National Pet Dental Health Month
Dental problems in dogs and cats are more common than people think. Despite the fact that about 98% of vets recommend dog owners to clean their teeth, only about 2% actually apply this advice. In addition, research has shown that 80% of dogs older than three years have dental problems, while only 23% of dog owners indicate that their four-legged friend has a dental problem. To raise national awareness for this problem, February has been declared National Pet Dental Health Month.
Dental problems in dogs are often caused by plaque and tartar, in addition to trauma (e.g. tooth breaking). Plaque (also called dental plaque) is a barely visible layer that forms continuously on the teeth. It consists of food debris, mucus and bacteria. When it is not removed, plaque calcifies to tartar. You can help remove plaque yourself; tartar can only be removed by your vet. Anyone who has ever seen or smelled a dog with dental problems will know how important it is to take good care of a dog's teeth. If the dog's teeth are neglected, the animal may even lose teeth. Much worse, your dog's health is endangered by dental problems. Complaints can range from bad breath to tooth loss or even inflammation in important organs such as heart, kidneys and liver - with all the consequences that entail.
It is a common misunderstanding that a dog with bad breath is normal. If a dog's breath stinks persistently, then this can be a sign that there is a dental problem. The diet and the physical condition of dogs has changed over time and can no longer be compared to the living conditions of wild dogs. It is therefore important to take care of your pet's teeth daily and have them checked regularly.
How can you take care of your pet's teeth at home?
There are various methods for taking care of your dog or cat's teeth at home. The best choice is to use a toothbrush with a special toothpaste for dogs and cats. These kinds of toothpaste often have a meat flavour, which makes them extra tasty for your four-legged friend! The sooner you start brushing your pet’s teeth, the easier it gets. It can take some time for your pet to get used to if you start at a later age, but stay persistent!
It is also possible to use a dental diet, developed for your pet’s teeth . These foods contain various nutrients that stimulate the breakdown of dental plaque. In addition, the kibbles are slightly larger than average, which encourages chewing.
What else can you do against plaque besides brushing your teeth?
Cats’ teeth are often more difficult to brush than dogs’ teeth. It can therefore be useful, especially for cats, to take care of their teeth in a different way. Various products have been developed for this:
- Supplements, such as powders or liquids, which contain additives that reduce plaque and bacteria.
- chew strips, which stimulate chewing and thus also partially remove plaque.
Do you still have questions about dental care for dogs or cats after reading this article? Please contact our veterinary team via email@example.com or call 033 0818 0862 for more information.