Did you know that dogs and cats need oral care too? In fact, dogs and cats have similar oral care needs to that of people. It is one of the most common health concerns found during an exam. We know that 85% of pets have periodontal disease by the age of 3.
Periodontal disease is a painful inflammatory condition that leads to the destruction of the tooth attachments and surrounding jaw bone. In its earliest stages we may see redness and tenderness at the gum line, this is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible, but bone loss is not. Gingivitis develops when plaque, a sticky substance made up of bacteria, saliva and food particles, is not removed from the teeth.
Teeth with severe bone loss cannot be saved and need extraction. Other possible consequences of severe dental disease include broken jaws and bacteria entering the bloodstream leading to infection of the heart, liver, kidney or any other location.
How can you prevent periodontal disease in your cats and dogs?
There are many options available to help slow the progression of dental disease. Daily tooth brushing is considered the most effective option but products such as dental diets, dental treats, water additives, dental wipes and dental sprays are also available when brushing teeth is not possible. The best preventative is one that you can administer effectively and consistently.
We recommend that you use products evaluated by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) as they have been found to be effective. When using a toothbrush always use a toothpaste designated for animal use.
Dental Diets: Many types of kibble are swallowed whole by dogs and cats. These specialized diets are very large which means the pet must chew them before swallowing. Many are high in fiber and so do not shatter when chewed allowing the tooth to sink in and plaque to be scrubbed away. These diets are most effective at cleaning the back teeth.
Dental Treats: A daily chew treat can reduce plaque and tartar. They should be used daily and must be appropriate size to avoid choking and ensure chewing action. Many chew treats include ingredients that prevent the mineralization of plaque, prevent plaque attachment and also help with bad breath.
Water Additives: A solution or powder that is diluted with water and used as a pets drinking water. These help to soften plaque and tartar.
Dental Spray: Used to spray mouth daily to soften plaque and tartar.
Dental Wipes: Used daily to wipe off plaque deposits from the surface of the tooth.
Please note that antlers and bones are not considered appropriate chew toys as they are too hard and readily break teeth.
Please contact us if you have any questions or need help choosing the best preventative oral care for your pet.
East Hants Animal Hospital
Ph: (902) 883-8787