Kids Corner

VCA Forth Worth Animal Medical Center's Kids Corner!


Bad Breath

Why does my dog’s breath smell so bad?

Most often, bad breath is caused by dental or periodontal disease. Some dogs do not adequately chew their food; thus they don’t clean their teeth naturally by the chewing process. Also, some dogs and cats are just prone to dental plaque, tartar and disease. These pets may need more frequent dental cleanings and treatments.

Internal diseases such as kidney disease can also cause bad breath. A trip to your veterinarian is recommended in order to pinpoint the cause of your dog’s bad breath and to ensure he is in good health.



Can dogs and cats see colors?

Dogs and cats have rods and cones in their retinas but in a different proportion than in the human retina. Although they can differentiate colors, what they see is likely a more muted version of what we see. Dogs, especially, probably see more shades of gray than they do all of the individual colors.

Cats, by the way, can concentrate small amounts of light in their eyes, which allows them to see at night when the rest of us have difficulty. This special talent gives them their extraordinary night hunting vision.



Do dogs sweat?

Dogs have the ability to sweat, but in places that are a little different from humans. Dogs sweat through their pads and feet. Their skin and armpit areas don’t contain sweat glands like ours do. Their main method of ridding themselves from heat, however, is by panting, which is a very different mechanism than what we generally use.

For these reasons, we must take great care to protect our dogs from heat stroke. Dogs with compromised respiration, like bulldogs and pugs, are at a very high risk of easily overheating just because they can’t pant very efficiently.




Time Out for Pets

Pets have their good days and bad days. And just like us, they need their time alone. Pets cannot speak to us, but there are general rules that tell us when to stay away.

It’s important to leave a pet alone when they are:
Nursing for young
Chewing on a toy or bone

Most pets really enjoy mealtime and can get very excited about food. But, some pets can be greedy and protect their food from others. This is a behavior that mimics that of their wild counterparts. So, it is important to let a grown up feed your pet and not until the meal is completely finished should you interact with your pet. You don’t want your pet to think that you are trying to steal its food! Just as a dog may protect its food, it may also guard its toys. So, to keep playtime and exercise safe and fun, you must not try to grab a toy from your pet’s mouth.

A pet’s sleeping area should be warm and quiet, away from noises like television or radio. Your house can contain many dangerous items for pets, so it is important to check the room and point out any problems to a grown-up. Things to look out for include small items like papers, pens and pencils, electrical cords, garbage, any medications, or cleaning agents.

Once the pet-friendly room has been set up, you can then be assured that your dog or cat can get enough sleep. The amount they need depends on their breed, age and energy level. The bigger the dog, the more sleep they need. So, a Great Dane will sleep more than a Chihuahua. As for cats, they need about 16 to 20 hours of sleep a day.

Although it is important as a responsible pet owner to make sure your pet’s toilets are normal, you must not interrupt a pet when they are toileting. Make sure you observe your pet from a distance and give them space to go to the bathroom.

When cats and dogs get to experience having kittens or puppies, it is a very special and nervous time for all. Nursing babies takes a lot of energy and concentration, so it is important that we give these pets time alone. Although it may be tempting to cuddle the cute kittens and puppies, it’s always important to let the mother cat or dog nurse her young alone. Occasionally a nursing pet will become protective of their young, so quietly watching them from a distance should not upset them.