Dental care at home: part one

Let’s talk about teeth! For the Lachine veterinary clinic veterinarians, oral care is very important. Keep in mind that periodontitis ( the inflammation of the gums, presence of tartar, receding roots … ) in dogs, cats and ferrets is very high. Up to 80% of dogs and 85% of cats over a four year period will suffer from this disease . Furthermore , a large proportion of cases of anorexia in rabbits and guinea pigs are also caused by dental problems. This week is part one of our preventive dental care plan for your pets… taking a closer look at cleaning the teeth of your dog , your cat and your ferret.

There are several ways to prevent the onset of periodontitis in carnivores. Diet is probably the easiest . Some diets significantly help to decrease the occurrence of plaque and gingivitis . As you might have guessed, these diets are in the dry form. According to most animal food companies, kibble offer textures that favor brushing when chewed or at least contain products that help prevent the adhesion of precursors of tartar on the teeth.dogs-49324_960_720

Is this an ideal solution ? Not necessarily . First, these diets are not indicated for ferrets . In fact, no ferret diet reduces tartar formation significantly. Secondly, the type of chewing greatly influences the effectiveness of dental diets . Several dogs and cats swallow their food without even chewing. In these cases , dental diets are ineffective.

Moreover , in our experience , we can tell you that these dental diets are more effective in cats than in dogs. Probably because of the type of chewing(time they actually chew) that is done by cats. During dental examinations in cats over an eight year period where they are fed with a dental diet , it is not uncommon to see no tartar at all!

By the way, there is a myth that says that no matter the kind of food , provided it is dry, will prevent the formation of tartar. That is false. Dry diets that are not specifically made to prevent periodontitis have very little impact on tartar formation.

Apart from the diet, there are several alternatives to help reduce or delay the onset of tartar.

The most important one is certainly daily tooth brushing . Trust us,it’s possible. There are ways to proceed in order to avoid discouragement both with the owner and the animal.

There are several types of toothpastes for pets. Do not take yours!LOL . It should be an enzymatic toothpaste . When applied on the teeth , they release enzymes germicides , that help to prevent bacteria from forming plaque.

Before you start brushing your pet’s teeth , get it used to the taste of the toothpaste . There are several flavors like malt flavor , beef and chicken. Once addicted to the ” treat “, you can start applying toothpaste on the teeth. When your pet is accustomed to this manipulation , you can start to use a small rubber brush . It looks like a thimble, but made of rubber with a small brush on the end. Or again, a little traditional human toothbrush will do the trick.

So , let’s recap :

1.Accustom the animal to the taste of the toothpaste : ideally at the youngest age possible, but it can also be done at any age as long as you are patient and can find the flavor of toothpaste that your pet loves .

2.Get him or her used to the toothpaste on his teeth and gums.

Once this is done, here are the daily routine :

1.Reward the animal with a treat

2.Brush

3.Reward the animal with a treat

Next week we will complete our preventive teeth care with pet carnivores and we will also address the prevention of dental problems with rabbits and guinea pigs . Till then…everyone to their toothbrush!

If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to contact a member of the medical team of the Clinic (514-634-4190) who will be happy to assist you.

About the clinic: The Lachine Veterinary Clinic offers an unmatched and personalized service to pet owners from Lachine, LaSalle, Dorval and Pointe Claire, but also across the West Island of Montreal (West Island) and Laval, and has done so ,since 1982.
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