Puppy love - get even closer this February
To avoid a whiff of dog breath when your ‘best friend’ cuddles up, take your pet to the vet for a dental check-up. Stinky breath doesn’t only make it unpleasant to get close, it is a sign that your pet may have dental disease, a serious condition affecting dogs and cats.
Warning signs to look for in your pet
• Bad breath
• Sensitivity around the mouth
• Loss of appetite
• Yellow or brown deposits on the teeth
• Bleeding, inflamed, or receding gums
• Loose or missing teeth
• Pawing at the mouth or face
• Difficulty chewing
Dental disease is the most common health problem diagnosed in pets aged three years and older. It is not only painful and unpleasant, it can be potentially life-threatening. “Dental disease causes bleeding gums, discoloured teeth, smelly breath, dental decay, tooth loss and discomfort,” says Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary advisor for Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “The bacteria present can also affect the pet’s heart, liver and kidneys - a price you don’t want your much-loved pet to pay.”
Dr Fyvie says that prevention is always better than cure.
Here are a few simple steps to help keep your pet’s breath fresh and its mouth healthy:
- Ask your veterinarian to examine your pet’s mouth and assess whether it requires dental treatment.
- Use tooth-friendly toys - never feed hooves or bones, they are one of the biggest causes of teeth fractures
- Oral care’s gold standard is regular brushing the pet’s teeth, which helps prevent plaque build-up. Although special pet toothpastes and brushes are available from vets this is not always easy to accomplish, particularly in older pets.
- An easier solution is to feed your pet a food clinically proven to help clean its pet’s teeth as it eats, such as Hill’s Science Plan Oral Care and Hill’s Prescription Diet® t/d, the only complete foods in South Africa that have been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance for plaque and tartar control.
BEFORE DENTAL CLEANING AFTER DENTAL CLEANSE
“Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d kibbles have a patented fibre matrix that works like an edible toothbrush, gently scrubbing the exposed tooth and cleaning away plaque and tartar as your pet eats,” says Dr Fyvie. “It is a completely balanced food, suitable for long-term feeding and recommended for cats and dogs that have oral health problems, or are at risk.”
Whilst some pets may be more likely to experience dental problems, every pet should have an oral care routine and annual dental check-up. For expert advice speak to your pet’s dentist – the vet!