Dental Care Introduction
Does your pet’s breath smell bad enough to knock you over? If so, this is definitely the blog for you!
Many pet owners do not realize how important a healthy mouth is for their pet. We humans hear about our own dental health all the time; just count the number of toothpaste, toothbrush, or mouthwash commercials you see during your favorite TV show. Most of us are on board with keeping our own teeth healthy and our breath smelling fresh. However, many pet owners just accept their pet’s horrible breath and rivers of drool as a fact of life. Pet tooth loss is also not taken seriously. I mean, what’s one tooth gone when they have so many others, right? Wrong! We hope that by reading this, we at Androscoggin Animal Hospital will be able to convince you that keeping your pets mouth healthy is kind of a big deal.
Dental disease is not just a problem of older pets.
Studies have shown that 85% of dogs and cats under the age of 6 years have significant dental disease.
Tooth loss in pets is not just a cosmetic problem.
If your pet has lost teeth, it indicates that there is a significant amount of infection and bone loss below the gum line. Most of the time the problem can be seen, but sometimes it can’t. If you can see that your pet has brown buildup on the teeth (tartar), and swollen gums (gingivitis), this means that there is disease present underneath the gum tissue.
Your pet will live longer if you take care of their teeth.
Studies have shown that pets that have had their teeth taken care of over their lifetime live an average of 5 years longer than pets that have not.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Brushing your dogs or cats teeth at least 3 times per week with a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste is the best way to keep their teeth and gums healthy, just like your own. Remember going to the dentist as a kid? After your checkup and cleaning, you received a new toothbrush in your favorite color, a tube of toothpaste, and a red tablet to chew after brushing your teeth. Before bed that evening, you brushed your teeth and gums in circles like the dental hygienist showed you, and then chewed the red tablet to check your skill. Grinning in the bathroom mirror, you giggled at your red-stained teeth and ran to show mom and dad the results. Your parents encouraged you to keep brushing so you’d have a “No Cavities” report at your next 6-month visit. Many of us see ourselves as pet ‘parents’. It is our job to do the same for our furry, four-legged kids! We at Androscoggin Animal Hospital are here to teach you the proper way to brush your pets’ teeth.
Special Diets, Treats, and Toys
There are many different varieties of all of these things out there. We recommend consulting with us prior to using anything new for your pet. Not all of these products are created equal, and some make big claims that their product is the best, but end up offering little to no benefit. We recommend Hills TD diet and CET products, all of which can be found here at the Androscoggin Animal Hospital. In addition to consulting with us, the Veterinary Oral Health Council is a good resource. However, NONE of these things replace the need for brushing your pets teeth.
Almost every pet will need to have their teeth professionally cleaned at least once in their lives, especially if the pet is older and you have just started taking care of their teeth. It is true that your pet needs to be under anesthesia to have their teeth cleaned properly, but the cleaning itself is almost identical to the one you have at your dentist’s office. During the procedure, we also look for any teeth that might be a problem, and anything else that doesn’t seem normal in your pets’ mouth. We are happy to help you determine if now is the time to have your pets’ teeth professionally cleaned by one of our friendly Doctors and Technicians!
Now that you have the facts, and know which tools are available, you are ready to take charge of your furry friend’s dental health. We are here to help you with whatever you might need.