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Dental Care for Your Pet

Along with nutrition and proper exercise, one of he most important things that you can do to ensure the good health of your pets is to make sure that you look after their teeth.

The Normal Mouth:

Your pet's mouth should look much the same as does yours. The teeth should be white and free of significant build-ups of plaque and tartar. The gums should be healthy with a uniform pink color. There should be minimal odor.

Signs Of Dental Disease:

Dental disease is extremely common in our pets and has certain common signs for which you should watch:

Halitosis or bad breath is the result of build up of bacteria and debris on the tooth surface and spaces between the teeth and gums.

Gingivitis or redness of the gums is an indication of low-grade infections and represents the first (and only reversible) stage of periodontal disease.

Difficult or abnormal chewing behavior; Quite often animals with significant dental disease will refuse dry food, chew toys or will chew only on one side of their mouths.

Chronically infected teeth lead to other health problems such as chronic respiratory diseases, heart valve infections and kidney infections due to seeding of bacteria to these other organs. It's not just gum disease!!!!!

Professional Dental Care:

At some point in the course of your pet's life, a professional dental cleaning will more than likely be needed. Just as with your dental care, it is always a mistake to delay recommended treatment. Early treatment of minor dental disease will prevent progression to the more advanced stages. Many people delay dental care for their pets out of fear of the anesthesia. While anesthetics are never without risk, today's anesthetics are extremely safe. Delaying needed dental care only worsens the disease and increases the risk to your pet.

Opting for anesthetic-free dental care is not an appropriate solution to the problem. While anesthetic-free dentals may result in removal of superficial tartar and plaque, the effect is purely cosmetic and does not address the serious medical concerns that occur under the gum line. It is also virtually impossible to thoroughly clean the inner surface of the teeth, so money spent on anesthetic-free dentistry is money wasted.

Proper Home Dental Care:

Start early. Get your pet used to having his mouth examined and handled by putting you fingers in his mouth at an early age. This will allow you to brush teeth later on.

Initiate some form of home dental care early. Every pet is different and you must find the best method possible to look after your pet's teeth.

Brushing; best method but not always practical
Oral rinses and gels give short-term control of bacterial build up
Chewing toys provide mechanical removal of plaque
CET chews have enzymes that help break down deposits on teeth
Rawhides and rope toys are generally safe
Avoid very hard objects (bones, sheep hooves, rocks) as they break teeth
Regular home dental care will help keep your pet's mouth healthy
Remember that proper dental care is as important to your pet's health as proper nutrition and healthcare. You should check your pet's teeth regularly and if you see any sign of problems, have the teeth checked by a veterinarian.

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