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Teeth, and Ears and Paws! Oh My!

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It should come to no surprise that regular and proper maintenance of your pet insures a happy, healthy and pro-active life! But all to often it’s the little things that seem to build up, often times overlooked or neglected. Many people come in for both cats and dogs to get regular grooming but many are unaware of the importance of what might seem as “the small stuff.” In this blog post we’ll tackle three most commonly overlooked body parts of your cat and dog that often times impact their health.

Teeth are an essential aspect to a carnivore like a dog or a cat, obviously their used for eating. Dog and cat dentistry is vitally important to keep up those healthy purly whites of theirs. Without proper maintenance you can run into a serious risk of loss of teeth. This is one reason why it’s important they have hard foods over soft foods to eat, this will help reinforce the teeth. The most common aspect of lack of animal dentistry is gum problems. It’s estimated that 85% of canines (for example) over the age of 4 develop some form of gum disease. Other common problems with teeth include cracking, the loss and crooked teeth which can cause infection.

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The loss of teeth is usually due to some sort of gum disease in older dogs. It’s important to understand that if this happens it’s important to make an appointment with your vet ASAP as this could be a sign of illness. Mangled teeth, or crooked teeth, can cause problems with eating. It’s important to use proper toys, for both dogs and cats. A good indication if a toy isn’t good is if there is blood left over after the animal has played with set item. The real problem comes when plaque begins to build and is left untreated.

Plaque untreated can cause gingivitis and eventually cause periodontal disease among other gum related problems.

Though it’s quite important to have hard things for dogs especially to chew on, it’s also important to understand when items are too rough or problematic. Chewing the wrong thing can cause tooth trauma, and eventually this could potentially lead to cracking or crooked teeth and left untreated can cause infection.

From a cracked or broken tooth comes tooth root abscess, this is a very painful and problematic bacterial infection. This happens when the root of the tooth comes into contact with bacteria, and thus causes an infection. If this has happened it’s important to see a veterinarian immediately. It’s a very painful and agonizing experience for your pet.

There are many, many wonderful products for breath, mouth and teeth found in pet stores specifically for the mouth of your pet; often times they are toys, sprays, liquids, treats, foods and brushes geared for protection and maintenance of teeth, gums, tongue, breath and mouth!

Moving away from teeth and moving unto ears.

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Ears that consistently have build up, that has been left unchecked, can cause problems of infections and temporary deafness. Not only that, the build up in ears can encourage the presence of mites. Ears are very sensitive, especially in cats. Without proper maintenance of your pets ears you run the risk of damaging the ear which can lead to further problems down the road. Another common problem is blood blisters, this is where blood accumulates in the ear flap. This usually comes due to mites, fleas and infections.

Lastly the paws.

Though nails are common, people just seem to overlook it. If nails aren’t properly maintained it can cause walking problems and nerve problems in the nails. It can be very painful. Overgrowth is quite common, in minor cases it causes discomfort and difficulty of walking. In extreme cases it can cause separation of toes, arthritis, problems with the paws themselves and bone problems. With paws themselves, they can be easily scratched and torn open, which can lead to infection. That’s why dog boots are very much encouraged for those who walk their dogs in forested areas for example. The protection of your cat and dog pads and nails is crucial.

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When all of these things are taken into consideration and properly looked after, not only will you have a healthy, happy pet but one where you minimize the risk of severe problems in the future. A healthy pet, is a happy pet, and a happy pet is a happy you!

Tiger Oscars

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A Tiger Oscar given to us, coming out to say hi to one of our employees!

A Tiger Oscar given to us, coming out to say hi to one of our employees!

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Cichlids are fierce and powerful fish, and among them the Tiger Oscar is by far the most commonly known (even if people don’t recognize them as cichlids) in and out of the hobby. They are well known for their beautiful colourations and for the variety of mutations that they often come in–such as greens, albinos and golds to name a few. They are commonly found in South America, but they have also been noted to be found in China, Australia and the United States. They are sometimes even considered a delicacy.

Oscars are slow growers (though this isn’t a hard or fast rule!), but in the end they can reach massive lengths of up to 18 inches!

Tiger Oscars are sometimes described as wolves–when put together they seem to hunt in pacts. They are ferocious, veracious and aggressive hunters. They enjoy getting their tanks messy with their remains.

What makes these cichlids widely known and popular, despite their intriguing appearance, is the fact that they are relatively hardy fish able to live in cooler temperatures of waters of 55 Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature, however, like most cichlids is anywhere between 75F to 85F.

Despite popular myths, Tiger Oscars are monomorphic, this meaning the sexes cannot be distinguished by physical or apparent features. They require at least a 70 gallon tank, because they do reach great lengths, and also because of their notorious carnivorous appetite endoparasites are one of the biggest threats to this particular species of fish. Take care that if you have plants (alive or synthetic) as they often enjoy uprooting them, in this case we generally recommend using floating plants which is a good compromise.

For the fact they are well known for their hardiness as a fish species pH levels (unless they are wild caught) are rather irrelevant for this particular fish speciesā™„ I’m not saying throw away the notion of pH altogether, what I am saying is that the levels of pH is irrelevant if you are sustaining and maintaining your pH levels. In general a pH level of 6-8 is suitable for Oscars.

Tiger Oscars are well known to live up to five years in captivity, therefore they should have a committed owner.

Tiger Oscars also have a wide range of foods that they eat, from insects to specialized geared diets such as OMEGA ONE Natural Protein Formula Cichlid Flakes. They’ve even been known to eat various leafy greens. With such a wide range of foods keeping a Tiger Oscar healthy with the appropriate temperatures, lighting and diet is relatively easy to maintain.

Oscars should have a good number of rocks, plants (plastic or real) and other similar camouflaging and hiding tools. Good examples of these are the AquaFit products. Generally speaking Tiger Oscars are interior decorators at heart, they will take these plants, rocks and tools and re-arrange them to their liking–making Tiger Oscars rather eccentric fish.

Though Tiger Oscars can and are often put into tanks with other fish, generally speaking with their seemingly unquenchable hunger and their large sizes for the beginner it’s best advised not to do so.

It’s important to understand that Tiger Oscars (like most Oscar species) are very susceptible to Hole in head. Be sure to keep a close eye on your fish as all Oscar fishes can jump (we’ve found our Oscars once in a completely different tank and had eaten all the other fish) so it’s important to keep a lid on their tank to prevent and discourage such behaviours.

Intelligent fish, Oscar fish are calculating if not sometimes cold. They are more than capable of recognising their owners, which isn’t very common among fish. We once had an Tiger Oscar who didn’t do much of anything until our fish department expert came into the building–in which the Tiger Oscar would come out of hiding and interact with our employee.

With vibrant colours and their curious, almost bold natures, they are active fish than enjoy a personal relationship with their owners; making them unique fish to own. Though health can be sometimes a tricky thing with Oscars, don’t let this discourage you–they are hardy and well maintained fish. Pick the surrounding fish carefully when adding them to the tank, and you will have yourself a beautifully filled aquarium with the Tiger Oscar easily your center piece, pride and joy.

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