Your pet’s dental hygiene is an important topic in the veterinary and pet care industry. -Travel Animal Doctor
Ultimately, just like in humans, pet’s teeth should be brushed twice a day.
Read “Your Pet’s Teeth” for a brief overview on the importance of dental hygiene in your pet. This article will give you seven veterinary facts about your pet’s dental hygiene.
Shortcomings in pet dental care can lead to serious disease processes including brain, kidney, liver and heart disease.
Oral disease alone can be critically debilitating to your pet.
- Bacteria and yellow plaque collect on the gums of an animal’s teeth.
- Without removal, this plaque becomes concrete tartar or calculus that often needs to be scaled away rather than brushed.
- Plaque and calculus builds up along the gum line, leading to gum inflammation and loss of periodontal attachment leading to gum disease.
Gum disease is commonly called periodontal disease (literally meaning “disease around the tooth”).
- Gum inflammation causes pockets to appear between the gum line and teeth, where bacteria dive into causing further progression of disease.
- The bacteria from the plaque also cause a rancid smell in your pet’s mouth.
- Bacterial sequestration can cause insufferable pain.
- Teeth are lost; abscesses form and the mouth can fester with infection.
Periodontal disease alone causes immense oral discomfort and pain that may lead to difficulties for your pet to even pick up food.
- If gum disease is far enough along, the jawbone can actually be destroyed, making pathologic jaw fracture a likely result.
- A jaw fracture that is pathologic means that the fracture resulted from disease.
- If your pet is older, and already “talks” while he or she eats it may be due to discomfort in the mouth while eating.
- If you have noticed your pet favoring a certain side of the mouth, this may also be due to discomfort or pain.
The surest way to manage dental hygiene before periodontal disease rears its ugly head is to brush your pet’s teeth on a daily basis, as we do ours.
2) Prevention of Disease
There is no way to reverse the process of diseased gums; prevention is key.
- In order to prevent occurrence, a regimen for daily oral care is necessary.
- Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly will prevent the plaque from hardening to form tartar.
- Avoiding formation of plaque and calculus will keep your pet’s gums healthy, and prevent and minimize periodontal disease.
- With daily brushing, the animal will have fresher breath from keeping the bacteria to a minimum in your animal’s mouth.
- Prevent periodontal disease and fight bad breath most effectively by brushing your pet’s teeth daily.
Proper physical removal of bacteria and plaque are key to proper oral hygiene and a clean mouth.
When your dog is two to three years of age, the animal should receive his first professional dental cleaning.
If the rate of calculus (tartar) build up is quick, more dental visits will be necessary to scale and polish the teeth.
- With daily brushing, calculus build up will occur at a much slower rate.
- The cost of a scheduled dental visit to remove the cast-iron calculus buildup, and reduce plaque and stinky bacteria at the veterinarian’s office is usually at least $300.
The most valuable way to prevent periodontal disease, fight bad breath, and cut down on dental cleaning costs is to brush your pet’s teeth daily.
In most pet dental cleaning, full anesthesia is required as this makes the task at hand easier both for your pet as well as the operator.
Anesthesia also reduces the possibility of injury due to the pet’s uncooperativeness and anxiety, allowing for a better and more thorough quality of cleaning and care.
- The use of anesthesia is extremely expensive.
- There is a slight anesthetic risk in all medical fields.
- In veterinary medicine, this risk is reduced with a knowledgeable staff and proper anesthetic protocol in place for our furry family members.
- It is important for the pet parent to feel comfortable asking about and becoming familiar with the anesthetic protocol.
- In an advanced stage of periodontal disease, an involved dental visit at a veterinarian’s office may be vital and the only solution to improve your pet’s quality of life.
- The safest way to prevent periodontal disease and fight bad breath is to brush your pet’s teeth daily, just as we do ours.
- While it is understandable that at home oral hygiene is difficult with current dental kits available, new and cutting edge technologies are up and coming that simplify the arduous task of pet at home oral-care.
I will be discussing such revolutionary products in my follow up to this article.
Using human toothbrushes in a pet’s mouth can irritate your pet’s gums.
- Human toothbrushes have harder bristles than toothbrushes designed for pets.
- It is important to remember to use dog toothbrushes, which are specifically made for use in a pet’s mouth.
- Likewise, human toothpaste is toxic to dogs and should not be used to brush your pet’s teeth.
- Since dogs do not “spit out” the toothpaste, it is swallowed.
- Ingredients that are toxic that are found in human toothpaste are ingested and can make an animal very sick.
Safe toothpaste to use specifically for pets can be found at a local pet store or online.
- There are many flavors that your pet would enjoy including chicken, peanut butter and mint.
- There are also dog mouth sprays for bad breath, but a spray will not mechanically remove plaque that is already on the teeth.
- This means that bad breath will come back.
Also, do not threaten your animal or try to hold your animal down in order to brush his teeth.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach a pet to enjoy having it’s teeth brushed.
- Trying to overpower your animal will not make the situation pleasant for either party involved and may spark aggression.
- Always remember to reward your pet after brushing as positive reinforcement.
- Using the proper techniques and equipment to brush your pet’s teeth daily is the easiest and least costly way to fight bad breath and periodontal disease.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach a pet to enjoy having it’s teeth brushed.
Start slowly if necessary by first handling the mouth and then giving your pet some of their meal for letting you handle the mouth.
- Then just introduce the brush into the mouth and get the front teeth, followed by rewarding your pet for the participation by giving your pet a little bit more of the meal.
- If your pet is not listening, be patient and do not show anger.
- Just show your pet the meal that he can only have after working for it by working with you.
- The more your pet lets you handle the mouth, and positive reinforcement will help your pet enjoy the experience.
- The training will not happen in a day so be patient.
- Your pet may not be used to all of the attention and may need time to process the training.
- Luckily for you, brushing in pets daily is as necessary to a pet’s dental health as brushing your own teeth is for your dental health.
You will have plenty of days to practice with your pet in the future.
Do not threaten your animal or try to hold your animal down in order to brush his teeth.
If the experience is unpleasant for you or your pet you are less likely to want to do it. Relax, take small steps, and enjoy the bonding time with your pet.
- With practice, five minutes of struggling to brush your dog’s teeth will quickly turn into three minutes a day, which can become a one to two minute daily task.
- Instead of having to free up multiple days to take your animal to the veterinarian’s office for dental work, you can prevent periodontal disease by managing your pet’s dental hygiene yourself and minimize professional visits.
To repeat, the most efficient way to prevent periodontal disease and fight bad breath is to brush your pet’s teeth daily.
7) Dental Chews
There are many dental chews on the market that help slowdown plaque build up.
If you are actively brushing an animal’s teeth, you are mechanically removing the plaque from wherever your brush makes contact.
Brushing the teeth ensures plaque removal of every nook and cranny that is contacted, making the process more complete.
- Dental chews are very useful and convenient for your pet, especially when you are on the road or for maintenance; but they are not to be used as a replacement for manual brushing.
- They do not negate the fact that your pet’s teeth should be brushed regularly to avoid tartar and periodontal disease.
- Utilize all the market has to offer to keep your pet’s teeth clean, and avoid disease and bad breath.
I hope you enjoyed reading these seven veterinary facts about your pet’s dental hygiene.
Remember that periodontal disease can lead to many other serious diseases in your pet.
- Periodontal disease alone is no joke in the pet and veterinary community.
- The worst part about a periodontal case is that the disease could have been easily prevented with the right knowledge and instruction and just a few minutes a day providing proper oral hygiene.