Monthly Archives: October 2012

Does Your Pet’s Breath Take Yours Away?








We all love to snuggle and hug our pets. But have you ever been taken aback by their breath?  Both dogs and cats can suffer from halitosis. There are many causes of bad breath including the following;

-Dry mouth due to medications or lack of saliva

-Dental disease (affects 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over age 2 years)

-Consumption of yucky items such as feces or garbage

-Recent vomiting

-Food lodged in the mouth or teeth

-Metabolic disorders such as kidney disease

-Growths, tumors, or polyps in the mouth

-Diabetes mellitus

-Gastrointestinal disease

-Sinusitis or other respiratory diseases

-eosinophilic granulomas (also known as rodent ulcers) that occur with cats

So what is a pet owner to do to escape from this malodorous breath?  If it is mild halitosis, gentle brushing with a soft bristled brush or finger brush with rubber bristles and a made for pets toothpaste will help.  People toothpaste has detergents and flouride which is tough on an animal’s system. Most cats and dogs respond well to a poultry flavored pet toothpaste. It is best to start when your pet is young so they get used to it. Dental hygiene wipes are an alternative to brushing. There are also gentle  hygiene toys  and treats that are like brushing the teeth. Carrots are tasty and helpful in  cleaning up a dog’s breath. You can also try switching from a wet to a dry food, though there is no research to prove that dry is better than wet.  It is rare that the food itself is causing bad breath, though fishier foods can cause an odor. Natural pet foods that promote gastrointestinal health can help combat halitosis.

With severe halitosis, it is best to see your vet to rule out other factors such as dental or other disease. This is especially true if your pet also seems lethargic, lacking in energy, is drooling, or has bleeding of the gums. For dogs, a professional cleaning every year is recommended beginning at age 2 or 3 years. For cats, a professional cleaning is recommended at 18 months and yearly thereafter. Periodontal disease can result in tooth and gum infections, loss of teeth and may have a negative affect on organ function.

Remember to watch your pet’s oral health as much as you do his bodily health. It has been shown that maintaining your pet’s teeth can extend their life as much as 5 years. So start that daily brushing and hug your pet!

Cat Condos and Tree Houses

Cats can be bored when kept indoors all day long. Providing them with toys, places to climb, scratch and play are good solutions. Cats need adventure to keep them happy and curb behavior issues such as chewing up your favorite leather purse or belt. Cat condos and tree houses can provide a cat with hours of fun scratching, climbing and resting off of the floor or furniture. Cats feel safer from “predators” at extreme heights and feel they have more control over their “prey” or that catnip mouse on the floor. If you loathe to see your cat on the kitchen counter or top of your refrigerator, then a cat condo or tree house may be very helpful.

Cat condos are multi-leveled and are usually covered in carpet material over plywood. They have places to hide, perch, and when placed by a window, allow them to watch the birds and squirrels outside. They are relatively affordable and come in many shapes and sizes. The act of climbing not only keeps your cat toned but also tires him out in a good and entertaining way. It helps your cat stay lean and his joints flexible. However, some people are not too thrilled with the way carpet covered condos look in their main living space.

Cat tree houses are a good alternative for the person who wants a more natural looking piece of decor. They are made with real trees and have green leaves made of silk that truly resemble a house plant. They simulate the outdoors as well as provide the vertical scratching surface for cats so they can stretch as they claw. They allow your cat to engage in his natural feline instincts. Some have varying perches made of wood and the leaves allow your cat to hide.

Cat condos and tree houses can range from under a hundred dollars to as much as fifteen hundred dollars or more for the realistic tree-like house. The nice thing about these portable play places is that you can change locations in your house if you find that your cat is not using them. Cats love to be up high on a perch and, as mentioned, near a window can be very entertaining as he gazes out onto the world.

Whatever type of condo or tree house you purchase, it is very important to have a secure and solid base. Cats like to leap up and latch onto the carpet or other material so sturdiness is essential to their safety. Bolting to a piece of furniture is another way to keep it from tipping over. Which ever one you choose, know that your cat will be happy and entertained and will save your furniture!

Pet Carriers for your Bicycle

Does your dog bark happily when you take out his leash? Does your cat meow as you jangle your car keys and say ,”lets go for a ride?” Have you ever wished your pet could accompany you on your daily bike ride?  Bicycle riders can now take their pets for a ride when they pedal their bikes about town, to the park or just in the neighborhood. There are a variety of pet carriers from baskets to bicycle trailers that allow your pet to ride with you.

When deciding upon a carrier, it is important to check the weight and size limits before you purchase one. Basket carriers are usually mounted on bicycle handlebars or crossbars, but some are rear-mounted. The front-mounted basket is generally for dogs (or cats) that weigh between 13 to 15 pounds or less. Those on the rear-mount can fit dogs or cats to approximately 24 pounds (though I haven’t heard of too many 24 pound cats!) The carriers come in many styles from the traditional wicker basket to more sporty, nylon models and colors. They are open at the top or have wire basket covers over them. On the open ones, there are tether straps that connect to the pet’s harness to keep them safe in case the occasional squirrel crosses one’s path.

Bike trailers are becoming very popular for larger pets. They come with a hitch that fits most bikes. There are two wheels on either side that keep them quite steady. They have closed and open tops and mesh windows so your pet can admire the view. They come in various sizes and can accommodate pets up to 110 pounds. Most fold up for easy storage. They are usually padded which is good for bumpier rides and have washable liners.  There are pockets to store essentials like water bottles and waste bags.

Some safety tips to keep in mind are to only use these carriers as they were intended. There are those for bicycles only as well as those for car and walking carrier purposes. When using a bicycle carrier, be sure it is mounted securely. Never leave your pet in the carrier unattended. Check to see that the basket type carrier’s straps do not interfere with your brakes or other levers. The ideal conditions for a ride are on a good weather days and in the daylight.  However, in case it starts to cloud over or if evening comes too soon, reflective strips are essential for good visibility.  Attaching a flag to the back of a pet trailer is also a good idea for all weather conditions.

Take your pet along and enjoy the ride!