Frequently Asked Questions There's likely a lot of information as well as questions swirling around your head about your pet's health needs and how we can meet those needs. To help you gain a better understanding of what we do, we've gathered some of the most frequently asked questions from both new and current clients. Take a moment to read through them, and let us know if there are still any other questions on your mind! We'll be happy to give you the answers you need! Why does my pet have bad breath? There are several reasons why Fido or Fluffy may have bad breath. However, by far the most common cause of bad breath in dogs and cats is dental or periodontal disease. More than two-thirds of pets over the age of 5 will have some degree of dental disease. Broken teeth, excessive tartar and plaque, gingivitis, and even oral tumors all contribute to bad breath. Dental disease in pets can also lead to more serious medical conditions when left untreated, yet it is entirely preventable! If your pet is experiencing bad breath, please schedule an appointment. You can also learn more about dental health here. Several other medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease, may also cause an unusual or unpleasant smell. Occasionally, bad breath can result from stomach problems including reflux, chronic vomiting, or respiratory issues, such as sinus infections. Or sometimes, it's simply a result of something your pet ate! Do pets experience pain? Pets experience pain as keenly as we do, but they don't always show it. Sometimes they will limp, shake, cry out, whine, groan, or refuse to move; but many pets simply carry on, trying to do all the things they usually do. Pets are naturally inclined to hide any vulnerability. Such behavior would have saved them from looking vulnerable (and like a bigger predator's next meal) in the wild. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, there are some subtle clues that can help you determine if your pet is experiencing pain. Changes in mobility – refusing to go upstairs; avoiding jumping or climbing; not chasing after a favorite toy; stiffness while walking; reluctance to walk on hard or slippery surfaces Changes in posture – arching their backs; assuming a sunken back; taking on a very rigid stance; changes in gait Changes in energy levels – hiding more often than usual; failure to get excited when you come home; etc. Changes in breathing – panting; breathing with their mouth open; fast or shallow breathing Changes in the eyes – squinting or discharge; enlarged pupils Changes in grooming habits – repeatedly licking at, rubbing, or chewing at a certain area Changes in food and water consumption – loss in appetite; refusal to eat or drink Changes in potty habits – unexplained accidents in the house; no longer squatting when urinating Catching pain before it gets worse is crucial to giving your pet lasting relief. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment. We'll work to develop a pain management program that may include medication and/or laser therapy. Why does my dog drag his rear end across the floor? There are many things that can cause this behavior such as diarrhea, colitis, or parasites; however, the most common cause is irritated anal glands. Anal glands are small sacs located just inside the rectum at roughly 4 and 8 o’clock. Both dogs and cats have anal glands and they are responsible for producing a very pungent secretion that comprises their ‘individual scent.’ These glands can become irritated due to impact, inflammation, infection, or sometimes, growths. Impacted glands can usually be emptied without difficulty, and this provides instant relief for your pet. Some pets will need to have this procedure done regularly while others may never experience problems. During expression, we'll also be able to determine if the glands are inflamed or infected and prescribe appropriate medications. Your pet will also be checked for any potential growths. If these problems persist and medications are not helpful, the glands can be surgically removed. Predisposing factors for irritated anal glands include a soft stool, allergies, or variation in the location of the glands. If your pet is having trouble with their hindquarters, come see us so we can get them relief. We might even be able to recommend a good carpet cleaner!