Most of us don’t really think about brushing our pet’s teeth, but the benefits can be rewarding. Just like us, our pets can suffer from periodontal diseases. This is an inflammatory disease that affects gums, teeth, and bones. Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease, you will see swollen and red gums due to inflammation, and in more advanced stages you will see recession of the gum line. The problems occur when plaque and tarter build up on the teeth. This harbors the bacteria that can infect gums and the roots of the teeth causing disease and tooth loss. Untreated this leads to added health issues, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream through vessels near the gums and teeth, which can affect lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver. Small dogs and cats are most susceptible to oral disease. This can be a very painful and debilitating disease for your pet, and unfortunately you may not know that your pet is suffering until he/she is showing obvious signs of discomfort from a more advanced form of periodontitis.
Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets
The best time to start brushing your pet’s teeth is when they are young between 10 weeks to 10 months old. If you have an older pet just be patient, it may take a bit more coaxing, treats, and time. Some pets may be resistant at first but they will eventually become use to the brushing routine. It’s important to make it a pleasant experience. Using flavored toothpaste for dogs and cats is the best way to go . They are available in a few flavors like poultry, malt, and vanilla mint. [Please note: human toothpaste can be toxic if ingested.] It is also important to get the right toothbrush for your pet, there are some with two sides, one big and one small for dogs. Some tiny dogs and cats may do better with a finger brush versus an actual toothbrush. Once they have gotten used to the dental routine, congratulations! You are on your way to having a happy, healthy, fresh smelling, and kissable pet mouth!
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