Every February, Natural Pawz celebrates Pet Dental Health Month. We have products that can help prevent dental problems and we will be extending discounts and specials to customers.
Why does dental health matter?
It’s not just about fresh breath. Dental problems can cause severe discomfort and studies have shown a link between periodontal health and cardiovascular disease and even kidney disease.
Bacteria is present on and in everything that is alive, some of it “good” and some of it “bad”, but preferably kept in balance in the body. When the “bad” bacteria goes out of balance and grows unchecked, that causes the immune system to release white blood cells that can attack gum tissue. If that isn’t prevented or stopped, then the end result can be tooth loss. It’s painful and invites further infection. Severe cases involve jaw bones being infected and bacteria being released into the blood stream to wreak havoc all over the body.
The balance is changed when food particles, sugars and starch in particular are introduced into the mouth and get stuck between teeth and gums. The bacteria feed on those and grow out of control.
Feeding a good diet low in sugars and starches and frequent cleaning are the best prevention.
- Good – no corn or wheat in the diet. They easily break down into starch and sugar.
- DOGS: Fromm Gold or grain-in 4 Star line, PD GO! Line, HK Grain-in (Keen, Verve, Thrive, Halcyon), Merrick Classic line, Pure Vita, ND Prairie, Canidae
- CATS: Petcurean Chicken, Fromm Duck, Chicken, & Salmon a la Veg
- Better – no grain in the diet. Even rice can break down into sugar.
- DOGS: Fromm GF, Orijen, AD Grain-free diets, Zignature, PD Now, HK GF (Love, Zeal, Force, Embark), Merrick GF, ND Instinct, Taste of the Wild, Natural Balance GF, Grandma Lucy’s
- CATS: Fromm GF, Petcurean GO! and Now, Orijen, Acana, Merrick, Honest Kitchen Grace and Prowl, Taste of the Wild, Pure Vita
- Best – no starches in the diet. If you want to be really strict, potato, sweet potato and chickpea all have sugar and starch content.
- Raw food for Dogs: Stella & Chewy’s frozen and freeze dried, Nature’s Variety frozen and freeze dried, Primal frozen and freeze dried, Orijen FD
- Raw food for Cats: Rad Cat frozen, Stella & Chewy’s frozen and freeze dried, Nature’s Variety frozen and freeze dried, Primal frozen and freeze dried
Also, dry kibble tends to get stuck between teeth and adding moisture to the diet can help in lots of other ways.
- Brushing – Brushing after meals is ideal, but not always possible. Many pets have no interest in having a toothbrush in their mouth, especially cats.
- Chews – Let your pet do the work and clean their own teeth. Of course, it will depend on the quality/type of chew and the pets’ desire to chew, but it can be an important part of prevention if they chew daily.
- Ark Naturals Breathless Brushless Chew, Terrabone Dental Chew, Herbsmith Dog Breath chew, Bully Sticks, Beef Ears, Antlers, RAW BONES!! NEW – BIOaCTIVE Fresh Mouth Dental chew is another great option.
- Water-additives – A few items that Natural Pawz carries can be added to pets’ water to help break down plaque and freshen breath.
- Plaque Off, Plaque-Zapper, Zymox water additive
- Other – Whether a wipe, spray or gel, we have alternative methods of cleaning teeth and freshening breath.
- Trueblue Dental Swipes, Zymox Breath Freshener, Zymox Dental Gel, Bluto’s Yummy Gum Brush
Signs of Dental Problems
Some signs of dental problems can also be signs of other issues, but these are the most commonly seen and sometimes overlooked.
- Bad Breath – This can be as simple as bad diet and as complicated as organ damage, but it is usually a sign that something has gone wrong. First, change the diet and start with regular maintenance of teeth cleaning. If the problem persists, there could be an infected tooth or a more troublesome condition. Having a vet check the pet thoroughly would be a good idea.
- Plaque on teeth – It is unfortunately not uncommon to see a buildup of plaque on the molars. If it is light, then some of the items we sell might be useful. If the plaque is darker (meaning thicker), then the pet should see a vet for a possible cleaning. Once the plaque has been removed, it is much easier to maintain. If the pet is in a compromised condition (anesthesia isn’t recommended for senior pets and some pets with health conditions), then try some of the above cleaning options.
- Refusal to eat – This could mean your pet is a picky eater, has an upset stomach or it could mean that it has become painful to eat. If you’ve ever had a toothache, you probably weren’t keen on eating anything crunchy. When people say their dog or cat will not eat their regular dry crunchy food, your first thought should be that there could be something wrong with their teeth. Moving them to a canned, dehydrated/freeze dried or raw food would be a good first step.