Ask the Vet – Patterson Dog and Cat Hospital

Patterson Dog & Cat Hospital
3800 Grand River Ave.
Detroit, MI 48208

Patterson Dog and Cat Hospital is the oldest continuously operated vet hospital in the United States.  They opened in 1844, and the current building was built in 1907 as a large animal hospital.  In 1926 they remodelled into a small animal hospital.  Dr. Graham started working there as a freshman in high school (Go Cass Tech!), then graduated from vet school at MSU in 1983 and purchased the practice in 1985.

What can a dog owner do for their dog’s dental health?

Pet dental care has come a long way!  There are lots of things you can do for your pet’s teeth, starting with early brushing to get your pet used to dental care.  Use a “pet-frinedly” toothpaste in a flavor your pet likes- poultry, beef and malt flavors are available!  Daily brushing is the gold standard of pet dental care.  There are also lots of chewey treats, rawhides with baked on toothpaste, foods formulated to help clean teeth, sprays, and dental bones.  Everything helps.  However, don’t be surprised if your pet needs regular professional teeth cleaning.  The reasons for building up placque on the teeth range from genetic factors and mouth and tooth shape to enamel damage and chewing style.  Even those of us who do brush and floss daily need regular professional tooth care!

At what age do you think a dog could begin obedience classes?

Puppy obedience classes can start as young as 12 weeks of age.  One of the most important things for you to evaluate when looking for a puppy class is how the trainer and facility address vaccine issues.  They should require written proof of vaccinations.  This helps to protect your puppy from exposure to potentially fatal viruses.  You also want to look for a trainer who knows how to make learning fun for your puppy. Socialization and positive enforcement in learning commands are so important in helping your puppy grow into a confident, well behaved dog.

Why should you get a dog neutered or spayed?  What health risks are associated with not getting a dog neutered or spayed?

Every year we see many female dogs who are suffering the consequences of being “intact”  Having your female dog spayed is one of the most important things you can do to aid her in a long, healthy life. Ovariohysterectomy eliminates the risk of uterine tumors, ovarian tumors and cysts, diseases of the uterine wall such as metritis and pyometra, an often fatal infection of the uterus.  Spaying also significantly decreases the incidence of mammary tumors.  Having a spayed dog means never having to worry about accidental pregnancy, or dealing with your girl’s heat cycle with the mess involved and the boy dogs camped on your front lawn!

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