Spring Cleaning Regime for Pets & Pet Owners

Pets shouldn't be overlooked in spring cleaning. For pet parents, cleaning their pet's belongings may be obvious, but the importance of replacing other items may not be. That's where we come in.


Drop the winter weight

Many of us pack on a few pounds during the cold winter months, and chances are our dogs have too. If your dog is looking a little fuller these days it's time to talk to your veterinarian about a safe weight loss regimen for your dog. Try cutting back on treats that add calories to your dog's diet. Instead, try giving him baby carrots.


Grooming of the coat

Shedding increases in the springtime as dogs lose their winter coats. Make sure to brush your dog regularly. This will help keep the shedding under control, as brushing loosens and removes dead hair and dandruff from your dog’s coat.


Bedding refresh

Your pet probably spends most of his time indoors. Spruce things up by refreshing his favorite places, including his bed, kennel or favorite napping spot. First, vacuum in and around the area to remove hair and dirt. Next, if he sleeps in a plastic or wire crate, take it outside, hose it down and dry it thoroughly. Then, launder blankets or bedding, tossing and replacing any worn items.


Collars and leashes

Often these can be washed in a washing machine. Remember to place in a garment bag to prevent tangling. Check collars and leashes for wear and tear and replace when necessary.


Toy clean up

Throw away any toys that are permanently soiled, damaged or simply ignored by your pet. Gather any plush toys and launder them so they’re fresh and fluffy again. Hand-wash any plastic or rubber toys, too. If your pet has lots of toys, you can rotate them weekly to keep your pet interested. You might also keep a set of durable, Kong-type or rope toys for outdoor playtime, and keep the soft, squeaky plush toys inside so they last longer.


Double-check on medications

If you give your pet medications or supplements, go through everything and toss any that are old or have expired. Make sure you have an adequate supply of flea, tick and heartworm preventative on hand. If you don’t, contact your veterinarian and stock up so you don’t run out.


Go through the pet’s pantry

Check for expired canned-foods and treats. Now is also a good time to make note of food and treats your pet does love and restock. Don’t forget to wash the bowls and dining area of your pet!


Restock first aid kit

A first aid kit should include hydrogen peroxide and antibacterial ointment among other items. Replace any missing or expired items so you’re prepared for the warmer days ahead!


Use natural cleaning solutions

As you’re cleaning other areas in your home, remember to keep toxic supplies and chemicals well out of reach of your pet. Consider using natural cleaning solutions like baking soda or vinegar and water. Call your vet or the Animal Poison Hotline right away if you suspect your pet has ingested any toxic or potentially toxic substance. Animal Poison Hotline: 1-888-232-8870 ($35.00 charge per incident). The Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Scoop the poop

If you have a backyard where your dog gets to roam freely, do a thorough clean up of the feces before you take that lawnmower to the grass and cause yourself quite the mess and stress of a clean up.

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Easter and Springtime Hazards for Dogs and Cats

Easter and springtime decorations (and edibles) liven the scenery, but also pose a potential hazard to pets. Who knew that plastic Easter grass could be dangerous, even deadly?

With spring comes spring cleaning and surveying the area for any potential hazards to your pets. It's better than the alternative of spending time and money at the veterinary hospital. Here are a few tips to help your clean up.

Easter Lily (and related Lily plants)


The Easter Lily is a common finding this time of year. This plant, and related plants in the lily family, are highly toxic to cats if ingested.


The first signs seen are vomiting and lethargy, and if untreated, may progress to kidney (renal) failure and death. Please call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant.


Another spring flower often used in cut flower arrangements, daffodils, are also toxic to cats.

For a more in-depth look on plant toxicity, read our article.


Easter Grass (or multi-colored tinsel)


Stringy things like Easter grass or tinsel at Christmas, pose a deadly threat if ingested, creating something called a Linear Foreign Body.


The first noticeable signs, aside from the material being visible from the mouth or anus, are vomiting or straining to defecate and a painful abdomen.

!IMPORTANT! Trying to pull out visible grass or string is not recommended, as this can cause more damage if the piece is long and trapped far inside the body. Call your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat has sampled the Easter grass. While Linear Foreign Bodies are more common in cats, dogs may also ingest non-food material, and the same rules apply.



This is typically more of a dog hazard, as many dogs have a sweet tooth, a great nose, and the determination to find chocolate — hidden or not, but cats may consume chocolate too.

The toxic components in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine, and the level of toxicity is based on the type and quantity of chocolate consumed. Different types of chocolate have different amounts of theobromine and caffeine; dark chocolate contains the highest concentrations and white "chocolate" contains the least.


Early clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea and trembling.

It is important to note that xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gums and baked goods, is potentially very toxic to dogs and ferrets.

For a more in-depth look on chocolate toxicity, read our article.

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Bad doggie breath? Consider introducing a water additive to your dog's dental hygiene routine.

Does your dog have bad breath? Most pet owners experience it with their dog at some point in time. Dental hygiene is important for a healthy, happy life and bad breath might be a sign of the opposite. Sure, it’s hard to brush your dog’s teeth as often as you do when they are less than willing to sit still for it. That’s why adding a liquid water additive to your dog’s water bowl with each refill is a small measure you can introduce to a daily routine without complete disruption.


What causes bad breath in dogs and cats?

Tartar (or plaque) is the result of bacteria build up on the surface of your dog’s teeth and mouth. The more plaque build up, the more pungent the breath. By brushing the teeth, the more bacteria is removed from your dog’s teeth and mouth, thus lessening plaque build up.


How does a water additive work?

One word: Enzymes.


How Oratene works:

A combination of Mutanase + Dextranase enzymes that affect different glucan bonds in plaque biofilm. Together, they effectively inhibit and reduce plaque formation. By combining these enzymes with our antibacterial enzymes, a comprehensive oral care system is created. This flavorless concentrate is added daily to drinking water to provide the safest, healthiest way to conveniently keep teeth clean without brushing. Does not contain chlorhexidine, chlorine or alcohol. Removes plaque while inhibiting odor causing microbes. Convenient pump for accurate dosages. Enough for 60 days of water for average size dog. Safe for daily ingestion; cannot overdose. Improves oral health and is pH neutral.

Purchase online: Zymox Oratene by Biotene


How SynergyLabs Dental Fresh works:

Dental Fresh Original Formula for Dogs is the “world’s first and only clinically proven toothbrush in a bottle.” Adding Dental Fresh to your dog's water bowl daily equates to brushing their teeth every time they drink water. This self-regulating formula attacks bacteria in the mouth and in the water bowl, thus eliminating "slime" left behind in the bottom of the bowl. Dental Fresh has no taste or odor, so it does not disrupt your pet's drinking habits. Between visits to the veterinarian, pets should be given Dental Fresh every day to promote proper oral health and hygiene. Add one teaspoon of Dental Fresh for every 8oz of water in a bowl, or follow your veterinarian's directions. Safe and beneficial for everyday use for both dogs and cats, too!

Purchase online: SynergyLabs Dental Fresh


Signs your dog may have greater dental issues:

  • Bad breath – caused by bacteria build-up, which can lead to dental disease.
  • Yellow or brown teeth.
  • Swollen, inflamed, red, and/or puffy gums.
  • Weight loss. Poor appetite.

If your pet has one or more of these issues, please make an appointment with your vet. Keep in mind that water additives are just one small measure to take in preventive dental health care for your pet. Routine at-home brushing, treats, and dental cleanings with your vet are all part of the overall prevention plan.

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Periodontal Disease and Treatment: Dental Scaling

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), Periodontal disease is the most common clinical disease seen in adult dogs and cats. At three years or older, dogs and cats begin to exhibit signs of periodontal disease. It is completely preventable and reversible in many cases, however, the more severe cases can only prevent further damage with the appropriate tailor-made treatments. In order to effectively prevent, treat, or slow down the destructive effects of periodontal disease, veterinarians need to ensure they are performing the most crucial step of dental scaling: subgingival curettage.


The impact of periodontal disease

Periodontal disease refers to gingival inflammation induced by the bacteria found in plaque and encompasses both gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis refers to inflammation that extends only to the gingiva and not the surrounding periodontal structures. If treated, gingivitis is reversible. If untreated, it may lead to periodontitis as plaque migrates and calculus accumulates under the gingival margin. The proportion of anaerobic bacteria increases in subgingival plaque and triggers an inflammatory response that then destroys surrounding tissues, such as periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone. Destruction of these supportive tissues is permanent.

Periodontitis can have both local and systemic ramifications. Local manifestations include oral pain, periodontal abscesses, oronasal fistulas, osteomyelitis, and pathologic fractures. [include photos] Systemically, periodontal disease can lead to morphologic changes in the kidneys, heart, and liver.


Treatment of periodontal disease

The treatment for periodontal disease is a professional dental cleaning under general anesthesia and home care maintenance. Together, these methods help to remove plaque that triggers the inflammation responsible for damaging tissue.


To remove superficial plaque, home care such as teeth brushing and antiseptic applications are great routine practices.

Vet care

Professional cleanings done by your vet removes mineralized plaque in the form of tartar and calculus from both below and above the gum line. The treatment of gingivitis is aimed at restoring the health of the gingiva and preventing the onset of periodontitis. Treatment of patients with periodontitis aims to prevent localized disease progression and the spread of disease to other teeth.


Periodontal probing

Before a dental cleaning, your vet will perform an oral exam. During this exam, a periodontal probe is used to measure the subgingival pockets. The probe is rounded with a blunt tip that has graduated markings that are gradually inserted at each point in the gingival sulcus. Patients with gingivitis have normal periodontal sulcus depths. However, patients with periodontitis have deeper probing depths than what is typical. The pathogenic periodontal pockets are a result after inflammation progressively destroys the periodontal ligament and causes the epithelial attachment to migrate toward the root’s apex. Vertical alveolar bone loss can also increase periodontal pocket depth.


Subgingival curettage

An integral step to the treatment of periodontal disease is the removal of plaque and calculus above and below the gingival margin. Once the subgingival surface remains free of plaque and debris, the sulcular epithelium can reattach to the tooth root. A failure to remove subgingival calculus will prevent reattachment and allow periodontitis to progress.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society:

“The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces that are within the gingival pocket … where periodontal disease is active.”

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