Dental health is an important part of your pet’s overall wellbeing. 85% of pets already have evidence of periodontal disease by the age of 3.[i] If not detected and treated at an early stage, this may lead to serious health conditions beyond oral health, including kidney, liver and heart functions. It’s important to be aware of the causes of dental problems, and to be able to identify the signs that your pet is suffering from periodontal disease.
Dental problems in pets start when plaque hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gum line can easily be seen and removed, but plaque below the gum line is damaging, and sets the stage for infection and injury to the jawbone.
Pet Food Institute, in line with its responsible pet ownership advocacy “Well Fed, Well Nurtured” campaign with the Veterinarian Practitioners Association of the Philippines, presents key guidelines on providing optimal dental health care for your furry companions.
Take your cat or dog to the veterinarian if you observe any of the following:
- Bad breath
- Broken teeth
- Abnormal chewing or dropping food from their mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Signs of blood in your pet’s water bowl or on chew toys
- Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
There are various ways to help your pets with their dental health woes. Veterinarians offer dental health plans for your cats and dogs that best fit your lifestyle. With the expert guidance of your veterinarian, below are some tips you can choose:
Professional Cleaning: The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends a regular professional teeth cleaning for your dog or cat, starting at 1 or 2 years old, depending on their size. Your pet will be put under anesthesia so that each tooth will receive proper attention and care, including under the gum line.
Home Care: An at home dental care routine for your pet is an important part of tooth maintenance. Veterinary experts recommend regular tooth brushings and, if possible, multiple times a week. This will help remove most plaque before it can mineralize into tartar. If a toothbrush scares your pet, you can get nearly the same result by wiping their teeth with a gauze pad or dental wipe from your local pet supply store.
Dental Treats: Some pet food and treat products offer additional dental health benefits. In order for pet food makers to make a claim related to dental health, such as cleansing teeth or preventing tartar buildup, the package must communicate how that effect is achieved (such as small ridges or a porous consistency).
Every day is an opportunity to improve your pet’s oral health. Pet lovers can extend their dog or cat’s longevity and quality of life by adding oral care to their routine.
About the Pet Food Institute
Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the voice of the U.S. pet food industry. PFI is the industry’s representative before Congress and state legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; public education and media relations resource; organizer of seminars and educational programs; and liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat food, an industry with more than $20 billion in U.S. retail sales and $1.3 billion in exports in 2015.
[i] Beard G, Emily P, Mulligan T, Williams C. American Animal Hospital Association, Veterinary Dentistry, Course 1, 1989.