07 May Dental Care for Pets
At our dental office, we see patients of all ages. We like to say that your whole family can be our patients. The only family member that we do not normally see is your sweet family pet! Did you know that maintaining the oral hygiene of your pets can be just as important as the rest of your family?
We all want our special furry friends to live a lengthy, healthy life, so we must do everything we can to maintain their well-being. This includes their dental hygiene. Dogs and cats alike can develop significant tartar and plaque deposits on their teeth that will eventually lead to more serious issues. Plaque buildup will first present itself in the form of smelly breath, discolorations in your pet’s teeth, and swollen, sensitive gums.
As often as possible, it is recommended to brush your dog or cat’s teeth. There are animal toothbrushes and specially formulated toothpastes available for purchase at pet stores. It is important not to use regular minty human toothpaste because your pets have highly sensitive taste buds, and they will not like the same strong flavor that people enjoy.
Brushing your pet’s teeth will help maintain better-smelling breath, as a bonus effect. There are also several different available options for dental treats that help scrub away pesky plaque and freshen your pet’s breath in the process. Really, any edible, safe snacks or toys that have a good crunch to them will knock the hard buildup off their teeth. Chicken feet are a great treat that will help with your dog’s teeth among many other benefits because of their high concentration of collagen and minerals.
It is best to avoid or supervise the use of extremely hard toys, such as bones or antlers as your pet runs the risk of cracking a tooth. If a problem arises despite your best preventative efforts, there are specially-trained veterinarians that specialize in the oral hygiene of animals. If your pet begins to show you any signs that something is off with their dental health, it is wise to address it with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your regular veterinarian will be able to help your pet with their dental problem or provide a referral to a veterinary dental specialist that can take care of them.
Your household pets cannot communicate verbally the way that people can, so it is important to pay close attention to their nonverbal cues. Lack of appetite is a good indicator that something is awry with your pet. If you think about it, you probably wouldn’t want to eat a crunchy bowl of dry cereal if you had a toothache, neither will your pet!
Extra bad breath is another indicator to be watchful of, as it can be a sign of dental infection. If your dog or cat’s breath smells worse than normal and they seem irritable or in pain, you should call your veterinarian to determine whether there are underlying issues causing these symptoms to present themselves.
Veterinary dental specialists have the ability to create crowns and perform root canals on your pet’s teeth. They are also able to extract teeth and in very rare cases they can place implants. Dogs and cats don’t use their teeth the same way that people do. Their teeth are not meant to chew. So, your pet can live a long, happy life without teeth but it is very important to make sure they do not have teeth that are causing them any pain or discomfort.