DEAR LABBY: I keep trying to show my special person how much I love her by giving her a big slurp on the face but lately she’s been turning away from my affection. She says my breath stinks. Is there something wrong with me? –POODLE WITH HURT FEELINGS
DEAR HURT FEELINGS: Let me assure you, there is nothing wrong with you BUT there is probably something wrong with your mouth. Strong or unpleasant odours from a dog’s mouth are a strong indicator of dental disease. You should encourage your human friend to take you to a vet so they can assess the level of dental tartar and gingivitis. They will give you some recommendations that will help make you more kissable.
DEAR LABBY: My human housemate keeps trying to put a plastic stick with bristles into my mouth every night before we go to sleep. I’m not a big of the brushing he’s doing but the taste of the paste isn’t so bad. Do you think I should let him continue daily or should I give him some trouble? –CONFUSED COCKER SPANIEL
DEAR CONFUSED: Believe or not, your housemate is doing something that you will benefit from very much. All that brushing on the outside surfaces of your teeth must seem odd but it’s really important to help keep your mouth healthy and free of tartar and gingivitis. It sounds like your human is doing a great job… make sure he doesn’t start slacking. Every other day is okay but every day is best!
DEAR LABBY: I love to chew on sticks and rocks whenever I can get my mouth on them but tennis balls are my absolute favourite! My mostly hairless partner in crime scolds me and takes away my favourite chews whenever I find them. Why would someone that loves me do such a thing? –SHEPHERD WITH FEELINGS OF DOUBT
DEAR FEELINGS OF DOUBT: It may seem cruel to you that the love of your life doesn’t allow you to enjoy rocks, sticks or tennis balls but guess what?! She’s doing it because she loves you (and the health of your mouth)! As fun as tennis balls are, chewing on them over the years all the time can actually grind down the surface of the teeth until they are little nubs (ask me about my border collie friend sometime, and I’ll tell you the mess he created in his mouth). As for rocks and sticks – those can cause fractured/broken teeth (Ouch!) and become a foreign body hazard if swallowed. As fun as those things are, your partner in crime has your best interests at heart.