Is this just a way for vets to convince pet parents to have their pet’s teeth cleaned or is there another reason? Many pets will show signs of gum disease before they hit the age of 5. Pet’s often will hide the fact that they have pain in their mouth so it is important to look for warning signs.
Your pet’s gums and mouth are key health indicators for your pet. Poor dental habits can result in chronic pain, tooth loss and eroded gums. More serious medical issues include heart, kidney and liver disease. It is important to make sure you have a yearly vet visit. For example, my Lab Callie always had good teeth but during a vet visit we realized she had a cracked tooth that needed to be removed. If I had not noticed it, it could have easily formed a serious infection in her mouth.
First signs that your pet’s teeth need attention:
- bad breathe and brownish tartar around gums lines
More severe signs include:
- problems picking up food
- bleeding and/or red gums
- tooth loss
- very bad breathe
- bumps/lumps in the mouth and ropey bloody saliva.
Bacteria and plaque forming foods can cause build up on your pet’s teeth. It hardens into tartar and causes gingivitis and possible tooth loss. In addition to considering teeth cleanings, you can greatly reduce the frequency by following a few easy steps. First, and most importantly, feed your pet a healthy diet (stop feeding highly processed treats and kibble). Have you ever seen a wild animal with tartar? Of course not. Why is that? If you eat a diet comprised of fresh vegetables, fruit and meat your mouth does not have to break down the processed ingredients (carbs, fillers, and sugars).
Secondly, you should brush their teeth at least weekly AND give them a chew toy / natural chew (Elk Antlers, bully sticks, Himalayan chews). Read the ingredients – if it has processed ingredients STAY AWAY. Also never give cooked bones or rawhide. Raw hide is often treated (processed) and can cause choking.
WHAT PRODUCTS DO WE SUGGEST?
1 – Dental Chews with active ingredients that help clean teeth.
- There has been a tremendous growth of dental treats. Many of these are more treat than a solution. A couple of dental treats with active ingredients for dental health are:
Herbsmith Dog Breath Dental
Dog Breath Dental Chews are made with spearmint, parsley, and sea algae to promote healthy teeth and fresh breath. Herbsmith Dog Breath coats the teeth with the active ingredients – sea algae to soften and break down tartar and plaque build-up and spearmint and parsley to freshen breath.
Ark Naturals Brushless
On the outside: breath-freshening ingredients include chlorophyll, cinnamon, vanilla and clove. Ridges provide effective teeth scrubbing and support healthy gums.
On the inside: Ark’s patented toothpaste center provides real help for plaque, tartar, and bad breath.
2 – Water additive / dental spray / toothpaste or gel.
- A daily Natural dental water additive can help dogs and cats to help fight plaque and avoid buildup on their teeth. This is an easy way to promote healthy gums. For additional protection, you can try using a spray, gel or toothpaste.
- Which solution is best for you depends on what you like to use. A toothbrush is one of the best ways to reach all areas of the mouth. However, when using a gel or a spray, your pet’s tongue will help ensure it is spread across the month. The most important thing in selecting a solution is to select a natural product.
- Brushing your pet’s teeth – use a product that has natural ingredients.
For proper dental health the first line of defense is a good diet and healthy treats (chews). In addition, you should look to add a dental chew for daily use and a dental spray, gel or toothpaste for weekly use. Preventative care is your best offense to minimize any expensive dental problems with your pet.