Three Ways to Safeguard Your Pet’s Teeth
Tooth decay is one of the most common health problems for both dogs and cats, responsible for bad breath, painful chewing and eventually, loss of teeth. Even worse, continual low grade oral infections can tax the immune system’s ability to deal with new health challenges as an animal ages, shortening the lifespan by an average of two years.
While it’s never too late to intervene, prevention is easier than cure. Good dental care will give you and your companions more happy years together.
1. Brush Plaque Away with a Toothbrush
To safeguard teeth, you must remove plaque, the bacterial bio-film on the tooth surface that causes decay. The most direct way is to brush your pet’s teeth with a brush made for a dog or a cat. There are also finger brushes and even enzymatic toothpaste flavored to appeal to animals. If brushing isn’t your thing, regular use of PetzLife oral spray or gel, for cats and dogs, will kill harmful bacteria with grapefruit seed extract and other natural ingredients. Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste chews contain several plaque-inhibiting substances, and chlorophyll, cinnamon and clove to freshen breath. The chews come in large, small and mini, depending on the size of the animal. The mini size works for cats, too.
2. Chew Plaque Away with Raw Bones
Raw bones are Nature’s toothbrushes, and our favorite method of cleaning teeth. Most dogs (and some cats) absolutely love them. All bones, whether marrow, knuckle, kneecap or poultry neck, make excellent scrapers and flossers. While chewing, abundant saliva is produced, bathing the oral cavity with saliva’s natural anti-bacterial action. If your dog is new to raw bones, supervise her chewing to make sure she isn’t trying to swallow it whole, and only give for 20 minutes at a time until you feel comfortable that she is handling it with intelligence. As little as twice a week will make a difference, but daily chewing is preferred. The added benefit of happier canine is a big plus.
3. Change Your Pet’s Saliva to Inhibit Bacteria
Some dental remedies work internally to make saliva more effective at deterring plaque and bacteria. Kelps and seaweeds are rich sources of mineral nutrients that affect dental health. Tiny servings of Plaque Off, a particular marine algae harvested off the coast of Norway, prevents plaque from adhering to the tooth surface when mixed with food. Wysong Denta-Treat looks and tastes like parmesan, and contains active cheese enzymes and other ingredients that gradually dissolve plaque when sprinkled on top of food. Our newest find, Plaque Zapper, is a tasteless, odorless powder that goes in the water bowl and prevents bacteria colonies from proliferating with a patented enzyme delivery system. All these products work well for cats and small dogs who may not be avid chewers.
Whether you use one of the approaches or all of them, the preventative steps will go a long way in saving you money in expensive pet dental treatments, and save your pet dental pain.
Does your pet need even more help with dental maintenance? Click here for information on our anesthesia-free dental cleanings.