Your animals’ dental health
By Dorothée Pâris Pasturel • 11 August 2020
Did you know that oral disease is one of the main health problems encountered in pets?
Although these diseases may appear harmless and targeted to only one part of the body, they can create a lot of discomfort, severe pain, and, by spreading through the bloodstream, cause diseases and infections elsewhere in the body. At the shelter, it is not uncommon for us to have to pull out all of a dog’s teeth because of very poor hygiene resulting from a former owner’s negligence.
Do you sometimes feel a slight pain in your tooth? Imagine the pain an animal feels when all his teeth are damaged, eaten away by tartar and tooth decay, partially infected and hanging by a thread. Many animals will swallow their kibble without chewing it because their teeth cause them too much pain. These examples are unfortunately not exceptional cases. Being a good owner is not only about training your pets well, it is also about taking care of their health. Just like we annually vaccinate and deworm our pets, we should get them very important dental examinations (carried out during the annual veterinary exam) and care.
To ensure good dental health in your animal, here are some tips:
- Choose so-called dental food. Avoid giving only wet food that has no effect on teeth. It is possible to find this type of food both at the vet and in pet stores.
- Brush their teeth regularly (see technique below).
- Visit your veterinarian annually for a dental exam during your pet’s general exam. This will make it possible to monitor the situation and act quickly in the case of a problem. A few scalings could be done during a pet’s life to maintain good oral health preventively, or to deal with problems quickly in their best interest.
Just like in humans, brushing teeth prevents tartar, but cannot remove it. It is therefore necessary to check with a veterinarian which intervention is best for your animal. The famous toothbrushing can seem scary, but is very easy to do when its steps are followed:
- Use an animal-specific toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Before using the toothbrush, handle your pet’s mouth frequently with your finger and reward them.
- Then add a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and massage the gums and teeth.
- Finally, add the toothbrush and brush gently without too much pressure.
- Ideally, brush your pet’s teeth daily.
In summary, dental health is often overlooked by pet owners. Make sure you monitor their dental health and do preventive care to save your pets from years of suffering.