We brush our own teeth several times a day and schedule regular check-ups with the dentist to keep our own teeth in healthy condition, so why would we not do the same for our pets?
Dental disease in pets is an incredibly common ailment – affecting up to 95% of cats and dogs.
Once plaque forms this leads to a build-up of tartar which can then eventuate into gingivitis (gum inflammation). If the tartar is not removed further problems will arise such as bad breath, bleeding gums, difficulty eating, tooth loss and an overall loss in happy demeanour (due to dental pain).
If left untreated the bacteria associated with the tartar can eventually enter the bloodstream which in turn affects major organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.
The only way to start from scratch is to scale and polish the teeth under an anaesthetic (unfortunately it is not something that cats and dogs tolerate while awake!). It is a routine procedure in which it is quite common that teeth may need to be removed as tartar can hide cavities and exposed tooth roots.
The key to good dental hygiene is PREVENTION!
There are numerous options that you can do at home to help keep your pet’s pearly whites sparkling.
- Diet – There are specialty diets formulated for both cats and dogs such as Hill’s Science Diet, T/D or Royal Canin Dental. The kibble has a unique design in which it takes longer for the kto crumble which optimises the length of time scrubbing the surface of the tooth.
- Water additive – ‘Aquadent’ is added to drinking water with antibacterial, antiplaque and anticalculus properties. It is safe for both cats and dogs.
- Treats/chews – There are specially-formulated dental chew bars which help ‘scrub’ the teeth while chewing such as Royal Canin oral bars and Virbac VeggeiDent chews. The R/C oral bars also contain the agent sodium polyphosphate that makes calcium ions unavailable for tartar formation.
- Teethbrushing – There are products available to actually brush your pet’s teeth for them! C.E.T toothpastes come in two flavours – malt or poultry – and are designed to be swallowed, unlike human toothpaste. Toothbrushes come in numerous shapes and sizes to allow for different mouths.
For more information or for further queries please contact the team at Avonhead Vets on 358 4407.