By Linda Cole
It’s hard to resist doggy kisses when you get home from work, or a close-up meow from your kitty just before dawn when she’s ready for breakfast. If your pet has bad breath, though, it could indicate that they have a health issue you need to be concerned about.
Periodontal disease is by far the most common reason why a pet has bad breath. Plaque buildup can cause gingivitis, and if left untreated can turn into periodontal disease. It can cause pets to lose their teeth, develop gum disease, and can cause damage to the kidneys and heart.
Teething puppies will often have a fishy smelling breath. This is not the same thing as puppy breath, however. Teething pets will chew on anything they can find. A piece of food, string, wood or bits of a chewed up toy can get lodged in the mouth or between the teeth and cause an infection of the gums. Teething pups and kittens have a tendency to drool, which can lead to halitosis.
Sometimes a pup or older dog can have breath that smells like they’ve been eating feces, which is very possible, especially if there’s a cat litter box in the home and it’s accessible to the dog. Pets also groom themselves around their anal glands which can produce a fishy or dead smell in their mouth. Intestinal problems or worms can also cause bad breath. In older pets, a bad tooth that needs to be pulled, an obstruction stuck in the throat or mouth can cause an infection and produce an odor. Pawing at the mouth is a good indication something is bothering them.
By Langley Cornwell
There was a time, a long time ago, when I naïvely thought that pet shedding was seasonal. I used to think there was a magical time in the not-so-distant future when I wouldn’t have to dust, sweep or vacuum every day. I used to hope that a furtive glance at the corners of our home wouldn’t reveal dust bunnies big enough to scare the dogs.
I’ve come to accept that pet hair all over the house, our furniture and my clothing is a fact of life. As I commiserate with family and friends, it’s apparent that while some dog and cat breeds have longer hair or thicker coats or heavier undercoats, they all still shed. Sure, some shed more than others… but they all shed hair, and it’s a nuisance.
Since we can’t stop our pets from shedding, it’s good to learn ways to reduce loose dog and cat hair from swirling around our homes.
Dogs and cats shed for the same reason that humans do: to get rid of damaged, old or excess hair. My fantasies of seasonal shedding were not totally pipe dreams; it’s true that animals grow a thicker coat in the winter months to help insulate them from the cold. Then when summertime comes, they shed the extra hair to stay cooler. But that’s not the whole story. Pets also shed damaged hair throughout their lifetime. And if your pet happens to have any type of skin conditions, allergies or irritations, they may shed excessively.
There are steps you can take to keep your cat or dog’s skin and hair healthy and reduce the quantity of excess pet hair in your home.