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dentalcareThe most common health problem in dogs is periodontal disease. It begins with plaque. Plaque is the white film that accumulates on the teeth. If plaque is not removed through regular tooth brushing, it will harden and turn into tarter. As the tarter builds, the plaque continues to accumulate and infects the gums. This infection can enter the bloodstream and cause disease in the heart, liver, and kidneys.

Periodontal disease cannot be reversed, but it can be slowed or stopped with proper dental care. For example, you can use a toothbrush especially made for dogs, a finger toothbrush, a gauze pad, or a cotton swab. However, please use toothpaste made for dogs; stay away from human toothpaste.

In addition, it is helpful to provide dental chew toys such as Kong and Nylabone rope and floss toys. Rawhide is another chew item that rubs against dogs’ teeth, but be careful when you give rawhide (do not leave your dog unattended)! Lastly, regular dental exams by your vet will not only help prevent periodontal disease, but will also make your dog’s breath fresher and will make everyone in your family happier!

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Q: What can I do to keep my dog and cat from shedding?

A: There is nothing that will completely stop your pet from shedding. Animals shed for several reasons; among them changing seasons and inadequate dietary intake of essential fatty acids. These reasons can be easily addressed. In the groom shop, we like to recommend the shed-less treatment utilizing hypoallergenic, non-irritating deShedding products by FURminator. The FURminator Tool is the next step in our shed-less treatment. Its stainless steel deShedding edge works on long and short haired dogs and cats. We have seen that this system can reduce shedding by up to 90%.

At home, we advise you to brush and comb your pets daily and, when bathing them, to use a conditioning shampoo and rinse to help moisturize skin and coat. Itchy, flaky skin and dry shedding hair may also be a sign that your pets’ food lacks a balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. However, there are food supplements and treats you can give your dog and cat to help nourish the skin and coat, such as FURminator deShedding treats and supplements. Also, shaving your pet is NOT a solution for shedding. Shaving can cause long term problems with the integrity of the coat; your pet still sheds the same amount of hair, it is just shorter! You can’t make shedding go away, but with proper care and maintenance, you can manage the problem of shedding while also enhancing your pets’ overall health.

Have more questions about pet shedding or any other problem? This question was answered by Jessica Stewart, a member of our professional grooming staff! Each volume of The All PET Gazette features an Ask The Gazette section where qualified All Pet staff and professional contributors can respond to YOUR questions and comments. Submit your questions to any of our stores by phone, mail, email to editor@allpetgazette.net, or by clicking Ask the Gazette! on the left of this page!

americangoldfinch1Those who feed backyard birds are always excited to see American Goldfinches in the late Spring and Summer. These beautiful birds live in our area all year, but the males change plumage color during breeding season. The Goldfinch is the second most popular bird in the U.S., falling only behind the Northern Cardinal. To entice these colorful, yellow birds to visit your feeders, make sure you keep good food out all year long. Finches prefer Nyjer Seed and Fine Sunflower Chips, available from Wild Delight. Make sure food is fresh and not carried-over from last year, as the oil might become rancid!

Keep in mind that House Finches and Purple Finches are also native to this area. The House Finch looks somewhat like a small Sparrow with different markings, and the Purple Finch is not really purple at all, but has a red cast head and chest. In addition, remember that your finch feeder will probably also attract Chickadees and Woodpeckers; this is one reason why Wild Delight’s Special Finch Block and Finch Sock Feeders have also become popular among bird-watchers!