Being an owner of a cat or dog requires knowing about their nutritional needs and making sure they get enough exercise. Beyond these tasks, but related, is making sure your pet has proper dental health care as well. Often this is a neglected area when it comes to pet care. When this happens it can lead to similar problems which are seen in human dental health issues. Such problems as tartar buildup and calculus in the mouth can develop; this is the brown residue on your pets teeth. This buildup can work its way into the gums to cause gum disease as it would in humans. The bacteria involved with this problem can also get into the bloodstream of your pet and create problems in the kidneys and affect the overall health of your cat or dog.
In extreme cases where the dental health care of your pet has been neglected for long periods of time, gum disease can cause teeth to rot and cause pain for your pet. In situations such as this, it becomes more humane to pull teeth out. Signs and symptoms of pain will show before this time. Here are a few of the signs to look for; if you notice your pet refuses to eat, or has strong bad breath this is a sign of trouble. If you notice extensive salivation, discolored salivation or bleeding gums these are more serious signs of dental health problems. But how do you get around this?
In order to maintain your pets dental health care you must keep their mouth clean and fresh. You will need the following items; a toothbrush made for pets and a pet friendly toothpaste. See your vet for recommended types and brands. A chew toy, while more effective with dogs, can help also. Feeding your cat or dog hard food also helps as it forces them to chew, which helps clean their teeth. Vegetables are good in this area for both cats and dogs. Adding an oral rinse to the water bowl can also help.
I am sure you are wondering what to do with the toothbrush. To maintain proper dental health care for your cat or dog you should brush your pets teeth for about one minute each day. Toothbrushes which fit on your finger are available so that you’re not sticking some huge stick or brush into your pets mouth. This will also help keep them calm while you are doing it. If time is scarce try shopping for a pet food which has tartar control. Meow Mix for cats and Alpo for dogs are good choices if you can find the formulated food at your store. It will always be a hard dry food.
A final note about small breed dogs. The Toy Dog breeds are prone to dental health problems and require more dental health care. While these type of dog are known for problems with hips and eyes, just as common is the issue of bad teeth. This unfortunately effects breeds such as Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzu and Maltese. The reason is that while these dogs have smaller mouths, they still carry the same number of teeth as a German Shepard or Beagle.
Proper nutrition can also help your pets dental health care as well. Look for foods which contain more nutritional balance instead of fillers and chemicals. Also try to keep your pets from eating food rich in both sodium and sugars or meat by-products. Unfortunately the cheaper pet food brands seem to have more of these to lower costs and enhance production.