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Most pet owners today know the importance of good dental practices with their pet. It is just as important for your pet to maintain good oral health as it is for you and your family, to prevent tooth decay and oral disease. Now more than ever, there are some really good products available to help with oral hygiene including sprays, chews, and toothbrushes.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Pet’s Mouth

• Address plaque and tartar early so that your pet becomes used to a dental routine while they are young. This may save you from later visits to the vet to perform costly dental procedures.

• Get a pet tooth brushing kit. It will contain a toothbrush that is smaller and softer than the ones we use, and a toothpaste that won’t irritate your pet’s stomach. Never use human toothpaste as it can be harmful to your pet.

• Provide your pet with chew toys and treats that are designed to massage the gums and scrape the teeth as they chew. This will help slow the formation of tartar and plaque.

• If possible, do a dental check on a regular basis and watch for the signs of oral disease which can include bad breath, excessive drooling, loose teeth, and swollen gums, and difficulty chewing food.

• See a veterinarian quickly if you suspect a problem.

For techniques and advice on brushing and caring for your pet’s teeth and mouth, visit the ASPCA website.
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Cats are carnivores and they need a combination of ingredients to stay healthy, including quality protein, fats, fiber, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals. But there are also many everyday foods that are hazardous to cats. Please look over the list of the 10 most hazardous foods to cats, because our pets are counting on us to keep them from harm’s way, by knowing what we can and cannot allow them to eat.

GARLIC – Part of the onion family, garlic is another ‘human food’ that your cat should steer well clear of. It is actually considered to be far more dangerous than onions, because the toxic properties in garlic are more concentrated. Many foods have garlic powder or garlic salts hidden within, so please take the time to check ingredients labels and make sure the food your cat eats is not harmful. If your cat steals food off of your plate, make sure they haven’t ingested any garlic, as this can cause a whole load of blood health problems. If you notice any peculiar behavior from your cat after eating garlic then it is best to get them to a veterinarian or clinic in order to make sure they’re okay. A veterinarian can perform a blood test to see if there are any abnormalities in their system, that could have been caused from ingesting garlic.

ONIONS – Onion in all forms — powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated — can break down a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. An occasional small dose probably won’t hurt, but eating a large quantity once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause onion poisoning.

DAIRY PRODUCTS – There is a common misconception that giving your cat a saucer of milk is a treat. After all, we have seen it time and again on TV and in the movies. But its not true. Most adult cats are lactose-intolerant. Therefore, giving them dairy products including cheese can cause digestive problems and diarrhea which can lead to dehydration. However, there are some lactose-free products available that your cat might like, without the harmful side affects.

RAW EGGS, MEAT & FISH – Raw eggs may contain high levels of bacteria, which can cause and e.coli and salmonella infection, both of which can be very dangerous for humans and cats. The egg white contains a protein called avidin, which can interfere with vitamin B absorption. Raw meat and fish, like raw eggs, can also contain high levels of bacterial which may cause food poisoning. And an enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine which can cause serous neurological problems that may lead to convulsions or coma.

RAISINS – Although it is unclear why, raisins are extremely poisonous and can be deadly to cats. Even a small amount of raisins (or grapes) can be toxic. Repeated vomiting, diarrhea, decreased urination and lethargy are signs to look for if your cat has recently consumed raisins. Please keep raisins and grapes off counter tops and other places where you cat could get into them.

AVOCADO – This is another food that is highly toxic to cats. Although it is unlikely you are going to feed it to your cat, avocado contains persin which is quite poisonous to many animals. It can cause a host of health problems including heart, respiratory, and gastrointestinal upset, and can result in death depending on how much is consumed.

CAFFEINE – Any type of caffeinated food or drink can be harmful to your cat including sodas, tea, coffee and especially chocolate. In fact, chocolate is potentially deadly if your cat eats it. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and fits. If you cat has helped themselves to any caffinated item, watch for signs of poisoning and then call your veterinarian for advice.

ALCOHOL – We all know alcohol can have negative effects on people, so for a small animal like a cat, the effects can be multiplied. Any type of alcohol, beer, wine, liquor, can be detrimental to a cat’s brain and liver, and it takes very little to cause the damage. Keep all types of alcohol away from your cat because a few teaspoons of liquor could cause a coma or even death in a 5-pound cat.

Fat Trimmings and Bones – If you’re used to feeding your feline friend the bits of leftovers from your plate, then you could be facing a trip to the vet at some point soon. Fat, both cooked and uncooked, is another food that can cause intestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can then cause your cat to become dehydrated. Bones can be hazardous by causing a bowel obstruction or laceration. Although catching and eating a small bird, mouse, or other creature may not harm your cat, bones from cooked meat are more likely to splinter due to the heat. To be safe, avoid feeding your cat from your plate, and see a vet immediately if you notice any blood in the litter box or loss of appetite.

DOG FOOD – While dog and cat foods contain many of the same ingredients, dog food cannot be used as a substitute for cat food. Cat food is specifically formulated to meet a cat’s needs, which may include higher protein levels and certain vitamins and fatty acids. Feeding your cat a steady diet of dog food could result in severe malnutrition. Just don’t do it.

No matter how cautious you are, your cat may ingest one of the foods on this list. If that happens, call your veterinarian immediately or take him to the nearest emergency pet clinic. Or you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for advice at 888-426-4435.

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