Just like us, dental health is a cornerstone of our pet’s wellness. There are so many factors to dental health but one of the largest issues is pain.
Why is dental health important?
Just like us, dental health is a cornerstone of our pet’s wellness. There are so many factors to dental health but one of the largest issues is pain. Painful teeth and gums can result in our pet not wanting to eat or drink, this then has a knock-on effect of weight loss and dehydration.
Dental disease can also lead to tooth loss, bone infections and smelly breath.
Another danger of prolonged dental disease is organ failure. The considerable number of bad bacteria in the mouth is swallowed by the pet and makes its way into the bloodstream. The liver and kidneys are then working hard to remove these toxins from the blood stream which can lead to failure.
What can I do to help my pet’s dental health?
Great news is there are lots of things you can do to help your pet’s dental health, however just like us individuals may be more prone to dental disease than others.
It’s worth noting that some breeds of dogs are more prone to dental disease. Terriers, Poodles, King Charles Cavelier spaniels and Greyhounds are some of the most prone breeds to suffer from dental disease.
Brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Persian Cats are more likely to suffer from Malocclusion (crooked teeth/under or overbite) due to the shape of their skulls.
The best way to ensure your pet’s dental health is by brushing them, don’t worry, there are lots of amazing guides to brushing your pets’ teeth. Dogs and cats need a pet specific toothpaste, these are extremely clever and work with the sugars in the pet’s saliva to trigger a chemical reaction to breakdown plaque – think Miss Pacman eating up all the bad plaque. This means that even if you are not able to brush your pet’s teeth even just getting some of the toothpaste in their mouth will have a benefit.
Feeding dry food is known to have a positive effect on dental health. The physical action of crunching biscuits means that the abrasive biscuit brushes the tooth and scrapes away tartar and plaque. The bigger the biscuit the better as it means more crunching! There are even special dental diets now which have complex fibres inside designed specifically to increase the brushing like movement.
There are lots of dental treats on the market which are now low fat. Dental sticks and carrots are the lowest in fat content and work so well as they take a lot of chewing.
There is actually a Veterinary Oral Health Council! They have tested various foods, chews and products for their effectiveness at preventing dental disease and have created a list of the ones they would recommend:
The sniff test
It works with laundry, and it works with pet breath too! If your pet’s breath smells bad there’s an indication there that something isn’t right. If your pet’s breath stinks, it’ best to bring them in for us to review their mouth.
Actually looking at your pets’ teeth (especially when they are yawning) can give you lots of information. Are their gums red or bleeding? Are their teeth nice and white or are they a light brown colour? This light brown substance is plaque.
Avoid sticks and stones and cooked bones….
These can damage teeth and cause fractures, tooth wear and damage the enamel on teeth making them more susceptible to disease. Cooked bones are more brittle than normal bones which makes them much more likely to splinter. These bone splinters can get stuck in the gums and become incredibly painful.