Sunday, February 21, 2016

Periodontal Health - Important for Your Pets

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Photo Courtesy of Lisette Brodey

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. There's good reason for highlighting dental health for your pets: it impacts their health in so many ways. Dirt leaching down from your dog or cat's teeth can cause many health problems which means that you should be brushing your pet's teeth. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to do it. Obviously, it's easier if you start with a puppy or kitten but you can start later. Be gentle and go slowly. Use special toothpaste made for pets. It doesn't foam and is flavored to appeal to your pets.
Photo Courtesy of Nancy Ross

Brushing isn't quite enough. You should also have your pet's teeth cleaned professionally every year. 

It's hard to find anyone better than the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) to spread the word about the importance of your pet's health and how to keep your pet healthy.  Here's a video they made that explains the importance of Periodontal Health for Your Pets. Humans aren't the only ones who can have periodontal problems. Let's let Dr. Cindy Charlier explain it:


Rescuegal said...

This is such an important message for pet parents. Thank you, Darlene for bringing it to our attention. It is easy for us to assume that because we give our dogs bones to chew on and our cats tartar control treats that this will keep their teeth and gums in pristine condition. As your blog tells us this is just not enough--regular brushing in not even enough. Annual periodontal check ups with our veterinarian is a must for our pets total health and well being.

Lynne said...

My vet taught me to scale teeth back in the very early 70s, when we had our first Newfoundland. I do it each time I groom them and trim toenails, feet and ears. I was very pleased when the vet did a 6 month checkup on my 13 1/2 + year old boy and commented on how clean his ears and teeth are. She even took a picture of his teeth! We try hard to do right by our Newfs!

Gordon Brice said...

Essential information for those that really care about the health of their furry companions. Of course, not all cats and dogs like having their teeth cleaned, nor are they always cooperative. I can well remember that our cat, Winston, was a terror when it came to having his teeth cleaned AND taking tablets. In fact, it was a two persons job in each to hold the towel bound cat, whilst the other carried out the supposed "dirty deed". It wasn't always easy, but if you truly love your pets, you will do whatever is necessary and within your power, to keep them healthy.
Thank you as always, Darlene, for posting a blog that provides very interesting and essential information.

Redder said...

Have a real problem with my Pekingese. My vet showed me or tried to. They fight and protest and very easy to damage their
jaws. So resort to chew things and rinse in the water, but it really doesn't do much good as they get older. So we do scaling at the dentist, which is really, really expensive in this area. Really wish could do the cleaning. Have tried the dental wipes but only very
partially successful.

Darlene said...

Thank you, Rescuegal, You've hit the proverbial nail on the head. People are convinced that bones and treats will do it all, but it won't. It's not a substitute for a professional cleaning. I've had people swear to me that their dog's teeth were pearly white and strong because of the bones. They don't seem to understand that the periodontal problem exists in dogs and cats. I hope more people will read this blog post. I can put it out there but I can't force pet owners to read it.

Darlene said...

Hi Lynne, Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! It's amazing that your veterinarian taught you to properly scale teeth. A lot of people try it, do it wrong and then ruin the enamel on the dog's teeth! I'm glad your Newfs are doing so well. It's my hope that veterinarians will teach owners how to brush teeth on the first visit and the be sure to show them again on the next two visits. It may take a little time but it's worth it because it means so much to the dog or cat's health throughout its lifetime.

Darlene said...

Thank you, Gordon, for your comments. What you experienced is too common. Cats can certainly learn but it's a slow process and they must be desensitized to it. Many cats wait for their owners to brush their teeth after having brushed their own teeth. It becomes part of the morning routine. Some cats might not do as well, as you experienced but I'm glad you kept at it because of its importance! Thank you for sharing with us!!

Darlene said...

Hi Redder, If you had so much trouble, then having it done by the dentist is exactly right. Even if you're brushing their teeth daily, they would still need a professional cleaning once a year. Getting under the gums for the periodontal cleaning is really best left to the veterinarian, or a veterinary dentist if the dog or cat's teeth are really bad. You've done exactly the right thing for your Pekes for exactly the right reason.

James Stagg said...

Thanks for the "Heads up!", Darlene.

Not to push a product, but our vet suggested DENTASTX for Sandy, our terrier. After about a month the difference was noticeable by him. She gets one stick daily, after her evening meal, as a reward for taking her evening quarter-mile walk.

For dogs (at least), the situation can be similar to well-maintained teeth for humans. Two of my dentists say that human tooth decay and gum problems affect the heart, by introducing bacteria into the blood stream.

That makes me concerned for proper dental cleaning for my family, as well as Sandy.

Darlene said...

Thank you for your comment, James Stagg. The product is fine as far as it goes, just like the other types of things I mentioned in the post, but it can't replace a professional annual dental cleaning to get the tarter from under the gum line and prevent periodontal disease.

It's the same with cats as dogs and humans. The dentists are right and the same thing can happen to our pets. We can keep them healthier if we will just invest in that annual professional cleaning. I'm sure that Sandy is a happy, healthy pup!