A guide to pet dental care
Do you find yourself looking in the mirror often and checking out your pearly whites? Well, if you have a pet at home, then it’s about time you checked his too. Do you smell bad breath? Are his teeth yellow and covered in tartar? Are any teeth missing or broken? Do you see red or swollen gums? Have you noticed your pet wincing in pain while eating? What about his appetite? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then your dog’s oral hygiene is at risk. Make an appointment with your vet ASAP!
Most pet parents take care of their pets to the best of their ability. There is no doubt about that. There is adequate exercise, monthly grooming sessions, the best food and vacations with the family. But even so not many remember to do a routine check of their pet’s oral cavity, gums and teeth. Did you know that the heart, kidneys and joints are likely to be affected when bacteria enters the body through lesions in the oral cavity of the dog? Are you surprised? No pet parent ever expects this nor wants their beloved pet to go through this. Well, a stitch in time saves nine. This article is a guide to your pet’s dental care.
If you have a puppy or kitten you need not wait for the onset of oral problems to start a dental care regime. There is no better day than today. If your regular vet does dental work then nothing like it else, find a good one who specializes in dental treatment. Get checks done every six months at least. Now, if this is your pet’s first checkup, the vet will check for plaque, tartar and inflamed gums. He may also notice gingivitis, root exposure, cavities and bacterial contamination because these are some of the more common diseases to plague pets. These will need to be addressed immediately.
Often times the vet will suggest that you make the effort and follow a home care regime that includes regular brushing of the teeth. For this particular event called, ‘Let’s brush Fido’s teeth’, yes, let us call it an event, choose a time when your pet is sleepy or tired. He will not protest as much. A soothing voice will also take you a long way! There are tooth brushes specially designed to fit in your pet’s mouth. Alternatively, you can use your fingers. There is tooth paste available in the market as well that is specially formulated for animals. It is obviously going to be ingested by your pet but don’t worry for it will not cause any side effects. These do not contain fluoride. Fluoride is suited to humans but poisonous for animals.
If the dental issues cannot be remedied by medicine then your vet will suggest a dental surgery. Of course it will be done on an empty stomach and with general anesthesia. A blood test will have to be done a few days in advance to determine if there are any underlying health conditions. If not then surgery will go on as planned else you may have to wait till your pet is well or the type and course of anesthesia may be changed.
The healing process need not scare you. Like in most cases, your pet may require only his normal dose of love and hand feeding to recover completely. But in a one of case a bit more effort will be required because the vet may suggest a naso-gastric tube or in layman’s terms a feeding tube. It is a very soft and flexible, narrow tube that is placed from a nostril into the esophagus whilst under the influence of anesthesia. It will be secured to the cheek with a stitch or suture. This is a short term alternative for your pet to take in medicines, a liquid diet and water. You will get used to it in a day’s time and before you know it your pet will be well and it will be removed.
If you find daily brushing challenging, then thank science because today, one can find ready made food especially designed to maintain your pet’s oral health. It is only available as a dry variant. Why not wet? Well, because soft food is more likely to stick to the teeth and cause decay. Dry food works like a kind of tooth brush. While ordinary dry food crumbles upon impact, this particular kibble gets stuck around the tooth. It is sized a little larger than normal to engulf the tooth and as your pet chews on it, it scrubs against the teeth thus reducing plaque and tartar. It also fights bacteria and protects the gums from gingivitis.
If you would like to continue with home food then along with brushing at least thrice a week, you can buy chewable treats that are specially made to clean up your pet’s mouth. The abrasive texture makes it very chewy and will keep your pet at it for a long time. A lot of saliva gets produced and it helps dislodge plaque and food particles while washing debris from the teeth. Yes, you said it right. It almost does the job of a tooth brush.
Time and again the stress is on responsible pet parenting. Keeping up with your pet’s oral hygiene may be difficult but it is a very important part of your pet’s good health routine. Rectifying dental problems is not only expensive but very painful for our pets. Not to mention, it can only be done under the influence of anesthesia. Animals cannot speak for themselves nor can they care for their bodies. All of it essentially lies in your hands. You need not go to extremes because with all of the advancement in science, you can take a call for timely treatment. Now that you are aware and have started good dental care for your pet, you are one step closer to ensuring him or her of a healthier and longer life.
A guide to pet dental care