Vets estimate that 85% of dogs over the age of 4 are suffering from some form of dental disease that if untreated can cause serious consequences. Oral hygiene in our pets can often be overlooked, however it is extremely important and can not only cause harm to the pet’s mouth region, but can affect their kidneys, heart or liver.
As pet owners, we here a number of do’s and don’ts when it comes to our furry friends mouth and dental hygiene, and as August is the National month for pet dental health, we thought we would help debug some myths about pet dental care…
Pet dental care myths
- Dry food helps clean their teeth – many believe that feeding their pet dry food is an easy way of cleaning their teeth due to the rough surfaces scraping off tartar. However, most kibble breaks down before being able to touch any tartar on the pet’s teeth, leading to little resistance and doing very little for their dental care.
- Dogs always have bad breath – most pets often don’t have the best breath, although very foul breath is a good indicator that something is not right. If their breath is overly bad, this may be signs of gingivitis or other dental problems and should be treated by a vet as soon as possible.
- A dog will stop eating if there’s a problem – for dogs, eating is a strong survival instinct that will come before any pain that they may be suffering.
- Human toothpaste is fine for pets – pet specific toothpaste should only ever be used on your cat or dog as human toothpaste contains fluoride which can be toxic for pets.
- Real bones are good for their teeth – whilst raw bones can help clean your dog’s teeth, they can also splinter and cause internal injuries or fracture your pet’s teeth. It is best to stick to pet safe dental chew toys for a cleaning snack.
Improving pet dental hygiene
As always, prevention is better than a cure. Try feeding your pet a healthy and nutritious diet – getting advice from your vet is always beneficial. You can also apply pet toothpaste to their chew toys or a rope that you can pull against to help clean your pet’s teeth without using a toothbrush.
Ultimately, getting regular check-ups once a year at the vets will go a long way to improving and maintain your pets dental hygiene.