Did you know that a dog has 28 baby teeth and 42 adult teeth and a cat has 26 baby teeth and 30 adult teeth? By the time they reach 8 months of age all the adult teeth have emerged. Can you imagine not brushing your teeth for 5 years, how about 10? The average dog’s lifespan is 10 years while a cat’s is 15 years, that is a long time to not have clean teeth.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is not always easy. Starting when they are young is a great way to get them used to having their mouth looked at, touched and cleaned safely. Daily brushing is best since plaque hardens into tartar in as little as 48 hours. Brushing once a week is better than not brushing at all, but there are dental care products besides pet-safe toothpaste and a toothbrush that help with oral health. Some of the things we stock are MaxiGuard Gel, a gel that is applied to the gum line daily. MaxiGuard has enzymes that work with the saliva to break down tartar. Dental Chlorhexidine Rinse is a mouthwash that can be used 2 ways, one is to squirt directly into the mouth and rinse out any loose debris and the other is to apply to a soft cloth and used to wipe the teeth clean. There is also a variety of dental chews and treats for both cats and dogs. We carry Greenies Flavor Fusion dental treats for cats, a crunchy treat that scrapes tartar from teeth. For dogs we have Enzy-Chews (an enzyme-coated rawhide chew), VeggieDent chews (a semi-firm, vegetable-based chew that helps scrape the tartar and plaque from the teeth) and Hill’s Dental Care Chews (a semi-firm, minty chew that “works like a toothbrush and dental floss all in one”). There are also two prescription dental diets for both cats and dogs. Hill’s T/D and Purina DH are both larger size kibble to help clean the tooth surface. We generally recommend using them as a treat but they are formulated to be a healthy diet for pets.
Why should you brush your pet’s teeth? Oral disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in small animal patients. Studies show that as many as 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop sings of periodontal disease or gingivitis before they reach three years old. Without regular cleaning, both at home and professionally, bacteria and plaque can build up on the teeth and gums causing bad breath and gingivitis. If that wasn't bad enough, those bacteria can get into your pet's bloodstream and cause damage to the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. If those pearly whites seem more yellow than white and the gums are swollen ore inflamed, you're looking at a plaque and tartar buildup. Are the gums red or bleeding? That can be gingivitis, or the beginnings of more severe periodontal diseases. Left without treatment, this can lead to oral pain or tooth loss, and that can keep your pet from wanting to eat. Loss of appetite, excessive drooling and loose teeth are all signs that dental disease may be affecting your pet. At your next visit, please ask us for a hands-on lesson in providing good home dental care for your pet.
It is not too late to start. A full dental cleaning can bring your pet’s teeth back to a point where, with at home care, your pet’s dental health can be improved. With improving their oral health, you help improve their all over health.
February is Dental Health Month! Schedule a full dental cleaning in the months of February or March and receive $25 off.
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