PET BUZZ. How to brush your pet’s teeth
• If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to begin brushing your pets’ teeth regularly, good job! Here are some tips and techniques from the AVMA to ensure you do the best job possible. Wait 10 days after a professional dental cleaning to begin or resume brushing at home, to let gums heal. Use a finger brush or toothbrush with soft bristles. For pets new to the process, give them a few days to smell and taste the toothpaste before you begin brushing. Start with only a few teeth at a time and reward with a treat. Work up to a more thorough cleaning of 30 seconds or more. Run the brush along the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Focus on the outside of the teeth, where plaque is more likely to build up. Between brushing, offer rope toys or other chew items. Chewing has a mechanical action on the teeth that helps to clean them.
• Cockatiels are popular pets because of their friendly personalities, variety of color mutations and ease of care. They originated in Australia, where they were first exported in the late 19th century, and began to be bred in the United States in the late 1950s.
• Taking a Fear Free approach to skin care benefits dogs and cats who require frequent treatment for ear infections, allergies and other dermatological diseases, says veterinary dermatologist John C. Angus. Speaking at a veterinary conference in Orlando last month, he recommended light sedation and local anesthesia for obtaining skin biopsy samples. This reduces the fear, anxiety and stress that can accompany restraint, injection with a stinging liquid, pressure and the smell of blood. Following a skin biopsy, pets should receive postoperative pain relief immediately after the procedure and pain medication at home for three to five days.
— Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker
PHOTO CAPTION: Cockatiel color variations include lutino, pied, pearl, white-faced, cinnamon and yellow cheek.