I believe that healthier, happier, more emotionally intelligent humans make for healthier, happier pets, which is why I started this monthly reading challenge! When you create a better you, everybody around you (including your pets!) benefit as well!
This month's book is Mindset: the new Psychology of Success. I chose this book because, I've read it before many times, and it has greatly impacted the way I think in all aspects of my life in positive ways. I used to have a really tough time with failure...really tough. I felt like it defined me, damaged me, and every time I failed it was the end of the world.
This book helped me reframe all that, so I want to read it again with you! Consider this book your love note to yourself during February, the month of love.
Here is the reading schedule I will be utilizing:
2/1: Chapter 1
2/2: Chapter 2 Grow Your Mindset**
2/3-2/5: Chapter 2
2/6: Chapter 2 Grow Your Mindset**
2/7-2/9: Chapter 3
2/10: Chapter 3 Grow Your Mindset**
2/11-2/12: Chapter 4
2/13: Chapter 4 Grow Your Mindset**
2/14-2/16: Chapter 5
2/17: Chapter 5 Grow Your Mindset**
2/18-2/19: Chapter 6
2/20: Chapter 6 Grow Your Mindset**
2/21-2/23: Chapter 7
2/24: Chapter 7 Grow Your Mindset**
2/25-2/27: Chapter 8
2/28: Chapter 8 Grow Your Mindset**
The chapters in this book are longer, so I gave us several days to get through them. The 'Grow Your Mindset' days are for the sections at the end of each chapter where the author gives us several exercises to work through to...you guessed it...grow our mindsets.
A couple of tips for reading challenge success:
1. Download the PDF calendar, print it out, and post it somewhere you will look at it every day. Check off each day as you complete the reading or exercises for that day.
2. Try to read at the same place and time every day to build consistency and good habits (remember our book from last month!)
3. A journal is helping for the grow your mindset exercises.
4. Keep notes on what stands out to you - I would love to hear about it!
5. Get your book for next month - Mindful Moments, by Deepak Chopra!
Did you know that during the month of February, veterinary professionals actively promote awareness around dental health in dogs and cats, and often offer awesome discounts on dental care and dental products?
Dental health is incredibly important to your pet's overall health and wellness. Dental disease causes more than just bad breath - it is painful, shortens the life of dogs and cats, and reduces their quality of life.
When a pet develops periodontal disease, they have infection and inflammation in their gums. Bacteria from the mouth can then enter the bloodstream and land in the heart or kidneys, putting extra wear and tear on these organs, shortening the life of the pet.
Dogs and cats can start developing dental disease as soon as they get their adult teeth - around 6 months of age. In fact, over 70% of pets over the age of two are suffering from some level of dental disease. Just like people, dogs and cats get plaque buildup on their teeth. Plaque can be scraped or wiped off, but if it sits on a tooth for longer than 72 hours it can harden into tartar, which requires professional equipment to remove!
Fortunately, there are several things you can do help promote dental health in your pet:
It can be hard to choose dental products that actually do what they claim to do on the label. Here is a few of my favorite dental products that you can purchase for your pet!
Frequently Asked Questions about Pet Dental Health:
How often do I need to brush my pet's teeth?
Pets accumulate dental plaque just like humans do, so ideally you should brush your pet's teeth daily. It helps to set up a habit so you remember, such as, every time I brush my teeth, I brush my pet's teeth. If you can't brush every day, try to brush every 3 days because it takes that long for plaque (which can be removed with a brush) to harden into tartar (which can't).
Do I have brush the inside of my pet's teeth? They won't say 'AH!"
Fortunately, pets don't seem to accumulate much plaque on the inner surfaces of their teeth (the tooth surfaces that are closest to the tongue). You can give your pet the benefit of brushing just the outsides of the teeth - play close attention to the big teeth in the back and the canine teeth where pets seem to accumulate the most plaque, and don't forget the bottom jaw!
I'm brushing my pet's teeth but they are stained brown and don't seem to get cleaner. What am I doing wrong?
You aren't doing anything wrong - the brown staining is most likely dental tartar that is hard, adhered to the tooth and can't be removed with brushing alone. If this is the case, your best choice is to schedule a dental cleaning for your pet so that you can start fresh with clean teeth!
Do dental chews help clean a dog's teeth?
Chewing safe, long-lasting chews can definitely help to scrape teeth clean. And chewing is good for your dog's mental and emotional health as well! What science has found is that it isn't necessarily the type of chew but how long the dog chews for - chews that last 10-2 minutes are more effective than chews that last less than 10 minutes.
Why are veterinary dental cleanings so expensive? They cost more than my dental cleanings!
Pets don't understand that we are trying to help them when we clean their teeth - we can't ask them to say 'AH!' and if we tried to clean their teeth while they were awake, it would be incredibly stressful for them and we would not be able to clean below the gumline, where most dental disease likes to hide. Therefore, we have to anesthetize animals when we clean their teeth, and anesthesia is very costly. Most dental cleanings will cost $800-$1000 and more if there is any dental disease that requires extractions. To budget for yearly dental cleanings, I recommend saving $100 a month, or investing in pet insurance or a veterinary wellness plan that includes dentistry.
How does dental disease affect my pet's overall health?
If your pet has periodontal disease (gum disease), then that means your pet has inflammation in their mouth. Periodontal disease increases the body's burden of inflammation, and chronic inflammation is a key contributor to many health problems. Furthermore, bacteria gets into the bloodstream from infected gums and showers the valves of the heart and the kidneys, increasing wear and tear on these organs, shortening a pet's life space. Lastly, dental disease is chronically painful.
January is a perfect time to start new habits that support your overall wellbeing. The book I have chosen for this month to help us become the greatest version of ourselves is Atomic Habits, by James Clear.
The reason I chose this book is because Clear uses tiny changes to easily create remarkable results (and that is the book's subtitle). I like tiny changes, and I like easy, and I've noticed a couple of bad habits that I would like to change (like scrolling for an hour on reels instead of building my business, my health, or my relationships).
As I go through the book, I will be posting my thoughts, a-ha moments, things that I am doing because of the book, etc. all on facebook - so please follow my progress there to see what I am learning and doing differently.
If you want to grow yourself and do this book challenge with me (yeah let's do it!), then get the book (I have an amazon link below) and follow along on this schedule:
January 12th: Introduction
January 13th: Section 1 and 2
January 14th: Section 3
January 15th: Section 4 and 5
January 16th: Section 6 and 7
January 17th: Section 8
January 18th: Section 9
January 19th: Section 10
January 20th: Section 11 and 12
January 21st: Section 13 and 14
January 22nd: Section 15
January 23rd: Section 16 and 17
January 24th: Section 18 and 19
January 25th: Section 20
January 26th: Conclusion
January 27th: Review any parts that you want to read again
January 28th: Rest!
January 29th: Rest!
January 30th: Make a plan to implement one thing from the book, and share with me on facebook what you chose to do.
January 31st: Start your new plan!
New habits take practice and accountability - let's be accountable to each other!
And if you want a look ahead to February's book - we will be reading Mindset: the New Psychology of Success together. Please join me!
As a veterinarian, you are well-acquainted with the importance of staying mindful and focused on your work. Your job requires you to be calm and collected in order to properly care for your patients and provide them with the best possible care. That's why mindfulness is an essential skill for veterinarians. With regular practice, mindfulness can help you stay focused, reduce stress, and increase productivity. Here's a look at why it's so important.
Dr. Sarah Wooten is a well known international influencer in the veterinary and animal health care spaces. She has 16 years experience in private practice and over 10 years experience in veterinary media work, and is a certified veterinary journalist.