Oral hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Pet dental care is an important area of pet care that most people fall behind. Not taking care of your pet’s dental health can lead to diseases such as periodontitis or greyhounds. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of pets show signs of canine periodontal disease by the age of three. Dental care also helps keep your pet’s teeth and mouth as clean as possible and eliminate bad breath. Dental disease has serious consequences, so maintaining good dental care in pets is very important. (Also read: Pet care tips: 5 essential life skills to teach your dogs )
In an interview with HT lifestyle, wildlife veterinarian Dr Shantanu Kalambi said, “An animal’s mouth can tell a lot about their overall health. Poor oral hygiene is usually a sign of an imbalance in internal functioning and it all relates to one or the other issue.To be more specific, a pet with poor oral health will have a problematic gut due to disorders of the process of digestion and absorption of food that begins in the mouth. The reverse is that specific to the renal system (kidneys). , an animal with compromised or impaired kidney function will show signs of poor oral hygiene such as bad breath and decaying tissue in the oral cavity. It is of the utmost importance to keep an eye on your pet’s oral hygiene as it could make a huge difference in identifying the disease before it reaches a stage from which it would be too late to recover.”
He further suggested symptoms to look out for that may indicate a problem in your pet’s oral cavity:
1. Your pet begins to show signs of reluctance: Does your pet show interest in food and suddenly turn away after smelling or taking a small bite? It could be a sign of gum pain or bad teeth.
2. Does your pet salivate or drool randomly? Also an indication of gum disease.
3. Do your pet’s teeth look worn, loose or visibly discolored? All are signs of tooth decay.
4. Is there a bad smell coming from your pet’s mouth? It’s called halitosis and it can mean a range of things from poor oral hygiene to kidney disease.
5. Has your pet suddenly started choosing only wet and soft foods? This is very common in older animals that have lost most of their teeth or are about to.
He also suggested some tips for your pet’s oral care.
1. Brush your pet’s teeth daily or as often as possible from an early age to get them used to the process. This makes it easier to fix a problem when it arises as your pet ages.
2. Another thing to do is make your pet feel comfortable with you by checking their mouth. pets tend to mask their symptoms to avoid appearing weak. It is therefore up to you to carry out spot checks.
3. Use mouthwashes, toothpaste, and gels made specifically for pets. Human-grade toothpaste is harmful to your pet.
4. As your pet ages (7+ years), have regular dental checks by your veterinarian at least once a year.
5. Dental toys, chews, and treats like Nylabones and Dentastix also help break down tartar and plaque buildup.
6. As their age progresses, increase this frequency to once every 6 months.
7. Once you see signs of decaying teeth (discoloration, tartar buildup, cavities), perform a dental cleaning once every 6 months, as ignoring it could lead to painful conditions like gingivitis, which can be difficult and expensive to process.