While you might think that a bit of bad breath never hurt anyone, it can be a surefire sign that your pet isn’t receiving the oral care they need to stay healthy. In fact, many oral diseases and illnesses can lead to far more serious health issues down the track in other areas of their body.
Here’s how to tell whether your furry friend needs to take a trip to the vet or start a regular dental hygiene routine!
Common oral diseases for dogs and cats
One of the most common oral diseases for dogs and cats is periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases refer to any diseases that manifest around the outside of the tooth. These diseases usually grow in severity in three stages. As a pet owner, you should constantly be on the lookout for any of these signs that could result in periodontal disease, which usually starts out with a buildup of plaque. Plaque seems harmless, right? Not if left to harden into tartar. Tartar then causes gingivitis, which creates a painful swelling of the gums for your poor furry friend. It makes it difficult for them to eat and, in severe cases, causes pus or bloody discharge.
Periodontal diseases cause instability to teeth, often resulting in them falling out or cracking. It’s very painful for your pup or kitty and can lead to problems with the liver, heart and kidneys. So how do you prevent this from happening?
How to keep your pet’s teeth clean
Now, we know that many guides will tell you to brush your pet’s teeth regularly, but we also know that our cats and dogs can be a little on the disgruntled and nippy side, too. If your pet is chill enough not to mind having a toothbrush all up in their space, then that’s great! But if not, don’t stress, there are other ways to give their teeth a good clean. Namely, raw meat!
There’s nothing your pet will love more than chowing down on a raw, meaty bone! And the good news is, they’re a pretty effective toothbrush alternative. The act of tearing the meat and chewing the cartilage will massage the gums and clean the teeth. Soft meats are best, like lamb and veal, and the bones can be given to your pets 2-3 times a week to keep those teeth nice and shiny! Ensure that the bone is larger than your pet’s head and never feed your beloved dog or cat cooked bones as they can cause severe fracturing of the teeth and are easier to choke on.
There are specific treats out there that you can purchase for your pet that will improve the strength and cleanliness of their teeth (not to mention rectify that slightly stinky breath!). Greenies and Dentabones are great for pets whose gut sensitivities may restrict the types of raw meat they can eat. These treats will encourage your pet to chew and stimulate saliva secretion, cleaning the teeth and exercising the jaw, similar to that of a raw bone.
Your local vet or pet store will have teeth brushing kits available for purchase in a variety of sizes for your pet. You can buy specific kitty and dog toothbrushes for your pet’s comfort. Also, remember that pets can’t use the same toothpaste as humans! The fluoride present in human toothpaste is poisonous for your pet if swallowed.
Regular check-ups and a consistent hygiene routine
In addition to your constant vigilance when it comes to your pet’s oral hygiene, regular check-ups with your vet are also vital. Keep a close eye on your pet’s teeth and maintain a consistent dental regime, whether this is brushing, providing raw bones or supplementing with dental treats. Consult your vet to determine the best oral care program for your pet if they have unique dietary needs or behavioural problems. If your dog or cat is showing signs of extreme bad breath, swollen or red gums and a reluctance to eat, these may be signs of oral disease and require veterinary attention.
Do you find it difficult to locate a pet resort who will maintain your dog or cat’s dental hygiene routine? At Samford Pet Resort we’re happy to cater to your pet’s specific needs. Give us a call to talk about your furry friend’s requirements and how we can stay on top of them while you’re away on holiday.