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Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 6/22/2014

Some pet products can cause problems

BY DR. GARY THOMPSON
ASK THE VET

This may come as a shock to some of you, but there are commercials out there promoting products for your pets that make claims that might not be completely accurate — and some of which that are downright dangerous.

While I do not think these commercials intend to deceive, they should be taken with a grain of salt to avoid overlooking important facets of your pet’s health.

One of the products that is not deliberately putting cats at risk, but may potentially have devastating, unintended consequences is a cat litter brand that offers a seven-day odor guarantee.

While at first glance the idea of not having to scoop the litter box for a week is tempting, your cat might be inclined to disagree. She may also express her displeasure by finding another place to eliminate, because cats need a very tidy bathroom or problems will develop.

I am sure you might not notice any odor from five-plus feet above the box, but your cat that is having to stand at about five inches with a much more sensitive olfactory system might beg to differ.

Imagine if you had to use a toilet you could only flush once a week.

One of leading causes of death among indoor-only cats is euthanasia for elimination problems, and litter box aversion can be a major cause.

Every effort should be made to scoop the box daily and to change the litter completely once a week. My concern is that if people are under the false impression the box only needs attention once a week, serious aversion might develop.

Another commercial seems to tout a new shape of chew treat that purports to clean teeth as your dog chews. While this can be the case for dogs that chew on healthy treats, my concern is that it gives the impression it is addressing your dog’s overall dental health.

Dogs have 34 adult teeth but only use three or four per side when chewing. This means that at best, chews only have a beneficial effect for less than one quarter of your dog’s teeth.

The other 26 can accumulate plaque, suffer from gingivitis, and be a source of pain and infection in the mouth.

An oral care program for your dogs needs to have multiple aspects in order to keep every tooth in the mouth as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

This includes at-home brushing multiple times a week, healthy chews, regular dental examinations at your pet’s annual check-up, and professional cleanings when needed.

These chews can play a small part in the overall program but are not the one-stop solution they might seem to be.

If you have any questions about any product you are using for your pets, your veterinarian’s office or website can be the best first step to get the information you need.

Questions for Dr. Gary Thompson can be emailed to askthevet@theblade.com or mailed to The Blade, Attn. Ask the Vet, 541 N. Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660. Dr. Thompson regrets that he cannot answer individual letters.



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