The Granby Animal Clinic, Inc.
Dogs and cats, like people, are prone to accumulating plaque and tartar, which can lead to severe periodontal disease. Fractured or worn teeth are very common in dogs. Whereas, cats are prone to tooth resorption, a very painful condition unique to cats. All these problems cause our pets a great deal of discomfort and pain as well as putting them at an increased risk for other medical problems. Dental disease is also a common cause of bad breath.
Signs of dental disease can be difficult for owners to notice. Our pets are very good at hiding signs of pain and discomfort until they have reached very high levels. Some pets will paw at their mouth or rub it on the floor or along furniture. Other pets will only chew using one side of their mouth. If your pet tends to stare at his/her food or only picks at the food this can also be a sign of mouth discomfort. Some animals will even stand with their heads just over their water dish.
In addition to the pain associated with bad teeth and gums, other more general problems can occur secondary to bad oral health. Chronic dental disease is linked with heart, kidney and liver disease.
YOU can help your pet lead a more comfortable and healthy life by providing good oral care. The time involvement is very small, especially when you think of the benefits your pet will get.
First, your pet should have a dental checkup at least once a year. If significant dental problems are present, more frequent checkups may be needed.
Have your pet’s teeth cleaned if needed.
Next, we strongly advise using Oravet,™ an easy to use once-a-week oral care product that has been clinically proven to significantly reduce plaque and tartar formation. For most pets, oral care is easy once you teach them to let you rub their teeth.
Additional benefit can be achieved with daily home care using something like DentaAcetic® dental wipes, OraZn® topical gel or brushing with CET® toothpaste. Human toothpaste is NOT suitable for pets. The most successful dental care programs involve daily home dental care.
Consider using a tarter reduction diet (Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d®, any of the Iams® or Eukanuba® foods with “dental defense” or Science Diet® oral care).
Dental treats not only reduce plaque and tartar formation but also help to exercise the ligaments around the teeth, helping to keep the teeth strong. For dogs we recommend CET® dental chews (rawhide with the CET® enzymatic toothpaste on the chew), Tarter Shield Soft Rawhide chews® and Greenies®. For cats we recommend CET® cat chews (enzymatic toothpaste in a treat) or feline Greenies®.
If you are unable to do daily home care or use Oravet™ weekly, consider using Tartar Shield Dental tabs, a water additive shown to decrease tartar, plaque and gingivitis.
I recommend a stepwise approach to teaching your pet to have his/her teeth brushed. First approach your pet when they are in a calm mood. Start first by just petting and rubbing the side of your pet’s face. Continue to do this until your pet considers this a normal activity. You may want to give your pet a treat after doing this to give him something to look forward to getting. The next stage is to slip your finger under your pet’s upper lip. Don't forget to give your pet a treat afterwards. As you gain confidence, work your fingers towards the back of the mouth staying on the outer surface of the teeth just under your pet’s lips. Once you can run your fingers along your pet’s teeth you can easily apply Oravet™. If you wish to brush your pet’s teeth, introduce him/her to a piece of gauze or a dental wipe on your finger, a Q-tip, finger brush or a child’s toothbrush depending on your pet’s size, then introduce your pet to the toothpaste. Again, do not forget to praise your pet and give him/her a treat.
We carry several types of healthy, clinically proven dental treats—please check them out. Even with good home care your pet will still need some professional cleanings and other dental work, but you can help to minimize the amount and extent of additional care and keep your pet pain free and healthier by your home care.
The rewards of home health care will last your pet’s whole life.
healthy pet means a healthy mouth.
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