Taking good care of pets’ choppers
There are plenty of events for two-legged folks focused on human teeth, but what about dental hygiene for our four-legged friends? Bad breath, plaque and periodontitis are no longer rare occurrences among cats and dogs today. Does this mean animals have to visit the dentist too? Basically, yes, according to veterinarians at Maxi Zoo.
What dentists do for humans, veterinarians can do for pets. Veterinarians are specially trained in caring for and cleaning pets’ teeth. Removing plaque, pulling teeth, drilling, grinding, polishing and cleaning –it’s all part of the job. But ideally, pets will never have to worry about these kinds of treatments: Provided pet owners regularly clean their pets’ teeth and make sure they get a check-up once a year.
What goes on inside the dental cavity?
Four out of five adult dogs have problems with their teeth. If their enamel is still forming, this is only a minor problem. It can be removed with ultrasound under anesthesia. However, if it is not removed and continues to spread, gingivitis and periodontitis (a disease of the periodontium characterized by an inflammation of the gums) may be the result. This is not only painful; it may also lead to a loosening or complete loss of the teeth. If germs or centers of inflammation land in the blood stream, this may lead to complications with vital organs such as the kidneys, liver or heart. In addition, toothaches or inflamed gums can also make eating difficult, thus significantly reducing the animal’s quality of life. Often symptoms such as a loss of appetite or a lack of playfulness go unnoticed.
Dental hygiene 101 for dogs
By caring regularly for your pet, you will be making an important contribution to its (dental) health! Here are a few tips:
- Give your pet dry food instead of fresh food. In general, both cats and dogs grind up the morsels with their teeth. This automatically removes plaque on a regular basis. What’s more, dry food provides an invigorating massage for the gums.
- Brush their teeth regularly, at least once a week if not daily. It will be easier if you get your pet accustomed to the process early on. Beef-flavored toothpaste can increase your pet’s acceptance of this important procedure.
- Dental toys also help provide additional cleaning for teeth. However, how intensely a dog or cat will chew on these toys depends on their breed and personality. Filling the toys with pastes or treats usually makes them more attractive.
- Integrate dental cleansing treats into your pet’s nutritional program: Chew bones, strips or buffalo skin bones for dogs, special crispy snacks for cats. Remember to include these extras in your pet’s daily food rations; otherwise you will be promoting obesity!