Emergency Tips to Use if Your Dog is Wounded on a Walk

When it comes to walking your dog, nothing is more panic-inducing than finding out your dog has been hurt by accident. If something happens to your dog, the very first thing you must do is to try not to panic and talk to them soothingly.

These simple emergency tips will help you reduce your pet’s anxiety in such situations and avoid further injury. Bring your pup to a veterinarian if you need their professional help.

Be Prepared for Accidents

No matter where you take your pooch for a walk, it’s best to be prepared for anything. Accidents can still happen even if you’re careful. Along with your water bottle, your “pooper scooper,” poop bags, and a collar and leash for your dog, here are some other useful items you should include on your dog-walking adventures:

  • Tweezers
  • Styptic powder or a pencil, or cornstarch
  • A small hand towel
  • A couple of non-adhesive absorbent dressings
  • A box of sterile absorbent gauze
  • A roll of first aid tape
  • A muzzle (only for extreme cases)
  • ID on you and your pet’s ID on their collar and/or placed on them as a microchip
  • A phone with your veterinary clinic’s phone number in your contacts list 

Call your vet immediately if an accident occurs and you do not feel comfortable treating the wound yourself. It is advised to take your pet to the vet to be checked out after any accident or serious incident (for example a bug bite).

What Can Happen and What You Can Do About It

In all cases—torn nail, skunk encounter, etc.—the first thing to do is to ensure your own safety as well as your pup’s. Stay calm, approach your pet slowly, and talk soothingly to them. Frightened, pain-stricken pets will usually try and bite anyone who touches them, including you, the pet parent. Talk gently to your pet and if he or she snaps when you reach out, you may try putting a cloth over their face or putting a muzzle on them, being careful not to hurt them in the process.

Situation – Torn Nail

Response – Remain calm. Examine your dog’s paw if you see the following signs of a torn nail: holding a paw in the air while on your walk, limping, visibly leaning on favored paws, constant paw licking, visible swelling, and resistance to your examining their injury. Some torn nails cause bleeding and these are very painful to your dog at the touch.

Wrap up the paw in a loose-fitting bandage or even a sock with Scotch tape. Styptic powder or cornstarch is okay to use on minor quick injury at the tip of the nail, but any nail injury should still be examined by a vet for signs of further injury. A loose bandage is acceptable for transport.

If the nail has been torn to the quick (the pink fleshy part inside of the nail), bring your pup to a veterinary clinic ASAP. Follow your vet’s at-home care instructions exactly to prevent infection.

Situation – Skunk Spray

Response – Keep your dog outside of the house so as to avoid the foul odor from going inside. Apply an over-the-counter smell neutralizer, or tomato juice, or vinegar diluted in water, or a mix of 1-quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap on to your dog as soon as possible (wear rubber gloves and don’t get these mixes in their eyes!).

Rinse out any of the aforementioned products and then bathe your dog in a dog-friendly shampoo (again, without getting it in their eyes). Wash your clothing if the smell rubbed off onto you with regular detergent and half a cup of baking soda.

If the spray got in your pup’s eyes and mouth directly, bring them to a veterinarian immediately as the skunk spray can cause nausea, vomiting, and irritated eyes.

Situation – Splinter

Response – Similarly to the torn nail, it’s best to remain calm and examine your pooch for signs such as favoring a paw, limping, etc. The tricky thing about splinters however is that bleeding is not an obvious sign, and some splinters are so tiny they can be tough to find.

Always use a calm, soothing voice as you examine your pup’s paw thoroughly. Gently clean their paw with warm, soapy water and a clean towel. Do not remove the splinter yourself, because if it breaks and a portion is left behind in the foot, it could cause infection and extend healing time. It’s best to bring them to your veterinarian so they can remove the splinter or recommend alternatives if it’s dug in too deep.

Situation – Bug Bites or Stings

Response – identify the bug in question as treatment for the bite or sting will vary.

If it’s a flea, keep your dog outside upon discovery to avoid them from infesting your home! You can prevent fleas before going out by applying a topical solution regularly; your vet can do so at your clinic or you can apply them at home, but follow your vet’s instructions exactly.

If it’s a tick, do not remove it yourself if it’s latched onto your pooch. Bring them to a vet immediately.

If it’s a wasp or bee sting, remove the sting if it’s attached to your pup with a piece of flat cardboard or even the flat part of your debit or credit card. Do not use tweezers as it may squeeze the stinger and add more venom to the wound.

If it’s a spider bite, don’t treat it at home. Bring your dog to a veterinarian and be sure to identify what kind of spider bit your dog.

In all cases of bug bites, gently apply a mix of baking soda and water to relieve the pain. You can also use an ice pack or ice cube wrapped in a towel and apply to the stung or bitten area if it’s swelling or swollen. An oatmeal bath is recommended if there are multiple bites or stings.

If the bite or sting leads to infection or immediate allergic reaction, or in the case of ticks, bring your pup to a veterinarian ASAP.

In Case of Major Injuries

Major injuries such as road accidents, bites from other animals, broken bones, heatstroke—all of these situations are possible. If in the event they do happen, your dog will require immediate veterinary assistance. This is why we recommended microchips, ID, and having your veterinary clinic’s number on speed dial—in case emergencies such as these take place.

First aid classes are available if you’re interested in learning more about emergency tips for dogs and wounds, from minor ones like what we just described to major ones, and how to determine serious versus DIY situations.

In any case, you can be prepared with a few essential items in case your dog is wounded on a walk and you have to improvise with emergency treatment on the spot. Stay calm and help your dog stay calm. Always contact your veterinarian if you need assistance with your pup’s emergency.

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5 Dog Food Myths that Need to be Busted, Pronto

Have you ever given your dog food that you think may be safe for them, only to find out it isn’t? Contrary to popular belief, not everything you feed dogs is good for them, and some things you think are terrible for them may not actually be so. These five dog food myths are common enough, but they need to be busted, pronto, for the sake of keeping your pooch happy, healthy, and safe. 

Beware the Common Myths

“Myths” in this case are exactly what the word implies: untrue stories founded on misconceptions about dogs, their food, and the ways in which various ingredients can affect them.

We love our pets and want to feed them food that will help them grow and live long and happy lives, but there are a lot of conflicting stories about what constitutes a good diet for dogs. Here are the most common issues.

Myth #1 – It’s Okay for Dogs to Free-Feed During the Day

“Free-feeding” is the term used for leaving your dog’s food out during the day for them to casually graze on, rather than giving them food on a schedule. This may seem convenient and easy if you have to leave for work for the day or go to school, but it may not be as convenient to your dog’s overall health.

A dog that free-feeds their food is more than likely to become overweight, leading to all sorts of long-term problems. It also can end up being unsanitary—especially if you tend to feed your dog outside. Unwanted critters such as rodents, bugs, and even stray cats or dogs may smell your pup’s food and come to your home to eat it.

It’s best to feed your dog with the portioned amount they need and on a schedule. A vet can recommend you a schedule and the portions needed based on your pup’s current lifestyle, breed, size, and exercise routine.

Myth #2 – Chocolate is Okay to Give to Dogs

This one’s a very harmful myth and one that should not be believed for a second! Chocolate is actually one of the worst things you can give to a dog. Chocolate contains the ingredients xylitol and theobromine, which are harmless to humans but highly toxic to dogs. Whether it’s around Easter, Halloween, or any other major holiday involving chocolate, always keep it out of their reach.

If at any point you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, bring them to a veterinarian—even if obvious symptoms haven’t shown up.

Myth #3 – Bones are Okay for Dogs

Yes, dogs love to chew on bones, but it depends on both the bone and your dog. Here’s the general rule: cooked bones, whether they’re from pork, chicken, beef, or other animals, are more dangerous than raw ones because cooking makes them brittle and more likely to break or shred.

Yes, you can buy raw marrowbones from butchers and pet stores and they will be safer, but bones carry no guarantees and might break, even if they’re not too small or not too big and are cooked or raw. More importantly, they can cause your enthusiastic bone-crunching pet to break a tooth or, worst-case scenario, cause a gastrointestinal blockage that would require immediate veterinary attention.

Bones may not harm your pup, but why take a chance? Give him or her something else to chew, such as carrots or chew toys.

Myth #4 – Grains are Bad for Dogs

Actually, grains such as wheat, corn, soy, barley, and rice are not harmful to dogs. They are harmful, however, if your dog has a diagnosed wheat allergy or a food allergy that is triggered by grains. If your dog is not intolerant to wheat, however, then it’s perfectly fine to give your dog food containing other grains. They should not be the only part of your dog’s diet—it’s best that they’re combined with protein, such as chicken.

Myth #5 – Pork is Bad for Dogs

This is only slightly true. Uncooked or raw pork is most definitely bad for dogs—but once it’s cooked thoroughly (minus any rubs or spices), it’s actually as harmless as cooked chicken, beef, or any other meats. Just be sure to trim any additional fat off of the piece of pork you want to feed your dog, and portions must be appropriate for their size. While straight-up pork from loins, chops, etc. is fine, what’s not fine is ham or bacon—both are made of pork, but they are processed and contain higher fat and salt content as well as ingredients that could harm your dog.

The best way to feed your dog is by keeping their needs in mind while choosing dog food, which means their diet will change over time. After all, what is suitable for a puppy (up to one year) differs for an adult dog (one to seven years or so) and a senior dog (seven and up). You may have to alter their diet if he or she develops health problems such as diabetes, obesity, or food allergies.

Your veterinarian will guide you through the mysteries of finding the best dog food for your pup, and can help debunk any other myths you may encounter—and there is bound to be others!

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6 Tips on Caring for Your Dog on Summer Camping Trips

Summer is in full swing now, and you know what that means: it’s time to go camping! If grabbing your tent and venturing out into BC’s beautiful wilderness is high on your must-do list this summer, then you know how much fun dogs will have while they’re with you in the great outdoors.

That being said, caring for your dog while camping is just as important as it is at home. They are perhaps even more prone to accidents while in the outdoors and playing. They’re put at higher risk if somehow there’s an emergency and not a single veterinarian office is in sight.

Summer should be enjoyed by both you and your pooch! Whether you’re going out in an RV or packing along a tent, these tips will ensure you will enjoy your camping trip while caring for your dog this summer.

Tip 1: Do Your Homework

Not every campground in Vancouver or BC accepts dogs, and not every beach is dog-friendly. Many areas are inaccessible to dogs in order to protect the natural wildlife.

You can avoid unwittingly destroying BC’s natural beauty, avoid receiving a penalty fee, and avoid the humiliation of being asked to leave the campground by doing a quick Google search. You can also try contacting the campground owner directly if you’re not sure. Be aware that there may be regulations for dogs even in the more dog-friendly areas, which again are in place for a good reason (for example, preserving the wildlife).

Tip: 2: Pack Properly

Don’t forget your dog in your camping trip’s packing itinerary! As well as food, water, and their food and water bowls, you should try and bring dog-friendly and environmentally-friendly shampoo or dry shampoo or wipes to help wash off the dirt and debris they may roll around in (after all, that’s all there is out in the forest!). Bring along their favourite toys as well as a Frisbee for hours of fun for both of you!

Tip 3: Pest Prevention

Just like anywhere in the city, pests like fleas, mites, and especially ticks can find their way onto your pooch in the wilderness. We highly recommend you come to your veterinarian to receive and apply any oral or topical solutions for pests before you go anywhere on your travels. The best treatment for ticks is prevention!

In the event you find a tick on your pooch, or see any signs and symptoms of an infected bite in your dog, come immediately to the nearest dog hospital for treatment!

Tip 4: Train, Train, and then Train More

Behavioural problems are a biggie for dogs this time of year, as they won’t understand that there are rules of conduct for dogs outside of home for a reason. Teach your pooch the basic commands—“Come”, “Sit”, and “Stay” should always be followed by their name. Keep a sharp eye out for hazards while on your trip, such as broken glass on trails or campfire embers getting too close for comfort. Also be sure they don’t jump onto random passersby if they’re dirty or have been swimming.

Tip 5: Know Your Wild Plants

One of the common dangers of dogs in the wilderness is the plant wildlife, as there are several toxic plants to beware of in BC. These plants are dangerous to both you and your dog, so keep an eye out for them:

  • Poison ivy
  • Holly
  • Thistles
  • Bloodroot
  • Giant hogweed
  • Water hemlock
  • American nightshade
  • Scotch broom
  • Spurge laurel
  • Tansy ragwort

Some of these plants are not only toxic to dogs but also to humans, and can cause some severe allergies!

Tip 6: Breeds

It’s unfortunately true that not all breeds of dogs make for great camping trip companions. There are breeds, specifically the snub-nosed variety of bulldogs and pugs, who are going to require extra attention and care while you’re camping. Why? Because the way their snouts are formed makes it tougher for them to cool off, and they may have more difficulty in breathing and panting.

You need to make sure you’re both hiking and camping in areas that are very shady, if your favourite pooch is a pug or bulldog. Always, always provide them with water and put their bedding in a shaded area so they can cool off or rest.

Keep dogs with dark or black-coloured coats cool and in shaded areas. Keep hairless, short-coated, and light-coloured or white-coated dogs protected from excessive sunlight, as they have less protection from prolonged exposure to the sun.

Basically, any safety tips that apply to you such as protection from the sun and from toxic plants or other dangers will apply to your dog too. By using common sense, you can easily prevent further harm to both of you and above all, have fun on your camping trip! Bon voyage!

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5 Tips to Keep Your Dog from Jumping Up on People

Does your dog love jumping up on you when you walk in the door? Does he or she also jump up on guests when they first arrive?  You may not think it is a problem at first when your pooch is a very cute, very small puppy, but it will certainly become a problem if you don’t teach them early that jumping up on people is not acceptable behavior.

There is nothing cute about a full-grown dog running over to a small, frightened child, or a frail senior, and jumping up on them. It can be a terrifying experience and traumatizing for youngsters and for anyone who isn’t familiar with dogs or is afraid of them. Even if you are helpfully shouting, “Don’t be afraid, he just wants to play,” many people find this behaviour very upsetting, and other dog owners would agree. You have some teaching to do to break your pet’s habit!

We offer these tips on how to teach your pooch not to jump up on people

Remember that dogs greet each other by rubbing noses and, when your dog greets you, their first instinct will be to jump up so they can reach yours. As happy as you are to be so warmly welcomed, think of the future: they may jump up on you with muddy paws when you are wearing your best suit, or they may frighten or knock over a child. So, stay strong, and teach them not to jump up on anyone.

1. Establish yourself as leader of the pack

Your dog expects a “leader of the pack” to emerge from any household of which he or she is a member. Make sure they understand you are the leader or they may assume that he or she is and you will have trouble making them obey you. Show yourself to be the leader by being firm, assertive, and consistent, just like mother dog was. A leader of the pack never wavers from his or her role and you mustn’t either.

2. Ignore your dog if they jump up

Your dog needs to learn that they don’t get what they are seeking—attention, food, treats—if they jump up, whether you are coming through the door, sitting in a chair, or have a treat in your hand. Make sure everyone in the family is on board with this training and warn your guests that he or she is to be ignored if they jump. There are various ways of teaching him or her to make the connection between:

  • Getting what they want by not jumping up
  • Not getting what they want if they jump up

3. Don’t greet your dog until they are calm

When you enter the house and your dog jumps up, stop, tell them to sit, and leave the house. Come back in and try again. You may have to make many trips in and out of the house until they obey the “sit” command and stop jumping. When all paws are on the floor, you can bend or crouch down to greet them (but don’t bend over top of them in case he or she jumps again), and give them a treat. You can eventually phase out the treats.

If he or she jumps up on you when you are sitting in a chair, stand up and ignore them until all paws are on the floor.

4. Teach them not to jump up on guests

Arrange for a cooperative friend to come over, and have your dog on a leash. Ask your friend to come in and don’t allow your excited dog to go to them. Tell your dog to sit, and when they have all paws on the floor, have your friend approach. If the dog jumps up, your friend is to stop and back away. Repeat this process a few times until your dog understands that all paws must be on the ground to get the friend to come to them.

When the friend is able to come and starts to play with your dog, they must leave again if they jump up, and you have to start again from the beginning. When the dog will sit until the friend approaches and greets the friend without jumping up, give your dog a treat.

You can repeat this type of training with a friend outside in the yard or a park so that your dog knows this is not just a house rule, but a rule that applies everywhere. 

5. Be consistent

Never break the jumping rule and be patient, and never get cross with your dog while they’re learning this behavior. If you find he or she has trouble controlling themselves, work on the “sit” command separately for a while. Try giving him or her something to hold in their mouth when people come to the door or scatter treats on the floor to distract them. See that your pet gets enough exercise in order to help them control their bouncy nature.

As the “leader of the pack,” you are the one to set the boundaries for your dog and an essential one is for them to understand that jumping up on people is not allowed. Make sure he or she gets treats, playtime, or petting only when they keep all paws on the ground.

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10 Outdoor Doggie Hazards to Stay Away From

Are you “outdoor aware” and conscious of the many hazards that your dog faces when you take them outside to enjoy the sunny weather in both urban and country settings? Whether you are taking pooch for a stroll in the neighbourhood or for fun in a doggie park, or are taking them with you for a hike in the country or on a camping trip with the family, keep your pet safe from all the dangers that they face in the great outdoors.

You can help ensure your pet’s health and safety by taking them to your veterinarian for regular checkups, keeping his or her vaccinations up to date, and knowing what to do in an emergency.

When you’re both outside, these are the top ten hazards to watch out for:

1. Lost Dog

Have an ID microchip inserted under your pet’s skin, which is a quick and inexpensive procedure from your veterinarian. With this form of ID, you don’t have to worry so much if your playful dog chases after new friends and runs right out of the doggie park, or if you ever become separated and their dog collar is lost. All animal hospitals and shelters check for ID microchips and will notify you when they are found.

2. Heat Jeopardy

Heatstroke is a common and preventable danger faced by your pet when outside, especially in the summer. Make sure he or she is never left alone in a car, which can turn into an oven in less than ten minutes.

See that you have a portable bowl and are carrying water to offer so that he or she doesn’t become dehydrated when outside. Don’t take them across a road or sidewalk on a hot day without checking it with the back of your hand using the five-second rule. If surfaces are too hot for you within that timeframe, it will definitely burn your pup’s paws. When camping, make sure he or she has a shady place to rest under and plenty of water to drink.

The symptoms of heatstroke are:

  • Lethargy
  • Decreased urination
  • Dry gums
  • Refusal to eat
  • Sunken eyes
  • Decreased skin elasticity

If you notice any of these symptoms, take your pooch to a veterinarian for help.

3. Risky Dog Encounters

Not all dogs are friendly or social, and you should check with dog owners or walkers before allowing your pooch to run up and enter another dog’s personal space. In a dog park, keep your pet in sight and be watchful.

4. Ticks, Mites, Bees, Wasps, and Other Critter Problems

Discourage your dog from chasing after bees, wasps, toads, or snakes. Don’t put your faith in nothing but a flea and tick collar to protect your dog from dangerous bites and the diseases carried by insects and critters. Use proper flea and tick prevention meds instead. Consult your veterinarian and make sure your pup has all the protection they need, which may include such things as sprays, pills, and shampoos, plus up-to-date vaccinations.

5. Road, Traffic, and Path Risks

Your dog is safest on a leash when you take them for a walk. Unleashed dogs must be trained in road safety and always obey when you call “Stop!” Some dogs are never very good at doing either.

Sometimes you may find broken shards of glass left behind by the last (irresponsible) people who visited the park, making the walk with your pup even more hazardous! If you see any shards, pick up your dog if they’re small and carry them away, or go down a different path that’s (hopefully) glass-free. The last thing anyone wants for their pooch is to pick broken glass out of their paws or fur, or even worse find they’ve been wounded!

6. Poison Dangers

Dogs love to eat horrible smelling food items and love to poke around in rubbish. Pull them away from garbage and icky, discarded scraps of anything edible, which may upset their stomach or even poison him. Landscape items such as bark chips and weed sprays are toxic to pets.

Keep your dog away and watch for signs warning of recently sprayed grass. Don’t let them chew on the leaves of any plant you can’t identify and know is safe. Just because he or she likes the flavour doesn’t mean it isn’t poisonous. Also toxic is the blue-green algae in ponds, and swimming pool and hot tub chemicals.

7. Ponds, Lakes, and General Water Hazards

Even if your dog is used to playing in water, they can get out of their depth in a pond and panic. Most dogs can swim but watch them carefully and call him or her back, or be prepared to help them if he or she gets into trouble.

8. Storms

Don’t let your pup play outside when thunder and lightning are around. He or she is a target for lightning just like a human, and they may be afraid of thunder. Take them into the house and use music, toys, or playtime to distract them.

9. Barbecue Ashes

Campfires and barbequing are fun, but there is danger when fires die down and the food and people are gone. Wood ashes and barbeque bricks may still be hot and, if your pooch pokes around ashes or knocks over the barbeque, they may suffer severe burns. Keep them away.

10. Sticks

Throwing sticks for your dog to retrieve seems like traditional fun, but there can be danger from the pointy ends or if they break apart and are swallowed. Throw balls or Frisbees instead.

We know this is all scary stuff to read, but the good news is it can all be prevented! Just watch for these hazards that may be encountered whenever you are outdoors with your dog, and practice safety first so the sunny days are full of fun for you and your pet.

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How to Protect Your Pets’ Paws from Hot Sidewalks

Have you ever felt too hot even in your t-shirt? Imagine how much hotter you would feel if we wore shaggy coats like, say, our dogs!

Even though the air temperature may feel comfortable to us when taking our dogs out for their walks, we may not realize that we could be exposing our pets to extreme discomfort, and that hot sidewalks and roads can actually burn little paws. It’s important to be aware of your pet’s comfort level and safety in the summer heat. As for sidewalks, here are some important tips to keep in mind.

Use This Simple Test for Road and Sidewalk Comfort Levels

When outdoor temperatures are high, they may not bother us but they are hot enough to render concrete, asphalt, or blacktop unbearably hot on bare feet or bare paws. You don’t need to strip off your footwear to test the roads or sidewalks. Here is what to do: place the back of your hand on the sidewalk and hold it there. If you can’t hold it for more than five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Ouch! Watch out! Use the same test on the road or any pavement on which your dog will walk or play.

Remember that black absorbs heat and white reflects it. If you have checked the light coloured concrete or cement pavement with the back of your hand and found that it’s too hot, you needn’t bother checking darker coloured roads (blacktop or asphalt). It will be even hotter.

Watch Your Pooch for Signals of Discomfort

Your dog may be happy to go for a walk or play outside and may not show you that he or she is uncomfortable. Some pets usually don’t know their own limits and may try to cooperate by running for the ball even when they’re in distress. Watch for these signs:

  • High-stepping when walking on the road or sidewalk
  • Whimpering
  • Excessive drooling
  • Laboured breathing

If your pooch shows any of these signs, stop the walk or playtime. Make sure you are carrying a portable bowl and water in warm weather, lead them to a shady area, and let them drink up. Take your pooch home and help him or her cool down. Dogs sweat through their paws and cool down through them too, so you can help cool them off by letting him or her stand in a container or pool of cool water.

Here’s How to Exercise Your Dog in Very Warm Weather

You can keep your dog from overheating or burning his or her paws while you’re outside:

  • Find shady areas for your playtime and walk your dog on the grass, dirt, or gravel paths.
  • Avoid sidewalks and roads, especially those made of blacktop (asphalt) around noon or in the early afternoon when surfaces have been heated by the noonday sun.
  • Carry water and a portable bowl so that he or she can drink frequently.
  • Choose cool times of the day—early morning or evening—for walks and outdoor fun.
  • Watch your pet carefully so that they don’t overexert themselves when the summer temperatures rise.

You may need to take pooch out when it’s very hot and you live in an apartment or don’t have a yard:

  • Stay on grassy areas and limit the time he or she has to walk on sidewalks or roadways.
  • If your dog is small, you can pick them up to cross the road or hot surfaces.
  • You can buy tiny shoes to put on your dog’s feet (very cute, but not always functional).
  • Limit and supervise the time your dog spends outside.

Do your best to keep your dog from overheating or burning their little paws on hot sidewalks. Your pet is depending on you to see that their time spent outside on walks and playtime don’t result in dehydration, heat stroke, discomfort, or burns. Make sure you and your best friend have only fun in the sun! Visit your veterinarian if you notice discomfort, burns, blistering, or pad sloughing to ensure appropriate treatment is provided.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.

Dogs Need Dental Care Too! What to do for a Broken Tooth

Like us humans, dog teeth may occasionally be fractured, chipped, or cracked. Their teeth should be cared for like we care for ours. Regular dog dental care can help prevent other health problems.

Brushing your dog’s teeth and periodically lifting the lips to look around the teeth and gums are some good practices to do at home. Dog teeth are tough, but like ours they can break and depending on the severity, can be quite serious.

What is a Fractured Tooth?

A fractured tooth is one that is broken or cracked, like a fractured bone in humans. It can be caused by major or minor trauma to the face during playing or fighting, or by chewing on hard objects such as rocks, bones, sticks, wire fences, and cages.

Anatomy of a Dog’s Tooth

A dog’s tooth structure is made up of pulp, dentin, enamel, alveolar bone, periodontal ligaments, cementum, gingiva, and lateral canal.

Inside the dog’s tooth is the “pulp canal,” which goes to the root. A deep break can expose the pulp and provide an access point for bacteria to enter and can cause a systemic infection and abscess.

Signs and Symptoms of Fractured Teeth

Affected dogs will drool, shake their head, rub their face with their paws and/or stop eating, as well as be lethargic and irritable. They will generally exhibit a feeling of discomfort. They may have a swollen jaw and their gums may be noticeably swollen. In some cases, the tooth can “die,” and the normal white colour will turn into a grayish-brown.

Most Common Break

The most commonly fractured is the canine (fang) tooth, followed by the upper fourth molar, which is the largest in the back top of the dog’s mouth. Premolars and molars are most commonly fractured due to chewing objects while the canines and incisors are most commonly fractured due to trauma.

When to See Your Vet

Fractured and broken teeth need to be repaired or removed as quickly as possible. If you notice any of these signs being exhibited by your pooch, contact your veterinarian’s office immediately:

  • Bad breath
  • Change in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Missing teeth or misaligned
  • Discoloured, broken, or missing teeth
  • Red, swollen, painful, or bleeding gums
  • Tartar on the gum line
  • Bumps or growths in the mouth

Treatment of a Fractured Tooth

Not all broken teeth require treatment. It depends on what part of the tooth is involved and the extent of the damage. Extraction may be necessary in the most severe cases to prevent infection, especially in geriatric dogs. If the pulp canal is not affected, you can talk to your veterinarian to see what they recommend regarding sharp edges of chipped teeth.

When the problem is a more complicated tooth fracture, involving the pulp, endodontic treatment is needed which may be a root canal or extraction. A root canal can save the tooth and is less invasive and traumatic for your dog. Again, speak to your veterinarian for recommendations before dog dental care is given, as well as to receive further instruction on their food before and after endodontic treatment.

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Ask an Expert: Fruits & Vegetables for Dogs

Q: Are fruits and vegetables good for dogs?

A: Dogs are carnivores but their anatomy and feeding habits are those of omnivores.

There is a definite place for fruits and vegetables in providing a balanced dog diet. Most balanced commercial dog foods incorporate fruits and vegetables in them. Fruits and vegetables can also be used as low-calorie snacks for dogs.

It is best to wash and peel fruits, and remove pits before feeding to your dog. Boiling vegetables makes them more digestible.

Remember, some fruits that humans eat may cause toxicity or stomach irritation in dogs – grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, lemons, and avocados to name a few.

Ask an Expert: Puppy Contact

Q: When is it safe for my puppy to come into contact with other dogs? 

A: Puppies have a developing immune system and should always be vaccinated and dewormed before they come in contact with other dogs.

Puppies generally receive their first vaccination at 8 weeks of age. It is best to wait another week after the vaccination till puppies can meet other vaccinated, healthy puppies and dogs. It is important to encourage meet-ups with friendly, vaccinated dogs in order to help socialize puppies at an early age.

After the 2nd booster, typically administered at 12 weeks of age, your puppy should be protected enough to meet and play with all dogs at the playground.

How to Keep Your Pets Cool this Summer

When the temperatures soar this summer, you can help your pets chill out and stay safe using our cool ideas! (Pun intended.) While some of these ideas are useful for both cats and dogs, we also have some dog-specific tips as well as cat-specific tips. We’re also including a handy checklist to help you spot the signs of dehydration in pets.

Why Hot Temperatures are So Dangerous to Pets

Dogs – Dogs are particularly prone to becoming overheated because they don’t sweat. Instead they regulate heat by panting and by the few sweat glands in between their toes. Dogs are often exposed to such danger because of how often they’re included in family outings, shopping trips, outings to the park and the beach, and on walks in general. If it is extremely hot, it’s actually better to leave your dog at home and keep their walks short. Stick to being in the shade as much as possible and go out during cooler times of the day, such as early morning.

Cats – Cats have sweat glands on their paws and a few on their bodies as well, although they don’t help cool them very well through their fur. However, cats are usually left at home rather than being taken on family outings and aren’t usually taken on walks. Even so, they also need protection from the heat whether they’re indoor or outdoor kitties.

6 Hot Tips for Keeping Pets Cool in the Summer

  1. Pets in Vehicles Awareness – No pet should be left unattended in a vehicle in the summer. The car or truck is a heat trap and, even with all the windows cracked open, temperatures can climb to dangerous levels within a few minutes. For more tips on the subject check out our pets in vehicles-centered post.
  2. Water Supplies – Make sure fresh water is always available. Keep water bowls in the shade and secured so they won’t spill. Bring portable water and water bowls for dogs with you while you’re on the go. Cats—especially outdoor cats—should have multiple bowls left around the house or yard during hot weather. Put a few ice cubes in your cat’s water bowls to help keep them cool as well as hydrated – some kitties love to play with ice anyway!
  3. Shade– Make sure outdoor pets can find a shady spot in the heat of the day. Construct one if necessary. When indoors, pets may enjoy lying on tiles wherever they can find them. Check outdoor buildings before closing doors as a cat may seek shelter inside and become dehydrated because they can’t get out.
  4. Air Circulation – Cool air helps pets feel more comfortable. If your pet is indoors, open a window and put a fan on a low box near it. If there is no cooling breeze, create one by putting a frozen water bottle in front of the fan.
  5. Cool Him Down – A cool wet cloth rubbed gently over your cat can help cool them down; a dog may enjoy a light spray from a mist sprinkler or cold packs wrapped in towels. Don’t assume a dog instinctively knows how to swim and he or she should be watched carefully around a pool or lake. Standing in a tub of cool water can be refreshing for a dog but don’t use ice water as it is dangerous to cool them too quickly.
  6. Exercising Dogs – Alternate between grass, asphalt, and sidewalks when walking your dog. Booties may be needed if you can’t avoid the asphalt. Choose the coolest times of the day (usually early morning or late evening) for walks and don’t play chase games when it is really hot, as dogs don’t know their limits. Bulldogs and other flat-faced dogs have more difficulty breathing than other dogs when they get hot or when exercised in hot weather, thus it is especially important to make sure these dogs are kept cool.

Watch for the Signs of Dehydration and Heatstroke

Dehydration is dangerous for pets and can quickly turn into life-threatening heat strokes. If you see any signs, get help. A pet suffering from dehydration may have difficulty swallowing water, but a veterinarian can quickly and safely hydrate a pet.

The signs of dehydration are as follows:

  • Dogs will pant excessively and, when a cat begins to pant, he or she is already overheated.
  • Dogs and cats will have increasingly thick, sticky gums and saliva, and will drool as swallowing becomes more and more difficult. They will vomit and lose interest in food.
  • A dog’s eyes will become sunken, their urine will be dark, their skin will lose its elasticity, and they’ll be wobbly on their feet.
  • Dogs and cats will become increasingly lethargic and unwilling to move.

Get help from your veterinarian pronto before these symptoms become worse! The next stage is heat stroke and progressive illness can occur.

Try to keep you and your beloved pets cool this summer. Try using healthy exercise options, make sure they get plenty of water and shade, and protect them from excessive heat. They will love you for it!

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to the Hastings Veterinary Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.