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Dental Health for Your Pet

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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Happy Whippet Dog
Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

We know how to take care of our own teeth, right? We also know when something is not right with our teeth, and what to do about it.

But what about our pets? Dental health was less of an issue for their wild ancestors due to the absence of processed foods. They hunted and foraged and ate only raw foods, gnawing on bones to keep their teeth and gums healthy. If they chipped or lost a tooth it was generally through fighting or biting down on something hard, and they just carried on regardless.



Happy Whippet Dog
Image courtesy of flickr.com

But our pets today are not as hardy as their ancestors. It’s impractical to feed them only hard, raw foods and most of the options available today are processed with all kinds of additives and preservatives.

Looking along the supermarket shelves at what is on offer today, it’s no wonder that dental health is an issue.

But we can still make sensible choices for our pets. While ‘beef in gravy’ or ‘chicken casserole’ sound delicious to us, they are not the wisest choices for a long-term diet for our pets and should be seen as an occasional treat.



Happy Whippet Dog
Image courtesy of wikipedia

Dogs and cats need to chew and crunch their food in order to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Here are a few suggestions that will help:

Feed your pet a quality brand of kibble and make sure you also provide plenty of fresh water.



Happy Whippet Dog
Image courtesy of flickr.com

Give your pet an occasional treat of charcoal biscuits. These clean their teeth and keep their breath fresh.

You can purchase a special toothbrush and paste for your pet. It won’t take them long to get used to – and even enjoy – having their teeth brushed.



Cat with Chew Toy
Image courtesy of flickr.com

Provide chew toys that massage their gums as they chew. (Healthy gums should be pink in colour.)

Limit soft foods to occasional treats.

Don’t feed your pet sweet treats no matter how much they beg for it. Sweets are bad for their teeth and for their health in general.

Get your pet’s teeth checked at regular intervals.



Cat with Chew Toy
Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

Consider an occasional professional clean. Speak with your veterinarian about this.

Our pets can’t tell us when they are experiencing pain or discomfort so we need to be diligent about preventative measures for them. After all, our pets are family and deserve the same standard of care.

Editor's Note: February is Pet Dental Health Month. This is a great time to speak with your local veterinarian about your pet's dental health.

#Pets
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