Pet care: Ways to maintain oral hygiene in pets
A pet's mouth can tell you a lot about its general health. Check out the symptoms of dental disease and tips to maintain oral hygiene in pets from an expert.
Oral hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Pet dental care is an important area of pet care that most people fall behind on. Not taking care of your pet's dental health can lead to diseases such as Periodontitis or Greyhounds. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80 per cent of pets show signs of canine periodontal disease as early as age three. Dental care also helps in keeping your pet's teeth and mouth as clean as possible and eliminating bad breath. Dental disease has serious consequences, so maintaining good dental care in pets is very important. (Also read: Pet care tips: 5 essential life skills to teach your dogs )
In an interview with HT lifestyle, Dr. Shantanu Kalambi, Wildlife Veterinarian, shared: "A pet's mouth can tell you a lot about its general health. Bad oral hygiene is generally indicative of an imbalance in internal functioning and it all links to one or the other problem. To be more precise, a pet with bad oral health will have a problematic gut due to impairments in the digestion and food absorption process which begins in the mouth. The opposite of that is that specific to the renal (kidneys) system, a pet with a compromised or impaired renal function will manifest signs of poor oral hygiene like bad breath and decaying tissue in the oral cavity. It is of utmost importance to keep an eye on your pet's oral hygiene because it could make a huge difference in identifying disease before it reaches a stage that would be too late to recover from."
He further suggested symptoms to look out for that can indicate a problem in your pet's oral cavity:
1. Your pet starts to show signs of reluctance: Does your pet show interest in food and then suddenly just turn away after smelling or taking a small bite? This could be a sign of gum pain or bad teeth.
2. Does your pet randomly salivate or drool excessively? Also an indication of gum disease.
3. Do your pet's teeth seem worn out, loose, or visibly discoloured? All are signs of tooth decay.
4. Is there a bad smell coming from your pet's mouth? It's something called halitosis and could mean a range of things from poor oral hygiene to kidney disease.
5. Has your pet suddenly started to choose only wet and soft foods? This is very common in older pets who have lost most of their teeth or are on the verge of doing so.
He also suggested some tips for oral care of your pet
1. Brush your pet's teeth daily or as often as you can from a young age to get them used to the process. This makes it easier to deal with a problem when it occurs as your pet ages.
2. Another thing to make a habit of doing is getting your pet comfortable with you by checking its mouth. pets tend to mask their symptoms to avoid seeming weak. So it's up to you to make timely checks.
3. Use mouthwashes, toothpaste, and gels specially made for pets. Human-grade toothpaste is harmful to your pet.
4. As your pet turns older( 7+), have regular dental checks done by your vet at least once a year.
5. Dental toys, chews and treats like Nylabones and Dentastix also aid in breaking up tartar and plaque build-up.
6. As their age progresses further, increase that frequency to once in 6 months.
7. Once you see signs of decaying teeth (discolouration, tartar build-up, cavities), have a dental cleaning done once in 6 months as ignoring this could lead to painful conditions like gingivitis which can be tricky and expensive to treat.