Pet Dental Health & Care
In anticipation of Pet Dental month in February, we would like to talk about pet dental health and why it is so important to be diligent.
DID YOU KNOW?
· By the age of five years, approximately 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of periodontal disease
· If your pet goes unchecked for dental disease, they are at a higher risk for heart, kidney, and liver disease
· The best way to prevent dental disease in cats and dogs is…BRUSHING THEIR TEETH!
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the most prevalent oral disease seen in small animals, specifically dogs and cats. It can be a very painful and often debilitating disease to the affected animal, and unfortunately most pet owners will not know that their pet is suffering until the animal is showing obvious signs of discomfort from more advanced forms of periodontitis.
Periodontal disease starts out when plaque begins to build in the mouth and over time becomes tartar. When the tartar and plaque begin to make their way under the gum line, they give off toxins which lead to bone and tissue damage. Plaque harbors the bacteria that can infect gum tissue and the roots of teeth, which results in disease and tooth loss. In addition to the negative impact on the oral health, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the blood vessels located near the gums and teeth. There is some evidence that when periodontal disease is present at this stage, the organs with the highest blood flow may be susceptible to infections: lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and even the brain. Damage to these organs caused by infection can shorten the lives of our pets. Periodontal disease has also been associated with multiple systemic conditions, so preventing and treating periodontal disease is of paramount importance to the overall health of the affected animal. Important risk factors include inherited or genetic susceptibility, lack of adequate home care, age, diet, health history, and medications.
Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets
· Bad breath – one of the first signs of dental disease.
· A yellowish-brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum line.
· Red and swollen gums.
· Pain or bleeding when your pet eats or when the mouth or gums are touched.
· Decreased appetite or difficulty eating.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth at Home
Brushing your pet’s teeth can go a long way toward preventing dental disease. Some pets resist brushing, but most eventually accept it, especially if you start a brushing routine when your pet is young (10 weeks to 10 months). Aim at brushing your pet’s teeth once each day or at least three times a week.
Choosing a Toothpaste
Choose a pet toothpaste your pet likes (don’t use human toothpaste or toothbrushes on your pet. Human toothpaste may be toxic if ingested by pets, and human toothbrushes are usually too big for their mouths). Place a small amount of toothpaste on your finger, and offer it to your pet daily for several days as a reward or treat. This will condition your pet to view brushing as fun and rewarding. Once your pet accepts toothpaste as a reward, use your index finger to stimulate the brushing motion of a toothbrush, while praising the pet and giving the daily dose of flavored toothpaste.
Proper Brushing Technique
After five to seven days, introduce your pet to a soft-bristled pet toothbrush; you can apply a small amount of the flavored toothpaste at the beginning and end to reinforce the conditioned behavior. Position the brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth, and make small circular motions beginning at the back of the pet’s teeth, moving forward and around to the other side. Eight to ten strokes are sufficient for each area.
Other ways of preventing dental disease at home
Diets, wipes, rinses, sprays, supplements and chews are all great ways to prevent dental issues from arising.
Some products we carry and recommend:
Science Diet Oral Care
Raw, meaty bones are also a great alternative to brushing! Check our freezers or ask a staff member for available options!
Supplements, chews & other products
Indigenous Pet Dental Bones
Plaque Off – Powders and chews
Whimzees Dental Chews
WATCH FOR OUR DENTAL PRODUCT SALE COMING THIS FEBRUARY 2019!