Why good dental care is important to pet health

If Fido’s breath could knock you out of your shoes, it’s probably time for the veterinarian to take a look inside his mouth. Too many pet lovers forget that animals require great oral care, too.

Bad breath is a common sign that your dog or cat has a dental problem. That unpleasant breath can indicate a bacterial gum infection is lurking around in your pet’s mouth, which, if ignored, can develop into periodontal disease. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that in some instances, a canine’s halitosis could also indicate that something is wrong in her liver, kidneys or intestinal tract. Other signs of dental problems include a dog’s reluctance to chew or salivating more than usual.

For felines, be on the lookout for more than just foul breath -- other indications of dental issues include excessive licking, drooling and difficulty chewing.

Follow these preventive measures to help keep your pet's teeth healthy:

  • At least once a week, brush your pet’s teeth with a brush or finger sponge. Do not use human toothpaste. Several pet toothpaste choices are available. Start with slow motions and short periods of time until your pet is comfortable with the brushing. Follow the brushing with lots of praise, the ASPCA recommends.
  • Your veterinarian might also recommend certain foods, treats and chew toys designed to reduce plaque and tarter build-up. He or she can also determine if there are more severe underlying causes for the bad breath.
  • A liquid oral care supplement may also be an option if your pet is not a tooth-brushing kind. The process is as simple as adding the liquid supplement to your dog or cat’s drinking water each day.

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Indianapolis veterinarians recommend dog and cat teeth cleaning

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After a dental cleaning, pet owners can help teeth and gums stay looking good with regular brushings, veterinarians reccommend. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Matt Lemmons)
After a dental cleaning, pet owners can help teeth and gums stay looking good with regular brushings, veterinarians reccommend. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Matt Lemmons)

Dogs and cats require regular teeth cleaning and teeth brushing for good pet oral health. Indianapolis veterinary dentists recommend annual pet dental exams performed by veterinarians.

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