Have you every wondered why your dog or cat may have bad breath or noticed their teeth aren’t the pearly white color they once were?
Just like how we worry about our oral health, it is also as important to worry about a pet's oral health. If you could imagine what would happen to a human's mouth after months or years with out brushing, it is similar to what is happening in your pet's mouth. A pet's tooth gets bathed with saliva and covered with plaque and bacteria. With no regular disinfection of the mouth and brushing away the plaque, the plague leads to tartar build up. Tartar build allows your pet teeth to be a great place for particular bacteria to live that are harmful to the bone and gum tissues. This process leads to periodontal disease.
85% of pets have periodontal disease by age of 3 years
Periodontal disease is a process where the bone around the tooth is literally eaten away and the gum becomes sensitive and develops gingivitis. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw. The bacteria from the mouth can also spread to other area in the body leading to infection in the heart, kidney or anywhere in the bloodstream. If this disease is addressed in its early stages of gingivitis, it can be treated and the condition reversed. But if the disease is allowed to progress, irreversible peritonitis can occur with bacterial infection. Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent diseases seen by veterinarians. It is also one of the easiest to prevent.
How To Prevent Your Pet from Developing Oral Disease
The first step to help prevent periodontal disease and maintain healthy oral care for your pet is home care. It is important that you become comfortable with opening your pet's mouth and looking at their teeth. This is a great habit to start when they are puppies or kittens. Not only is it a great opportunity to look for any defects/abnormalities, but it is also a great way to get your pet use to the action for brushing their teeth. Similar to humans, pets require daily brushing. Studies have shown that pet’s that have their tooth brushed 3 times a week was adequate to maintain healthy teeth and gum, but daily brushing is needed to control. It is important that you use veterinarian approved tooth brush and tooth paste. There are special bristle sized tooth brushes or finger brushes that help remove bacteria, food products, and plaque. Pet tooth paste is specially formulated for pets, so it can be swallowed by the pets. Never use human toothpaste, fluoride can be harmful. At your next visit, we can show you an easy way to brush your pet's teeth.
Although daily brushing (at least 3 times a week) is the optimum care, there are other additional helpful home care products available. Products like a water additive can be added to the drinking water for dogs and cats to help reduce the number of bacteria, helping with the bad breath and slowing the formation of dental tartar. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless for the pets. It is a great and easy way to help with pet’s oral condition daily.
Other great products are the dental treats, C.E.T chews for dogs and enzymatic seafood treats for cats. The chewing on these proper dental treats can reduce plaque up to 69%. The chewing action provides abrasion against the tooth to remove the plaque and tartar. Like any rawhide, it is best to give these treats surprised and after a meal, this is to reduce chocking risk and your pet eating the whole treat at once. Never give this treat while leaving your pet alone. Dental treats are great but in order for them to work properly, your pet needs to chew on the treat and not consume the treat in one bite.
We have other products available that can further benefit your pet’s oral health. Please stop by or call us if you have any further questions or would like to discuss what other dental products we have available.
Professional Veterinary Dental Cleaning
In addition to home care, dental health does require period of professional cleaning. Home care is never perfect and periodically tartar must be properly removed and the tooth surface properly polished and disinfected. A professional cleaning at the vet's office is similar to what a person receives at their dentist's office. This process requires safely anesthetizing your pet so they can have a complete oral exam, removal of dental tartar, and polishing of each tooth. Your pet then goes home that evening with a fresh clean smile.
So, lets try to keep your pet’s healthy smile and prevent painful disease like periodontal. Don’t forge to brush at least three times a week and schedule regular dental cleaning with your veterinarian.
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