August is a special month for your furry friend’s pearly whites. We’re celebrating Pet Dental Health Month! Now, more than ever, it is an excellent time to practice home dental care for pets and make sure their teeth and gum health are in check.
Why is Home Dental Care For Pets So Important?
Cats have 32 permanent teeth, and dogs have 42. With that number and all the ways they use their mouth, from eating, chewing, playing, protecting their humans and many more, pet’s oral hygiene is crucial. Neglecting it can lead to dental diseases and, over time, serious health risks.
12 Signs of Pet Dental Diseases:
Periodontal disease or gum disease is fairly common. In fact, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease by age two. 4 out of 5 dogs may exhibit the signs of dental disease over the age of three.
Here are the Signs:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Hard plaque deposits
- Tartar buildup (yellow-brown substance around the gums)
- Red, inflamed, bleeding gums
- Excess drooling, sometimes with blood
- Discoloured teeth
- Dropping food while chewing
- Tooth loss
- Loss of appetite
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Making noises when they eat or yawn
- Presence of tooth root abscess
Sadly, dental disease in pets is not just problematic to their teeth and gums; it has also been linked to numerous health issues. The bacteria associated with it can spread through the bloodstream. If left untreated, dental disease can lead to liver, kidney and heart damage, which can be fatal.
Practice These Home Dental Care for Pets
Establish a Tooth Brushing Routine
Start them young. Get your pets into the habit of brushing from the time they’re puppies and kittens. Use a finger cot, a gloved finger or a piece of gauze covered in pet toothpaste. It will help ease your furbaby’s early brushing experience.
You can also opt to use a toothbrush designed for cats and dogs. Brush their teeth daily or at least twice a week to avoid the accumulation of plaque and tartar. The best time for this activity is right before bed so as not to interfere with their routine.
DO NOT use human toothpaste as they contain substances harmful to animals.
Give Dental Chew Bones, Chew Toys or Dental Treats
Rawhide chews work well in scraping off all the plaque in dog’s teeth. Don’t forget about cats who enjoy chew-treats. Note that these treats should not take the place of daily brushing.
Take them For Regular Dental Checkups
We all know that a clean mouth is vital for good oral health. While practising home dental care for pets can help, it is best to bring them to the veterinarian for regular dental checkups and professional cleaning.
With proper maintenance comes less risk of tartar and plaque buildup, tooth decay and developing dental disease that can lead to major illnesses that lower life expectancy.
Take an Active Role in Your Pet’s Dental Health
It is the pet owner’s responsibility to care for their fur baby’s oral health. So as we celebrate Pet Dental Care month, take an active role in your pet’s dental well-being if you haven’t yet. It all starts from practicing proper home dental care for pets. Remember that with their oral health, it is always true that prevention is better than cure.