Whether you’re a new puppy owner or a well-seasoned pet parent like Rach, it’s always good to give yourself a refresher on what’s best for your pup’s health.
How often should their teeth be cleaned? Which foods are safe to feed them? How should their nails be cut?
Here to answer some of your most pressing pet parenting questions are two veterinarians from the Nat Geo Wild show “Love and Vets,” Dr. Will Draper and Dr. Francoise Tyler.
Which Human Foods Are NOT Ok to Feed My Dog?
What may seem like harmless scraps of food or “treats” to give to your pet, may actually be very dangerous. Watch the video above to hear more about this.
Here’s Dr. Draper’s list of definite no-no foods:
Grapes + Raisins: These can cause kidney disease
Onions: These could cause anemia
Chocolate: The caffeine in chocolate could cause cardiac arrhythmia, high blood pressure and an upset stomach.
Mushrooms: These could cause an upset stomach and, according to Dr. Draper, give your dog “a really bad trip!”
Do I Really Have to Brush My Dog’s Teeth?
“Yes!” says Dr. Tyler. “Ideally, their teeth should be brushed after every meal.” That isn’t always practical, so she says a minimum of twice a week should be fine.
“It’s best to do this when they’re puppies using a thimble finger brush, and then graduate to a soft toothbrush,” says Dr. Tyler.
A word of caution though -- use pet toothpaste! You wouldn’t want your pet swallowing people toothpaste which is very acidic and could upset their tummies.
“You’ll know because it says ‘For Pets’ and ‘Liver Flavor,’” jokes Rach.
There are also many dental treats and oral rinses that you could use to help reduce tartar accumulation -- Dr. Draper said when used regularly, they’ll make a difference.
READ: A Vet Who Went from Amputee to Marathon Runner Gets a Brand New Home
What’s the Trick to Trimming My Pup’s Nails?
So many pet parents are afraid to cut their dog’s nails because they’re afraid of hurting them and making them bleed. We hear you. If that’s the case, feel free to ask a groomer or your vet to do it. If you think you can do it yourself, Dr. Draper said to use a nail trimmer (which you can purchase at a pet store) and make sure to only cut off the tip.
If you accidentally cut too far and it starts to bleed, don’t panic! “Just put a little flour on it and give ‘em a big hug,” says Dr. Draper.
You could also use a dremel (aka a nail file that spins) to grind down the sharp edges of the nail.
Is There Something I Should Be Doing Regularly to Make Sure My Pet Is Healthy?
Dr. Draper said you should palpate your pup two to three times each week. What that means is to feel or examine their bodies for abnormalities with “heavy petting.”
“You need to know what your pet’s normal is,” says Dr. Draper. “So if you feel something abnormal, if there is a tick or a small lump, you’ll know you can contact your veterinarian and you both can decide whether to watch it or take action.”