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No one wants to be on the receiving end of a big, slobbery, smelly dog kiss. Did you know, however, that if your dog or cat’s breath is particularly offensive, that their dental hygiene may need some improvement?
Dental diseases are among the most common medical conditions of dogs and cats alike. Some dental diseases include gingivitis, halitosis, swollen gums, oral tumors, salivary cysts, periodontal disease, proliferating gum disease, and so on.
The danger of dental disease, is it's ability to rapidly worsen in time and spread to other parts of the body. An oral disease, if left unattended, can spread to cause disease in the rest of the body, including the lungs, liver and heart. So how do you decrease your dog’s chances of experiencing dental disease?
You Are What You Eat
Have you ever heard the saying “you are what you eat?” While it’s true no one has ever turned into a banana from eating one, the food you put into your body will definitely help determine the body’s level of health. If you are eating fast food thrice a day, you surely cannot expect to look like an Olympic athlete. The same is true for Rex.
If Rex is eating table scraps and dog food from the local dollar store, chances are his risk of dental disease will be higher than Bruno who is on a premium prescription dental diet. The topic of what is considered to be 'quality dog food' will be saved for another day, but chat with your veterinarian if you do not know how to find a good quality food for Rex.
Smile-friendly Pet Food
Some pet foods are specially designed to help remove some of the plaque and tartar that can accumulate on teeth. Specialty treats and dry food are available for cats and dogs. You can ask your vet for specific recommendations, however any dental diets from Hills and Royal Canin are suitable, and greenies or dentastix are treats that will have some benefits in reducing dental disease.
Another type of dental aid for your pet is a water additive. A water additive is a substance similar to mouthwash. It kills the bacteria in your pet’s mouth, keeping his teeth white and his breath fresh. Me-ow!
One of the best methods of practicing good dental hygiene for companion pets is teeth brushing. Let’s begin with the tools you’ll need for brushing Lassie’s teeth.
Dog or cat-designed toothbrush or soft gauze strips
Cat or dog-specific toothpaste
If you are just beginning the process of brushing your pet’s teeth, spend a few days massaging his or her mouth so he or she gets used to it.
Following this, spend the next few days brushing your pet’s teeth without using toothpaste. To do this, wrap your index finger in a gauze strip or use the pet toothbrush and brush each tooth in a circular motion.
When your pet gets used to this process, add the toothpaste and you’re a professional dentist! Brush Fido’s teeth one to two times per week, and he’ll be well on his way to having a great, sweet-smelling grin.
Play with me!
Playing with your pets is important for multiple reasons, including physical and mental health. Ask you vet about chew toys for Fido that can help remove plaque and tartar from his teeth while he plays. Now that’s what I call a two-for-one special!
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