I cannot believe I almost let February slip by without touching on Pet Dental Health Month. Shame, shame! In all seriousness, it is important to be diligent with a dental routine since periodontal disease can lead to serious problems. It is reported that nearly 80 percent of adult pets have some degree of periodontal disease. This is a potentially painful problem, but more importantly it can lead to further health complications. Bacteria from untreated periodontal disease can eventually spread and damage other organs, including the heart and liver. Knowing the signs is key to maintaining health and wellness. Things to look for include:
Bad Breath – caused by bacteria living in your pet’s mouth and is often the first sign of dental problems.
Drooling – at times drooling can be a sign of irritation in the mouth and dental problems.
Plaque –as with humans, plaque can be difficult-to-see. It can be removed with regular brushing, but returns quickly.
Calculus – yellowish-brown crust that builds up along the gum line and contains food particles, bacteria, and minerals.
Gingivitis – signs of gingivitis are red and swollen gums or pain and bleeding when your pet eats. You may also see bleeding when their gums are touched. This is commonly caused by bacteria in the calculus and is the first stage of periodontal disease.
Decreased Interest in Food – if your pet is in pain they may show a decreased interest in food. Failure to show interest in regular meals, treats, or chew toys that they have previously enjoyed can be a sign of dental pain.
Loose, cracked, or missing teeth –an obvious sign that periodontal disease is progressing and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent discomfort and pain. If left untreated, development of abscesses or infection can present and cause further complications.
So What Can I Do?
Annual check-ups with your veterinarian – this is very important. Often times our pets will not show signs of pain, even with advanced disease. Regular exams will ensure appropriate care is received.
Brush those pearly whites – regular tooth brushing is the best method of home dental care. When brushing your pet’s teeth patience is key; always move slowly and make sure that tooth brushing remains a positive experience for your pet. Daily brushing is ideal, but not always realistic. Just remember, the more often your pet’s teeth are brushed, the better it is for their health.
Bella and Jake’s Five Step Dental Routine:
Brush – at least twice a week with this DIY toothpaste. This recipe is easy to make and you won’t leave you worrying about possible toxins in store-bought toothpaste. I only use and recommend Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 15 drops thieves essential oil (where to buy)
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil (where to buy)
Mix coconut oil and baking soda well. Stir in essential oils. Place in glass jar with lid. Use every time you brush your pets teeth.
Water – I add 5 drops of peppermint to their daily drinking water. In my opinion, this helps to break down plaque and freshen breath.
Chew toys and treats – I give dental treats every few days. I also keep chew toys that will stimulate and clean their teeth and gums available full-time.
Regular Check Ups – See your veterinarian on a regular basis to ensure your best friends health is in tip-top shape!
- This information is based on my experience using essential oils with my dogs. For further information on essential oils safety for other pets please read this past post on Essential Oils and Pets.
Disclaimer: I am not a Veterinarian. This information is based on my personal experience only and is not a substitute for appropriate vet care. Please contact your Veterinarian with any concerns. This information is intended to be used along with, not in place of, appropriate care.
Ballard Animal Hospital.(n.d.). Overview of your pets dental health and our services. Retrieved from http://www.ballardanimalhospital.com/uploads/file/BAH_February%20is%20Dental%20Month_2015_Overview%20of%20Your%20Pet%E2%80%99s%20Dental%20Health_V2.pdf
CNBC (2014). Central animal hospital urging vigilance for pet dental health month. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/102444854#
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