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Tuna and His New Baby Sister

Photo: Courtesy of Courtney Dasher @tunameltsmyheart

Recently, Tuna (@tunameltsmyheart) welcomed a human sister into his life. We talk to his mom to see how adjustment was like.

How important is grooming and oral health for you?

Since Tuna is a short-haired Chihuahua mix, we just give him a bath at home when he needs it. During his vet appointments, they check his ears and anal glands for signs of infection. We are, however, proactive with his oral health and nail trimming. We get Tuna’s nails professionally grinded once a month at our local pet store, and we get his teeth professionally cleaned at his vet once a year. This is vital in maintaining healthy teeth and fresh breath and preventing future infections or extractions.

What is the most effective way to clean Tuna’s teeth?

Taking Tuna to his vet annually to get a full dental procedure is the most effective way to clean his teeth. The procedure can be invasive and expensive because of the anesthesia, so in order to maintain his dental health throughout the remainder of the year, we do our best to brush his teeth as often as we can at home — if he’ll let us. We also have a tool to scrape off plaque — he won’t let us.

Do you use any DIY grooming or oral remedies?

We use smileSPRAY from Green Dog Dental to promote healthier gums and better breath. Every night, we give him a drop of salmon oil with his food to support his skin and coat health. Walking him often is also a good way to keep his nails short because the pavement acts as a natural buffer.

Learn about dental care for pets and find a range of pet treats and dental care information.

Prior to your daughter’s birth, did you do anything to prepare Tuna for his sister? What should other pet owners do when introducing another member into the family?

We were really nervous about having a baby. Tuna never responded well to children in the past, but to our amazement, he’s really grown to love her. Before our daughter arrived, we told Tuna about her every day. We would tell him that we are having a baby and that it was imperative that he loved her. I think it was effective. We also gave him a lot of attention right after she was born. From there, we eased into spending quality time with the two of them together, and we would give him treats as a reward when he was voluntarily sweet to her.

Any tips for new mothers and pet owners?

Just be patient. Every dog and child dynamic will look different. Try not to force the relationship or be fearful of them not getting along. With love and encouragement, they will come around to each other and they will eventually learn to live in the same environment together. It may take some time for them to adjust but try to trust their process before getting reactive. Your confidence in their relationship will help develop it.

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