Your pets rely on your good care
Progress in treatment has led to a marked decline in infectious diseases and other serious diseases affecting domestic animals. Oral diseases - especially parental illnesses and gum disease caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar - have become the biggest health problem in cats and dogs. In the absence of proper dental care, it is estimated that by the age of 3 years, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will show signs of oral disease. With your help, your pets can have healthy teeth and gums all their lives, and there are few things that can be done to achieve this:
Regular brushing of their teeth at home
An annual dental check-up at the veterinary surgeon
Healthy eating: the basis of good dental health
Inappropriate food can harm the dental health of pets. Prefer dry food, instead of soft canned food, because its slight abrasive action on the teeth makes it possible to eliminate the plate which, when hardened, is transformed into tartar. Dry food allows your pet to chew properly and stimulates its gums. Avoid giving them sweets and table scraps, as they too can increase the formation of plaque and tartar. A veterinarian may recommend dry foods specifically designed to reduce plaque and build up tartar, especially if your pet is predisposed to dental problems because of its breed or its history.
How to brush your pet's teeth?
Dogs and cats need to be brushed to remove dental plaque that can cause decay and the formation of tartar, which in turn can lead to the development of gum disease. We advise you to make a habit of brushing your kitten every day as soon as you adopt it. In the case of a puppy, you should start as soon as it is 6 or 8 weeks old. It is even possible to get older dogs and cats accustomed to brushing their teeth. It is enough to undertake this activity gradually and to make this experience as pleasant as possible. Reassure your pet and praise it often throughout the brushing and reward it with a very special treat as soon as you're done. Here's how to do it:
Dip a finger into the water of a tuna can or into hot water. Rub your finger gently on your pet's gums and on one or two teeth. Repeat this gesture until your pet seems to accept it fairly well.
Gradually, insert your finger covered with gauze and gently rub the teeth in a circular motion.
Thereafter, you can start using a human toothbrush, for example an ultra-soft bristle model (a baby toothbrush will do the trick in the case of a cat). You can also use an animal model or a small brush placed on a rubber tip that is placed on a finger.
Finally, once your pet is accustomed to brushing teeth, start using toothpaste in liquid or paste form designed for animals. Most contain chlorhexidine or tin fluoride. A veterinarian can recommend one. Do not use your own toothpaste because it may cause stomach upset in your pet. Your veterinarian may also advise you on a spray or rinse aid after brushing.
An annual dental exam
Giving your dog or cat the best diet possible will help keep your teeth and gums in top condition. But to cure your pet's dentition optimally, you must first get a checkup. That's when the veterinarian comes in.
The veterinarian will thoroughly examine your pet's mouth to determine the existence of underlying problems and, most importantly, the build-up of tartar. The veterinarian can remove this tartar using professional cleaning and polishing instruments. Once it has descale the edge of the gums, the veterinarian can treat your pet's teeth by applying fluoride. It will give you instructions on the care to be given at home and on the frequency of follow-ups.
A few tips
If you have a dog, the treats to be eaten, such as hard meat-based cookies or leather bones, can help eliminate the plaque and stimulate its gums.
Beware of wood - do not let your dog or cat gnaw a piece of wood, as it may cause a splinter in the gums and injuries.
Do not let your pet gnaw hard objects or a stone. This could use or even break his teeth, damage his gums and lead to an infection.
The kittens have their first teeth "milk" or temporary teeth, which number 26, around the age of 2 or 3 weeks. They begin to pierce their adult teeth (30 in all) to about 3 months.
Cats are the domestic mammals that have the least number of teeth.