Many things can play a role in the development of dental disease:
Some breeds are more prone than others.
Some smaller breeds of dogs more commonly experience dental disease such as yorkies, poodles, jack russells, duxies etc. Sometimes their teeth is crowded together in their mouths or they may have extra teeth because not all of their their baby teeth may have fallen out.
Breeds with flat faces like pugs, bulldogs and boxers are also prone to dental disease because their teeth are sometimes misaligned.
In cats dental disease is more common in Oriental short-hairs and Siamese cats.
The age of your pet.
Dental disease more often affects our older pets and research has shown that more than 65 % of pets older than 7 years of age have some form of dental disease.
Dogs that chew on various toys may have less plaque than those who do not.
The wrong chew toys can also have an effect.
Very hard chews (dried cow hooves) or incorrect bones can cause the teeth to break or wear down faster.
Softer meaty raw bones may be given under supervision. Hard marrow bones may damage or break teeth and may be dangerous if your dog is left unsupervised.
Many people will then wonder why wild carnivores can eat bones and not have problems. Unfortunately they do! Up to 45% of animals in the wild may suffer with broken as a result of this. Our pets have a longer lifespan and it is important to keep their teeth in good nick for as long as we possibly can.
Some dogs chew inappropriate things found lying around such as sticks and stones.
This will have the same effect as having the wrong chew toys. This may unfortunately develop into a behaviour problem which then may be very difficult to unlearn.
A real danger is if these inappropriate items are swallowed as they may lead to other major problems. It is always important that your dog gets the correct training from a young age (although don’t let your dog’s age stop you from some training – they love it!)
Why do vets make such a fuss about dental health?
Bad breath is NOT normal for a dog or cat. Worrying about it is a waste of time. Take action! Bad breath can be just the tip of the ice-berg. The sooner dental disease or bad breath is treated, the better for your pet (and you too!).
Persistent periodontal disease is irreversible when it starts causing major organ disease.
If not addressed early, dental disease will start affecting the heart with heart disease and cause kidney and liver failure. All of these are deadly, yet so easily avoidable!
What can you as a pet owner do about it?
Visit you vet at least once a year and have your pet’s teeth and mouth checked. (in human terms this be the same as visiting your doctor every 5 – 7 years). Your vet will not only check their teeth, but will take a look at your pet’s general well-being and ask your questions on his behaviour etc.
With this information the vet can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Sometimes your vet will suggest a dental scale and polish. But because your pet won’t accommodate the usual “open wide”, they need to go under anaesthetic. Any anaesthic carries risks and therefore your vet would need to assess conditions such as heart and kidney health making the general check up very important – especially in older pets.
Your vet may also recommend that you try Proden PlaqueOff Animal first before considering a dental scale and polish. Safe and effective, PlaqueOff removes tartar, plaque and stops bad breathe in its tracks.
Our pets are very special and much loved. It is our duty and pleasure to keep them healthy and fit. Even the smallest things we do can make such a difference in their lives. Let those “Good Morning” kisses be a pleasure when you have to smell their breath.