Vail pets: Some common questions about your pet |

Vail pets: Some common questions about your pet

Nadine Lober
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado — Dogs and cats in Colorado’s Vail Valley do not need to be bathed as often as humans, as this may dry out their skin and coat. A dog with healthy skin should be bathed when he is dirty, muddy or stinky.

If your dog gets filthy often then you can simply rinse him off after your walks without shampoo. Remember that if your dog grows hair between his toes and goes on long walks on wet trails, try to dry them off afterwards. You can even shave the hair between the toes. The moisture between the toes can cause irritations that can lead to skin infections.

You can safely bathe a dog weekly if needed or monthly. You should use a shampoo made specifically for pets, because human shampoos tend to dry pets’ skin or cause irritations. There are many pet shampoos choose from – some are hypoallergenic, some are anti-itch and most have conditioners that also can be purchased separately. There also are shampoos for different skin conditions.

Cats are another story. You can imagine how fun it is to bathe your cat. Well you don’t need to bathe your cat as often because cats tend to clean themselves. But on occasion they need to be cleaned more thoroughly or need a medicated bath for some reason. Ask you veterinarian for the appropriate shampoo.

I’m sure that you all brush your dog’s and cat’s teeth on a regular basis – or at least intend to. Well, it is a great idea to do so.

The tartar that develops on your pet’s teeth can be reduced by consistent brushing. The teeth that are mostly affected are the canine teeth and the larger back teeth. The outer part of these teeth – the part against the cheek – is where most of the tarter develops.

Again, it is very important to purchase doggy toothpaste because human toothpaste has too much fluoride and that can cause stomach problems. Dog toothpaste comes in various flavors: poultry, malt, etc., and there a different size toothbrushes depending on whether you have a Yorkie or a malamute.

Start out with a quick 30-second session of brushing and eventually increase to a full brushing. If you can brush your pet’s teeth about two or three times a week, then you will be assisting him in the prevention of dental disease.

As most of you know, heartworm is an awful disease that affects a dog’s heart and lungs. An adult worm lives in the heart and reproduces little worms there that circulate in the blood.

The disease is carried by mosquitoes that have fed on dogs with heartworm. There are some states where heartworm is endemic and heartworm medication is mandatory in efforts to eradicate the disease from the state.

Colorado was heartworm-free until a few years ago but the disease probably came with the migration of families and pets across state lines, . Still, with our cold winters, mosquitoes do not survive, and we don’t have as much of a problem in the winter.

Veterinarians are trying prevent the spread of the disease and therefore recommend heartworm testing and medication. The preventative pills come in flavorful chewable tablets, among other forms. Some pet owners choose to give these pills year round and others opt to use them during mosquito season, May through October.

There is a treatment for dogs with heartworm, but it is risky and better to prevent the disease.

Veterinarian Dr. Nadine Lober can be reached at 949-7972

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