February is Pet Dental Health Month and just like human teeth, your pet’s oral health is vital to their overall well being. A common problem that affects dogs and cats mouths is gum disease and this is something that can be avoided with a good plan in place.
Gum disease is five times more common in dogs than in humans. Dogs have a more alkaline mouth, which promotes plaque forming. Unlike humans, most dogs don’t have their teeth brushed daily, which gives plaque-forming bacteria a chance to multiply. Immediately after your dog or cat has eaten, bacteria along with food and saliva, form a sticky film over the tooth enamel which is what we call plaque.
Each pet has their own oral care needs for example; did you know rabbits teeth never stop growing and you have to supply them with things to chew on in order to grind those teeth down?
There are things you can do as a pet owner to manage a pets dental and gum hygiene.
- Find a Chew: Find the most suitable chew for your pet. There are many types of rubber and synthetic chews available on the market, we would recommend staying away from Raw Hide and instead opt for vegetables like carrots/ sweet potatoes, deer antlers, or a pet safe rubber chew. For for smaller animals hay or pet friendly chewable wood.
- Food: Find a good quality food for your pet. If your pet is only fed wet food, try to add a harder biscuit or denta type chew to their meals or incorporate crunchy vegetables. Cats and dogs on wet food only tend to end up having oral hygiene problems due to the lack of abrasiveness on their teeth. Chat to your vet about ways to incorporate teeth cleaning into their diet. There are natural additives like seaweed that can be added to animals feed to help with plaque hygiene too. and for those small furries, you are better sticking with nuggets instead of muesli type feed to encourage that grinding action.
- Brush brush brush: If your vet has said your pet’s oral health needs watching, there are different pet friendly toothbrushes and yummy tooth pastes on the market to aid with that brushing. If your pet has not had this done before it may take training and practice. But this small little task can save a lengthy and costly trip to the vets.
How can you tell if your pet has oral health issues
- Smelly or bad Breath which could mean a general build up or even an infection
- Drooling more than usual can indicate pain
- Pawing at the mouth area could indicate pain
- Red, Swollen or even black gums
- Unable to eat their usual food
- Anything out of character for your pet like rubbing their face against a hard surface
Just like you check your cat or dog for fleas, checking their mouth should be part of your regular weekly pets health check to catch anything early.
Seek advice from your vets if you have any questions on your pets oral hygiene and health