Why and How to Maintain Dogs’ and Cats’ Teeth

cat teeth

One day while my cat, Dublin, sat atop me having a furious bath, I noticed her breath smelled bad. It smelled like death. A few days later, I took her to our vet for a cleaning and inspection. She came away with two fewer teeth and fresh breath. She’s a young girl; and our vet told me she is simply prone to mouth problems. My vet gave me dental food that Dublin will be on for the rest of her life. She also needs a mouth check every six months and a cleaning at least once a year.

Contrary to common belief, foul breath in dogs and cats is not normal. It means you should take your pet to the vet, because likely there’s something bad going on in there.

Oral health is just as important for pets as it is for humans. We brush, floss, and rinse on a regular basis. This keeps our pearlies in order and staves off rot and disease. Dogs and cats rely on hard food and their humans to take care of their mouths. Here’s what you should know.

Purchase an over the counter teeth cleaning kit for your pets. It’s best to begin while they’re young. This starts them out with good dental hygiene. They’ll come to recognize the process as a normal part of life. But, don’t let age discourage you from introducing a routine.

Start slow. Always be gentile with your words, mannerisms, and the brush. Don’t worry if you can’t brush all  teeth the first few times. Do as much as your dog or cat will reasonably tolerate and increase the time as days go by. Reward your pet afterwards. Never use human toothpaste.

As part of routine visits, your vet probably has a quick peek at your pets’ teeth. If they don’t, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it.

Be on the lookout for signs of dental problems. These include rotten breath, bleeding gums, yellow buildup on teeth, trouble eating, excessive drooling, and depression. If you notice these, take your babe to the vet.

Don’t rely on food, treats, and chew toys as your only teeth-cleaning implements. They aren’t enough.

If your vet suggests a teeth cleaning, do it. The procedure involves anesthesia and extensive cleaning. This means it can be expensive. Go ahead and get a second opinion or price quote if you feel the need, but don’t ignore the recommendation. Neglecting it prolongs your pets’ discomfort. It can also lead to major problems.

When pets’ teeth are in peril, it can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss. It also risks their overall health. Bad bacteria, when allowed to have its way, can lead to problems with the heart, kidneys, and liver. Our babes can’t tell us when something’s wrong, so it’s up to us to pay attention and take care.

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