How Important Is Dental Hygiene for Dogs and Cats?

The Facts

Dental care is just as important for our dogs and cats, as it is for humans. Unfortunately, this can often be a part of pet parenthood that is forgotten about. The statistics for dental disease are incredibly high;

80% of dogs over the age of 3 suffer from a dental disease

85% of cats over the age of 6 suffer from a dental disease.

Much like us our furry best friends have plaque bacteria constantly forming in their mouths. As their teeth are so similar to our own, they are susceptible to the same oral problems as us. The build-up and presence of plaque can lead to nasty and sometimes irreversible dental diseases.

Poor dental hygiene can result in:

  • Gum disease and inflammation
  • Tooth Root infections
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Tooth Loss
  • Diseases in remote organs caused by the spread of bacteria and infection from the mouth.

Ultimately dental diseases can be incredibly painful, uncomfortable and even life-threatening for our pets.

Prevention Is Key

Prevention is better than cure. By caring for your pet’s oral health from as young as possible you can keep their teeth in tip-top condition. The following steps can help you on your way to preventing dental diseases.

Step 1) Feed a high-quality diet

Diet has a huge impact on the health of our pets. High quality dry kibble diets can give pets that crunch and abrasive action needed to help reduce plaque build-up. Many are formulated with special active ingredients to help fight against plaque bacteria.

For more help finding the perfect diet check out our Nutrition Guide.

Step 2: Provide Dental Treats & Toys

By providing appropriate toys and treats you can satisfy your pet’s chewing instinct and keep their mouth healthy!

Regular chewing and gnawing will:

  • Scrape away plaque build-up, lessening the chance of periodontal disease
  • Massage your pet’s gums
  • Freshen their breath

Giving your pet a variety of toys/chews with different textures is ideal. Material such as rope is fantastic for cleaning teeth and soothing gums!

There are many options available here, for more help on the best toys and chews pop into your local store for advice.

Step 3: Use Pet Safe Dental Products

Using appropriate dental products, providing a healthy diet and suitable chews will dramatically reduce the chance of a dental disease forming.

Brushing your dog or cats’ teeth regularly is a fantastic way of keeping gums and teeth healthy. Desensitisation is key! Introduce the process of tooth brushing slowly to your cat or dog and always make it as positive an experience as possible.

Remember human toothpaste and dental treatments are dangerous for our pets – so you must ALWAYS stick to pet safe products.

Luckily there are plenty of different dental care products available for your furry friends. Natural products such as Plaque Off and TropiClean have been proven to reduce plaque and bad breath and are very easy and cost effective to add into your daily routine.

You can find a variety of helpful dental care products here.

Identifying Dental Issues

At Pets Corner we cannot diagnose any dental issues or disease, but we can recommend looking out for the following issues. If you are concerned with any of these then please get your pet checked by a vet.

  • • Unpleasant breath
  • • Increased salivation
  • • Red and/or puffy gums
  • • Bleeding gums
  • • Tartar
  • • Calculus (hard coating on teeth that is usually brown or yellow; results from plaque build-up)
  • • Missing or loose teeth

Dental cleaning and tooth extraction are the two most common procedures performed by vets in the UK. By looking after your pets’ teeth every day not only will you keep them healthy, but this will also save you money! Dental work can often be extremely costly and potentially won’t be covered by insurers.

Remember we clean our teeth every day, your pet should too!

To read more articles on Petopedia about dental care and helpful products click here and here.