Hefner Road Animal Hospital Blog

Is dog breath normal?

How to care for your pet’s teeth, a lifetime of good health

Our pet’s health and longevity is directly linked to their dental care. As humans, we brush our teeth multiple times daily to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Did you know that that standard of care is also appropriate for your pet’s teeth?

Daily brushing is the gold standard for dental care and yes, they make toothpaste for pets! Flavors like poultry and beef might sound not so appetizing to us but spike and fluffy will love it! You can swing by and pick up some sample toothpaste from our front desk, we even have tooth brushes!

When daily brushing just isn’t an option, fear not, there’s still ways to help maintain your pet’s overall health through teeth and gum care!

  • Oral rinses: Purvis recommends MaxiGuard and Dentahex. Both are easy to apply to your pet’s teeth. Simply lift the lip and squirt a small amount on the gum line.
  • Water additives: Products like Oratene are great for a busy pet parent and or for pets that aren’t used to having their mouths handled. Adding this product to fresh water daily will help keep your pet’s teeth clean and breath fresh.
  • Dental chews/treats: There are many over the counter products available for dental health, however, many contain WAY too many calories are more of a treat than a useful dental product. Oravet and VeggieDent chews are veterinary strength “treats” that are to be given once daily to help break down the plaque on your pet’s teeth and keep those gums healthy. We recommend the VeggieDent chews for the super chewers that like a longer lasting to chew to occupy their time. We do not recommend rawhide products as they are not digestible and can be harmful to your pet.
  • Dental food: Hill’s prescription diet offers a dental food known as t/d. The kibble of the food is substantially larger than most to ensure your pet is biting down and chewing the kibble and contains a “cross grain” that “brushes” the teeth as they bite down. This formula is available for both cats and dogs and also comes in a small bites version for those extra small fur kiddos.

What about dental cleanings?

Dr. Purvis recommends regular dental cleanings for your pet. Once we start to see plaque on the teeth it’s time to get them scaled, polished and shined up. Most of us pet owners regularly see our dentist for cleanings and the same should go for your pet. Our dental procedures not only clean the teeth but also under the gums and in any pockets that may have formed. Teeth and gum cleanings are meant to be a preventative measure performed throughout your pet’s life. Before we sedate any pet for teeth/gum cleaning we perform presurgical blood work to make sure they are tip top shape which removes a lot of the dangers of anesthetic procedures. Waiting until your pet’s breath smells rotten and teeth have to be extracted is not veterinary recommended and is completely preventable.

As a rule we have your pet’s health and happiness in mind. Proper dental care will keep your pet healthy longer.  Let’s have a conversation about your pet’s teeth because dog breath isn’t normal and we have the tools to keep it at bay.

posted in:  Pet Health

What is Canine Influenza, Dog Flu?

The H3N2 strain has existed in Southeast Asia for years, however starting in 2015 Chicago area dogs became infected. Two strains of flu have been identified and vaccines have been developed for H3N2 and H3N8.
These strains of the flu virus have been found in 41 states, therefore, socially active and traveling dogs should be vaccinated. Two doses of the vaccine are required to develop a protective immune response. For more information you can visit www.doginfluenza.com.

Signs to look for:

  • Coughing/Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever

We do have the vaccine for both strains of the dog flu available here at Hefner Road and can schedule your pup at your convenience. Give us a call or book an appointment now.

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posted in:  Pet Health

Storm Anxiety: Keeping Pets Calm

Puppies Scared in StormBeing a dog in Oklahoma definitely has its perks! Many canine friendly parks, restaurants and activities  are available to keep even busiest bee preoccupied.  We enjoy a wonderfully lush spring most years but with that comes the rain. If you have lived in Oklahoma for any amount of time you will know that we endure some pretty tough storms that can send our pets into an anxiety driven frenzy.  This can stress both you and your pet to the max. Some pets hide in closets and under beds while other tear through doors and escape their backyards at the most inopportune time. Thankfully, there are measures to help keep your pet cool and collected during these peek anxiety times.

Thunder Struck
No, not like the kind Kevin Durant wears. Just like a hug, Thunder shirts provide a soothing sense of calm for your pet during a stressful situation much like swaddling an infant. The tight fitting garment can be used to aid in separation anxiety, fearful car rides and in many cases, storm anxiety. This drug-free option may be the solution for your pet. However, this may not work best for pets that refuse to wear clothing. No worries, there’s still help out there!

Pet Anxiety Supplements
When other means have failed sometimes medication may be the key to your pet’s storm anxiety. Anti-anxiety meds can help your pet through the storm by balancing them chemically. Sometimes these medications need to be given a couple days before storms hit and some can be given within 30 minutes to provide relief. If medications don’t seem to be the best option, calming chews are also available. Nutraceutical products that often contain comforting ingredients found in a mother’s milk are also worth a try for those pet’s who can’t weather the storm.
Some Preventive Measures for Pet Anxiety
While we can try as we might to change our anxious pet’s behavior sometimes our behavior can help calm our beloved pets during a storm. In the off season, try playing soothing rain sounds over the stereo on a nice day. This can help desensitize your pet and show them there is no danger here, so when the storm does hit those noises are less frightening.
When our pets show distress our first reaction is to coddle and protect them from whatever may be causing it. Sometimes this can just add insult to injury. We should reward calm behavior and attempt to stay as level as possible because our pets often times mirror our emotion. Keep our pet near you, sometimes on a leash at your feet is the best place. This practice should also be done in the off season as well in order to promote the calm setting when in need.

If your pet finds comfort in their kennel then allowing them to take shelter there can help. Providing a safe place for them to hang out during the storm is a great way to keep their mind off things. An interior room where music is playing is a great idea if you have it available. Be sure your pet is able to move freely because sometimes a confined feeling can heighten their anxiety trigger the need to escape.
You never know what the weather will do in this great state of ours so why not be prepared. Taking the right steps to make your pet comfortable during storms may take some strategy but it most definitely is worth it in the long run.


posted in:  Pet Health

When does my pet need an x-ray?

Pet X-Ray Technology

Technology has come so far in our lifetime. We can have a full-fledged conversation with our cell phones and even watch over our homes via video from thousands of miles away. These advances have benefited us in numerous ways but what about our pets? Medically speaking, technology offers diagnostic tools that help veterinary professionals detect abnormalities earlier than ever before. A simple x-ray on your pet can remove guesswork and hopefully prevent more complications down the road.

What are SignsDog Rear Right Paw X-Ray that my Pet needs an X-Ray?
As pet parents, we know our pets, we know when they are happy and we know when they in pain. Unfortunately, the cause of such pain is not always evident and that is when your veterinarian will mostly likely recommend x-rays. Knowing when to have an x-ray taken can be tricky.

Your vet will let you know his/her recommendations when they see:
-Pain without an apparent cause
-Respiratory distress
-Monitoring arthritis
-Senior monitoring- abdominal, hips/spine, over 7 years of age
-Bladder stones

Digital X-ray for Pets
Now more than ever has technology allowed us the luxury of digital x-rays. The beauty of this medical advancement is that you have what you need right when you need it. X-rays are available for specialists, if need be, within minutes for consultation allowing your pet faster treatment for whatever ails them. This means, for you as a pet owner, that your baby will be on the mend more quickly and that is a win-win situation for all involved.


posted in:  Pet Health

Pick A Winner: The Best Puppy for Me

A Puppy Will Make it all Better

Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz once said “Happiness is a warm puppy” and we couldn’t agree more. Puppies are so full of opportunity and love and that is why picking the perfect pup for you is so vital in creating your ideal situation.


How to Pick out Your New Puppy

When you visit a breeder, rescue, shelter, etc., you will most likely be surrounded by available animals. You walk in and several puppies are jumping at your feet waiting for your love and attention.

Is the Puppy a Fit For My Personality?

Your first inclination may be to pick the one that came right up to you and is running around the room. However, you have to consider your own lifestyle. If you are an active person that may be the right choice, but if you are more of a homebody and want a relaxed animal, the puppy sleeping in the corner might be the better option.

Puppy Size: Large and In Charge

Size is also a factor. Not all breeds are suitable for small apartments just like some breeds aren’t suitable for back yard living. When considering a mixed breed, you may not know how they will turn out as far as size goes, so again, keep that in mind.

Your other pets that you may or may not have are also going to be welcoming your new puppy. Consider their size in addition to their temperament when picking their new partner in crime, they should compliment each other.

How Much Does a Puppy Cost?

The first year of a puppy’s life is going to be expensive, there is no way around it. Puppy vaccines are given every three weeks up until a certain age, so plan ahead. Spaying and neutering is often times done within that first year as well. These expenses can add up so look for veterinarians with puppy packages or payment plans to help spread out the cost and pay over time.

Everyone loves a puppy! They bring a smile to any face with their awkwardness and fearlessness. Keep these tips in mind when picking your next furry friend and be sure to enjoy every moment of the process, that’s the key to success!

posted in:  Pet Adoption  |  Pet Health  |  You and Your Pet

Frankie Says Relax: Stressed out Pets

Food for Stressed Dog Food for Stressed Out Cat


How can you tell if your Pet is Stressed?

Stress can be a day to day occurrence for many of us, but have you ever considered that your pet might experience its own form of stress? How can you tell if your pet is stressed if they can’t tell you? Inappropriate eliminations as well as upset G.I. can both be physical manifestations of your pet’s stress. There are many ways to help eliminate your pet’s stress, one of which being prescription diet.
Has your cat decided to stop using the litter box? Does your dog experience diarrhea every time you go out of town? Hill’s Science Diet has formulated two special prescription diets that provide stress relief by simply feeding your pet.

Hill’s Science Diet Options Available for your Anxious Pet


Cat- C/D Multicare Stress not only provides your cat with the vitamins and nutrients they need but also will help regulate your pet’s stress and urinary tract. Felines are prone to urinary tract infections, which are often brought upon by stress.
Dog- I/D Stress is a sensitive stomach diet that is formulated to ease your dog’s G.I. tract while providing them with stress relief. I/D is a staple diet that we use regularly here at Hefner Road for all of our sensitive stomach canine companions. The stress additive is yet another perk to this prescription diet.

How does it relax my pet?

Both diets are completely different, however, they have similar ingredients that help relieve stress like tryptophan and casein. Found in common foods like turkey, tryptophan is the amino acid that gives you that sleepy and content feeling after Thanksgiving dinner. This soothing feeling that tryptophan provides will help your pet with stress relief by simply eating a meal.
Casein, a protein found in mother’s milk, is easily digestible and provides the your pet’s body with essential amino acids. This protein works on a molecular level to bring your pet relief from stress, whatever the cause may be.

How to Make it Happen

Often times we find ourselves, as pet 0wners, relying on behavioral changes to tell us what is ailing our furry friends. This can be problematic at times when we can’t exactly pin point what is causing our pet’s stress. With a simple diet change your pet can have the relief they deserve. Ask us if you pet qualifies Prescription Science Diet Stress today!

posted in:  Pet Health

My Dog has Bad Breath

Halitosis, better known as bad breath, is a common complaint we hear from adult dog parents. Many are unsure about what they can do at home to help prevent this smelly occurrence, but before you can rid your pet of bad breath you have to tackle the root of the problem.


posted in:  Pet Health

Storms and pets; are you ready?

Storms and Pets

Being Prepared for your pet’s safety

We all know the basics of tornado season here in Oklahoma, have a safe place for shelter, keep plenty of water bottles and don’t stand outside watching the tornado. We are prepared, but are our pets? When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, thousands of pets were left displaced and homeless. Years later, we have learned from our lack of preparedness. There are several steps you can take to ensure your pet will be returned to you in the unfortunate event of a natural disaster.


posted in:  Cat Health  |  Pet Health

Winter Pet Activities: Creative Ideas to Keep Your Pet Moving

Hefner_iStock_000018596044_LargeEven though the weather has been pleasant and the first signs of spring are on the horizon, February seems to keep us in a winter slump. It’s still dark outside in the early hours, making it a bit more difficult to motivate ourselves for that brisk morning dog walk, and the early sunsets don’t help much, either; especially when it comes to hitting the dog park after work.

However, despite the season and its apparent limitations, our pets do require daily exercise all year long. That being said, since it is much easier to feel that get-up-and-go during the spring and summer months, we thought it would be a great idea to offer up some creative ideas for winter pet activities. Continue…

The Scoop: Why Your Cat Won’t Use The Litter Box

Black cat sitting on human toiletIf your cat won’t use the litter box, it’s probably for reasons unrelated to the environmental impact of his or her litter. However; one in every ten cats will develop an aversion to using the litter box at one point or another, and it’s important to try and understand why.

 Sadly, litter box issues are one of the top reasons cats are surrendered to shelters every year – even though the problem is often solvable, and can be indicative of a larger (and often treatable) health concern. Whether your cat’s litter box lament is a behavioral choice or a medical malady, we’ll explore the possible reasons why your cat won’t use the litterbox. Continue…

posted in:  Cat Health  |  Litterbox Hygiene  |  Pet Health