Research Hello Im a change shows that at around the age of two, 70% of cats and 85% of dogs have some sign of dental disease.
Pets experience the same dental issues that we do. Problems usually start with a build up of invisible sticky plaque. This same ‘furry’ feeling that we fell when we run our tongue around our teeth the first thing in the morning before we clean out teeth.
Plaque produces acid and toxins which attack teeth and gums and unfortunately if we are not brushing our pets teeth or using alternative plaque prevention methods then the plaque hardens and calcifies to form tartar. In turn tartar is an excellent source for new plaque to form on.
If tartar is not remove it can lead to’gingivitis’ which is a term used to describe inflamed gums cause by the toxin produced by plaque bacteria. This can also lead to diseased teeth, tooth root abscesses, tooth loss and bacteria from the teeth entering the blood stream and travelling to organs such as the heart and kidneys.
The last point is especially important if your pet already has underlying heart, kidney or other organ problem. It is important in these cases to reduce the risk of bacteria travelling to already impaired organ. Please consult the nurse or vet if this may be of relevance to your pet.
Should you notice any of the above signs in your pet then please book an appointment with the vet or nurse to have the teeth examined.
At Towerwood Veterinary Group we believe that prevention is better than cure and we have a variety of methods to carry out at home that may help to prevent your pet developing serious dental disease which in turn can prevent the need for dental surgery and will keep your pet pain free and healthy.
The gold standard of dental home care is brushing your pet’s teeth. For this to be fully effective it needs doing on a daily basis but as many times a week as you possibly can is better than not at all. We appreciate that you have busy lives and that is why on the days you cannot brush we have alternatives to use. It is much easier to get your puppy or kitten used to teeth brushing but that does not mean to say that you can’t teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks. Just remember that you need to slowly introduce teeth cleaning to your pet over at least a week.
Always be patient Always praise and reward Always use pet toothpasteStop if there is any sign of aggression.
To introduce teeth brushing to your pet initially begin by allowing your pet to get used to the taste of the toothpaste. Our cat toothpaste is fish flavoured and our dog toothpaste is poultry flavoured and so pets usually like the taste. Let your pet lick the toothpaste off of your fingers. During the first few days simply get your pet used to having his/her lip lifted and stroke around the outside of the mouth. If this is tolerated well then about 3-4 days later progress to running your finger complete with toothpaste over your pet’s teeth. This should last no longer than 30-45 seconds and should be rewarded with a treat.
You do not need to open your pet’s mouth or attempt to do the inside of the teeth. Just lift the lips and do the outside of the teeth that you can see with your pet’s mouth close. If your pet tolerates this well then you can progress to using the finger brush that accompanies most of our toothpastes for 30 seconds each side of the mouth. Eventually the aim is to work up to using the toothbrush for one minute on each side of the mouth paying special attention to the gum line and the back large teeth and the canine (fang teeth) at the front.
We appreciate that some pets just will not tolerate tooth brushing and/or there may be days that you cannot brush your pet’s teeth and for these occasions we recommend the following:
For dogs that love to play with toys, we suggest smearing the toothpaste onto the specially formulated dental toys. The toothpaste contains enzymes which will help to reduce plaque accumulation and the toys are designed in a way to gently clean your dog’s teeth as he/she plays.
These work by mechanically helping to remove the plaque and tartar from your pets teeth as nature intended. As your pet chomps the bone the teeth will be naturally cleaned.
Remember to use raw bones as cooked bones can splinter and always ensure that there is meat on the bones. Talk to the vet or nurse to discuss this further.
This is a prescription diet specially formulated to clean pet’s teeth as they eat it.
This is a natural food supplement, which is simply added to your pet’s food. It helps to reduce plaque accumulation and the build up of tartar, and is particularly effective against bad breath.
Dentagen Aqua is a water additive that contains RF2 enzyme. This enzyme mixes with the saliva in the mouth and makes it very hard for bacteria in the mouth to stick to the teeth.
We also sell Dentagen chews for dogs. The chews contain the same RF2 enzyme as the water additive and so work in the same plaque preventing way and are also shaped to gently clean the teeth during chewing.
We recommend a combination of the above products. Choosing a product that will mechanically remove any existing plaque or tartar such as teeth brushing, raw chicken wings or a formulated diet plus and enzyme containing product such as PlaqueOff, Dentagen Aqua or the toothpastes to try to prevent further plaque and tartar accumulation is the best method.
Always look at the option and choose the ones that you know will work best for your life-style and your pet’s temperament that way you are more likely to make it a lifelong habit that will benefit your pet.
Should you wish to look at or discuss any of the information or products noted above then please have a chat with our vets or nurses who will be only too happy to help.