February is National Pet Dental Health Month and with February starting in a week or so, we realized how much people overlook the fact that their pet’s dental health is just as important as their physical health. Thus, we put together a list of 10 reasons why you should take care of your pet’s teeth. It will include pet dental health facts, benefits and risks it will bring to your pet.
1. A pet with healthy teeth equals a pet with better breath.
This is a given – almost common sense. If you are someone who has kept pets for most of their life then you already might know this but it is not unusual to come across people who despite their years of experience as a pet owner, don’t know that dental health and bad breath are related.
Simply because it is not an easy connection for them to make as they presume that bad breath is something pets have. Bad breath is actually one of the early signs you get of your pet’s deteriorating dental health.
2. Dental disease can actually lead to problems with your pet’s organs.
Dental problems aren’t just painful for your teeth. They eventually cause problems to other organs as well like your heart and stomach. To make sure your pet doesn’t get sick, take care of their teeth and hygiene.
3. Retained baby teeth cause problems.
Did you know that fully grown dogs have 42 teeth while the fully grown cats have 30 teeth? Before their adult teeth grow and replace the baby teeth, it is highly necessary that their baby teeth fall out to be able to be replaced by the adult teeth. As easy as that sounds, it is not in actual.
Sometimes, not all of the baby teeth fall and thus cause problems like irritation of the gums and tartar buildup. This makes up for another reason why you should take care of the pet’s teeth.
4. Dental care for pets means you get to save money.
It is understandable that some people can’t really afford a luxury like dental care – even if it is for themselves. So, it is obvious that they can’t afford it for their pets either. This is why people like them should know of included health care costs before making the decision of getting a pet.
In the long term, it is actually going to save them money if they keep getting their pets checked by a vet because this means that there are no health problems being accumulated and every problem is being taken care of on time.
5. Brushing their teeth every day.
If you brush your teeth every day, why shouldn’t you brush your pet’s teeth every day? This seems like a hassle and this might well be because it is not exactly easy to do – primarily because of the resistance your pet might show initially – and also because it means another thing for you do.
Research on this before you start. Remember that you must not use your own toothpaste. There are numerous dental care products that you could use like kinds of toothpaste, solutions, brushes, chew toys and dental diets.
6. Periodontal Diseases.
Did you know that 4/5 dogs, that are above the age of 3 years, have some sort of periodontal disease? If you don’t want your dog to be one of those, or if you want to know what to do if it’s your dog that is unfortunately suffering, then read on.
What cause periodontal diseases?
The foremost reason for the periodontal diseases is by the buildup of plaque.
What can it cause?
Periodontal disease can further cause some serious health problems for your pets.
What happens if it is not treated?
Anything left untreated could mean a lot of bad things for your pet’s health. Same goes for dental diseases. It can cause tooth loss and then lead to painful abscesses and systemic infections throughout your dog’s body. Moreover, there is an increased risk of permanent jaw damage and heart disease.
What can be done about it?
Thus, it is important to visit the vet for regular dental checkups and cleanings and to maintain adequate oral hygiene.
Pets that do not get regular dental care are more likely to painfully lose their teeth than those who do – this can be terribly painful and cause serious health problems. Aside from that, there are other health problems that come because of having bad dental health.
8. Pets don’t speak.
Your dog and cat are very good at hiding pain – you might never know that your pet has a serious dental problem until it’s very advanced.This is yet another reason it’s important to take your pet in for regular dental checkups.
9. Teeth wear out!
Your pets are tough on their teeth what with all the chew toys and germs always finding a way in their mouth because of their licking almost about everything. This can cause dental problems which mean a very painful time for your pet.
10. If you don’t satisfy your pets, it’s likely they will trouble you.
Every pet has its needs. This most likely includes their health, their diet, playing with them and their dental hygiene. If you ignore these, they are likely to cause you trouble, get sick with gastrointestinal upsets and/or develop behavior disorders, This could lead to the wrecking of your furniture. All in all, it can be easily called as a disaster.
Hence, you should feed them correctly and try to meet most of their needs if not all. Take care of their teeth by visiting the vet and having them cleaned professionally every once in a while. While you’re at it, ask the vet to see if the pet is healthy and needs any changes in its exercise regime and diet. If yes, then you will have to make the arrangements.
Here’s a BONUS: At-home teeth cleaning tips to make sure your pet stays healthy.
The following tips are more suitable for dogs than cats but if you see any that could be used for your cat then, knock yourself out! Talk to a vet before you do though – just in case.
- Use a specially designed dog toothbrush and a toothpaste or an alternative that your vet recommends.
- Cannot stress on this point enough – never use human toothpaste. Instead, go for a pet-safe toothpaste. You can try this with cats and even go with a flavor favorable to your dog’s or cat’s taste buds.
- Initially, give your pet a small sample of the toothpaste to introduce the taste and to gauge its reaction.
- To brush, you will have to lift the upper lip to expose the outside surfaces of the pet’s gums and teeth.
- Brush with slow, gentle motions to clean the teeth and gums of your pet.
- Cleaning the outside surfaces will be easier for you because most pets won’t allow you to brush the inside surface of their teeth anyway.
- Make sure you reach the back upper molars and canines, to avoid tartar from building up.
- Pet or play with your pet after your done to reinforce this behavior from your pet.
Taking care of pets is not easy but it is totally worth the hassle.