Help your pets achieve good oral health (via @newsdurham)

2 Jun

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Dental disease is a progressive disease in both dogs and cats.  In fact, almost 70 per cent of pets have some degree of dental disease by the age of three.  It starts off minor, but progresses from there.  Over time, dental disease can lead to abscesses, oral infections, tooth loss, and more.

If your pet develops an abscess, it needs immediate medical attention.  If left untreated, infections can spread into the bloodstream and travel through the body to vital organs such as the heart, liver, or kidneys, causing infection.

Dental disease often begins with gingivitis.  Early signs of gingivitis include brown tartar on the teeth, redness of the gums, and bad breath.  As the disease progresses and becomes more severe, you may notice that your pet will no longer eat dry food as it’s too painful to chew.  Loose teeth or teeth falling out are another indication of advanced dental disease.

Just like humans, regular oral maintenance can help to slow the progression of dental disease.  This includes regular brushing with a special enzyme toothpaste.  Do not use toothpaste designed for humans as the fluoride in human toothpaste is harmful to your pets.  The mechanical action of brushing is the most effective, but the enzymatic toothpaste will help loosen plaque and tartar.

Engineered bones and dental pet treats can also help.  Real bones are not recommended as they can fracture the teeth.

Contrary to popular belief, dry food is only minimal helpful, and it alone will not prevent dental disease.  There are dental diets on the market specifically formulated to will help with your pet’s oral health. There are also rawhides with dental enzymes available to help optimize oral health.

Professional cleanings are highly recommended. The frequency of professional cleanings depends on the pet.  For example, small breed dogs often see a faster progression of dental disease.

Every pet should be examined every year, and pets age seven and older should be checked every six months.



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