Double ended toothbrush suitable for medium and large breed dogs
Periodontal or gum disease is the commonest disease in dogs and cats. About 80% of dogs over three years old in the UK suffer from periodontal disease. It is a bacterial disease affecting the gums and bone around teeth and is caused by plaque.
The most effective way of managing gum disease is by preventing it through daily tooth brushing using a pet toothpaste and toothbrush. This involves mechanical removal of plaque from the teeth and gums.Tooth brushing can be performed for dogs and cats, though cats tend to be more difficult.
Dental homecare for dogs and cats is important. It’s often easier to start toothbrushing when your pet is young
It’s never too late to start brushing your pet’s teeth but it’s often easier and accepted better if you start when they are puppies and kittens. Start slowly and gradually increase the extent of the tooth brushing over a period of time – the rate at which you can progress will vary greatly from pet to pet. Keep to a regular repeatable routine and build in rewards for good behaviour.
Tips to help with pet dental care at home
When you start brushing you may notice a small amount of blood on the tooth brush. This is usually associated with inflammation of the gums and should settle down within a few days of tooth brushing. If it doesn’t, it is important to consult your vet.
Only use pet toothpaste as the fluoride in human toothpaste is toxic in dogs and cats.
Whilst brushing is by far the best method of keeping your pet’s teeth clean, there are some other techniques that can be used in addition that help to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.
Gels and Oral Rinses
There are various different products available. The most effective contain Chlorhexidine, which is effective in killing oral bacteria. These products are particularly useful in cases where there is severe oral inflammation or where it is impossible to brush your pet’s teeth.
Many pet food manufacturers produce special diets to help reduce plaque accumulation. It is worth discussing diet with your vet and following their recommendations in this area. There is plenty of evidence to show that using an appropriate diet will help reduce plaque accumulation but diet should be used in conjunction with tooth brushing.
Dental chews may help to reduce plaque accumulation. They should be used in conjunction with tooth brushing and an appropriate diet. It is important that they are fed at the frequency recommended by the manufacturer.