Wellness

Why It’s Important to Care for Your Pet’s Teeth

Animal teeth care

Whether it’s a woof, meow, or chirp, there’s something special about coming home to enjoy the companionship of your pet. While some pets require minimal care and upkeep, others need more care and attention. Just as you take care of your teeth with daily brushing and flossing, small and large mammals also need assistance to maintain the health of their teeth and gums.

Small Animal Teeth Upkeep

  • Hamsters, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and mice are examples of small animals that have teeth with open roots that are continually growing
  • Provide foods they can chew to keep tooth growth under control, such as chew sticks, chemical-free branches, fresh vegetables, and a variety of grains
  • Overgrown teeth may be a primary source of tooth problems; symptoms include lack of appetite, tears, runny nose, drooling, avoidance of hard foods, or food falling out of the mouth

Large Animal Teeth Maintenance

  • Caring for the teeth of large animals, such as kittens, cats, puppies and dogs, requires regular attention
  • About 90 percent of dogs and cats have a form of dental disease by age 3
  • Buildup of plaque and bacteria on teeth may result in gingivitis and formation of tartar on the teeth, creating discomfort and bad breath
  • Bacteria from teeth may enter the bloodstream and create infections in the kidneys, liver and heart
  • Cats may develop tiny lesions where enamel erodes
  • Feed animals dry pet foods and treats to help clean plaque from teeth
  • Start brushing animals’ teeth for at least 30 seconds daily when they are young, and schedule regular veterinarian appointments for professional cleanings

No matter the shape or size, a pet is an important member of the family. Often pets are independent and need minimal care from their owners. But for those that need help caring for their teeth, take time for daily brushing. If you absolutely cannot get your pet’s teeth brushed, visit your local pet store for dental products that can be applied as a gel or spray. Your vet will also be happy to clean your pet’s teeth and offer advice.

Do you clean your pets’ teeth? – Scott Delisi, Ameritas Group

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