How to keep your dog or cat’s teeth healthy?
Dental problems are very common for dogs and cats. It’s often hard to see when there’s something wrong with the teeth or gums. That's why the problems are often discovered in a later stage, when the problems have evolved and the symptoms have become worse. That’s why it’s important to check your cat or dog’s dental situation regularly.
Symptoms dental problems
A healthy set of teeth has a white color with no plaque and gums with a pink colour. Pay attention to the following points when checking your animal’s teeth:
- Bad breath
- Red, irritated or bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Brown or yellow coloured plaque on teeth
- The animal chews on only one side
If your dog has one or multiple of these symptoms, then it’s wise to take action. Depending on the severity of the symptoms you can choose to take action yourself or to contact a veterinarian.
Dental problems in dogs or cats could be caused by improper food. For example, if the animal often gets leftovers of human food. It’s very common for this food to contain additional nutrients such as sugar, which can be harmful for the teeth of your animal. Other causes for dental problems are plaque and tartar.
Plaque is a white, yellow or brown deposit on the teeth. This deposit arises out of the growth of bacteria in food sticking to the teeth. In its earliest stage the deposit on the teeth has a white colour and is very hard to spot. In this stage the plaque is still very easy to remove. The longer the plaque stays on the teeth, the more it will change into a brown or yellowish colour. This is often paired with a bad breath.
If the plaque is left on the teeth for too long, it will get calcified and turn into tartar. Tartar will cause irritation of the gums and can cause a lot of pain for your animal. It could also lead to different types of inflammations and even loss of teeth. Tartar is a lot harder to remove than plaque and often has to be removed by a veterinarian. That’s why it’s very important to prevent tartar from forming as early as possible.
Prevention and treatment
There are multiple ways to prevent dental problems in your dog or cat. Firstly, the right food can make a big difference. Food in the form of dry kibble will keep the teeth of your animal clean and will cause less dental problems than soft food. Furthermore, special diet food such as Royal Canin Dog Dental actively prevents plaque and tartar from forming and is a great option for dogs that have or are recovering from dental problems. Chewing sticks or special dental toys can also help prevent dental complications. Lastly, it is recommended to clean your cat or dog’s teeth regularly. This can be done with gauze and a small drop of Vet Aquadent or with a special toothbrush.
If you can’t get your animal’s teeth clean yourself or if your animal is suffering from inflamed gums, it is wise to pay a visit to the veterinarian.