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Veterinary dentistry is one of the fastest developing specialty areas for pets. Veterinarians now recognize that oral health is of critical importance to the lifelong health of pets. Research1 shows that many diseases of the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys resulting in poor pet health and reduced life expectancy have their roots in long overlooked dental and oral disease.
Bad breath isn’t the only reason to stay on top of your pet’s dental health.
Dental disease is one of the most common preventable health problems seen in pets. Besides a smelly breath, it can lead to bleeding gums, difficulty eating, and loose teeth. It can go as far as causing heart issues if bacteria from an infection in the mouth makes its way into the bloodstream. That’s not to mention very unsightly teeth, and the expense involved when treatment is required. It’s not cute and it’s not cool.
Periodontal disease is a natural disease caused by the accumulation of bacterial plaque. The first stage in prevention of periodontal disease is to remove or prevent accumulation of plaque and infection.
The importance of cleaning your pet’s teeth at home should not be underestimated. Home care procedures such as tooth brushing, attention to the type of diet and dental supplements, all have a major part to play in the prevention of plaque build-up.
Tooth brushing is still the best way to clean the teeth, but not always the easiest. Successful tooth brushing should be a fun and pleasant exercise for both the owner and their pet.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way for their mouth to remain clean and healthy for life. Brushing your pet’s teeth two to three times a week will produce good results. It is not recommended to use human pastes, as the high fluoride levels in certain brands may not be suitable to all pets.
Where Do I start If I Want to Brush My Pet’s Teeth?
Brushing your pet’s teeth can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. If you decide to brush your pet’s teeth yourself, be patient and persevere.
Just like at bath time, it might take some getting used to for you and your pet, and things might get messy.
Make sure you use toothpaste that is specifically for pets—human toothpaste has a high fluoride level, which can cause an upset stomach in animals.
To brush your pet’s teeth, follow these steps:
Annual or semi-annual veterinary visits are a very important component of good dental health care. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough oral examination noting any gum disease, dental tartar or dental calculus, and tooth abnormalities such as broken or loose teeth.
Even with good home care, most dogs will need yearly tooth cleaning to maintain optimum gum and dental health. Cleaning, performed under general anesthesia, will remove tartar or calculus. Following cleaning, teeth will be polished. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend removal of loose or diseased teeth.
Choosing the Right Type of Food for Your Pet’s Dental Health
Chewing abrasive foods physically cleans the tooth surface, stimulates saliva, maintains muscle tone, supporting bone structure and toughens the gums.
Research3 has shown that dry food helps clean the teeth better than soft canned foods. Wet food tends to stick to teeth and makes a great meal for bacteria to feast on. The abrasive action that dry food has on the teeth helps remove plaque.
You can up your game even further by using a high-quality food that is formulated for dental health. This type of dry food might come in a specialized kibble, the special size and shape of the kibble encouraging chewing to increase super mechanical brushing which helps reduce plaque and tartar build-up.
Chewing dental treats, dental chews and toys is the next best option.
Many other ingredients may influence positively the oral health of your pet:
Vetdiet® dental health dry food for cats and dental health dry food for dogs feature a specialized kibble. The unique size and shape of the kibble in our dental health foods encourage chewing to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Our formulas also contain pea fiber, which creates a brushing-like action to help remove plaque. Additionally, Vetdiet® dental health foods are formulated with sodium hexametaphosphate, which has been shown through research to reduce dental calculus formation in dogs. Finally, ingredients like parsley and peppermint help freshen breath while green tea extract helps to control inflammation and bacterial infections.
If you are unsure about your pet’s oral health, consult with your veterinarian. He or she will be able to fully assess your pet’s oral hygiene. With their help, you can develop a clear action plan with all available options that you feel good about to get your pet the healthiest mouth possible!
Vetdiet is a family owned and operated company with 25 years of success. Our mission is to offer outstanding and innovative pet food products that optimize pet health by creating the perfect balance between science and nature. We always prioritize natural, high quality and proven ingredients to support the health of pets and provide the functional benefits they need. The essence of our products is guided by the diverse knowledge of veterinarians, nutritionists, formulators and pet parents dedicated to health and nutrition, to deliver the right balance of nutrients for lifelong health. With Vetdiet®, you can feed your pet with peace of mind.
This dedicated group of experts, with a passion for the health and well-being of pets, work together to bring new ideas and strategies to Vetdiet® and to solve important challenges. They focus on the areas of health, nutrition, formulation, testing and regulatory compliance and are responsible for approving each Vetdiet® formula, guided by our nutritional philosophy.