daily to meet their needs.

This makes a very important that you provide your pet with food which is safe for them, which is nutritious, and which is sourced from well-qualified manufacturers in the industry. To be sure that your pet is getting everything it needs from high-quality dog food, your best bet is to always look for American-made products, and which are almost entirely natural in content.

All-natural foods are best for your pet, as opposed to a lot of fillers and additives which provide almost zero nutritive value, and are simply meant to fill your dog’s stomach. That’s why it’s important for you to check the label on any dog food purchases you make, so you can be sure you’re providing quality food to your favorite pet. Here are some other advantages of being very conscientious about what you feed your dog.

A red bag of dog food spills onto the floor because its lower quality than other brands and makes exaggerated claims about whats in it.

Some dog food brands make exaggerated claims about whats in their food in order to sell more bags of dog food.

Benefits of US-Manufactured dog Food

There are some very strict rules and regulations imposed by governmental agencies in the U.S. regarding the manufacturing of dog food and its distribution throughout the country. In fact, there are rules and regulations about affixing the ‘Made in the USA’ label to any product which is made for sale as pet food.

This is closely monitored by the Federal Trade Commission, and all pet food manufacturers are held accountable to this high standard. Absolutely everything which goes into the manufacture of dog food must be ingredients entirely produced in the United States, without even trace elements of any foreign products being included.

If the ingredients in any particular pet food product are not 100% produced in the United States, the label cannot be affixed to the package, or there must be a clearly visible disclaimer notifying consumers of the trace ingredients and their content volume.

This is one of the reasons why as a consumer, you should avoid all the flowery language on the front of the package, which makes extravagant claims about health benefits and nutrition, and go straight to the label on the backside. You can be sure that everything listed in the packaging label is 100% accurate because it’s completely monitored by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, relative to the accurate listing of all foodstuffs and ingredients, and the percentages of each within the package.

One other thing you should check on the label of your pet food is who actually manufactured the product. Many companies do not actually make the product themselves, but simply have it made for them, and cover it with their proprietary packaging.

The reason this is important is that those companies who actually produce the pet food products themselves tend to have somewhat higher standards which they adhere to in the process. Companies which simply purchase it from a source producer and apply their own packaging, are not quite as interested in high quality from the pet food producer.

Check with Professionals

If you’re having trouble finding just the right pet food product to feed your dog, and you’re finding it difficult to sort through all the claims and hype surrounding a number of those products, you may want to simply consult with professionals.

Keep in mind that many pet food companies are aware that consumers are seeking products which are ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ and ‘loaded with nutrition’, so they deliberately stuff those words all over the packaging, and in their commercials to get your attention.

Much of this hype can be misleading, and you could easily end up with an inferior product if you don’t take a little bit of time to research it. A good bet would be to consult your local pet shop management and find out from them whether a product you want to buy is a good nutritional product that would be helpful for your pet.

Most pet shop professionals are more than willing to share their knowledge with you, so if you are really at a loss, just ask them what they feed their pets in the store. Chances are that it will be a good choice for you and your pet as well.

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Purchasing the Right Dog Bed

If there’s one accessory that you go out an purchase for your dog, it should be a nice, soft dog bed that your pet can claim as her own, and which she can withdraw to whenever she’s ready for a nice snooze, or just for a little relaxation time.

It’s well-known that dogs are territorial creatures, and that this characteristic usually expresses itself in those things that your dog considers as her own. One of the most important such objects is the place where she sleeps at night or just retreats to when she’s tired. Some dogs, of course, prefer to spend the majority of their relaxation time on the sofa, or on someone’s bed, but it’s still worth your while to have a designated dog bed set up for those times when she really prefers to snuggle up into her own little cushion.

This is to your advantage as well, since it can keep your pet off the cold floor, and it can go a long way toward keeping fur and pet dander off the furniture, and isolated on the dog bed. If anyone in your family has allergies, this is especially important, because the dog bed can be situated somewhere that allergy sufferers will be less affected by it.

Your dog will love you for providing her with something warm and insulated in cold weather, and for providing the sense of security which all dogs need to have. Here are a few tips on how you can go about finding exactly the right dog bed to please your pooch.

The Way Your Dog Sleeps

Before you begin your purchasing quest, you should understand that all dog beds are not the same and that they can be different in a wide variety of ways. You will be able to find dog beds which are heated, made of memory foam, mattress style, sofa style, various geometric shapes, orthopedic, and even constructed in cot style.

It may be a bit overwhelming at first, but if you have some kind of idea what you’re looking for, that can make things a whole lot easier. The first quality you need to consider when looking for a good new dog bed is your dog’s sleeping style. In the same way that humans have various sleeping styles, so do dogs, with some preferring to curl up into a ball, while others sprawl out to their full length.

Some dogs like to burrow into their bed like a mole and feel that security around them, while others prefer to simply lean up alongside something while they rest. Take a few days to scout your dog’s actual sleeping behavior before you go shopping so that you’ll know the style of bed you really need to purchase in order to please your pet.

Level of Activity and Physical Size

Another major factor in choosing a specific kind of bed for your dog will be its physical size, and this should be large enough to accommodate your dog as it sleeps. You will have learned all about this from your observations already, so you can look for a bed size which is somewhat larger than your dog’s overall length during sleep. An active dog will require a sturdier bed, with a cover that’s thicker, and more durable than would be necessary for a relatively passive dog.

A large golden retriever rests in its large durable bed selected based on the activity level and size of the dog.

The physical size and activity level of your dog are two factors that will affect which bed you should buy.

Washing Instructions for the Dog Bed

This might sound a little curious, but another criterion for determining the kind of bed you buy will be its washing instructions. You will undoubtedly run into the need to wash your dog’s bed multiple times over the course of its life because assuming your dog makes regular use of the bed, it will quickly become dirty and probably cluttered with fur and hair.

If your dog tends to be somewhat smelly, that fragrance will be imparted to the fabric of the cover, and if your dog has any problems with urine leakage, that will also be imparted to the cover.

When you don’t purchase a dog bed which can be easily washed, you may end up throwing it out after some period of time, and simply buying another one to replace it. There are dog beds which come with removable covers that are easily unzipped and washed, and these are ideal for many situations.

Budget Issues

You probably won’t have to worry much about being stuck with a dog bed that looks grossly out of place with your existing decor, because these days you can find dog beds which can fit in with almost any style of interior decoration.

Of course, that may cause the pricing to be escalated somewhat, so you may want to consider what kind of price range you can afford for your dog bed before you even begin shopping. Chances are though, that if you’re willing to look around and shop at more than one store to find just what you need, you’ll be likely to find two, three, or even more good candidates at least.

Then the only problem you might have is trying to decide which of several good possibilities you want to purchase for your beloved pet.

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Dog Dental Care: Tips on Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

The most common of all diseases affecting canines is dental disease, and fortunately, it is also one of the most treatable and preventable of diseases. You maintain healthy dog dental care by providing a crunchy diet, regular chewing treats and making sure that your dog’s teeth are brushed daily to keep them in good shape.

You may have some difficulty when you first start brushing your dog’s teeth, but soon it will become a matter of a daily routine, and then your dog may even look forward to it, because of the attention you give during those sessions. Here is a guideline you can use for dog dental care.

Start Young With Dog Dental Care

It’s very important to start good dog dental care habits as soon as your pet comes into the home, ideally while it is still a puppy. At that time, most things are new to your pet, so tooth-brushing is just one more new thing your canine will have to get used to. It’s always best to get your pet started off with a healthy, clean mouth early in life, so that a pattern of good dental health can be established and maintained.

Materials Needed

You won’t need much to get the job done, but you should make sure you have the right materials when brushing your dog’s teeth. This calls for a soft bristled toothbrush and a special toothpaste which you can get from your veterinarian. It’s not advisable to use baking soda or toothpaste meant for humans, as these can cause problems for your pet.

The toothpaste that you get from your veterinarian will be specially formulated for pets, and it will usually have appealing flavors that your dog will like. Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, because it’s critical to brush below the gum line, and only these kinds of toothbrushes are effective for that purpose.

A vet brushing a dog's teeth for optimal dog dental care.

For optimal dog dental care, it’s a good idea to get your pet a professional teeth cleaning at the vet’s office. Your vet will use a special toothbrush to remove plaque and tartar buildup in your dog’s mouth.

The Importance of Daily Brushing

Daily brushing of your dog’s teeth is essential, especially with using a brush that will remove plaque from below the gum line. Plaque is constantly collecting the surfaces of teeth and near the gumline. In less than two days, this plaque can become mineralized into a substance called tartar. Tartar can’t be removed by simple brushing, but can contribute to periodontal disease in your pet. Give special attention to the upper back teeth in your dog’s mouth, because historically it’s this area which is affected first and most severely by periodontal disease.

Designate a Time of Day for Brushing

Try to make the time of your teeth brushing sessions convenient for your pet, and something which minimally disrupts the daily routine. If you plan your brushing sessions right before a daily walk, or directly before you give out a special treat, your dog will associate teeth brushing with a pleasant experience and look forward to the brushing.

Getting Started

At the very beginning, it’s best to just familiarize your dog with the taste of the veterinary toothpaste, by dabbing a little on your finger and running it along the gum lines of your dog’s mouth. Then you can run your finger around the upper teeth and lower teeth to get your dog used to the sensation of pressure there.

Follow that up with the toothbrush itself, so that your dog can become familiar with the feeling of the bristles against its gums and teeth. If you encounter serious resistance from your pet, you may have to limit yourself to these familiarizing exercises for a few days, without actual brushing.

Once your pet has become sufficiently acclimated to the feeling of the brush against its teeth and gums, you should immediately begin actual brushing sessions. Your technique should be to angle the bristles of the brush slightly upward on the upper teeth (and downward on lower teeth) part of the mouth so that the brush is sure to get under the gum line.

It’s best to work from the back toward the front, moving the toothbrush in slow circles that will dislodge any plaque which has already built up. It should take under a minute to address all tooth and gum surfaces in your dog’s mouth in this manner, unless you encounter difficulty with your pet’s behavior. If this should happen, make sure that you always start with the upper back area because it’s the most important one, and it’s the one you don’t want to miss each day.

Professional Dog Dental Cleaning

Unless you know for sure that you’re doing a great job every single day brushing your dog’s teeth, it’s a good idea to seek a professional clearing periodically just to be sure. Just like with people, daily brushing should catch most problems before they can degenerate into a dental disease, but in practically all cases, a professional cleaning catches material that was missed in the daily routine. An extra level of attention is always appropriate for maintaining good dental health in your pet, and you can be confident of avoiding any dental disease.