Did you know that you cannot tell if your cat or dog has periodontal disease by the color of his or her gums?

I did not know that until a few weeks ago. Wouldn't you think that you would see more inflamed gums in pets with periodontal disease?

So what is periodontal disease then? Our friend, Tracy Libby, elaborates:

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss or destruction of the tissues that hold the teeth in the jaws. It starts the same way in dogs as it does in humans - with plaque buildup around and under the gum line. One milligram of dental plaque contains millions of bacteria! 

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This month, we are delving into the topic of pet training. And why would you train your dog or cat?  Dr Patrick discusses the reasons for training your dog or cat and answers the questions below.

  1. Kristin: My dog is highly trained in all areas, except for the fact that he loses his mind when he sees another dog or a child. He just wants to run over and play with them! All training goes out the window when he sees them, and he stops listening. Any suggestions to keep him focused given these distractions?
  2. Jenna: how do I make him stop barking at me when he wants something? (to cuddle, to go out, to play, to...I don’t even know) I have tried ignoring him, but he doesn't get it.
  3. And another from Jenna: how do I stop counter surfing and stopping him eating things off the ground outside (gum, cig butts, etc.)
  4. Katie: please, any new anti-barking training techniques?
  5. Kate: anything new on separation anxiety or resource guarding?

Also, I add a tidbit that I have found very helpful with my cats to prevent them from scratching the furniture. If they do it, I picked them up and put them with their paws up against one of our three scratching posts in the living room. When they eventually scratch the post by themselves, they get lots of praise and tickles. Now, they only scratch the furniture every now and then and only when I’m there just to get attention. Nothing is perfect.

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Dr Rex Riggs gives a veterinarian's perspective on why you should train your dog or cat.

I bet many people don’t think of the health benefits of having a well-trained dog.

We see far too many hit by car dogs in our practice. Many of these dogs are running away from the owner and just dart across the street. A well trained dog also has a much lower chance of sneaking away and getting into toxic things or other dangers. Think of how far fewer dog fights we would see if our dogs were more socialized and trained.

Having a well-trained dog is less stressful for you and your dog!

From my perspective though, the most important aspect of training and socialization, for both dogs and cats, is that when they need medical attention, they will allow us to treat them.

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Just as understanding how you can maximize your pet's health is part of pet parenting, so is maximizing the quality time you spend together. Training isn't just for tricks; training also:

  • strengthens the bond between you and your dog or cat
  • integrates your pet seamlessly into your family life and the outside world
  • improves the effectiveness of your communication with your pet
  • lets you give your pet more freedom and fewer restrictions
  • and reduces stress and increases happiness of having a pet in the household

Friend of Embrace, Liz Palika, talks about why you should train your dog in her article No Training? Why Not? Rules are important for your dog's social well-being, as well as your own, plus he/she is safer if she's not dashing up the road every time you open your door. And training can be fun - it's not boot camp for either party.

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Dr Marty finalI'm so happy to announce that Embrace is partnering with Dr Marty Becker, also known as America's Veterinarian, to spread the word far and wide about Embrace's affordable and effective pet insurance to prevent economic euthanasia when cats and dogs get sick.

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