Updated: Oct 8, 2021
Ginger-vitis. 😸 Bad breath jokes stink – so I won’t tell you anymore.
Does your dog or cat have smelly breath? Did you know that 85% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3 suffer from dental disease? Dental disease can lead to smelly breath, sore gums, loosening of teeth, reluctance to eat and infections in the mouth and body. 😲
The oral cavity is filled with bacteria – in fact more than 300 species thrive on the surfaces of the teeth. When saliva and food particles coat the teeth, bacteria inhabit these surfaces and form the biofilm plaque. Plaque clings to the teeth and is not visible to the eye and can develop in just 6 hours! – that’s why we brush our teeth twice a day. 🤯
If plaque is not removed it can calcify and turn to tartar. Plaque and tartar mixed together then cause an inflammation of the gums – known as gingivitis. When gingivitis progresses, periodontal disease can occur. At this point the plaque has spread below the gum line and the bacteria is growing into something more harmful (anaerobes). The bacterial infection then causes damage to the root of the tooth and the supporting tissue. This can lead to oral pain, loss of teeth or infections such as a tooth root abscess. Swallowing these harmful bacteria is not only unpleasant but it may also lead to damage or failure of other internal organs. 💔
What Can Pet Owners Do?
Prevention is better than cure. So let’s focus on prevention. Daily brushing is the single most effective way to prevent plaque build up. You may chose to use a finger brush or a specially shaped toothbrush for your pets mouth. Many dogs enjoy having their teeth brushed as the toothpaste is a “treat” for them. It is important to start introducing your pet to tooth-brushing slowly, start by only brushing the front incisors and canines to get them used to it before trying for those back teeth.
Now that we have covered the brushing, let’s think about a lasting action. For us humans you may choose to use mouth wash after brushing and fortunately dogs have something similar called Oravet. 🐕
Oravet is a dental chew that contains the ingredient Delmopinol which can be found in human mouthwashes. This ingredient forms a barrier around the teeth as soon as your dog starts chewing and the saliva hits it. This barrier helps to prevent the bacteria sticking to your dogs teeth and keeps those teeth pearly for longer.
Greenies Dental Treats for your cat can be used as a tasty treat, these small treats don’t use additives but instead their mechanical makeup helps to break plaque and tartar off the teeth when your cat chews. 🐈
Along with brushing, we recommend the Royal Canin Dental diet. With many years of research and scientific findings Royal Canin has developed a food that works in many ways to prevent plaque build up. Its shape, size and texture have been designed to help produce a mechanical brushing action when your pet chews on the biscuits. The kibbles nutrients trap calcium to reduce the ability of tartar build up.
Water additives and bones are also helpful when it comes to dental health. Aquadent is a nice and easy to use water additive that can eliminate bacteria from your pets water bowl and mouth; it also has a nice fresh smell! Bones 🦴 however must be chosen carefully. Choosing the incorrect bone can cause things such as tooth fracture, gastrointestinal stress and salmonella. Nobody likes that!
When choosing a bone, we recommend you chose a raw meaty bone. Chicken wing tips or small chicken necks served to small dogs and cats are excellent. Bigger meatier bones like kangaroo tail are recommended for larger dogs. Please always feed bones fresh and raw, NEVER cooked, always supervise your pet and throw away the bone once your pet has finished chewing.
When a pets teeth get bad or if they haven’t had dental care at home; a dental procedure may be necessary. These procedures are performed under general anaesthetic as we cannot clean the teeth adequately while cats and dogs are awake. During these procedures we scale and polish all of the teeth and perform extractions when necessary. If you are unsure about the health of your pets teeth, we perform dental checks and are more than happy to inspect your pets pearly whites. 🦷🦷
If you have any further questions about dental health and your pet please contact us on 07 3288 1822.