Eighty percent of dogs and cats over the age of three suffer from dental disease. That’s a lot of pets with painful mouths! And if your furry friend hasn’t seen the dentist in the last year, chances are they’re one of them.
What does your mouth feel like if you don’t brush your teeth for a couple of days? Pretty horrible, right? Well, for pets that don’t brush their teeth, this feeling gets worse and worse. All that food, bacteria and plaque solidifies to form hard calculus.
Over time, gums become red and bleed and the ligaments holding the teeth in the jaw weaken, causing permanent damage to the teeth themselves, as well as root abscesses. And the infection doesn’t just stay in the mouth: all those bacteria can end up in the bloodstream and cause heart and kidney problems too.
At Love That Pet, we hate pulling teeth out. Unfortunately, we see so many pets (sometimes very young ones too!) who haven’t had their teeth looked after, and who need lots of extractions because they are in so much pain.
What we absolutely LOVE is pets that are happy and healthy – and one of the most important things you can do as a pet owner is to clean your pet’s teeth.
Brushing your pet’s teeth
The best way to keep you pet’s mouth healthy is daily brushing. Most pets (even cats) can be trained to enjoy brushing.
If your pet doesn’t seem keen to start with, just start out gradually for a minute a day using lots of treats or a chicken flavoured toothpaste.
If your pet has red gums, avoid brushing and check in with your vet to get those teeth assessed. Those gums are painful, so it’s not a good time to try brushing for the first time.
Taking your pet to the dentist
Regular dental assessments every 6 months by your vet will help you work out which teeth need extra attention, since not all teeth develop problems at the same rate.
Similarly, not all pets develop dental problems the same way. Breed, genetics, chewing behaviour, saliva flow and nutrition all play a role. Some pets need a Scale and Polish every 6 months, while others may only need a quick check-up to ensure their teeth are still in tip-top shape.
What else can you do to keep your pet’s teeth clean?
Apart from regular dentist visits and daily brushing, your vet may also recommend swapping to a dental diet, such as Hill’s t/d. This specially formulated pet food is recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council and:
- Uses special size kibble pieces to scrub those teeth clean
- Reduces dental plaque and tartar
- Improves bad breath
- Prevents build-up of plaque after a dental clean at your vet
- Includes Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
If your cat or dog has had a dental recently, your vet may also recommend Healthymouth, which is a safe dental care product that is added to your pet’s drinking water. It has been clinically proven to reduce plaque, keep teeth and gums healthy whilst reducing germs and bacteria in the mouth.