We love our pets and we are living closer with them than ever before. They sleep on our beds, they sit on laps and they lie next to us on our lounge. What could possibly come between this beautiful relationship we have them? Two words, bad breath. Although bad breath in dogs and cats can be caused by several factors including diet and gut flora. By far the most common cause is periodontal disease.
Both the American and Australian Veterinary Dental societies have found that by the age of just 3 years old 70% of cats and 80% of dogs are affected by periodontal disease and it is by far the most common of all diseases found in cats and dogs. Pets with advanced dental disease may require descaling of their teeth under anaesthetic and in advanced cases, the bacteria from the disease can be life threatening affecting the organs and blood stream of your pet.
Of course, regular check ups with your vet are an essential tool to monitor your pet’s health but pet parents who recognise the early warning signs and put preventative measures in place will help to ensure that their pet doesn’t suffer from the pain and discomfort of this disease.
One of the early warning signs is bad breath from your pet which is caused by bacteria that seek out plaque and tartar (that’s the orange or yellow colour that you often see at the gum line of your pet’s teeth). Other symptoms include gums that bleed after chewing and difficulty in eating hard foods may also be a sign that your pet is suffering from periodontal disease.
4 ways to prevent dental problems developing in your pet:
- Limit the amount of wet food in your pets diet. At least 80% should be a quality dry diet and 20% wet. There are specific formulations such as Hills Science Diet Oral care that have a biscuit structure that essentially scrubs your pets teeth clean as they eat. There are formulations available for dogs and cats.
- Include dental chews regularly as a part of your preventative program. There are chews available for cats and dogs. Dental treats don’t just encourage chewing but are formulated to breakdown tartar. Greenies are great for cats and Whimzees help to prevent tartar build in dogs. Of course, good old fashion size appropriate bones are also suitable.
- There are also a number of products that can be added to the food or water of your pet to help breakdown tartar. They include the seaweed based product plaqueaway from Aussie company Total Pet that is applied by sprinkling a tiny amount on the food daily and ‘prozyme’ which is simply added to your pets drinking water.
- Visit your pet every 6 months for dental check-up, early detection means less invasive treatments.