Animals need healthy mouths to remain healthy and happy pets!
Examine their teeth and mouth
If you can, gently pull back your pet's lip and look at his or her teeth (wrigglers may need some assistance!).
- Can you see yellow or brown plaque deposits on the teeth?
- Are there any other problems like chipped or broken teeth?
- Does your pet have really smelly breath?
- Check the gums - are they red or sore-looking?
- Does your pet often dribble saliva and drop food when he/she is trying to eat?
If your answer is "yes" to any of these questions, your pet needs some attention to his'her mouth. If not, well done - you get a gold star for dental hygiene!
Fortunately, good dental hygiene is not too difficult to achieve by following a similar plan of action to mine:
- Provide hard (dry) food. there are many balanced diets on the market, many designed to help with dental hygiene and exercise the gums
- Brushing your pet's teeth regularly will definately make a difference and believe it or not, lots of pets don't mind it at all! Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for animal use as it froths less, is flavoured and does not require rinsing. Start gently for a few moments and work up to a full set of teeth!
- Hard and crunchy treats to help with removal of plaque and tartar are very popular with pets. My dog loves to chew carrots (good healthy veggies!) and there are many treats available for helping with good dental care.
- Toys designed to exercise the mouth are great - happy playtime and detal hygiene rolled into one! You can find a selection here for dogs and cats
- Check regularly for constant extremely bad breath - not just 'I've been eating something nasty' breath. This could be a warning sign that your pet may have something serious going on. Never ignore bad breath and just mask it with breath fresheners.
When you go to your Vet for vaccination boosters your pet should have a professional dental check-up. Many vets now also have clinics run by trained nursing staff to assist you with your pet's dental hygiene
Rabbit and rodent owners, please check your pet's teeth regularly especially if they are showing any of the signs above as their teeth grow continuosly and your vet may need to be shorten them.
If you are not convinced, think of it this way. A cat or dog year is equivalent to approximately five to seven human years. If your pet is two years old, this is equivalent to a ten to fourteen year old human who has never brushed their teeth or gone to a dentist. Now work it out for an adult dog or cat!!