The staff at Wellpet Humane takes dental health seriously, as we believe it is fundamental in maintaining a healthy pet.
Did you know?
– Up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats that don’t receive proper dental care will develop signs of dental disease by the age of three.
– 28 million pet owners think bad breath is normal for their pet
– 42% of pet owners believe dog’s mouths are cleaner than human’s.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is one of the most common problems seen in veterinary medicine. Periodontal disease begins when plaque, an adhesive fluid of bacteria and mucin cells, form on the surface of the tooth. Plaque can begin forming as quickly as 2 days after a dental cleaning. If the plaque is not removed, salts and minerals in the saliva and food cause it to begin to harden. When the plaque hardens, it turns yellowish-brown and is called calculus (or tartar). The calculus irritates gum tissue, allows food particles to become trapped, and changes the pH of the mouth. The pH change in the mouth allows bacteria to live below the gingival surface where the bacteria causes infection, damage to teeth, and to other underlying structures.
Signs and symptoms:
Red, Inflamed gums
Yellow or discolored teeth
Reluctance to play with or chew toys
Difficulty eating or dropping food
Pawing at the face
Sensitivity around the mouth
**If your pet is experiencing any of the above please call us to schedule an appointment at 770-455-1011**
Stages of Periodontal Disease:
Stage 0: No symptoms of periodontal disease, healthy mouth
Stage 1: Gingivitis
Symptoms: Inflamed gingival (gum) tissue at top of teeth, Plaque covers tooth surface
Stage 2: Early Periodontal disease
Symptoms: Entire gingival tissue is inflamed and swollen, plaque has hardened to form calculus, noticeable odor, mouth is painful
Stage 3: Moderate Periodontal disease
Symptoms: Bright red bleeding gingiva, sore mouth effecting eating/behavior, odor apparent, irreversible bone loss due to infection
Stage 4: Severe Periodontal disease
Symptoms: Extreme tooth mobility, severe bone loss due to infection, bacterial infection is spreading throughout the body via the bloodstream and can damage liver, kidneys, and heart
Oral Health Care at Home
Home dental care is a preventative maintenance, it does not correct dental problems. The goal of a dental home care program is to decrease plaque and prevent calculus formation on your pet’s teeth. Prevention of periodontal disease involves a multifaceted approach combining the use of daily brushing, diets, chews, and treats. The more that you can do at home, the less will need to be done by your veterinarian.
Several products are available for at home dental health:
Brushing your pet’s teeth remains the single most effective way to maintain oral health. Plaque production is hindered by the mechanical action of brushing the teeth. For tooth brushing to be effective, it is ideally done daily; any less than 3 times per week is ineffective. Make sure to use a pet toothbrush as well as pet specific toothpaste. **HUMAN TOOTHPASTE IS TOXIC TO YOUR PET**
Rinses are applied by squirting a small amount along the cheek teeth of your pet’s mouth; Gels are applied by smearing the product to the same teeth. Rinses and gels contain Chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial that helps retard the formation of plaque. They are indicated for use after every meal.
Chews, treats, or diet is something offered to the pet daily as a fun activity or part of regular meal time. The effectiveness is the mechanical action of chewing to help remove plaque from the tooth surface. Several products also have an anti-microbial agents to help retard plaque formation. Palatability can be an issue for some pets.
**Your pet should always be supervised with toys or treats**
**Products that are extremely hard could fracture pets teeth—if you can hammer with it, it should not go in your pet’s mouth**
LOOK FOR THE SEAL:
The VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats.Products are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance following review of data from trials conducted according to VOHC protocols. The VOHC Seal is displayed on products that have been awarded the Seal. For a list of products visit: www.vohc.org
Brushing Teeth is FUN
Toothbrush: Choose a tool that you’re comfortable using. The brush should be appropriate to the size of your pets mouth. You can also select a plastic brushes that fit on your finger. If these products don’t appeal to you or your pet, just wrap a piece of clean gauze around your finger instead.
Toothpaste: Pet toothpaste comes in many flavors, you may need to experiment with a few flavors to find out which one your pet prefers. Avoid using human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth.
** HUMAN TOOTHPASTE IS TOXIC TO YOUR PET**
Tips to get started:
Choose a time when your pet is most relaxed
Keep sessions short and positive
Do not over restrain your pet
If your pet attempts to bite or becomes aggressive STOP
Focus on the outer surface of the teeth closest to the cheek/lip area
- Get your pet used to having things in his/her mouth, lift your pets lip several times a day, handle their face and muzzle. Praise and reward with treats every time, once your pet is comfortable proceed.
- Dip your finger in the selected toothpaste and allow your pet to lick it off. Try this for several days. This conditions your dog to expect a treat when they see the toothpaste tube.
- Try rubbing your toothpaste coated finger along the pet’s teeth for several days. Remember to praise and reward.
- Once your pet has accepted having your toothpaste coated finger in their mouth, introduce your chosen toothbrush. Allow your pet to lick the toothpaste of the brush for a few sessions before trying to put it in their mouth. This will allow your pet to get used to the texture of the brush.
- Now that your pet is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste, you can start brushing. Brush the teeth at a 45 degree angle. Start with the upper teeth first, this will allow your pet to get used to the brushing and give you some practice.
- Brushing a few teeth at a time and slowly increase the number of teeth per session.
**Ask a Wellpet staff member for a demonstration or if you have any questions**
Dental disease can be easily prevented by following your veterinarian’s advice regarding dental examinations, home care, and dental cleanings.