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Doc sez "Let's just shake hands!"

Doc is in the office watching a new client interacting with her dog. “What a loving relationship she has with that pup” he thinks, “and the dog really responds to her.” And then ”No, no don’t do that”, as the client proceeds to let the canine Casanova kiss her on the mouth. Doc’s mind flees back to that morning at the Doc house when, standing by the window watching his own dogs outdoors, he saw the 5 month old pup, toss a small, very dead animal in the air, neatly catch it and swallow it whole, from tip of pink nose to end of the long hairless tail. There were a couple of healthy crunches as the dead animal proceeded through the oral cavity and the pup is a pretty large breed, but still, ewhh!

There are no kisses on the mouth or face in the Doc household between “ines”; (canines or felines) and humans. In general, dogs and cats are not overly choosy about what they chew and eat. They also don’t brush their teeth on their own. Despite the comforting old wives tale, there does not seem to be any magic in dog saliva that help in wound healing and again, think about what they eat and chew. But, our “ines” do share their lives with us and in recognition of both Valentine’s Day (the kissing holiday) and February (veterinary dental health month) Here are five steps to help you dog to better oral health:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth. Use flavored pet toothpaste on your finger or a very soft toothbrush and gently rub and massage the gums. Plan to slowly train your pet to tolerate this; it will not be an overnight process. Do not use human toothpaste. It is not meant to be swallowed and we haven’t found a way to teach a dog to spit, swish and rinse.

  • Use the same pet toothpaste on a cotton swab and rub along the gum line to help prevent gingivitis. Consider adding a product from your veterinarian to your pet’s water that will inhibit development of plaque and tarter on your pet’s teeth.

  • Use a thin washcloth soaked in chicken or beef broth to massage your dog’s teeth and gums to increase circulation and encourage healthy gums.

  • Give your dog rubber toys, such as Kongs, to play with. If you apply pet toothpaste to the grooves and ridges, it’s like they are brushing their own teeth.

  • Offer your pets hard, crunchy treats, like carrots, apples, rice cakes and dog biscuits. The action of crunching hard treats like these will scrape andclean the surface of the teeth (and make you a good friend, too!).

Back in the office, Doc gives the canine Casanova a big milkbone , a smiling “Happy Valentines Day” and teaches him to shake hands!

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