Yes, it’s True! Our pets need dental care too!
First thing to remember: Foul-smelling breath from your dog or cat is never normal. It’s a symptom of disease that you need to heed.
Second thing: Brushing is easier than you think it will be. Approach the task with a positive attitude, take it slow and easy, and then follow with something the pet likes — a play session or a food treat.
For kittens and puppies, the focus is on training and prevention, but adult pets will likely need veterinary attention before a preventive-care program can help. Your veterinarian should check your pet’s mouth, teeth and gums as part of the regular examination, and make recommendations based on what he or she finds there. For many pets, the next step will be a complete dentistry under anesthesia. The procedure takes 45 minutes to an hour, and involves not only cleaning and polishing the teeth, but also checking for and treating broken or rotting teeth, cavities, abscesses and periodontal disease.
This is a medical procedure, not a cosmetic one. I recognize that people worry about anesthesia, but the benefits outweigh the risks. Today’s anesthetics are dramatically safer than those of even a few years ago, making the dangers and pain of untreated dental problems the bigger risk to health, even with older pets.
After the problems are treated, at-home care can keep things in good shape. Here are some tips:
Brush regularly. Use a toothpaste designed for dogs or cats a couple of times a week at least, although daily is better. If you absolutely cannot brush, ask your veterinarian about dental rinses that can help prevent dental problems. They’re usually not as good as brushing, but they can and do help.
Discuss your pet’s diet with your veterinarian. Some pet-food companies offer kibble with a mild abrasive texture to help keep teeth clean, or with ingredients that help keep plaque from forming.
Once your pet’s teeth are in good shape, you’ll notice an end to bad breath. The true benefits of dental care go far beyond a better-smelling mouth, however, making what seems like an aesthetic issue one that is in fact a cornerstone of a preventive-care program.
**Many thanks to the VSPN Network**