Caring for our own teeth has become an easy routine.
Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash are just some of the few ways we upkeep our oral health.
However, most people never stop to think about the oral health of their pets, especially for their cats and dogs.
This is unfortunate since caring for your pet’s teeth is important for their general health as well.
“When a client asks me how long their puppy will live, I usually respond 15-17 years if you brush their teeth daily … 11-13 years if you don’t,” says Dr. Bellows, a veterinarian. On the bright side, there are many ways one can care for their pet’s teeth that are sure to boost their oral and overall health.
“But pets don’t have oral-related problems like we do..?”
Wrong. All animals have the capability of dealing with the exact same oral-related problems as us. In fact, they’re more likely to face problems considering most owners don’t care for their pet’s teeth, at least not on a daily basis. Excess bacteria, buildup of plaque, gum disease, cavities, gingivitis, and tartar are all things our pets may develop throughout their lifetime.
For these reasons, caring for your pet’s oral health is very important just as ours is.
Why is Caring for your Pet’s Oral Health so Important?
- It helps deter bad breath caused from decaying food and bacteria.
- It prevents heart and other organ diseases caused from oral-related problems.
- 4 out of 5 dogs ages three and over have gum (periodontal) disease, but you have the power to help prevent that.
- Our pets stay silent when the suffer oral pain or other oral-related issues, quickly leading to other health problems without us knowing, but you can prevent it long before it even happens.
- It can extend their life.
What can you Do?
For both cats and dogs, there are quite a few things you can do at home to aid their oral health, including:
- Provide a well-balanced diet for your pets. This excludes feeding them table scraps.
- Have plenty of chew toys and bones, chews, or treats available for your pet dog.
- Brush your pet’s teeth; however, this may need to become a daily routine.
- If an oral-related problem arises in your pet, take them to the vet or an animal dentist to get the problem checked out. Below are common oral-related problems that your pet may develop that may require professional attention:
- Oral sores or abscesses
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Trouble chewing or refusing to eat
- Tooth loss or loose teeth (that aren’t baby teeth)
- Retained baby teeth
- Severe bad breath (halitosis)
- Whimpering or moving away when you touch your pet’s mouth or surrounding areas
- Drooling or keeping the mouth open
- Severe tooth discoloration
- Excess tartar buildup
As you can see, caring for your pet’s oral health is as vital as it is to care for our own. While this doesn’t necessarily mean brushing your pet’s teeth twice a day, it does mean providing a proper diet and even bacteria-fighting dental treats or chews for your pet.
Bad breath, tartar, and bacteria-fighting treats are available out there for both cats and dogs. As well as this, there are many special toys designed for dogs to chew on that will help strengthen their teeth.
As always, take your pet to the vet or a pet dentist if oral-related problems arise in your pet as these can eventually become very dangerous for the general health of your furry friend.