Dental disease can affect your pet's overall health

Dear Readers: Here's some important information that every pet owner needs to hear. According to veterinarians, a lot of cats and dogs suffer from some type of dental disease by the time they're only 6 years old ... and that's human years! They are really a lot older.
Even though your pet might eat crisp foods or chew leather sticks, its teeth might not be getting clean at the gumline, where the tartar and plaque buildup can encourage the growth of bacteria, and that can affect your pet's overall health with infections and possibly even serious heart disease.
So, for your pet's sake, check for these warning signs:
Persistent bad breath.
Tartar formation, which looks like creamy brown spots on the teeth.
Inflamed gumline.
Bleeding or receding gums.
Loose, infected or missing teeth.
Your veterinarian will treat periodontal disease by cleaning your pet's teeth to remove the tartar and plaque, and will recommend regular brushing along with scheduled checkups. There are even special toothpastes and brushes available for pets. Don't use human toothpaste. And who knows? Your pet might learn to enjoy the attention! Heloise
Dear Readers: Norma Donchevsky of Whiting, N.J., sent in a photo of her grandson, Joseph, with baby Nicholas lying on him, and Rocky, their yellow Lab, with his head on the baby. They are all sound asleep and snug as bugs on a rug -- in this case, on the couch! Norma's granddaughter, Dana, took this picture, and we think it is adorable!
Visit my Web site,, to take a look at the sleeping trio! Heloise
Dear Heloise: For those who favor visits by squirrels, I suggest placing any pits or seeds from avocados, peaches, melons, etc., at feeders. They love 'em. Plus, prior to anticipated cold spells, place cardboard boxes near trees. Squirrels will shred the material and use it to insulate their nests. Phillip, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: I have read in your column about cats digging in plants. You had suggestions about putting something in the dirt, but I can't remember what that was. Can you give me that hint again? A Reader, via e-mail
Here are a couple of suggestions to keep cats out of plants. Put plenty of pine cones on the top to cover the dirt. They are a little "pokey," and cats don't like that. Another suggestion is to put strips of packing tape across the pot so that there isn't any place for the cat to access the dirt. Good luck! Heloise
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to
King Features Syndicate

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