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Cat & Dog Dental Care
It's Not Just a Matter of Bad Breath...
Why all the fuss about cat and dog dental care?
Offensive breath is only one of the many reasons to give special thought to your cat and dogs dental care. Most important is protecting your pet against dental disease.
Poor cat and dog dental care can lead to serious health issues that can affect your pet's entire body if left unchecked.
Besides permanent tooth loss, an infection in the mouth left untreated can spread harmful bacteria to all of your pet's vital organs.
I've learned some tough lessons the hard way as a pet owner, and dog dental care was no exception. After my dog Sidney had been diagnosed with a serious heart arrhythmia, I learned she would be at risk if she ever needed anesthesia again. That very year her vet discovered she had cracked a tooth and we had no choice but to have it removed. While under anesthesia her heart slowed so much that we almost lost her twice before the surgery was completed.
I took my dog's dental health very seriously after that!
I would now have to work hard to keep her from having any further dental problems.
But by that time, she was much older and put up a heck of a fight trying to adjust to having her teeth brushed every day. Eventually she gave in, but she still gives me a hard time about it.
Our other dog Darby, a Scottish terrier, was always a veracious chewer and never seemed to have any issues with tartar build up. But now that she's older, and has liver problems, her dental health is a serious issue.
It was a little easier to teach this old dog new tricks and she now actually enjoys her daily session with the toothbrush!
Cat & Dog Dental Care: Begin at the Beginning!
Dry food will not keep your pet from getting tartar and plaque build up! Daily tooth brushing is the #1 best standard of care for good cat & dog dental health. If you have puppy or kitten, begin introducing them to a daily regime of dental care. Getting them used to having their mouths handled can begin as naturally as petting them.
- Get in the habit of gently handling your pet's mouth and checking his teeth and gums.
- Reward him with a small treat as a way of making the exercise fun. Begin cleaning his teeth with a small piece of gauze wrapped around your finger.
- Gently handle each tooth, concentrating only on the front side of the teeth.
- Next introduce them to toothpaste made specifically for pets. Never use human toothpaste as the enzymes and other additives used in them can cause stomach upset for pets.
- Finally, introduce the toothbrush. Make sure to purchase one made specifically for pets. They come in different sizes for small to larger animals and have soft bristles. If a toothbrush just doesn't seem to be working for you, there are some nice alternatives like soft rubber finger brushes and dental wipes.
- Try and work up to 30-60 seconds of tooth brushing a day.
Tooth brushing becomes enjoyable for you and your pet as you incorporate it into your daily pet care.
It takes some discipline, but making it a habit will help your pet adjust to having his teeth brushed in no time.
Don't wait until there's a medical necessity to begin good cat and dog dental care!
Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed disease in pets, according the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Based on information provided by the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3.
Signs of periodontal disease may include bad breath, red, swollen, or bleeding gums as well as pain. In my dog's case, she began to eat slowly or hesitate when given a treat because chewing had become painful.
Don't make the same mistake I did. If you have an older pet, and you have never developed regular at home dental care, get started today! It can be a struggle at first, but hang in there; your pet will eventually adjust and even come to enjoy it just as my dog did.
Have your pets teeth examined every time you see your veterinarian. He or she will most likely recommend an annual dental cleaning to prevent tartar and bacteria build up in and around the gums that we just can't get to at home.
Your vet may also recommend foods or treats that help to combat tartar build up. There are some excellent products that can be added to your pet's water or food to help fight dental disease as well.
February is Pet Dental Health Month Why not get started today with developing good home cat and dog dental care. Help your pet by making every month Pet Dental Health Month!
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