Dogs and cats can suffer under the effects of dental plaque in similar ways as people. What are the most common dental problems faced by our pets? How can we prevent these problems? Find the answers below.
The most common dental problems in dogs and cats
Owners of dogs and cats are sometimes surprised by their pet’s bad breath. Bad breath, or halitosis, is usually due to the accumulation of dental plaque, which promotes the proliferation of bacteria and increases the risk of infection. When left untreated, plaque will lead to more serious problems like gingivitis or, worse yet, periodontitis. Gingival recession, oral pain experienced by your pet, or decreased appetite are all possible signs to look out for.
What is the most effective dental care for dogs and cats?
An ounce of prevention Preventing the formation of dental plaque is the most effective way to prevent dental disease. Did you know that taking care of your pet’s teeth will add years to their life and improve their overall comfort?
Dental plaque leads to dental tartar, formed by food residue between teeth: this residue feeds different types of bacteria, that in turn transform into calculus when mixed with the minerals found in saliva. It is therefore very important to clean your pet’s teeth every day in order to prevent the accumulation of plaque, since it takes 24 to 48 hours to form. Cats and small breed dogs are particularly prone to the formation of dental plaque.
The best method for preventing dental plaque is to brush the teeth of your dog or cat. When started young, most pets will easily accept having their teeth brushed. Older pets may however require a little more coaxing. Other options include feeding your pet a dental diet specially adapted to suit your pet’s needs. Avoid feeding your pet any table food as those added sugars promote dental plaque.
Advantages of a dental cleaning
If your dog or cat suffers from halitosis, it is time to consider a professional dental cleaning. This procedure, performed at the veterinary hospital, is an extremely effective part of treatment. If a dental cleaning is not performed quickly, dental plaque can accumulate under the gumline and cause an infection, known as gingivitis. Over time, gingivitis will progress to periodontitis, a painful condition that must be treated immediately.
A professional dental cleaning is performed under general anesthesia so that your pet will remain stress-free. An animal that arrives in the morning for such a procedure returns home that evening. A dental cleaning is a painless procedure and the positive effects are evident from the very beginning. Any bleeding due to gingivitis ceases immediately.
Dental hygiene is an important part of your daily routine? Your pet also needs particular dental care in order to avoid infection and dental pain. Ask your veterinarian for more information.