07 Jan Dental Chews as a Part of the Home Oral Care Plan for Our Pets
Dental Chew Tips from your Dog Teeth Dentist in Colorado Springs!
Often the oral health of our pets goes undetected because they rarely show obvious signs of illness or oral pain. And periodontal disease is the most common health problem affecting dogs and cats today. They continue to eat and act normally while their periodontal disease progresses. By the time our pets reach the age of 2 years, most have some form of periodontal disease with a prevalence as high as 70 percent in cats and 80 percent in dogs. These surprising prevalence rates strongly support the need and importance of a strong oral home care plan for our pets.
Oral Health and Pet Dental Chews
In previous blog posts, your dog teeth dentist in Colorado Springs, Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery, has discussed toothbrushing, toothpastes and suggestions for how to establish a tooth brushing routine with our pets. When it comes to reducing the accumulation of plaque and calculus on our pet’s teeth, daily toothbrushing is the “gold standard” of home oral health care for our pets. And although we believe that toothbrushing can be instituted in most households, we recognize that it’s not always feasible for every pet owner. In these situations, there are other products available for adjunctive oral health care at home. The goal of these products is to slow down the progression of periodontal disease between regular (annual or biannual) dental cleanings by your veterinarian or veterinary dentist.
Many dental chews are proven products for the reduction of plaque in our pets. Some dental chews contain natural ingredients that inhibit the formation or adhesion of plaque to the teeth. Other products contain anti-calculus agents that inhibit the mineralization of plaque into calculus. While others have antimicrobial properties that kill harmful microorganisms and bacteria in the mouth. There are also dental chews that reduce plaque via mechanical action. These chews act by scraping harmful substances off teeth as a pet chews on them.
Not All Dental Chews Are Created Equal
It’s important to mention that there are dental chews available that can be harmful to our pet’s teeth. Many of these products, such as bones, antlers or nylon chews are too hard and commonly result in fractured teeth. Fractured teeth are painful and may be severe enough to expose the pulp chamber of the tooth. If you notice or suspect a fractured tooth, it should always be evaluated and radiographed by your veterinarian to be sure there are no signs of underlying infection. In short, we do not promote chew products that we could pound a nail with, can’t bend or break and/or that we would not want to be thrown at our knees!
If you’re wondering whether a certain dental chew or any other oral health product will be safe and effective for your pet, we recommend visiting the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) website. They provide a seal of approval for a variety of products that have undergone testing and demonstrated efficacy as plaque-inhibiting products. When in doubt look for the VOHC seal!
A Healthy Mouth Equals a Happy Pet!
The goal of any home oral health care plan is to improve the oral health of our pets by inhibiting the formation of plaque and decreasing the onset of gingivitis. Dental chew products should never be thought of as a replacement for toothbrushing, but they can be beneficial adjunctive home care treatments that our pets enjoy.
Your dog teeth dentist in Colorado Springs, Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery, was founded with a mission to provide the highest quality specialty dental care for pets in Southern Colorado. If you’re a pet owner in Loveland, Castle Pines or Colorado Springs, Colorado, schedule an appointment for Fido or Fluffy with one of our veterinary dentists today!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/10/19) OakleyOriginals – Flickr