Dental Care For Pets

February 14, 2017

Taking care of your pet’s teeth is an important part of responsible pet care. But besides from physically brushing your cat or dog’s teeth daily, what else can you do to ensure your pet has healthy pearly whites?

It is crucial to understand why dental care in our pets is so important and surprisingly it’s not all about bad breath! The teeth and gums are the perfect gateways to the blood, meaning that if your pet is suffering from periodontal or dental disease, it can lead to dangerous bacteria entering the bloodstream. These bacteria then get busy causing havoc in your dog or cat’s system which can cause heart, liver and kidney damage. That’s not all. Bacteria in the mouth can lead to severe bone infections, abscesses and even cause holes to develop inside the nasal cavity. OUCH!

So, when you look at the consequences of bad teeth, you can start to understand why keeping a close eye on your dog and cat’s choppers is so important.

Signs of periodontal disease:

  • Smelly pungent breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reluctance to eat and difficulty chewing
  • Swelling in the face or jaw
  • Sneezing and nasal discharge
  • Inflamed red gums

So how can you best help keep your pet’s teeth in tip-top shape? Chewing is one of the best ways you can ensure their teeth are getting a good work-out on a weekly basis. Chewing can also help break down and remove plague. Brushing is also very effective. However, you need to start from kitten or puppyhood and always use a pet-friendly toothpaste.

Other weekly things to consider are;

  • Plastic bones – size appropriate.
  • Rope chews.
  • Specially designed dental chews and toys.
  • Raw bones – always remove when knuckle is gone and use appropriate size bones (think chicken wings for cats). Always supervise your pet with bones.
  • Antlers – read the manufactures instructions. Your dog should not be using these continuously as overuse can cause wear to the teeth.
  • Brushing – use a pet-friendly toothpaste and brush.
  • Specially designed food.

It is also an excellent idea to book all of your beloved pets in for a dental check at least once a year. Your vet will discuss a possible scale and clean (this is done under anaesthesia) to keep your pet’s teeth in good shape. They may also suggest putting your dog or cat on a special teeth diet or additional dental care.

The key to successful dental care is to keep on top of the problem. Just like in humans, prevention is always better than cure.