Oral care for cats and dogs is as important as it is for humans, however it is the most overlooked health care problem among pets. Sixty percent of pet owners do not provide dental care for their pets. Dogs and cats can get plaque build-up and gingivitis just like humans. Although dogs and cats don’t get cavities their teeth can rot. Rotten teeth can cause your pet pain when eating and they may even fall out. Poor dental hygiene can lead to other health problems. The best way to avoid health issues is to give your pet regular dental care.
1. The American Veterinary Society reports that by age three up to eighty percent of our pets show signs of dental disease. If your pet has plaque build up it can lead to gingivitis, rotten teeth and bad breath. A lot of these issues are caused by feeding your pet a bad diet. Contrary to popular belief processed commercial kibble can actually stick to your pet’s teeth and cause plaque build up, like when we eat crackers. A better choice is to serve your pet an all-natural home-cooked diet. A home cooked diet will ensure your pet is getting the proper nutrients to build a strong immune system. A strong immune system helps fight disease, including dental disease. Let your pet crunch on natural snacks like raw carrots and apples to help remove dirt and food particles from their teeth. Feeding all natural foods will also help them maintain a healthy weight. Dogs and cats don’t need dental care in the wild because they don’t eat kibble.
2. Plaque build up comes from food that is stuck on your pet’s teeth. Once these particles harden they calcify and turn to gingivitis. The process repeats itself over and over until the gums are compromised. Besides an all-natural diet brushing your pet’s teeth daily will help remove excess grime collected through out the day. You can find toothbrushes and toothpaste your local pet store or online. You can also use a wet terry washcloth and wipe the teeth clean. Don’t ever use toothpaste made for humans. It can make your pet sick.
3. Let your pet chew. Chewing comes naturally to most animals. Raw natural bones help strengthen the jaw and removes particles from your pet’s teeth. Chew toys such as kongs and fleece tug toys are a good way for your pet to clean their teeth and burns off excess energy as well. My Golden has a few bones and instinctively after each meal she lies on the floor and chews on a bone, almost like she is brushing her own teeth. Animals in the wild get regular chances to chew.
4. Plaque and gingivitis do not just affect your pet’s mouth. Once gingivitis gets under the gums it can get into the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body such as the heart, liver & kidneys. Pets don’t normally get cavities but their teeth can become rotten and fall out. Rotten teeth can cause your pet pain. Have your veterinarian check your pet’s teeth during their yearly exams. You may want to have your older pet checked out by your vet twice a year. That way you can catch dental problems before they get out of hand.
5. Some veterinarians recommend yearly cleanings. This requires putting your pet under sedation. While a younger pet might be able to handle these cleanings you may want your older pet to have anesthesia free dental care. Many vet offices now offer anesthesia free teeth cleaning. Ask your vet if it is available at their office.
To keep your pet healthy be sure you include dental care in their overall health care regiment. Feeding your pet a good all-natural diet, brushing their teeth, giving them plenty of chances to chew will help combat dental issues. Help them live a long healthy life by taking care of their teeth along with the rest of them.