Friday, February 23, 2018

Learn More About Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show Winner Flynn

Over two days, nearly 2,900 dogs were whittled down to a lineup of seven finalists, each a leader in his or her respective Group. New York City can be outrageously expensive to visit and attempting to drive or fly there in wintry February adds to the challenge, yet the Westminster Kennel Club has been hosting the most prestigious dog show in America for 142 years now. It is the second-oldest sporting event in the country, and the Kentucky Derby beats it by only one year. Despite the weather and the expense, the diehards always get there for there is only one Westminster.

Flynn Wins Best in Show

Best in Show winner Flynn with his handler and the judge.

Best in Show winner Flynn with his handler, Bill McFadden, and the judge, Betty-Anne Stenmark. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

Betty-Anne Stenmark of Woodside, Calif., an arbiter respected ‘round the world, was the judge tasked with evaluating the glorious Group winners and selecting a Best in Show this year.

After carefully examining and moving each of the finalists, she chose the powerful and stately ‘Ty,’ the jet-black Giant Schnauzer, as her Reserve Best in Show. Ty came into the competition with the most impressive credentials, having attained No. 1 dog all breeds status in 2017.

Ms. Stenmark selected the sparkling Bichon Frisé ‘Flynn’ for Best in Show, thrilling his breeders, owners and elated handler, Bill McFadden. Flynn is only the second Bichon to have ever gone Best in Show at the Garden. The first was ‘J.R.,’ Champion Special Times Just Right, back in 2001.

Best in Show was announced shortly before midnight on Tuesday. While the floor of Madison Square Garden was quickly swarmed by photographers and media, with a celebratory party to follow that lasted into the wee hours, the VIP treatment for Flynn was only beginning. After all, an event with 142 years of history behind it demands suitable fanfare.

Flynn Celebrates Best in Show Around New York City

On Wednesday morning, Flynn did the round of the New York morning talk shows. For lunch, every Best in Show winner enjoys a steak served up on a silver platter at the storied Sardi’s restaurant. The walls here are covered in Hirschfeld caricatures of the entertainment world’s greatest stars. It’s where Broadway royalty has gathered on opening night to read the reviews, a tradition famous enough that it has been depicted in many films over many decades.

More fun followed. Speaking of Broadway, Flynn and Bill hit the Great White Way, where they did a walk-on for the smash musical Kinky Boots, Bill proudly carrying Flynn’s glorious Best in Show rosette. Flynn’s Broadway turn was especially appropriate since his registered name is Grand Champion Belle Creek’s All I Care About Is Love, which is a song from the famous Kander & Ebb musical Chicago, and sung by the show’s lead character, Billy Flynn. How perfect that there is a name association for both Bill McFadden and Flynn the Bichon.

Finally, before flying home to Northern California, Flynn and Bill got to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. They probably could have flown home on Cloud Nine, but we’re told they agreed to more mundane aircraft, very tired but very happy.

Thumbnail: Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

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All About the Breeds Behind the Westminster Group Winners

The Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show went to Flynn the Bichon Frisé but each breed represented at the WKC Dog Show is special in its own right. Let’s learn a bit more about the breeds behind the seven Westminster Kennel Club finalists right here.

1. Bean the Sussex Spaniel Clowns Around in the Sporting Group

Bean the Sussex Spaniel.

Bean the Sussex Spaniel. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

‘Bean’ the Sussex Spaniel is truly well named as he is always full of beans and puts on an entertaining performance for judges and ringside spectators alike. More formally known as Grand Champion Kamands Full of Beans @ Erinhill, this multiple Best-in-Show winner is handled by Per Rismyhr, a spaniel specialist, for his proud breeders and owners, Karen Ann Toner and Amanda Toner. Sussex Spaniels are a long and low breed that love to sit on their haunches and beg at every opportunity.

Needless to say, the roaring crowds at Madison Square Garden fell in love with this routine and only egged on Bean the ham to sit up and beg every time Rismyhr walked him up to the judge, Elizabeth “Beth” Sweigart. Judge Sweigart got her start in Labradors, so she is an expert on all the Sporting breeds and recognized what a superb specimen Bean is. He was in sparkling condition and well-muscled with his golden-liver coat, a hallmark of the breed, glistening.

The breed’s long, low body with heavy bone was developed to hunt in heavy brush and undergrowth. Although the Sussex Spaniel was one of the original nine breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club, the breed never gained popularity, as hunters preferred the faster, flashier gun dogs. Today, the Sussex Spaniel is one of the rarest breeds in the world. Many Americans first became acquainted with the breed in 2009 when ‘Stump’ made history by becoming the first Sussex Spaniel, and the oldest dog of any breed at age 10, to win Best in Show at Westminster.

2. Lucy the Elegant Borzoi Leads the Hounds

Lucy the Borzoi.

Lucy the Borzoi. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

‘Lucy’ the Borzoi triumphed in the Hound Group, repeating her victory of 2016. Grand Champion Belisarius JP My Sassy Girl was born in Japan and went on to become that country’s top-winning dog of all breeds before she was sent to the USA to compete in dog shows here. She ended 2017 as the No. 1 Hound in America. She made an elegant picture, sweeping around the Westminster ring with her handler, Valerie Nunes Atkinson. With this win, she retired from the show ring and will return to Japan to begin the next chapter of her career, motherhood.

The Borzoi was favored by the Russian aristocracy who went on wolf hunts with 100 or more of the fleet-footed hounds. Borzoi are classified as sighthounds, using their excellent eyesight to spot game. At home, they are quiet and dignified, making a loving companion for those who can provide them with the space to gallop freely in a safely enclosed area.

3. Ty the Giant Schnauzer Makes a Giant Impression in the Working Group

Ty the Giant Schnauzer.

Ty the Giant Schnauzer. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

‘Ty’ the Giant Schnauzer who was the No. 1 dog all breeds for 2017, continued his winning ways at Westminster, claiming a Group First and ultimately Reserve Best in Show over nearly 2,900 dogs. Grand Champion Ingebar’s Tynan Dances With Wildflowers showed flawlessly for his handler, Katie Bernardin. Ty and Katie have competed in shows nationwide and never let down. In fact, Ty is the top-winning male Giant Schnauzer in breed history.

Interestingly, Ty’s talented breeder, the late Maryann Bisceglia, also bred the top-winning female Giant Schnauzer, and top Giant Schnauzer overall, in breed history. She passed away two years ago and is greatly missed in the dog show world.

The Giant Schnauzer hails from Germany and is the largest of the three distinct Schnauzer breeds. The Giant Schnauzer was developed as a versatile protection, security and guard dog and has a loyal following in this country.

4. Winston the Norfolk Terrier Rules the Terrier Group

Winston the Norfolk Terrier.

Winston the Norfolk Terrier. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

‘Winston’ the irrepressible Norfolk Terrier caught the eye of Terrier connoisseur judge Rosalind Kramer and won the Group, handled by Ernesto Lara, who has also devoted his life to the Terrier breeds. Grand Champion Yarrow Venerie Winning Ticket is another great show dog that seems well named, since he is a multiple Best in Show and specialty winner enjoying enormous success.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Norwich Terrier (drop and prick ear) in 1936. It took until January of 1979 for the Norwich Terrier, with its prick (or upright) ears, and the Norfolk Terrier, with its drop ears, to be given separate breed status. Game and hardy, compact and active, the Norfolk is one of the smallest of the working terriers.

5. The Toy Group Win by This Pug Was a… Biggie

Biggie the Pug.

Biggie the Pug. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

When ‘Biggie’ the Pug was pointed to the No. 1 spot in the Toy Group by judge David Kirkland, it was a particularly emotional moment for his owner Carolyn Koch and his handler Esteban Farias. Biggie’s cousin ‘Rumble’ was top Pug and one of the biggest-winning Toy dogs in the country when he died suddenly last year. Biggie showed his heart out on the green carpet of the Westminster ring and brought home glory to his family. Somehow, he knew it was the night to rumble.

Grand Champion Hill Country’s Puttin’ On The Ritz delivered a great performance and was certainly a crowd favorite. The Pug is of Chinese origin and dates back to pre-Christian times. Pugs were highly prized by the emperors of China. Dutch traders brought Pugs from the East to Holland, and then on to England. Happy and robust, with a range of human facial expressions, the Pug enjoys huge popularity around the world. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

6. Non-Sporting Group Honors Go to Flynn the Bichon Frisé

Flynn the Bichon Frisé.

Flynn the Bichon Frisé. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

‘Flynn’ the Bichon Frisé finished 2017 as the Top Non-Sporting dog in the nation and his momentum kept up through Westminster, where he led the pack. Grand Champion Belle Creek’s All I Care About Is Love was handled as always by the amiable Bill McFadden, and the animated powder puff was in top form.

The Bichon Frisé breed originated in the Mediterranean regions and descended from the Barbet, a larger, curly-coated water dog. Italian and Spanish sailors took Bichons along on their voyages, both for company and as items of barter. In the 16th century, the breed appeared in France where it became a favorite of the aristocracy during the Renaissance. The Bichon Frisé arrived in the US in 1956.

7. A Slick Performance by Slick the Border Collie in the Herding Group

Slick the Border Collie.

Slick the Border Collie. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

The Border Collie is known the world over as a versatile breed and ‘Slick’ proved it at Westminster, where he sailed into first place under judge Robert Vandiver. Grand Champion Majestic Elite Clever Endeavor, with many Best in Show wins to his credit, has become the top Border Collie of all time, shown by his equally athletic handler Jamie Clute.

The Border Collie proved himself indispensable to shepherds by allowing them to maintain large flocks in the Border country between Scotland and England. Queen Victoria, a huge dog lover, became enamored with the breed in the 19th century and promoted it widely. The Border Collie is recognized worldwide as the quintessential sheepherding dog, admired for his obedience, trainability and natural appearance.

Thumbnail: Lucy the Borzoi. Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli.

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

Read more about dog breeds on

The post All About the Breeds Behind the Westminster Group Winners appeared first on Dogster.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dogs That Don’t Bark: 5 Quiet Dog Breeds

Dogs bark for a reason, although we don’t always appreciate their motives. A dog may bark to say he’s alarmed, frustrated, scared, happy, protective or excited. Some breeds, such as those in the Herding and Terrier groups, are notably vocal. Others, like the Basenji, are especially noiseless. And while there are no dogs that don’t bark, let’s hear from five generally less barky breeds, or quiet dog breeds. No guarantee given: All dogs are individuals and some love to prove generalities wrong!

1. Whippet

A whippet dog running.

Whippets are known to be quiet dogs! Photography courtesy Mary Huff,

Extraordinarily speedy and yet cuddly as kittens, we Whippets are gracious, gentle and appreciative of a quiet environment. We’re small sighthounds with ancient origins. Over time, we became companions (and an economical race horse of sorts!) to the British working class. We could race up to 35 mph, and help keep food on the table. Today, we’re calm on the inside, exuberant on the outside. Natural athletes, we enjoy lure coursing, agility and running for the pure joy of running. Although we’re capable of barking, we rarely bother. Indoors or out, if you’re looking for an alarm dog, keep looking! We Whippets aim to keep the peace. Well, maybe not with rabbits, but that’s a different story….                  

2. Gordon Setter

A Gordon Setter dog.

Irish Setters aren’t the only Setter dogs who have a reputation for being quiet. Photography courtesy courtesy Barb Meining DVM and Mary Ann Leonard.

I lobbied hard for this spot. The Irish Setter almost always wins the “quiet Setter” spot, but maybe that’s because they’re so well-known? I’m not typically on the dogs that don’t bark list since I do have a watchdog gene. I’m energetic and aware, but usually not inclined to uncalled-for barking. I was developed to find quarry, pursuing pheasant and quail. No good comes from barking all day when hunting, of course. The Gordon in my name nods to the 4th Duke of Gordon, the Cock o’ the North. Although my ancestors existed before the Duke, we bear his name since he helped establish my breed in Scotland. Today, if I’m well exercised and included in your daily life, I’ll likely only bark when necessary. But yes, I prefer my own interpretation of “necessary.”

3. English Toy Spaniel

An English Toy Spaniel.

English Toy Spaniels, and their cousins, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, are pretty quiet dogs. Photography courtesy Sharon Wagner.

My nickname — the comforting spaniel — sheds light on my personality. Although I appreciate plenty of activity, I’m mainly a companion breed, known for my gentleness and kindness. I’m also upbeat, affectionate and eager to please. Developed centuries ago from Toy and Spaniel breeds, I share a history with my cousin, the equally gentle and usually quiet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Characteristically, I’m not a barky breed — how could I cuddle and comfort you if I were yipping and yapping?

4. Chow Chow

A Chow Chow dog.

Chow Chows are among dogs that don’t bark too much. Photography by Shutterstock.

An ancient breed with a lion-like appearance, we were developed in China as all-around working dogs. We hunted, guarded, herded and pulled carts to help our families. Queen Victoria’s interest in my forefathers contributed to our admiration in England. Today, we’re dignified, noble and mostly noiseless. We’re confident, capable and loyal to our owners, but rather skeptical about the outside world. I view newcomers approaching my home with skepticism, but I don’t typically bark at any little leaf blowing by the house.

5. Newfoundland

Two Newfoundland dogs.

Newfoundlands don’t usually bark — but when they do, it will be loud! Photography courtesy Newfoundland Club of Seattle.

Ever try swimming and talking at the same time? Now you know why I’m not typically vocal while I swim! Developed to work with fisherman in ice-cold waters, I’m celebrated for my courage, amiable nature and swimming strength in the water. My feet are even webbed and my coat is water resistant. We’re normally better lifeguards than house guards; we may rush to a water rescue, but we’re more likely to welcome strangers into the house than chase them off. Now for a caveat: If we do bark, it’s going to be loud. We boys weigh about 140 pounds; the ladies about 115 pounds. We don’t bark often, but when we do, you’ll surely hear us!

Tell us: What do you think? Do you know any dogs that don’t bark? What quiet dogs do you know? What breed(s) are they?

Thumbnail: Photography courtesy Sharon Wagner.

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

Read more about dog barking on

The post Dogs That Don’t Bark: 5 Quiet Dog Breeds appeared first on Dogster.

Kennel Cough Treatment — 5 At-Home Remedies for Kennel Cough

Is kennel cough treatment possible at home? Actually, kennel cough is not that different from any cough you’d get yourself as part of the ordeal we call the common cold — and it so happens that the at-home kennel cough remedies listed below work beautifully on humans, too. Of course, contact your vet before you try any of these remedies at home and call him immediately if your dog’s kennel cough persists or worsens.

At-Home Kennel Cough Treatment #1: Probiotics

A sick dog with an ice pack on his head.

Probiotics are a great at-home kennel cough treatment. Photography by WebSubstance/Thinkstock.

Besides being excellent for oral and digestive health, these beneficial bacteria do wonders to support the immune system. This is critical when treating kennel cough, which could easily progress to life-threatening pneumonia if left untreated. Be sure to give your dog a probiotic supplement made for dogs, such as Pet Dophilus by Jarrow.

And if your vet has prescribed a course of antibiotics for your dog (which is a common veterinary procedure in treating kennel cough), be sure to wait at least two hours after administering the antibiotic before giving the probiotic, or the two will cancel each other out and healing won’t happen.

At-Home Kennel Cough Treatment #2: Cough Syrup

Give Spot a lovin’ spoonful of your favorite decongestant cough syrup, but don’t give a suppressant formula; the idea is that you want the coughs to keep coming, and to be productive (i.e., to bring up the phlegm). My two favorite cough syrups are made by Nature’s Way: Umcka Cold Care (cherry flavor) and Sambucus. These products have become so popular in the last couple of years that they’re now widely available at major drugstore chains as well as at Whole Foods.

With either syrup, use a syringe to measure out one teaspoon and dose your dog three times daily. Carefully squirt the syrup down her throat with the syringe, then close her jaws and gently massage her throat so she swallows it all. Dogs are usually surprised at the pleasant taste (Sambucus tastes like a blackberry syrup you’d be tempted to pour over pancakes), so they swiftly swallow without putting up a fight or spitting up in disgust.

At-Home Kennel Cough Treatment #3: Honey

The antibacterial property of this product of busy bees’ labors is truly astonishing. I give sick dogs one tablespoon twice daily until their coughs are cured; it also works to alleviate the nasal discharge that accompanies kennel cough.

For maximum benefit, be sure to select a homegrown honey that’s not produced in China, ideally a raw honey such as my favorite brand, Really Raw Honey, which comes topped with a “cap” of pollen, propolis, and honeycomb. Dogs love this chewy mixture — mine go nuts for it.

There are some dos and don’ts to giving your dog honey, though. See them all here >>

At-Home Kennel Cough Treatment #4: Coconut oil

Dogster has extolled the virtues of this superfood before, and its amazing antiviral property is especially helpful when combating kennel cough, which is caused by the Bordetella virus. Give two teaspoons daily until the cough is cured.

Pour it over Spot’s food bowl or just let her lick it right off the spoon — being congested will suppress her appetite, but a whiff of this oil’s rich, fragrant aroma will get her mouth watering again.

At-Home Kennel Cough Treatment #5: Cinnamon

Another Dogster-approved dietary supplement, this essential spice-cabinet staple is safe to sprinkle liberally over your dog’s food bowl any time of year, but especially when she’s got the canine common cold. Like coconut oil, cinnamon is also antiviral, so go ahead and shake half a teaspoon of it over Spot’s food. Look for Ceylon Cinnamon, which is especially fragrant.

Tell us: Have you helped your hound through a bout of kennel cough? What at-home kennel cough treatment worked for you? Please share in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography by WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock.

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The Best Dogs for Cats? Try These 5 Cat-Friendly Dog Breeds

Looking for the best dogs for cats? Meet five cat-friendly dog breeds that generally (no guarantees!) adore, tolerate — or at least won’t torment — your family’s cats.

1. Golden Retriever

A Golden Retriever.

A Golden Retriever is among the best dogs for cats. Photography courtesy Bill Wheeler,

I’m an athletic gundog, developed in Scotland to retrieve fowl for hunters. Lord Tweedmouth, one of our main breeders, encouraged my ancestors to love water. Now that’s a trait we don’t share with our cat buddies. Although bred strong for work, I have a sweet spirit and a gentle mouth. When we retrieve, we carry birds without damage. No one wants to cook mauled fowl! Our kindness carries over to the family’s animals, cats included. But of course, socialization is the key. If we’re exposed to friendly cats or raised with cats, we’ll likely build positive associations. Even later in life, because we’re highly biddable, we’ll tend to accept new cats to please you. We generally view each newcomer (of any species) as a possible playmate!

2. Cesky Terrier

A Cesky Terrier.

Cesky Terriers are cat-friendly dogs. Photography courtesy Barbara Hopler.

You may be surprised to see a Terrier on this list. Or perhaps you’ve never even heard of me? We’re a relatively rare breed, a family-loving hunting dog developed in Czechoslovakia. My ancestors were bred as robust, short-legged dogs. With our easy-to-clean coats, we transitioned into the house with minimal mess. Less scrappy than most Terriers, many of us tolerate (and actually appreciate) cats. Now for a caveat: obviously some individual dogs, regardless of breeds, don’t like cats. Maybe they had a bad experience, or perhaps their people forgot to socialize them. Now for a secret I’ll acknowledge: the use of barriers may inadvertently entice us to chase. It’s a good idea to socialize us to other animals with supervision, not gates.

3. German Shepherd Dog

A German Shepherd Dog.

A German Shepherd Dog’s loyal nature is perfect for getting along with cats. Photography courtesy Deborah Stern.

A renowned problem solver and protector, I was developed by Captain Max von Stephanitz in 20th-century Germany from sheep herding dogs. We’re used for police and military service, guide work, sentry duty, search and rescue, therapy — and any canine job you can name. My intelligence, trainability and loyalty to family are unrivaled. If you tell me to chase cats out of the yard, I will. If you tell me a cat is a family member, I’ll protect him — which gets me on this list of cat-friendly dogs. I concede I’m bossy around other animals. What herding breed isn’t? Not even I, however, can figure out how to herd that darn cat!

4. Brittany

A cat and a Brittany dog.

Brittanys make the best playmates for active cats. Photography courtesy Kathy J. Yaccino.

I’m leggy and lively, a great playmate for active cats but perhaps an annoyance to lazy cats. To explain my history, we need to talk about France, British hunters and canine romance. English gentry took their Pointers and Setters to Brittany to hunt woodcock, and left them there between hunting seasons. My forefathers may have mixed with native spaniel types. In time, we developed into a popular hunting dog, both a Pointer and Retriever. Cheerful and social, I’m typically patient and playful with the family cats. If your cat begs for a game of pursuit, the only damage done will be to his ego: I’m remarkably agile and quick with the chase!

5. Bearded Collie

A Bearded Collie.

Bearded Collies are, like cats, independent. Photography courtesy Debbie Chandler.

With ancestors likely bred down from European Komondor, we were developed in Scotland for herding sheep and cattle. I worked with my people, but I also herded independently. Therefore, I still possess an independent spirit and appreciate a cat’s similarly self-governing streak. I’m described as “bouncy” — partly for the jumping approach I use to control unruly sheep. But I’m also happily bouncy in play. Some, but not all, cats appreciate my enthusiasm. I’ll do my best to match my bounce with the cat’s pounce!

Thumbnail: Photography by Shutterstock.

Tell us: In your opinion, what are the best dogs for cats?

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

Read more about dog breeds on

The post The Best Dogs for Cats? Try These 5 Cat-Friendly Dog Breeds appeared first on Dogster.

Is Your Dog Losing Teeth? Find Out If It’s Normal

What does it mean if you notice your dog losing teeth? Depending on how old your dog is, dog teeth falling out might be normal.

When Your Dog Losing Teeth Is Normal

A puppy smiling and showing his teeth.

Is it normal to see puppy teeth falling out? Photography ©exies | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Like humans, puppies are born without teeth. At first, puppies survive on their mother’s milk. They don’t need any teeth until they start learning to eat solid food.

A puppy’s deciduous (baby) teeth begin to come in between 4 and 6 weeks of age. These needle-sharp teeth erupt from beneath the gum line. Between 3 and 6 months of age, a puppy’s baby teeth start falling out and the permanent teeth come in. During this time, you might find see a hole in the gums where a tooth was or find tiny teeth lying around the house or in your puppy’s food bowl. Puppies frequently swallow their baby teeth, too, so you might not see anything at all. (Note: This is completely normal and poses no danger to your puppy.) You might also notice a small amount of bleeding from the mouth. This is normal as well.

So, what’s not normal about a puppy losing teeth? Sometimes, your dog’s baby teeth do not fall out like they are supposed to. If you see tiny teeth next to or on top of the larger permanent teeth, let your veterinarian know. This phenomenon can cause damage to the permanent teeth coming in, so your vet might want to pull the retained teeth out during your dog’s spay or neuter surgery.

When Your Dog Losing Teeth Is Not Normal

Sometimes, dog teeth falling out is NOT something normal. Teeth can fall out for a number of reasons. Trauma to the mouth can knock out one or more teeth (for instance, if your dog is struck in the face with an object, if he falls from a significant height or if he is hit by a car). Teeth can also fall out if your dog chews on something too hard and the tooth breaks (for instance, a deer antler or hard chew bone). Broken teeth that don’t fall out on their own either need to be pulled out (called an extraction) or repaired with a root canal. Both of these procedures are usually performed by a veterinary dental specialist.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) can also cause teeth to become loose and fall out. “Tooth loss is caused by bacteria that develops into plaque and tartar,” says Missy Tasky, DVM, owner of Gentle Touch Animal Hospital in Denver, Colorado. When tartar builds up near the gum line, it allows bacteria [to] enter beneath the gum line, damaging the support structures of the teeth. “This leads to loss of bone and mobility of the tooth,” Dr. Tasky explains.

Periodontal disease is highly likely to develop in dogs when you don’t regularly brush the teeth at home and receive annual or bi-annual professional dental cleanings. When this happens, infections may set in. Periodontal disease is a very common cause of tooth loss and can also affect your dog’s overall health.

What Happens Next If Your Dog’s Teeth Fall Out?

If one or more of your dog’s teeth becomes infected and/or loose, your vet will probably recommend tooth extraction.

Surprisingly, most dogs have no problems adapting to tooth loss. “Most dogs and cats can eat fine, even with the loss of several teeth,” Dr. Tasky says. “Some animals have lost all of their teeth and are still able to eat dry food. The goal, however, is to retain as many teeth as possible because the teeth help contribute to the strength of the jaw.”

If you notice loose or missing teeth, bleeding gums or bad dog breath, have your dog examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Periodontal disease can be painful and make it difficult for your dog to eat normally. Your vet will likely want to do a thorough dental cleaning under anesthesia, take x-rays of the teeth to look for areas of damage and possibly pull one or more teeth. After the procedure, your dog will be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics to guard against infection. If you’re worried that having teeth pulled will be too hard on your dog, don’t stress. Most dogs appear to feel fantastic after having their teeth cleaned and their loose, infected teeth removed, probably because they felt so much worse before the procedure.

Tell us: Has your dog lost any teeth? How old was she?

Thumbnail: Photography ©contrastaddict | E+ / Getty Images. 

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Shiba Inu Zodiac Illustrations by Rice and Ink

Shiba Inu Zodiac Illustrations by Rice and Ink

I don’t know my huskymutts’ exact birthdates, but they’re both likely Tauruses, whiiiiich…doesn’t really fit either of them at all. I’m pretty sure they were each born under their own sign, honestly, which is likely how you feel about your dog as well. Speaking of dogs and star signs, though, check out these awesome dog zodiac illustrations (featuring dignified yet adorable Shiba Inu) from Newtown, Connecticut’s Rice and Ink. Drawn in Japanese Sumi-e style and printed on gift-able or frame-able cards, they capture both the Shiba personality and the ethos of the star sign they represent. Check out the full collection at Rice and Ink.

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