It still comes as a surprise to many pet parents that the oral health of their pet is something to be concerned about. When 80% of pets over the age of three are experiencing some kind of gum disease, it becomes increasingly clear that dog and cat dental hygiene is an essential part of an overall care plan. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do right at home to give your pet a running start at great long-term oral health. Let’s take a closer look and get to the root of a great oral care plan for your pet.
As far as core reasons for dental problems are concerned, a bad diet tops the list. Most pet foods on the market are not formulated with whole-food based, organically sourced natural ingredients that include human-grade items. This can be a big problem for oral health because the high-carbohydrate formulations create a perfect haven for bacteria and plaque to thrive.
A lousy diet affects the whole system as well. When the immune system is compromised because it has to fight off the toxins of ill-formulated pet food, there is a higher chance of contracting an illness or developing a disease.
Now that you have a great diet in place you can begin caring for your pet’s teeth. Just like people, dogs and cats can benefit from daily toothbrushing. Just imagine for a moment what your teeth and gums would look like if you never brushed. It’s not a pretty picture and not recommended for anyone. The same rules true in pets.
Get a special pet toothbrush suited for your pet’s species, breed, and size. Don’t use an ordinary human toothbrush; the bristles are not as soft. Make sure also to get a toothpaste formulated specifically for pets. Human toothpaste can be toxic to animals.
The majority of dental issues in pets happen below the gumline. The only way to see what is happening under the gumline is through a professional check-up. Your veterinary dentist will make sure that all the markers of good oral health are in place, a cleaning can commence, and if anything abnormal is found there can be corrective action taken. This should be a regular part of your annual care routine to get the best results.
Senior pets may benefit from more regular visits. Twice per year rather than once may be best given that they are at higher risk of developing issues at their age. Sometimes a senior pet has a progressing condition that can be detected during these visits as well. This can help ensure things don’t get worse and treated on the spot.
A great way to help your pet keep a clean mouth is by providing them with chew toys or dental chews. A chew toy that is designed for cleaning your pet’s teeth can help to clear debris, stimulate saliva, massage the gums, and remove plaque buildup.
Dental chews can also play a role in your dental hygiene plan. Often formulated with special enzymes that help break down plaque and get rid of bacteria, dental chews can be a welcomed assistant.
This may not be a direct influence on dental health, but increasing the overall health of your pet can help ensure their immune system is working top notch. Getting an average of 20-minutes of active exercise each day can keep your pet’s body in good shape, able to fight off any offensive illnesses or diseases. The increased saliva production, tongue action, water consumption, and heavy panting all contribute to a healthy oral cavity.
The importance of dog and cat dental hygiene cannot be overstressed. Taking personal responsibility to provide your pets with all the things they need for great oral health will pay off in the long run. Your pets will have a higher quality of life, and you will have peace of mind that your pet is healthy and feeling pain-free. If you would like to schedule a dental check-up, please reach out to us at your earliest convenience. We have everything you need to help get your pet’s dental health on track.